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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Election Results Extremely Close

Aired November 3, 2004 - 00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


PAULA ZAHN, HOST, "PAULA ZAHN NOW": Other state in the campaign. Dozens of visits. Two hundred thirty manufacturing jobs lost during the Bush administration.
JAMES CARVILLE, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": You know, it tells us that the party -- if you go into an election as unified as we were, the money that we had. If you go in this economy with this war going on, you win three debates and you lose the election, we might have to reassess things.

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": And maybe it would be good to reassess things. The Republicans lost in 1964. Barry Goldwater lost to Johnson. And they spent, you know, more than a dozen years sort of in the wilderness, going to think tanks, writing books, thinking about what they believe. What does it mean to be a Republican?

It was a useful period for the Republican Party. They came up with an ideology.

CARVILLE: But we don't know. Ohio...

CARLSON: But I'm just saying, if Kerry loses, I totally agree with James, there's going to be a bloodbath in the Democratic Party, and it may be a good thing.

PAUL BEGALA, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Personally, if Bush loses it's going to be a bloodbath in the Republican Party.

CARLSON: That's right. But I think...

BEGALA: With social liberals and social moderates in the Republican Party who feel increasingly squeezed out.

ROBERT NOVAK, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Well, let me -- let me add one other thing that -- that is -- a party to nominate John Kerry has to be -- is an exercise in arrogance. He's a terrible candidate.

He doesn't have a good personality. People don't like him. Democrats didn't even like him. And you know.

BEGALA: But to be fair.

NOVAK: I honestly believe that somebody like Dick Gephardt, who -- who doesn't like Dick Gephardt, would have done a better job.

CARLSON: But to be fair, the Democrats nominate him. He was chose in a rebound from Howard Dean. OK? So none of it is true.

He was -- actually, I thought it was a logical pick for the Democrats at that point. He was a war hero. He was responsible in contrast to Dean's sort of wildness. He made sense at time. I actually think he was the best candidate they had to pick from.

BEGALA: And he won in primaries in the most overwhelming fashion in the history of the Democratic Party. I mean, he came rolling in...

CARVILLE: And he did win three debates.

ZAHN: And it is true, his likability numbers went up after these three debates. You saw a distinct change in those numbers.

BEGALA: Because he performed well in the debates. See how he performs in the Ohio. That's the next thing.

ZAHN: All right.

NOVAK: There is a real basic Democratic problem where the Democrats don't want to look in the mirror and say what's wrong with me?

ZAHN: Two of these Democrats have just looked in the mirror.

CARVILLE: Yes.

ZAHN: I don't think they like what they're seeing at this hour, either, are they?

BEGALA: I'm not really happy when I look in a mirror, I have to tell you.

CARVILLE: You get my age, Bob, ain't no fun to look in the mirror.

ZAHN: All right, gentlemen. We will leave it there as we hit to close to the top of the hour here. We can't talk at this hour. The bewitching hour of the night.

Back to Wolf now.

WOLF BLITZER, HOST: Thanks, Paula, very much.

Just after midnight already, we still don't know who the next president of the United States is going to be. The drama continuing here at the CNN election headquarters. Times Square in New York. Two hundred and seventy, the magic number.

Jeff Greenfield, tell our viewers how these candidates can get to 270 votes. Right now Bush, we project has 197. Kerry, we project, has 182. There are still 152 electoral votes at play.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: All right. Well, here goes high technology and keep your fingers crossed. You heard James Carville say that he thought that Senator Kerry needed to draw to an inside strait, assuming Florida's lost. Let's show you what he had in mind.

Let's put Florida in red and give those 27 electoral votes to George Bush, which seems likely. Let's do what most people think is obvious. Let's give Alaska, with its three electoral votes, to George Bush, which we will do in a minute. And let's give Hawaii, just for the sake of argument, its votes to Senator Kerry. Let's make Hawaii blue. And you'll see how these votes begin to add up.

Oregon for Kerry, because that's what's happened with the Democratic Party over the last several -- and Washington state also for Kerry.

You'll see how these numbers begin to crunch here. Montana, let's take a wild stab at it, and assume that goes for George Bush. OK.

And remember, folks these are not projections, these are what- ifs.

Now, put New Hampshire for John Kerry, where he has a small lead, and now you see what the problem is: if George W. Bush were to win Ohio high, let's make Ohio red, that is going to put George Bush just 20 votes away from the presidency.

If you assume that Senator Kerry wins these upper Midwest states and Iowa that Al Gore won closely. Let's give Michigan to Kerry. Let's turn that blue, any minute now, OK. Let's give Wisconsin to Kerry, even though that state's close.

Let's give Minnesota to Kerry. I'm only doing this because these are the states Al Gore carried. Please do not e-mail or write. And let's make Iowa a Kerry state as it was a Gore state. OK? OK.

Now what are you left with? You are left with four states, three states that George Bush won and one state that Al Gore won by 366 votes.

If you then give Nevada over here to Bush, make that red. And Colorado with its nine electoral votes, all of which will go to Bush because that amendment to split it was defeated. And Arizona to George Bush.

Here's what you get. You get a Bush presidency. Even if Kerry carries New Mexico.

So this is why the state of Ohio now becomes the most crucial state of all. Remember, these are not projections.

If you put Ohio blue, if you put Ohio blue, John Kerry is the president.

We all said at the outset that Ohio might be the new Florida, the one we'll be waiting all night to see. If this holds, John Kerry is the next president of the United States with Ohio. George Bush is it without.

And you still have one electoral vote in Maine, which at some scenarios could tip the whole thing if George Bush wins it.

This is an exercise, not a projection. But you ought to know where these -- why the pros are looking at this map the way they are. Ohio still becomes the key, I think. And right now John Kerry is running behind in Ohio. It all depends where the rest of the votes are coming from, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Jeff Greenfield with an analysis of the possibilities, although we're not projecting those by any means.

Once again, right now we've projected 197 for Bush, 188 for Kerry; 152 electoral votes still at play. Karen Hughes has been a senior adviser to the president of the United States. She's in Washington. She's joining us now live, and let's talk to Karen a little bit.

There you are at Bush/Cheney campaign headquarters at the Reagan Center in Washington. Give us your bottom line assessment about Ohio, Jeff Greenfield just saying that state is so critical, as you well know?

KAREN HUGHES, SENIOR ADVISOR, BUSH CAMPAIGN: It's very important, Wolf. And it's important that it's not the only path to victory, but we believe we can carry it and re-elect President Bush.

Right before I came over to this building, I was at the White House, and Karl Rove and a number of his staff members have been analyzing and talking with county chairman throughout the state. And they were very optimistic about Ohio.

It is close, but we feel that we're outperforming in key areas that we are -- we are doing better than expected in several Democratic areas, that we are carrying some swing counties in the areas around Columbus and that we've had a big turnout in our Republican base areas.

And so we're feeling -- we're feeling good about Ohio, and of course, if we do carry Ohio on top of Florida, which I don't know if your network has projected. But several networks have now projected that Florida is in the win column. That would add up to a re-election for President Bush, which we're very excited about.

BLITZER: Karen Hughes, stand by for a moment. We have not projected Florida. But we are ready to project here at CNN another state for the president of the United States, Arizona, we can now project will go for the president, with those ten electoral votes. Another win for the president in Arizona.

Let's get back for a moment in Ohio. If Kerry were to carry Ohio, Karen Hughes, how does the president reach 270?

HUGHES: Well, there are a number of other options, Wolf. There are a couple of combinations of, say, Wisconsin and Iowa, and several other states that are still in play.

The last time I saw the numbers I believe we were leading slightly in Wisconsin. I have a great feeling about Wisconsin. We spent a lot of time there on bus tours.

And I remember the people of Wisconsin coming out in their lawn chairs and sitting on their front lawns and making hand made signs for the president as he drove by. So it felt like a state that would go for President Bush, even though it went for Vice President Gore in 2000.

A number of those states that we're talking about -- Wisconsin and Iowa and Michigan -- are states that went for Vice President Al Gore last time and we think potentially could go for President Bush this time. And there are a number of combinations.

New Mexico is another state that we visited yesterday during the final day of campaigning that we felt that -- we came very close in 2000 and we think that the president could carry it again this time.

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Karen, it's Larry King. How are you doing?

HUGHES: Hi, Larry. Good to see you, not see you but good to hear you.

KING: If President Bush does win, and it's obviously very close and a divided nation, can he bring this country together?

HUGHES: Larry, I know he will work very hard to do that. I imagine one of the first things he would say is he understands that he would be president of all Americans, even those who did not vote for him.

I think a second term would bring a renewed commitment to reach out. You know, I remember when we first came to Washington, the president worked hard. He reached out to Democrats. We had a number of Democrats to the White House. He worked with Democratic leaders like Ed -- Ted Kennedy on the education reform bill.

And so I think with a new term, the president will make a renewed commitment to do that. I -- I know that he worries about the very polarized partisan atmosphere in Washington. He had a tradition as governor of Texas of working very closely with Democrats to get things done. And so I expect that he will bring a renewed effort to do that to a second term.

KING: And were Senator Kerry to win, would he join with him in trying to help him unify?

HUGHES: Well, I'm sure that, should that happen -- I'm not really willing to concede that that's going to happen, because I don't expect it will. But -- but I've known the president, as you know, Larry, for a long time. He is a very gracious person, and of course, he would -- he would want to bring this country together and do what's right for our country. BLITZER: All right, Karen Hughes. Stand by for a minute.

CNN is now ready to make another projection. CNN can now project that the president of the United States will carry the state of Florida and its 27 electoral votes. CNN projecting another win for the president in Florida.

Those 27 electoral votes, Karen Hughes, looking mighty good to you, I'm sure, right now.

HUGHES: That brings a big smile to my face. And I know, Wolf and Larry, we talked several times during those excruciating 36 days last time. It's nice to know we won't be going through that again, that Florida is now in the President Bush column.

BLITZER: And with the race for the White House, with Florida our projection now going for the president. The president has 234 electoral votes. John Kerry has 188 electoral votes. Two hundred and seventy need to be elected president of the United States.

How's the president doing? I know that earlier in the day, Karen, when those exit polls were being -- were coming out. We never reported any of those exit poles here on CNN. But word spreads pretty quickly. It seemed those exit polls seemed to show a slight tilt in favor of John Kerry.

What was the mood at White House among the president's team and the president himself when you got those results?

HUGHES: Wolf, we were actually coming right into Washington on Air Force One as we got the first exit polls. Karl Rove got them over the telephone, and we were landing at Andrews Air Force Base, and the president was standing there watching over his shoulder as he was writing them down.

And he looked at me, and he said, "I'm surprised."

And I said, "But it is what it is." He was very sanguine about it. I don't think he completely believed them, because we had felt very upbeat going into this election. He had felt a great intensity and enthusiasm among voters all across the country.

And so as we looked at them more and more throughout the afternoon, I think we began being very suspicious about some of them, because there were some very odd things, for example, in the state of Virginia and North Carolina. They showed a very close race, and it has subsequently turned out that President Bush won those -- both those states as expected very handily.

We thought there were some problems with early polls. But he was very sanguine about it. He -- he has absolute confidence in the people of America, and he will trust their judgment.

BLITZER: Karen Hughes, as usual, thanks very much for spending a few moments with us. Your supporters behind you sound -- they look like they're pretty happy. We'll see if it stays like that. The night is still young. We'll see what happens in Ohio and those other upper Midwestern states.

We'll get back to you, Karen. Thanks very much.

HUGHES: Thanks so much.

BLITZER: Let's bring over John King and Candy Crowley and get some reporting from both of them. I'll go to John first.

Karen Hughes sounding pretty upbeat right now, John, what are you hearing?

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, it's safe to say that President Bush loves his brother Jeb, but perhaps loves him a little bit more tonight.

Florida, of course, decided by that 537 votes I believe it was last time. It was the state that took this election to the Supreme Court.

Mr. Bush knew he needed it this time. His campaign always said, "Oh, we can win without Florida." They knew they needed it. They know they need Ohio. That is now the central focus for the rest of this night or at least the next few hours.

But the president much more confident now. They invested a lot of time in Florida. History might record those hurricanes as the potential deciding factor in the race for Florida this time. The campaign was essentially suspended for awhile.

Governor Bush told President Bush don't come here; we have to deal with the hurricanes. But Governor Bush's approval ratings went up in that period of time. Most here at the White House think the president fought pretty well, but that his brother's popularity and his brother's advice and his brother's effort helped deliver the state this time by a bigger margin.

BLITZER: It looks like 100,000 votes separating Kerry and Bush in Ohio with about 75 percent of the precincts reporting. John, Karen Hughes thinks even if the president were to lose Ohio, there's a way he could get to 270. Is that realistic, though?

KING: It is -- it is a realistic strategy. But look, no Republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio. That is a cliche. We repeated it a lot, but it also happens to be true. They've always said, yes, Wisconsin and Iowa.

If you look at voting returns coming right now, the latest I brought up a few minutes ago, I believe Senator Kerry has a narrow lead in both states. That doesn't say much. There's still a lot of precincts to count there. It is possible the president could win Wisconsin and Iowa.

So yes, they have a backup plan if they have to defy history. But Wolf, they don't want to have to do that. They do not want to put the backup plan to the test. And again, a lot of polls left open in Ohio, because the lines were so long, both campaigns have people driving around and looking at who's in the line and then reporting back, saying whether they think things are bad in this precinct, not so bad in that precinct.

The Bush team is saying their reports are encouraging. They believe they will eke Ohio out. But they're a bit nervous that turnout operation in Pennsylvania was run by the same people who were running the Democratic turnout operation in Ohio.

In Pennsylvania, the Democrats scored a huge success. That's why the Republicans are still a bit nervous about Ohio.

BLITZER: John King, thanks very much.

I suspect John Kerry is pretty nervous about Ohio, as well. Candy Crowley is in Boston over at the Kerry campaign headquarters.

How nervous are they, Candy?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, they say, you know, after Florida fell, it's a lot tougher right now looking than it did before Florida fell.

They still believe that their votes are not in, in Ohio. Now I get pushed in on that when I talk to people on the Republican side, and they say that's baloney. We have, in fact the urban vote, which is largely Democratic, has already been counted largely in Ohio.

Obviously, this is where the battle is going. Obviously, so much depends, they believe, that John Kerry's candidacy depends on Ohio. It gets so difficult after that, particularly when you look at New Mexico, a former Gore state, which again the last I looked was up a couple of percentage points for President Bush.

So they obviously know this is now a tougher hill to climb, and they are looking very forward to having Ohio be called for Kerry.

BLITZER: Let's see if that happens. Candy Crowley in Boston, we'll get back to you.

Judy Woodruff's over at the CNN election analysis center. We projected a win for the president in Florida. How did we do that, Judy?

JUDY WOODRUFF, HOST, "INSIDE POLITICS": Well, you can't say we weren't cautious, Wolf, because we waited until now 98 percent of the vote is in and counted in Florida. Ninety-four percent of the precincts, I'm told, 98 percent of the vote.

There is a spread of, I'm told -- it's 51.9 percent for George W. Bush, the President Bush to 47.3 for John Kerry.

The bottom line is, Wolf, that the possibility of an error is now so small, the number of ballots that are out, 500,000. In order for John Kerry to overtake President Bush, he would have to win something like 80 percent of those outstanding ballots, and they don't believe that's statistically possible.

There clearly are some ballots still out, but they don't think it can change the results there.

Now, just quickly, Wolf, Ohio is a different story. There are provisional and absentee ballots outstanding in Ohio that could make a difference, and so that one is still very much out, and we're not ready to call that.

BLITZER: Ohio still very much in play. Thanks very much, Judy. We'll get back to you.

Barak Obama is going to be the next United States senator from Illinois. He's joining us now live from Illinois.

Congratulations Mr. Obama. Thanks very much for joining us. It's a sweet win for you, but what about the president of the United States? What do you sense is happening across the country?

BARAK OBAMA (D), SENATOR-ELECT, ILLINOIS: Well, once again, we've got an extraordinarily close election, Wolf, and I think that it's going to take a little bit of time to sort out.

Obviously, Ohio is important. I think that we all knew that this was going to be a nail-biter. It is. And I am still confident that John Kerry can pull this out.

This -- politics is a team sport, not an individual sport. And so although my victory obviously is extraordinarily gratifying, I'm still looking nationally to see what's going to happen, because that will have an impact on my constituents here in Illinois.

KING: Barak, it's Larry king. What committees would you like to serve on?

OBAMA: Well, you know, a lot of it's going to depend who's the president and who's controlling the majority, because I think that that will dictate what seats are open. I know that I would like to have a voice on those committees that allow me to do something concrete on health care and jobs, two of the primary issues here in Illinois.

And I would like to obviously have some voice in what is going to be a continuing challenge, and that is our foreign policy and how we shape our role in the world during this period when we're still fighting terrorism.

So -- but it's a little premature to find out. I'm going to be the junior guy coming in, and I think that I'm going to have to talk to a lot of people before I make those determinations.

KING: You think the country's going to come together?

OBAMA: You know, I think whoever is in power is going to be setting the tone there. One of the things that I think the president made a mistake with when he came in in 2000 was pushing a very aggressive agenda that wasn't the way he campaigned.

And I would give the same advice if John Kerry wins that I would give to President Bush. That is that we are deeply divided right now, but there are a core set of values that we share as Americans that we can build on.

But we have to start off working on that common ground, as opposed to immediately trying on focus on those issues that divide us most deeply. And that would be advice I give Democrats as well as Republicans.

CARLOS WATSON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Senator-elect Obama, it's Carlos Watson. Congratulations.

OBAMA: Thank you, Carlos.

WATSON: I wanted to ask you about some of the other Senate races, races that people thought were going to be closed, but Republicans seem to have done well. Places like South Carolina, North Carolina.

Are you surprised that more of these races didn't break for your potential Democratic colleagues?

OBAMA: Well, you know, I think that we always knew both North Carolina and South Carolina were going to be tough. These are strong Republican states that came out heavy for George Bush.

But we're hopeful in a number of other states, and I think that there's still the possibility that we retain or regain the Senate.

Keep in mind, though, that whoever's in charge technically with the Senate whether Republicans or Democrats, they're not going to have 60 votes. And that means that, again, whoever is in power is going to have to govern with some modesty, and some desire to work with the other side of the aisle. That's certainly the approach that I would advice Democrats, should we regain control.

GREENFIELD: Senator, it's Jeff Greenfield. I can call you senator, even though it's a formality.

OBAMA: I'm a state senator, so...

GREENFIELD: OK. That's true.

You did very well in downstate Illinois, in rural places very unlike what we think of as a Democrat from Illinois doing. It's an area that your fellow Democrats have done, to be blunt, terribly in the last 15 or 20 years in small town rural America.

What can you tell your fellow Democrats about how can you connect in a way that many of them, perhaps including Senator Kerry, haven't?

OBAMA: Well, you know, the one thing I'm convinced about as I traveled around the state of Illinois. And this may be partly just the Midwest, but I think it applies across the country. The American people are not an ideological people. They really are a practical people, and if you can make a persuasive case that you have meaningful solutions to the problems that they confront in health care, jobs, education, without over promising, and without suggesting that you have a monopoly on all wisdom, then they give you a listen. And that, I think, was the approach that we took in this campaign.

It also helps that my mom was born in Kansas, and you know, so I've got some roots here in the Midwest that make it easier for me to, I think, identify with folks during the fish fry.

BLITZER: We're going to let you go very soon, Barak Obama. But give us historic perspective. You're a student of American history.

You're only the third African-American to be elected to the United States Senate since Reconstruction, the second man. Republican Ed Brook was elected from Massachusetts, Carol Moseley Braun, from your state of Illinois.

Why is it that only three African-Americans have been elected to the United States Senate in all these years?

OBAMA: Well, obviously, we have the enormous stain of slavery and Jim Crow and all the other issues surrounding race in this country. And I think we have made enormous progress, but we still have more progress to go.

I would say it more practically. These days, the biggest challenge for African-Americans running statewide is the extraordinary expense of campaigns.

I was fortunate to be able to raise the resources to be successful, but unless can you get on television in a big state like Illinois, you cannot win.

And I think that in African-American circles, there is still difficulty raising the kinds of money that's required. So that's something hopefully that I can be helpful with. As other colleagues and as people with aspirations to run statewide take on those challenges, hopefully I can be helpful to them.

BLITZER: Barak Obama, the senator-elect from the state of Illinois. Once again, congratulations. Thanks for joining us.

OBAMA: Thank you so much, gentlemen. I appreciate it.

BLITZER: Thank you, and we're going to take another quick break. But we're continuing to stay here in Times Square to continue covering what's going on. We don't yet know who's going to be the next president of the United States. Maybe we'll know in the next few hours. Then again, maybe not. We'll continue our coverage when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: CNN is ready to make another projection right now. CNN can project that Colorado and its nine electoral votes will be won by President Bush.

Colorado, as expected, we had thought earlier on there could be some sort of contest there. But Colorado, we project will go for President Bush, adding nine electoral votes for the president.

We can make another projection at this moment now, 12:26 on the East Coast. CNN can project, in addition to Colorado, that Montana and its three electoral votes will go for the president. Three more electoral votes for the president.

That brings the race for the White House right now at this tally. The president with 237 electoral votes, John Kerry with 188 electoral votes. Two hundred and seventy, the magic number.

The blue states, as you see, are for Kerry. The red states are for Bush. Another three -- another two states going for John Kerry -- excuse me, going for President Bush.

Anderson Cooper is watching all these races, as well as some other congressional races for us. He's joining us now live -- Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": Yes, Wolf. At this point, let's take a look at the balance of power in the House. Two hundred and eleven Republicans so far, 181 Democrats. Actually, yes, 211, 180 Democrats. At this point, we can say the Republicans will retain control of the House of Representatives.

We're still watching the Senate.

Want to bring in Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report monitoring several of these -- these close races, some of these interesting races in the House.

Let's take a look at that over here if we can. We're really looking at the six main house races that sort of give a sense of what's happening around the country.

AMY WALTER, COOK POLITICAL REPORT: Well, what we wanted to do is look at where some of these swing districts are. Now, some of these are interesting parts of the country for the presidential race, as well.

Places in the northeast, Connecticut, we were looking at two Republican incumbents in a state that went for John Kerry. They're up there now.

COOPER: Let's take a look at this.

In Connecticut Rob Simmons maintaining his seat. Also in Connecticut, Christopher Shays retaining his seat.

WALTER: You know, Democrats are really hopeful that the northeast, which is starting to now trend much more towards Democrats at the national level, was going to do the same at the congressional level. That didn't happen. Big disappointment there for Democrats. Texas.

COOPER: Texas, a major story. A lot of redistricting going on. Both of these are representatives. Frost is out.

WALTER: And Martin Frost is one of the higher ranking members of the Democratic leadership team. Redistricted into a very Republican seat.

This is what Texas, the redistricting here means that Democrats really started off back on their heels and really in a hole and trying to dig out of that.

COOPER: Let's stay down here, looking at Kentucky. Some star power in this race...

WALTER: Yes.

COOPER: ... after George Clooney's father running as a Democrat, the longtime newscaster there. Not enough to give him the lead here.

WALTER: Not in a state that went so strongly for George Bush, even Clooney's name did. And you're right. It was more than just he was George Clooney's dad. As a longtime TV anchor, he had his own personality. People knew him quite well.

But that just wasn't enough in a tough, tough state.

COOPER: As you look at this Pennsylvania race and also the Arizona race, Republicans winning on both of those, what do you see? What jumps out?

WALTER: I see that these are two swing districts. Again, both were held by Republicans. The eighth district is an open seat.

This is Bucks County, Pennsylvania, a county in the suburban Philadelphia area that had been going for Republicans for a long time. It is moving. But unfortunately for Democrats, they couldn't do that, do any better there. Fitzpatrick winning quite handily.

And in Arizona, where Rick Renzi, the Republican incumbent, won very narrowly last time in a very swing district, looks like he's going to have a big win on his part. He ran a very, very good strong campaign.

COOPER: So these six races giving a sense for what is going on around the country right now. Republicans, we project, at this point retaining control...

WALTER: That's right.

COOPER: ... in the House -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Anderson and Amy, thank you very much. Let's bring in the Speaker of the House of Representative, Dennis Hastert from Illinois. CNN has project, Mr. Speaker, you will remain the Speaker of the House of Representatives, we are projecting. No great surprise to you that the Republicans will be in the majority. Go ahead, give us your reaction?

SPEAKER DENNIS HASTERT, (R) IL: Thank you, Wolf. Of course, I always have one more election to go to be speaker, but we hope we can put that over the board. I'm pleased. We had some great pickups this election. We've had tough races, tight races, you talk about Rick Renzi in Arizona, he just worked hard.

Went back to his district, did the things he needed to do. We also were pleasantly surprised in Northern Kentucky where we picked up his seat. We have a seat in southeast Indiana that is in play. We have a seat in the Central Valley of California that we could pick up. And we're holding the seats we had to hold. We've lost a couple, but that was to be expected.

BLITZER: I assume you're looking at your colleagues in the senate, do you sense that the Republicans are going to maintain their majority of the U.S. Senate?

HASTERT: Well, right now, the way it appears, it looks like we picked up a great pickup and held a seat that was in some trouble in Oklahoma, and had great pickup there, Jim Bunning held on, which is very helpful. And we've had pickups in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and of course we're waiting to see what happens in Florida.

KING: Mr. Speaker, this is Larry King. What's the Republican problem in Illinois?

HASTERT: Well, you know, one of the things, it started in the Senate spot. Our candidate for Senate dropped out in July, which is late, and just kind of took the air out of our party. We've been struggling to come back with problems that we've had in the last couple years. But you know, I look at it as also a challenge for us. We have some great young people coming up in the Republican party. We have the Republican leader in the house. A Republican leader in the senate, and great chorus of young guys coming up. Men and women they think they've been the farm team but they're going to have to step up and be the first team now. And we have, of course, a governor's race coming up in two years, and I think we're going to be back.

BLITZER: One final question, Mr. Speaker, before I let you go. What were you thinking when you brought in Alan Keyes from Maryland to be your candidate to challenge Barack Obama?

HASTERT: Unfortunately, we -- our candidate stepped out in July in Illinois, it takes six or eight or $10 million to get the name recognition you need to get. I interviewed four other candidates I thought would have been good candidates. None of them thought they could raise the money to do it. To some, Alan Keyes meant that he could walk in, didn't need to have name recognition and could take over. And it just didn't work out that way.

BLITZER: The Speaker of the House of Representatives, and presumably he will remain the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Dennis Hastert, once again, congratulations to you.

HASTERT: Thank you very much.

BLITZER: We're going to take a quick break right now. But we're going to continue our coverage. When we come back, we'll take a very close look at actual numbers in Ohio shaping up to are pivotal as so many of us expected. We'll see what the actual raw numbers are, see what's happening in Ohio after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Want to update the Electoral College tally that we have right now. The race for the White House with 270 Electoral College votes needed to be elected president. Right now we've projected president Bush will carry 246 electoral votes. John Kerry, 188. 246 to 188. 270 being needed to win this race. Let's take a look at popular vote as it stands right now President Bush has got about 51 percent of the vote. Just more than 45.5 million votes. John Kerry with 48 percent of the vote, 42.6 million votes. Ralph Nader, 1 percent, 316,000 votes. This is with 71 percent of the precincts reporting. Jeff Greenfield, this is almost, what, a three million spread?

GREENFIELD: It's very close to a three million vote spread. We have never in American history seen a situation where popular vote spread that big could remotely lead to Electoral College win for the other guy. I'm not predicting that because Ohio is still out. The other thing is this is suggesting a turnout of 115 to 120 million, everybody assumed that if turnout was that high, that had to benefit John Kerry. The numbers in the popular vote simply don't show it, Wolf.

KING: One other thing, the polls showed 49, 49, that's wrong?

BLITZER: Not wrong yet. There's still more than -- almost 30 percent to go.

KING: And I think if he wins Ohio and Alaska, he wins, right? Ohio is 20. I think it's over.

BLITZER: Ohio there's no doubt is a key state. We're watching Ohio. That sets the stage for Bill Hemmer. No one is taking as close a look at Ohio as Bill Hemmer is. For one thing, he's from Ohio. He knows that state quite well.

BILL HEMMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, good evening again. We should say "good morning." It's 12:38 a.m. back in Columbus, Ohio. We're starting to crunch the numbers trying to figure out George Bush about a three-point lead right now in the overall vote count. Where does he need to get votes and conversely where does John Kerry need to get votes. We've been using spatial logic, a great new software system throughout the night here and it is revealing some very interesting things. Stu Rothenberg back with me, our political analyst here. Let's start with John Kerry and show us where he is gang votes so far? STU ROTHENBERG, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Let's remember, Bill, first, that George Bush won Ohio by 167,000 votes four years ago. So John Kerry needs to do better. He needs to make up that 167,000 votes. Let's look at map where he may be doing it, where we thought he need to. Montgomery County, Franklin County, that's Columbus, Starke County, Lorraine and Cuyahoga. They're all blue, we've been looking at them as places that John Kerry can improve and is improving. He's improving but , however, only marginally. And the question is whether he can eat in at a 167,000 vote deficit. At the moment it looks difficult. In Cuyahoga he is winning. He is about about 147,000 with three quarters of the vote in Cuyahoga. He'll do better than he did four years ago. But is he going to get enough of a vote to eat into the Bush margin.

HEMMER: He may not do better than Gore. Al Gore won that county by 160,000 votes. He's just below the number.

ROTHENBERG: But he should do better in the raw vote when all the votes are in. There's only a quarter of the votes.

HEMMER: Here's the thing we're seeing, though. That's in the northeastern part of the state. Democrats are strong. But Republicans are strong in the southwestern part of the state down around Cincinnati and Hamilton County. The words is that the polling lines were so long a closing time tonight in the city and in the suburbs, they continue to vote, and because of that, the tally has been delayed.

ROTHENBERG: That's right. That's right. So in these areas we talked about John Kerry is doing better, but only slightly. Now the focus is on Hamilton and Cincinnati. The vote has been very slow, the Bush margin was nonexistent for a while. Now George Bush is opening up a lead, there more votes are coming in. So when you put all this together it looks more difficult. More difficult for John Kerry.

BLITZER: Stu and Bill, I'm going to interrupt you, we're ready to make another projection. Walk over to the CNN projection screen over here. We're ready to project that John Kerry will carry the state of Oregon, and its seven electoral votes. A win for John Kerry in the Pacific Northwest. That would be Oregon, seven electoral votes. A state that went for al gore, the last time it remains in the Democratic column this time . We'll tally up the new Electoral College numbers and include Oregon now, projected win for Oregon. I interrupted Stu Rothenberg and Bill Hemmer. Let's go back to them and let them finish up what's happening, right now it's shaping up to be a critically important state for both of these candidates, that would be Ohio. Bill?

HEMMER: Essentially, we're trying to find out where does each man get their votes right now. How does George Bush hang on to his lead and how does John Kerry cut into it. Interestingly, on Halloween night, George Bush drew 40,000 people in Hamilton County.

ROTHENBERG: Down here in the southwest.

HEMMER: On Monday night John Kerry was in Cleveland with Bruce Springsteen. They got upwards of 40,000, 50,000 at a rally there. The question is now if you make up the difference with John Kerry, in all likelihood you are going to have to go to the northeastern part of the state to get those votes.

ROTHENBERG: Right. This is one state that is really two or three states, and it's difficult to see how John Kerry can make up this 167,000 vote deficit that he had last time. He's doing better in areas when he needs to, but can he overcome that deficit?

HEMMER: We have a few more maps we can show. Possibly if you could pull up the gain by county for George Bush, explain this between the red and the really dark red?

ROTHENBERG: It's almost self-explanatory. The dark red is the Bush gain over four years ago. The light red or the pinkish a loss. Let's remember right now the President is underperforming in Hamilton County. That vote has been slow to come in and percentage is starting to gain, to increase. But if you look at much of the state you can see that George W. Bush is increasing his showing throughout much of central, rural Ohio. Again, when you look at individual counties and the votes and the vote totals, the raw vote as well as the percentage, it's not surprising that the Bush people are starting to be rather optimistic.

HEMMER: We have said for months the battle for this election, this White House could lie in the state of Ohio. It appears to be shaping up that way. There are a number of different scenarios that will unfold as we go later into the evening...

ROTHENBERG: Of course, and John Kerry needs more votes out of Cuyahoga County and needs to do better in Hamilton County than expected.

HEMMER: All right, Wolf, we'll continue to watch it for you. 20 electoral votes on the line, back in the Buckeye State. Back to you at the NASDAQ.

BLITZER: All right. Thanks very much. Let's bring in our Dan Lothian, he's in Columbus, Ohio. He is watching this from the state capital of Ohio. Dan, what are you hearing?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, what's interesting after all this time, there's still a one area in Knox County which is about an hour from here where they're still voting. They expect that will take place for at least the next 20 minutes or so. As you know, the polls did close at 7:30 but everyone who is in line will be able to vote. We were told by some officials that someone brought out pizza and drinks for the folks in line to make sure they stayed happy and did stay in line. They didn't want any of the folks to leave. So they are still waiting, have another 20 minutes or so expected in that area until all the votes are finished. Wolf?

BLITZER: Anybody complaining based on what you're hearing about voting irregularities, any question marks out there, Dan?

LOTHIAN: Wolf, that's the most interesting conclusion, I guess, of the entire campaign here in Ohio. All along, we were talking about all the potential irregularities about possibility of fraud, about all of these challenges that might be taking place, and after all was said and done, we were told lie both Republicans and Democrats there weren't any challenges that took place inside of the polling place. So there was a lot of buildup, a lot of lawsuits filed to the last minute but no major problems that we have heard of.

BLITZER: Do we know how many provisional ballots were cast in Ohio? They are challenged and reviewed after this formal vote goes on.

LOTHIAN: You know, that's correct. And we were inquiring about that just a few minutes ago and we were told that perhaps in the next 45 minutes or so we'll get a more accurate number to the provisional ballots, but don't have the accurate number at this point.

BLITZER: All right. Dan Lothian, thank you very much. Let me show the viewers what the voting in the raw numbers is in Ohio is right now. And I'll walk over there, with 83 percent of the precincts in Ohio. The president 52 percent to 48 percent for John Kerry. Ed Henry is in Washington watching a key senate race for us. Ed, what do you know?

ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, wolf. This nail biter in South Dakota getting ever more focus, all evening, in fact, and I'm now talking to people in John Thune's campaign, he's the Republican running against the Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle. Thune's camp, his top aide Dick Wadhams now telling CNN they think the lead is increasing for John Thune to about 5,000 votes and the precincts that are outstanding are mostly in the western part of the state. That's a Republican stronghold. Thune thinks that now the lead could increase even more, dick

Wadhams telling me, quote, "It's starting to look like the math adds up for us," he said obviously they're not claiming victory, but added quote, "I'd rather with us than them."

I talked then to Dan Pfeiffer (ph) in the Daschle campaign. He admitted it's uphill. Obviously, right now Daschle looks like he's behind a little bit, but Dan Pfeiffer stressed that if you look two years ago, John Thune ran for the Senate in South Dakota and the champagne bottles were popped a little early by the Thune camp. Thune ended up losing by 500 votes. And worth noting, Tom Daschle in 1978 in his first house race only won by 110 votes only after a recount. He's been down this road before, but I talked to a second source in the Daschle camp who told meet mood is not very good right now. They are in Democratic circle, a lot of pessimism about the way the numbers are starting to turn in South Dakota. As we mentioned earlier, a senate leader has not lost re-election since 1952, Wolf.

BLITZER: Ed Henry, I am going to show our viewers the actual numbers we have in South Dakota for this tight senate race. John Thune with, what, 51 percent of the vote. About 141,000 and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, the incumbent, 138,584, 49 percent. 80 percent of the precincts reporting. 20 percent still at large. Let's walk over and check in with our analyst Jeff Greenfield itching to tell our viewers something?

GREENFIELD: I am. One of the things that happened to Tom Daschle is he and his wife bought a house in Washington. And to save money on the taxes, they had to get apply for a homestead exemption which meant he had to declare he was a resident of Washington, D.C.. This does not sit well with the home folks in a state like South Dakota it. It means you've, quote, "Gone Washington," and unlike some of you gentlemen allowed to live in Washington, politicians are not supposed to not live in the home where they are. And one of the things that happens to a leader in congress when the people back home think they've lost touch. Tom Daschle has gone home as often as humanly possible, but that was one of the issues that could have hurt him.

KING: Do other senators and house members do the same thing? File for...

GREENFIELD: All know it was a big deal in South Dakota.

WATSON: South Dakota is an unusual place, it votes Republican on the presidential level almost religiously. But interestingly enough one of only four states, Hawaii and Massachusetts being among the others that have an all-Democratic congressional delegation.

GREENFIELD: North Dakota, too.

WATSON: North Dakota, too. And what's interesting as well is that while Tom Daschle seems to be losing, the woman who is currently the incumbent lone member of congress there seems to be winning, so a disparity in the two Democratic candidates.

BLITZER: The Dakotas, a lovely place to visit.

GREENFIELD: Quickly, last time a Republican president and a Republican congress were re-elected together, William McKinley, 1900. Might happen again tonight.

KING: Might.

BLITZER: We'll see that. Stand by, guys. We're going to take another quick break. So much more coverage coming up, we're still waiting to find out who is the next President of the United States. It's a minor thing, we'll try to find out in the next few hours, maybe! Maybe not. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Election night 2004, continuing here at CNN election headquarters. Times Square in the NASDAQ market site. Let's bring in David Gergen, he's been an adviser to four presidents, Democrats and Republican. David, what's your take on what's happening right now?

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: Well, Wolf, at this point, it has come down to Ohio, one network has now called Ohio for President Bush. And we just heard Stu Rothenberg it looks very uphill for Kerry in Ohio. And of course, if Ohio guess to Bush, that's the ballgame. But we'll have to wait and see. If the president does win Ohio, if you step back from it all now you have to say the Republicans will have had one hell of a night. If he's not only ahead in the popular vote but -- remember last time around he lost the popular vote by half a million votes. This time he's up nearly three million votes in the popular vote with many more people turning out and he still goes up.

And beyond that, I think he's going to possibly have a bigger lead in the Electoral College than last time. Plus those five Democratic seats in the south, all five appear now to be going toward the Republicans, and Daschle's in trouble in South Dakota. If you add that up, that's a massive victory for the president, for Republicans, I think it's going to have a major impact on our politics. His side will be jubilant as you can well understand, and Karl Rove will be crowned as the new Mark Hanna of politics, who worked with McKinley way back when. But I have to tell you someone who's lived in a blue state and teaches kids there is a sense of devastation among people that have been working their hearts out for John Kerry.

It's going to be for a lot of people in the younger generation who have worked so hard. I think they're going to be shake their heads saying my goodness, what do we have to do to win one of these things? I'm not sure how that's going to go. Whether it will be cynicism or hang in as conservatives did some years ago when they were in the wilderness and worked their hearts to get back in and win. Whether those kids will be willing to do that...

BLITZER: David Gergen, we're going to get back to you. But CNN's Paula Zahn standing by with the CROSSFIRE team. They're going to weigh in as well? Paula?

PAULA ZAHN, CNN HOST: Thanks, Wolf. We've been mulling over the fact that 85 percent of the precincts in Ohio showing president Bush with 51 percent of the vote, John Kerry with 49 percent from the vote. Can Kerry crawl back from the numbers? James Carville.

JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I've spoken to Kerry's people on the ground in Ohio and probably drawing a double inside straight right here, right now. One never wants to give up but one has to be realistic, tonight does not seem to be a very good night for the Democrats.

ZAHN: Are you surprised by the numbers coming out of Ohio?

CARVILLE: Yes, I thought and hoped we would do better, but we didn't and reality is here, and I mean, I think you have got to give a lot of credit to the president and his team and Mr. Rove and those people. This was an election I thought it would be difficult for them to win. They've won it and they'll have a lot of celebration and the Democrats will have a lot of reassessment.

ZAHN: So you're saying in the absence of our calling Ohio at this hour. You think it's over for John Kerry?

CARVILLE: Well, it's difficult. I spoke to people you.

ZAHN: Went a little further than that just now, James?

CARVILLE: I did?

ZAHN: You were talking about a celebration for the president.

CARVILLE: I think - look, it doesn't matter what I say now. No sense in spinning people at almost 1:00 in the morning, no sense telling people something -- I've talked to people on the ground in Ohio, knowledgeable people, who would love to give me good news and they're not. Which tells me after being around just a little bit that things are probably going to be difficult here.

BOB NOVAK, COLUMNIST: Paula, it's not merely that - As important as it is he's lost Ohio and lost the presidency. You lose presidential elections, you lose elections, let's just step back and see what the great Democratic Party, and it is a great political party, what shape they're in, when you consider 40 years ago, they had total control of congress. They won most presidential elections. They had - They were a national party with strong positions every part of the country. Now there's vast parts of the country where Democrats can't win, they're very poor in rural America. We're going into 12 consecutive years of control of Republicans in the House of Representatives.

Except for a kind of a fluke because one senator crossed the aisle, they had almost all that long Republican control in the Senate. And a president who was not a popular president has been re-elected. You got to say there's something the Republican Party, I mean the Democratic party is doing wrong as the old joke that the dogs don't like their dog food, but the dogs, I mean the American voters, they don't like what the Democratic Party is putting out for them.

ZAHN: Are we able to look at a specific issue? In the end, was this a Democratic Party that was adamantly opposed to a war, and this was a candidate handed every opportunity with the numbers going against the president on this one?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Two big thing, it's the war where most Democrats were more wholeheartedly against the war than John Kerry. He voted for the war and had a lot of statements early on about the war that the Democrats didn't like, there was that ambivalence, no wartime president seeking re-election has ever lost. And no president with an approval rating below 50 has ever won. One of the two points is broken. James makes a good point; Ohio is looking increasingly bleak to the Democrats. If that goes to the president, it's really almost impossible seeing Senator Kerry pulling this off.

You have the combination of the war, Democratic ambivalence and solid Republican support for it and you have these social and cultural issues which Bob was referring to in rural America, have you God, guns, gays, and you have in this case, Democratic campaign that really didn't want to talk about the issues at all. When I worked for Bill Clinton he was just as pro-choice on abortion as John Kerry is. But he would say I want to make sure abortion is a safe, legal and rare and I think that helps a lot. It tells people have you something to say about it. And I don't think it worked to walk away.

ZAHN: What was the issue with John Kerry? He's afraid of alienating whom by talking about the things in the wrong way.

BEGALA: Well, I think maybe for potential reasons he wanted to folk us it on his issues. He wanted to put the president on trial for the war, and wanted to put the president on trial for the economic and healthcare kind of issues. The jobs issues.

CARVILLE: Look, Senator Kerry we did a lot of senate races we didn't do that well in, we obviously didn't do very well -- particularly well in some of these house races. It's one thing in my great criticism of this president is they had a problem in Iraq and they denied it, I think that we shouldn't deny the party has to reassess where it is. Probably going to go through a very difficult time. It's necessary that it go through this time. We didn't do that well in 2002. We didn't do that well in 2004. The Democrats around the country gave enormous amounts of money and energy. They was unified going into this. And I think they're going to be asking some tough questions, and I think they're going to come up and answer it.

TUCKER CARLSON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: If you stand back, it's pretty shocking as a result. You can't say to a degree which all smart people in Washington on both sides thought Kerry was going to win. Bush was...

ZAHN: Except for Robert D. Novak.

CARVILLE: I'm a dumb person who thought Kerry was going to win.

ZAHN: He was the only one on the panel who got it right.

CARLSON: He was one of the very few...

ZAHN: There's only you four guys. Hello!

CARLSON: I'd rather eat dirt than vote for Kerry. However, I thought he was going to win. Bush was weak. The war is -- it is unpopular. At least, people have deep questions about it, and he wins anyway. What does that tell you? I think it tells you a couple things. Bush is stronger than he seems, and B: It wasn't only about Bush. Democrats wanted to make this purely referendum on Bush. Do you want Bush or the same? But on some level, people had to feel comfortable with the guy replacing Bush, and I don't think they were.

NOVAK: Can I say something I don't get to say very often? And that is that this is a conservative country, and the fact is that John Kerry, he wouldn't even call himself a liberal. And this is a -- and the county is too conservative for the Democratic Party as presently constituted.

ZAHN: Well, the conservatives certainly are more vocal here this evening at this late hour.

CARLSON: I think those are liberals, actually.

ZAHN: You think so?

CARLSON: Yeah.

ZAHN: Was it? Got them on both sides, here. Thank you, gentlemen. Back to you now, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you very much, Paula, and thanks to the CROSSFIRE co-hosts. Only about 16 seconds to the top of the hour. Only about one state left to close polls and that would be Alaska. It's polls -- Alaska has three electoral votes. CNN is going to be ready to make a projection right now and CNN can project that Alaska, as widely expected, will stay in the Republican column and will stay with President Bush.

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