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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
The Final Countdown to Election Day
Aired October 31, 2008 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, we're on the cusp of history; just under four days to go until the first polls close. The campaign now in its final sprint, its final weekend; 96 more hours.
Both candidates are crisscrossing the country trying to seal the deal with undecided voters. Neither candidate is giving an inch, at least publicly. This is a monumental election.
And in these final hours, we want you to let you hear as much as possible from the candidates themselves and let you see for yourselves what is happening on the trail. The excitement out there is palpable.
CNN's latest polling shows the race tightening in three key battle grounds, Ohio, Florida and Missouri. CNN's first Arizona poll of polls shows McCain is leading Obama by four points, 49-45. That's not a huge lead considering McCain has represented Arizona in Congress for 25 years.
The Obama campaign said today it will begin airing ads in Arizona as part of its the end gain which includes heavy stumping in some very red states.
CNN's Candy Crowley is on the trail.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: He warns about it at every stop.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We can't afford to slow down or sit back.
CROWLEY: But the truth is offstage, the Obama campaign has a confidence it no longer tries to hide. And this is why; long lines in many of the 34 states that allow some form of in-person voting. Using its massive voter database, the campaign says most of those are Obama votes. On the road, it is his task to drive up the numbers.
OBAMA: Don't wait until November 4th. You don't know what might happen on November 4th. Your car might break down, you might have an emergency.
CROWLEY: From Friday through Monday, Obama will visit nine states, all but one, Missouri, has early voting. It's not just the numbers, it's the voter type using that database which is constantly updated, the campaign says many those in line are first time or sporadic voters going heavily for Obama.
Campaign manager David Plouffe told reporters on a conference call, "The die is being cast even as we speak." Given the early voting, Plouffe says McCain must not just carry Election Day but carry it convincingly. They clearly look for a blowout now, putting up ads in three new states where the campaign talks of quote "opportunities;" North Dakota which last voted for a Democratic president in 1964, Georgia from a once solidly Republican south, and Arizona, John McCain's home state.
Another sign of a campaign that thinks it's four days from victory, a nostalgic trip to Iowa where a win in the January caucuses made him a contender.
OBAMA: On the day of the Iowa caucus, my faith in the American people was vindicated. And what you started in Iowa has swept the nation.
CROWLEY: But the most telling thing may be where Obama is not going, Pennsylvania, a sign he believes he will win in a state where John McCain has staked his fortunes.
CROWLEY: Greetings from Highland, Indiana, Anderson, where Barack Obama is still shaking hands behind me. Indiana, of course, a very red state and one they really hope to take away from Republicans.
Of course, Barack Obama cannot be everywhere at the same time. So he has called out some heavy hitters for these final days. We saw him with Bill Clinton in Florida, today, Al Gore, very popular in the Republican Party, particularly for his work on climate change, he has been down in Florida today, also campaigning for Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton will be out in Ohio, and we expect to see even more people out there, the surrogates but those certainly are marquee names that he believes can help him, particularly in some of those rural areas that he needs to pull in -- Anderson.
COOPER: Four days to go. Candy, stick around, we're going to talk to you and Ed Henry in just a moment.
For the second straight day, John McCain was on the trail in Ohio, a must win state for him; squeezing in five events in five cities. No Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio; McCain has not clinched it yet.
CNN's new Ohio poll of polls shows Obama leading him by 5 points - 49 to 44. But two days ago, Obama had an 8-point lead so the gap does seem to be getting closer. With the race tightening, John McCain had some help on the trail today. Not Joe the Plumber, Arnold the governor.
Ed Henry is "On the Trail."
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Earlier in the campaign, John McCain mocked celebrities, but not anymore.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: A genuine, true American hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger, governor of the great state of California.
HENRY: And the former bodybuilder immediately tore into Barack Obama, starting with his physique.
GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: He needs to do something -- he needs to do something about those skinny legs.
We are going to make him do some squats.
But if we could only do about pointing some meat on his ideas.
Now, Senator McCain, on the other hand, he is built like a rock.
HENRY: And he riled up the crowd better than McCain ever can.
SCHWARZENEGGER: John McCain has served this country longer in a POW camp than his opponent has served in the United States Senate.
Ladies and gentlemen, ladies and gentlemen, I only play an action hero in my movies, but John McCain is a real action hero.
AUDIENCE: John McCain! John McCain! John McCain! John McCain!
HENRY: The crowd was much larger than McCain usually draws on his own. And it clearly fired him up.
MCCAIN: Nothing is inevitable here. We never give up. We never quit.
HENRY: This was a chance for McCain to embrace one of the most popular moderates in the nation to try and reel in independent voters.
In the last two months, McCain's support with this critical voting bloc has dropped at an alarming rate, as he has tried to rally Conservatives, in part with his selection of running mate Sarah Palin.
HENRY: Before the conventions began, McCain had a 13-point edge among independents in CNN polling, leading Obama 51-38 percent. Now Obama is ahead among independents 51-46 percent, an 18-point swing from this summer.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Now we have a divided America about Sarah Palin. Some people love her. And some people think, oh, my God, she can't be anywhere near the presidency.
HENRY: No doubt leaving some Republicans wondering, what if there had been a little less Palin and a lot more Arnold stumping for McCain this fall?
(END VIDEOTAPE) HENRY: Now, McCain advisers say they would have loved to have gotten the governor on the stump much more all around the country, but that would have been more difficult for him, politically, to leave home in the middle of a big California budget crisis.
Instead, they decided to settle on this one big event in a key state, on the eve of the election, to try and get maximum impact -- Anderson.
COOPER: Ed, I want to just show that Ohio poll again. I think we had a typo in it before. It's 49-44. Just want to put that up on the screen.
And while we do that -- there it is, 49 to 44 for Obama, 7 percent unsure at this point.
Ed Henry, Candy Crowley have been out on the trail throughout this entire campaign. Let's talk to both of them now for a couple of minutes.
Barack Obama, Candy, has been warning that this thing is going to get very nasty in these last four days. How much nastier could it get?
CROWLEY: Well, you know, what's interesting is that that's -- that's a great revver-up of the crowd, if you will, you know, say, well, he's calling me names, and it's going to get really nasty. And it tends to stir up the crowds and rally them and get them to those voting booths.
I mean, obviously, in these final days, what you see or what you hear about are the pamphlets, things put in the mail, that sort of thing. It tends to be kind of a subterranean -- a subterranean effort by both sides. We saw that a lot in the primary, frankly, and I'm sure we will see some in the waning days, as the McCain camp looks for traction.
Now, it doesn't mean the Obama camp won't do it, but, certainly, that's the kind of thing he's warning about.
COOPER: Ed, what is it that gives McCain hope? I mean, a lot of these polls show a big gap, particularly in battleground states. Are they convinced the undecideds are going to just lean for McCain?
HENRY: They think that getting Arnold Schwarzenegger, someone like that out there -- like that out here will remind people about John McCain being, as they call him, a maverick, and that might help with independents.
They also believe, and they insist privately that they think a lot of these polls are off. They insist that their internal polls in the McCain camp show, for example, a state like Pennsylvania, that we have as about a 12-point spread, is really only five or six points for McCain down.
But, bottom line, he's still down.
I think the final point is, they're motivated in part by the idea that maybe Barack Obama is being presumptuous -- his report last night suggesting maybe he wants to reach out to Congressman Rahm Emanuel to be his White House chief of staff, denied by the Democrats.
That's fueling McCain and Republicans to say: Look, they think they have already have got this won. It's not over yet. The voters still have to decide.
So, they're using that as a motivation -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Ed Henry, Candy Crowley, thanks.
Let us know how the race looks to you. Join the live chat going on now at AC360.com. You can also check out Erica Hill's live Webcasts during the breaks.
Just ahead, though, tonight, in this hour, the electoral map shifted again today. A state that was leaning one way now is a tossup. Find out which state and how it affects the race. John King will lay it out on the magic wall for us.
Plus, Oprah Winfrey's scare in the voting booth, and why she is now warning all voters to double-check their ballots.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Clearly, Senator McCain doesn't know how to capture bin Laden, because he was supportive of a huge strategic blunder when it came to accomplishing the task.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Barack Obama, one-on-one with Wolf Blitzer today. Obama told Wolf what his top priority will be if he's elected president. We will tell you what it is and why he's now warning that the next few days will get very nasty -- coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PALIN: So, Pennsylvania, if you're ready to shake up Washington and clean up Wall Street, if you're ready to get our economy back on track, and win the war, we want to work for you. So, will you hire us?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Governor Sarah Palin back in Pennsylvania today. The Republican ticket needs it to turn red on election night, no doubt about that. Pennsylvania is one of a handful of battleground states that will decide who wins or loses on Tuesday.
Tonight, new polls and numbers from these showdown contests.
John King is at the magic wall -- John. JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we will show you first a big change in our Electoral College map. Then we will go through some of those battleground states you just mentioned.
Here's the math right now. Let's start with the math. It takes 270 to win. We're in the final 100 hours, and we give Barack Obama 291 electoral votes at the moment, John McCain trailing a bit.
John McCain is down a little bit from yesterday. Why is that? Look up here. North Dakota is now a tossup, three electoral votes. Those are now tossups because of polling and other data, anecdotal evidence from this state. That is now a tossup.
Another thing we have done is, this used to be -- this is John McCain's home state -- it was once a solid red. Now we just have it as leaning McCain. That is another dynamic. Louisiana has gone to dark red, safe for McCain on that map, so there is an encouraging note there.
But, as you look at the math right here, 291 to 160, we switch over and go some of these states, let's take a look as we go into the final weekend of campaigning.
And we just mentioned Arizona. So, let's go there and take a look. Why is that now a little less safe for McCain? Well, here's our poll of polls in the state of Arizona, 49-45, far too close for comfort, if you are John McCain and you are the senior senator from the state of Arizona.
Let's move over to some other battleground states. We come here. The bellwether state of Missouri has been right every time. The winner of Missouri in the past 100 years has gone on to win the White House. Look how tight this one is, 47 to 47, a slight improvement for John McCain, but essentially a dead heat in Missouri for a couple of weeks now. That one is going down to the very end.
Other key battleground states, we will come over now to the state of Florida, come down here, again, another tight one in a state that is always decisive in presidential politics, 48 for Obama, 45 for McCain, a slight downtick for Barack Obama over the past few days.
We will keep watching this one in the final hours.
And, Anderson, one more to go. I need to bring that down and get rid of it. Now, we will go back up here to the state of Ohio, and, again, a very key battleground state, where you see a very close contest, slight advantage Barack Obama in our updated poll of polls.
But you see, if look at last week and today, or yesterday and today, you have a slight improvement. Obama comes down a little bit. McCain goes up a little bit, so a slight improvement from the Republicans' standing there.
But, again, you go through these battleground states, some evidence, Anderson, of a bit of a tightening, but still a significant challenge for McCain. COOPER: John, there's still 7 percent of likely voters undecided nationally. Is that a lot this close to the election?
KING: Pollsters say it's actually a bit lower than normal.
And, when you mention that, I want to stretch out our map here and come in to the District of Columbia, where I can actually show you our national poll of polls. And that shows you that 7 percent undecided, 50 percent to 43 percent, with 7 percent undecided.
Now, what most pollsters will tell you is, the undecided in an election tend to break along with their demographic, meaning, if you're a 55-year-old white male currently undecided, most of them will break with the rest of that demographic group, same for an African- American, and so on and so forth through. One of the key questions in this election, though Anderson, is, if you go back in past races involving African-American candidates, a significant number of those races, the undecided has broken against the African-American candidate. And many pollsters think it's a place people hide.
They say they're undecided, when they have already decided they won't vote for a black candidate. So, that is something to watch in the end.
Some pollsters say, McCain is the Republican; the undecided will break a bit against Bush and the Republicans. But this could be an issue. This 7 percent right here, this could be a question as we go forward. That doesn't want to move. Seven percent there, that could be where we look at the race question in the final days.
COOPER: It's going to be fascinating. John, thanks.
If you want to pretend to be John King -- and, frankly, who doesn't? -- you can play around with your own electoral map. It's got all the latest state polls and all sorts of cool stuff. Just follow the links on CNN.com.
You will also find links to our "Political Ticker," which received more than 100 million page views since October 1. Unbelievable.
Barack Obama is warning that these final days are going to get nasty. Could there be a November surprise? David Gergen and the rest of our panel weigh in on what McCain and Palin might be able to do to close the gap even further.
And, later, Obama reveals to Wolf Blitzer his five-point plan, the top five priorities he says he has for the country if he's elected. Hear what they are ahead.
And, then, Oprah Winfrey, she voted early, but says she ran into problems at the polling booth. She talks about it on her show and has a warning for anyone voting electronically. Hear from her -- coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Iowa, I have just two words for you: four days.
MCCAIN: There's just four days left. The pundits have written us off, just like they have done before, but we're closing, my friends, and we're going to win in Ohio.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Four days left, that's about the only thing these two men agree on about now; Barack Obama in Iowa, John McCain in Ohio. The latest CNN poll of polls not in McCain's favor, but he remains confident he will win on Tuesday. And there's a lot we don't know about how accurate any of these polls really are.
Let's talk strategy. CNN senior political analyst and former presidential adviser David Gergen joins us, CNN political contributor and Republican consultant Alex Castellanos -- he supports McCain -- and CNN political analyst, radio host, and Obama supporter Roland Martin.
So, David, we saw both candidates rolling out big-name surrogates, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Al Gore. At this point, do either of those guys make much of a difference? Is it all about trying to reach out to the undecideds?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's -- it's about maintaining momentum. And, so, when you can get Schwarzenegger out there on the field for John McCain, that is helpful to McCain. It gives a little lift. It gives some zest to the campaign. And getting Al Gore out there helps in Florida.
But I think the story of the night, Anderson, is that the polls have tightened some, a little bit here and there. There are some polls that have opened up a little more, like Gallup.
But the bad news for John McCain is, when -- when John King took North Dakota and took it out of the McCain camp and put it into tossup, there are now 11 states that Bush won that Obama is now either leading in or he is competitive in. And there's only one state that Kerry won where McCain is competitive, and that's Pennsylvania. So, that's the big advantage for Obama going into this final weekend.
COOPER: But, Roland, you know, what is amazing is, you talk to a lot of people, and I don't have any confidence in these polls one way or another. I mean, one poll shows one thing. Another shows another thing.
And you talk to anyone and they will say, they kind of don't know what is going to happen. I mean, it seems to be trending one way, but you have these undecided voters. It's not clear which way they are going to go. I mean, do you have any confidence in these polls?
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: No.
I mean, I have maintained from day one that the only poll that matters is, frankly, the one at the end, on November 4. That's why you have the Obama campaign constantly telling people, do not get comfortable. Don't be lazy. Get out there and vote.
They're trying to run the numbers up, frankly, in early voting. And they are -- they have activated a major ground campaign.
And let me tell you something. I talked to P. Diddy, Beyonce, Jay-Z, I mean, all these folks, Spike Lee. They have pushing these folks to Florida, talking to people while they're in line, saying, don't get out of line, encouraging them, say, yes, I know it's been four hours, but tough it out.
That's the kind of things they're doing on the ground that touch people where they are.
COOPER: What kind of a ground game, Alex, does McCain have, when you compare it to Obama's, on Election Day, getting people out, and even in these early voting states getting people out?
ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: It's -- from what everyone, I think, understands, is the McCain ground game is not quite as powerful as the Obama campaign, frankly, because the McCain campaign didn't have the passion and the momentum to build an organization early, not until, actually, they got Sarah Palin.
But, you know, the McCain campaign is looking at those polls, Anderson, and they're -- they have as many doubts as, I guess, everyone else does, the one thing we seem to agree on. And that is the window-shopping factor. A lot of these voters, undecided voters, have looked at Barack Obama, and they have driven by the store, so, they have expressed some doubt.
And that may lead you to think, well, maybe they won't be Obama voters on November 4. And then there's the politically correct factor. A lot of these voters -- you know, everyone understands, this is not a year to go out and wear a big sign that says, hey, I'm voting Republican. It's just not the politically cool thing to do.
Remember, the exit polls four years ago said John Kerry was going to win the election, but George Bush did.
COOPER: Well, it's also interesting, David, when you hear John King talk about, as he did last night and earlier tonight, in other races with African-American candidates, the undecideds went against the African-American candidate, and the possibility being and the implication being that people didn't want to say they weren't going to vote for the African-American candidate, but -- and, so, they're saying they're undecided, when, in fact, they're really not.
GERGEN: Well, that's -- you know, that's part of what they -- has been called famously the Bradley effect. We have talked a lot of about this in this campaign, that people tell the pollster one thing -- they are going to vote for the black candidate -- in fact, when they intend to vote for the white candidate.
There's growing amount of evidence that the Bradley effect may have worn off by today, that that was something that was, you know, much more prevalent 20 years ago. And there is evidence, Anderson, that the black turnout may be much higher, and, in fact, you could have a reverse Bradley effect that could offset this kind of break on the undecideds. A lot more people may turn out, especially in the black community. And we're seeing this in the early voting.
And, also, there is some evidence that the young voters, the young "Millennials," who are such an important force, and, I think, an underreported part of this story, that they are -- they are very drawn to Obama, in part because he is black, in effect. That's, again, a reverse Bradley effect.
So, I think it's -- while there's some uncertainty here....
GERGEN: ... you have to say coming into the final thing, with so many battleground states leaning toward Obama, that Obama is in a commanding position. McCain still has to turn this around in the next three days.
COOPER: How do you think that -- is that possible?
I want to play something that Obama has said. He said last night that -- the last couple days, he said, basically, this thing, within the next couple of days, is going to get very nasty. He said something similar today.
Let's listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I expect we're going to see a lot more of that over the next four day, more of the slash-and-burn, say-anything, do-anything politics, throw everything up against the refrigerator, see if anything sticks, a message that is designed to divide and distract, to tear us apart, instead of bringing us together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Alex, how much of those kind of attacks now can really be effective? I mean, traditionally, do people change their minds at this late date?
CASTELLANOS: There are a few left, you know, just really a very small portion of voters.
The attacks really almost have to come from Obama on Obama to really make a difference at this point. And, you know, he has given McCain a window with this redistribution-of-wealth argument. That's not something Americans are really thrilled to see.
For example, if you look at these survey numbers, 60 percent -- I think it is 60 -- Americans say that Obama is liberal, 60 percent of them do, but they only see themselves, 20 percent of Americans, as liberal. That's a big gap. Now -- and, when Obama opened the door with that redistribution of wealth, "I am going to take money from one American and give it to another," Americans, I think rightly, started wondering, well, how is that going to grow the economy? That's the same amount of money. It's just...
MARTIN: Of course, Anderson...
COOPER: But, in all fairness... it was a one-line comment to a guy on a rope line...
COOPER: ... spread the wealth.
MARTIN: Yes, but...
CASTELLANOS: But it is also reflected in his economic plan. He's going to, again, take from one group of Americans and give to another. It's the tax policy.
GERGEN: ... aggressive taxation.
COOPER: Roland, I want you to be able to respond. And then we have got to move on.
I mean, I guess one of the things that jumps out is, that's also what happens when you give folks the tax cuts, where those of us who make less got to pay more. The fat cats, they get to keep more money.
But, Anderson, your point about voting, understand this here. Some 28 Electoral College votes in 2004 were decided by less than 60,000 votes. That's why you keep hearing the mantra, every vote counts.
And, so, we're sitting here saying, here's what the polls say. But, if you look at how it went down with Kerry and Bush, just 60,000 people determined five states.
We're going to have more from our panel coming up throughout this hour.
Still to come: anxious early voters concerned their votes will not count. Even Oprah Winfrey says she had problems at her polling place yesterday, and she has a warning for everyone about to vote. Hear from her -- ahead.
But, first, is this what the race has come to? A supporter hooks up a campaign sign to electricity, and a boy gets shocked when he touches the sign. We will tell you what this is all about -- just ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: I would certainly consider any position for John McCain where I thought he was going to be the best person for our country. He and I have had a tough fight, but I think that -- I certainly have respect for him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The final hours, Obama talking about a possible job for his opponent in an Obama administration, even after warning things are about to get nasty on the trail.
More surprises to come, as we bring you more of Wolf's interview with Obama, revealing his five top priorities if he gets elected.
First, Erica Hill joins us with the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, Chicago police confirm the gun they found on Wednesday was used in the murders of Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and nephew. It was discovered in a vacant lot near the same spot where the body of seven-year-old Julian King was found inside an SUV.
Nearly one in five homeowners owe more on their home than it is currently worth. That's according to a real estate research group, and that same group warns it could actually rise to one in four homes if housing prices and the economy continue to fall.
Wall Street happy to say good-bye to the worst October in more than two decades, but investors did offer up a few Halloween treats today, the Dow ending the day up 144 points. Both the NASDAQ and the S&P also posting gains.
And a McCain-Palin supporter in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, angry about his campaign sign being stolen, decided to hook it up to an electric fence and put in a surveillance camera.
The first victim, a 9-year-old boy who was trying to swap out a McCain sign for an Obama-Biden one; that's according to the guy who put up the electric fence. The kid's dad says he just wanted to see how the McCain sign was being put together.
COOPER: Wow. Bizarre. All right.
Still to come, the fear factor: why some African- Americans believe the election could be stolen from Barack Obama.
And Oprah Winfrey voices concerns about early voting and raises a warning based on her own experience. Hear what she says happened to her at the voting booth when 360 continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Take it from me, elections matter. Every vote matters. And that's why it is so important to take advantage of the opportunity to vote early.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Former 2000 presidential candidate, returning to the place where he lost strike the election, Florida. Not to be outdone, John McCain was with Arnold Schwarzenegger in Ohio this evening.
Today, Oprah Winfrey described what happened to her yesterday in Chicago when she tried to vote early for the election. She wasn't happy about it. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: When I voted yesterday electronically, the first vote that you vote for on the ballot is the presidential candidate. And so I hadn't, you know, I -- this is my first time doing electronic. So I didn't, obviously, mark the "X" strong enough, or I held down too long because, then, when I went back to check it, it had not recorded my presidential vote.
I was like, "Oh! Oh! Oh!"
And so the woman is walking around, and she says, "Why are you going back? Why are you going back?"
I said, "Because it didn't record my presidential vote." So I went back and double-checked. So that's why they have the, you know, checks. Make sure you double-check.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Oprah Winfrey on her problems with early voting, warning everyone to double-check to make their vote counts.
In Florida we're hearing about another kind of voting anxiety. Among African-Americans, there is concern that if they vote early it may not count or somehow it won't really matter.
"Uncovering America" tonight, Randi Kaye in Florida.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At early voting in Orlando, Florida, there is hope Barack Obama is on the verge of making history. But for African-Americans, hope is matched by anxiety and fear.
JAMES RUSSELL, VOTED FOR OBAMA: I'm hoping and praying that -- that the election won't be stolen.
KAYE: Stolen, James Russell fears, if the black vote isn't fairly counted. The state says not to worry. But Corey Davis voted absentee for Obama and is concerned his vote will get tossed.
COREY DAVIS, VOTED ABSENTEE FOR OBAMA: Somebody may see votes in the mail, and say, "Oh, I figure he voted for Obama. Let's just throw the absentee ballot away." KAYE: Even though Obama is ahead in the national polls, black voters told us they have a nagging feeling victory will somehow slip away, be stolen from him and them. The paranoia runs so deep, some have refused to vote early, convinced their votes will be mysteriously lost.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm concerned about it disappearing at the last moment.
KAYE: Michael Eric Dyson, an expert on African-American culture, says this anxiety dates back to the civil rights era.
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, EXPERT, AFRICAN-AMERICAN CULTURE: Jim Crow outlawed the equality of black and white races; and so black people have felt that same, historically, for a long time. Black people have had a history of bitter renunciation, of being rejected from the circle of American privilege.
KAYE: Dyson says there's every reason to be suspicious. Millions of African-Americans in the south couldn't even vote until the 1960s, and just four years ago, Dyson says, some black voters were tricked into believing, if they voted in the primary, they did not have to vote again in the general election.
At this Obama rally outside Orlando, some voters refused to give in to their fears.
OLIVIA PAYNE, OBAMA SUPPORTER: You should not let that fear paralyze you from making history.
KAYE: While others steeled themselves for disappointment.
ANGELA COULTER, OBAMA SUPPORTER: We had to fight for rights for everything: to vote, to be a part of society, to respect most of all. And sometimes people tend not to respect you just because of the color of your skin.
KAYE: But for some, the anxiety will only increase if Obama does win. The fear: someone will kill him like other black leaders before him: Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, all murdered.
BETTY BREEDLOVE, OBAMA SUPPORTER: We don't want nothing to go wrong. We want everything to go right. We know -- we know that sometimes things happen.
KAYE: Already, there has been record turnout for African-Americans, not only here in Florida but around the country. They're hoping that, if any of their votes are lost, they'll make up for it by showing up in such large numbers.
Randi Kaye, CNN, Orlando, Florida.
COOPER: Just ahead, how strong is the concern this election may be stolen. We're digging deep with our panel, including the Reverend Al Sharpton, coming up.
First, CNN's exclusive interview with Senator Barack Obama. We're going to hear both from him and Senator McCain in their own words, just ahead.
COOPER: There're so many unanswered questions in these four remaining days before Tuesday; one of them the issue of race. When voters go into those booths, especially those who say they are undecided, will they be influenced one way or the other based on the issue of race?
As we told you before the break, some African-Americans we talked to in Florida concerned it is a factor, fearing racism will have a major effect on this election.
Let's bring back CNN senior political analyst David Gergen; CNN political analyst Roland Martin; and also with us tonight, the Reverend Sharpton.
Reverend Sharpton, it's interesting this concern that some voters have, and we heard it from African-American voters there in Florida that, if you vote, your vote may not be counted, especially if you vote early. What do you tell people who think that?
REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: You know, earlier, in the summer, when we started our non-partisan National Action Network drive, we called it "Not This Time." I heard a lot more anxiety then than now.
As we get closer, and I've been all over the country -- I'm on my way to Florida now -- I'm hearing more people express hope and overcome that anxiety. In fact, I'm in Georgia tonight. People here, early voters, stood out in line 12 hours.
So I think a lot of it has been conquered by the fact that a lot of groups are out there now, a lot of organizations there. People are being told, "Stay in line. We got you this time." So I think that anxiety may be expressed by some, but I'm overwhelmingly seeing a lot of determination by all kinds of voters, not just African-American voters, and I think it's probably healthiest I've seen in my lifetime.
COOPER: Roland, are you hearing that, as well, on your radio program?
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I've traveled all across the country over the last month and a half. And I've heard it in lots of different places.
See, the problem also is that we saw lots of purging of the rolls over the last three or four months. In fact, the Michigan courts made a dramatic decision today in terms of -- in terms of this whole issue of voting. We see it in Colorado. We saw it in Ohio, as well.
And so people are concerned about that, this whole idea of do you bring an ID? Do you bring your voter registration card? And so you had lots of groups who have been saying, "Look, bring everything that you can."
I'll tell you, Anderson, it even scared the hell out of black people when they were saying, "Don't even wear Obama gear to the polls, because they might turn you away." I mean, people are sensitive about any little thing that could impede their right to vote.
COOPER: David, what do you think, if Obama wins, what do you think this means for race relations in America? How does this change the discussion?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: If Barack Obama wins, it's going to be a milestone in race relations and the country. And I think it's going to -- you know, I hope that race is not the determinative quality in this, one way or another, but if an African-American wins, that's so historic, we're going to be looking back upon this election as one of the things that probably did more to open up the doors and send a message to young African-American children, young Latino children that, you know, you, too, can make it to the top. And that's -- that's a hugely important message.
Let me just add one thing, Anderson, because I've been -- we've talked about this. I've been worried about the race factor here throughout this campaign. I still think it's going to have an impact.
But I have been encouraged recently by some things. I was out in Cleveland today earlier, and there's a sense in Ohio among many whites that race will play a role there in Ohio but that, for an awful lot of voters, they've gotten beyond their racial questions. They've gotten sort of -- they've now dealt with it and they've now -- and they've come to a reassurance and they're going to vote on the merits, thinking Obama is the one that they're going to vote for.
It's one of the reasons he has this lead, this five-point lead out there. It could still change. He could still lose Ohio. But we're definitely, I think, seeing evidence in Ohio and elsewhere that, for many white voters, they're able to get beyond their racial stereotypes and re-assess.
COOPER: You know, we heard from John King earlier and talked about, historically, not really the Bradley effect, which was people saying they were going to vote for an African-American candidate and then not.
But this time around, King -- he looked at a bunch of past races in which African-Americans were running, and he looked at the undecided column. And the undecided column voted, for the most part, against the African-American candidate.
Do you think in this 7 percent of undecideds we're seeing, these are people who are -- don't want to say they're not voting for Obama? Should they just say they're not undecided?
SHARPTON: I think that you will see the Bradley effect is not what it was. I think that we've seen a decline over the years. I also think that you're going to see an outpouring of young voters that are not on these polls at all, because they use cell phones as their resident phone and they're not being polled.
I think that there's a lot of factors that we're not seeing on the polls that will -- absolutely we will see on election day, and it will alter what we're projecting now.
I think that what -- where race may play a factor does not play as much as it once did. I think, given the economy and the issues and the unifying way Barack Obama has ran his campaign.
He's as white as he is black. I think everyone understands he understands them. He's lived that kind of life. And I think times are too serious for people to play the skin game. I really do.
MARTIN: Anderson, I said the challenge is very simple, that if there are whites out there who continue to talk about being American, and the whole issue of content of character, and you stand for those principles, you make decisions based upon that; whether you're black, Hispanic, white, it does not matter. And that's what we all hope and pray.
At the end of the day, the bottom line is, nobody out there at home can assume somebody is going to win. If they don't vote, my thinking is very simple, you get to shut up for the next four years, because you didn't step up to the plate.
COOPER: Roland Martin, Reverend Sharpton, David Gergen, thanks very much. Interesting discussion.
It's an historic election, no matter how you look at it. We want to make sure your rights are being protected next Tuesday. So if you run into trouble at the polls, like Oprah said she did during early voting, call our CNN hotline number. The toll free number: 1-877-462- 6608. "Keeping Them Honest" and looking out for you, especially on Election Day.
A lot ahead. New sound, new promises tonight from the presidential candidates. Obama's five priorities, if elected, and McCain's plan to save nearly a trillion dollars. And new warnings by Obama that the race could get nasty in the next four days. The "Raw Politics" next on 360.
COOPER: Senator Joe Biden back in his home state of Delaware today before heading to battleground Ohio. Just four days out, both tickets trying to seal the deal.
John McCain hitting hard at Obama and pulling in major Republican star power, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Barack Obama coming off the trail to sit down with Wolf Blitzer, revealing the top five priorities of an Obama administration, if he ever gets there.
Listen for the "Raw Politics" in the raw sound.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Let's talk about if you're elected president, do you have to make major decisions and you have to make them right away, priorities are going to be critical. I'm going to give you five issues. You tell me which one of these five would be your top priority after you're inaugurated on January 20th, if you're inaugurated.
Health care reform; energy independence; a new tax code, including tax cuts for the middle class; education spending; or comprehensive immigration reform? Top priority.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Well, top priority may not be any of those five. It may be continuing to stabilize the financial system. We don't know yet what's going to happen in January. And none of this can be accomplished if we continue to see a potential meltdown in the banking system or the financial system. So that's priority No. 1, making sure that the plumbing works in our capitalist system.
Priority No. 2 of the list that you -- that list that you put forward, I think has to be energy independence. We have to seize this moment, because it's not just an energy independence issue. It's also a national security issue and it's a jobs issue. And we can create five million new green energy jobs with a serious program.
Priority No. 3 would be health-care reform. I think the time is right to do it.
Priority No. 4 is making sure that we have tax cuts for the middle class, and it's part of a broader tax reform effort.
Priority No. 5, I think, would be making sure that we have an education system that works for all children.
One thing I want to make a point of, though. The tax cut that I talked about may be part of my priority No. 1, because I think that's going to be part of stabilizing the economy as a whole.
I think we are going to need a second stimulus. One of my commitments is to make sure that that stimulus includes a tax cut for 95 percent of working Americans. That may be the first bill that I introduce.
COOPER: Early on in the campaign, John McCain mocked Democrats for palling around with celebrities. But that was then.
Today, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was on stage alongside his fellow Republican in battleground Ohio, where the race is tightening. And the former bodybuilder turned politician took some lighthearted jabs about Obama's physique. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: We're going to make him do some squats and then we're going to go and give him some bicep straws (ph) to beef up his scrawny little arms.
But if we only could do something about putting some meat on his ideas.
And on the other hand, McCain is built like a rock.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now it's Senator McCain's turn. Take a listen to the "Raw Politics" in the raw sound.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I have a plan to hold the line on taxes and cut them to make America more competitive and create jobs here at home.
We're going to double the child deduction for working families. We'll cut the capital gains tax. We'll cut business taxes to help keep American business in America.
If I'm elected president, I won't spend nearly a trillion dollars more of your money. Senator Obama will. And he can't do that, he can't do that without raising your taxes or digging us further into debt. I'm going to make government to live on a budget just like you do.
My opponent's massive new tax increase is exactly the wrong approach in an economic slowdown. The answer to a slowing economy isn't higher taxes, but that's exactly what's going to happen when the Democrats have total control of Washington. We can't let that happen.
We need pro-growth and pro-jobs economic policies. We don't need pro- government spending programs paid for with higher taxes.
My friends -- my friends, this is the fundamental difference, the fundamental difference that, thank you, Joe the plumber, you brought out between Senator Obama and me. Let Joe keep his dough. Obama wants Joe's dough.
We both disagree with President Bush on economic policies. The difference is, he thinks taxes have been too low, and I think that spending has been too high.
COOPER: Some of what happened on the trail today.
Up next, a Halloween treat. The election is less than four days away, but the candidates were having a little Halloween fun. We'll show you how.
COOPER: You're looking at pictures taken on the McCain campaign plane today. The campaign gave out Halloween masks to reporters on board. I'm not sure if that was a trick or a treat. We're not sure. The Obama campaign did not give out any masks, but Senator Obama took time out to take his daughter to a Halloween party in Chicago.
Time now for our Halloween "Shot of the Day," trick or treat to the candidates. And to think, one of these guys will be pumpkin in chief. The first jack-o-lantern. Not quite Mount Rushmore. Not as long lasting, but it is certainly a seasonal thing.
HILL: And very impressive.
COOPER: Yes, very impressive there.
HILL: I'm amazed. And while those two are well done and really a fantastic likeness of each candidate, Anderson, I think we actually have the best pumpkin right there. Look at that.
COOPER: Oh, wow.
HILL: Anderson Cooper, AC360.
COOPER: Wow, that's scary.
HILL: Very impressive.
COOPER: That will scare away the children.
HILL: No, don't be silly. They'll come knocking on your door for more candy.
But I know you think that it's probably me, because I'm really good at carving pumpkins. But in fact, you don't have me to thank for this one. This little tribute, carved for you by Lily and Martha Bacon (ph) of Edmonds, Washington.
COOPER: Wow. Well, thank you very much, Lily and Martha. Appreciate it. Very nicely done.
HILL: And happy Halloween, by the way.
COOPER: And to you, too. Are you -- are you dressing up?
HILL: No, I think I'm going to go home and go to bed.
COOPER: Probably best.
You can see all the most recent "Shots" on our Web site: AC360.com. If anyone is trick-or-treating dressed as Wolf Blitzer, David Gergen, let us know. We'd love to see the pictures. You can also see at AC360.com segments from, you know, all the programs, the "Beat 360," yada, yada; a lot of stuff, AC360.com.
Coming up, the latest of the campaign trail; the final push - make or break time. Barack Obama in Ohio today; he's launching some new ads in some unlikely battlegrounds taking his end game to some seriously red states. And John McCain hitting Ohio hard as the race is tightening; in that state we'll show the help he had from Governor Schwarzenegger.
High: In Florida, another kind of voting anxiety. Among African- Americans, there is concern that if they vote early it may not count or somehow it won't really matter.>