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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

America Votes 2010

Aired October 30, 2010 - 18:00   ET

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


ANNOUNCER: Now, live from the CNN Election Center, Wolf Blitzer.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR, ELECTION SPECIAL: Thanks very much for joining us. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around world.

Right now under 74 hours, just under 73 hours, I should say, until the polls start closing on Tuesday night here in the United States, 7:00 p.m. Eastern. Six states the polls will close including Kentucky. That big race between Rand Paul and John Conway for U.S. Senate. At 7:30, three states, Ohio, North Carolina, West Virginia will close. At 8:00 p.m., 15 states plus D.C., 9:00 p.m.; 14 states will be closing, 10:00 p.m., five states, 11:00 p.m., four states, at midnight. The polls will close in Hawaii at 1:00 a.m. Alaska race, a lot of us have been looking forward to, that race involving Lisa Murkowski, the incumbent senator, who will be a write-in candidate facing Joe Miller, the Tea Party candidate, the Republican, Scott McAdams, the Democrat.

We have correspondents covering all of the political races. Today's been an exciting day as these candidates have a chance to wrap up their final arguments to the constituents out there. We're going to check in with all of our correspondents in a moment. Joe Johns is here together with the Best Political Team on Television for complete analysis.

John King is over at our Election Matrix. It's going to be a new opportunity to see what's going on in the country. Let's begin in Connecticut right now. That is where the president was campaigning today. And just a little while ago, he went after the Republican leader in the U.S. Senate, Mitch McConnell.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He didn't say jobs was his top priority. Improving the economy was his top priority. His top priority was beating me. He was thinking about the next election. This one is not even over yet. That's the kind of attitude we're fighting against, Bridgeport. That's the kind of politics we have to change.

A politics that says it's all about scoring points. Rather than solving problems. And that's where all of you come in. Because the only way to fight this cynicism, the only way to match the millions of dollars of negative ads that special interests are pouring in, is with millions of voices. Those of you who are ready to finish what we started in 2008.

(APPLAUSE)

So we need you to get out and vote. If everybody who voted in 2008 shows up 2010, then we will win this election. We will win this election.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Let's go to Connecticut right now, our Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash has been covering this part of the story for us.

The president is doing his best. He's trying to get these Democrats elected, but for many of them it's an uphill struggle. I take it not necessarily in Connecticut.

DANA BASH, CNN SR. CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Not necessarily in Connecticut. This is one, I think, that President Obama may have wanted to come to so that he can have a victory in his column, because it looks-at least in talking to Democratic and Republican sources-like this is pretty much a done deal for the Democratic candidate for Senate, at least, Richard Blumenthal.

But he started the day in Pennsylvania campaigning for Joe Sestak. That is a neck and neck Senate race. This evening he's going to have a rally at a race that's very symbolic and near and dear to his heart because it's his own Senate seat. It is also neck and neck, to whether that will stay in Democrat hands. Tomorrow, he is going to have his final, of four, campaign rallies this frenzied weekend in Ohio.

The message at the very end there was really classic and sort of sums up what he's trying to do here, Wolf. He's trying very, very hard, especially in cities, like where I am right now, Bridgeport, to make sure the Democrats who came out and who are the least bit interested in getting out there now. Remember, that they liked Barack Obama two years ago, to get them to the polls. It is all about trying to energize those people right now.

BLITZER: Did that crowd seem energized in Connecticut, where the president was together with you today?

BASH: They did. They did seem energized. You know, it's hard to tell exactly how many people were here. This arena fits 10,000. Think maybe 8,000 or 9,000 people showed up which is a pretty significant number.

He did have one moment, I should tell you, where he was interrupted and he was visibly unhappy about it by some protesters. Protesters that we've seen at other rallies, that were complaining about not enough money being spent to fight global AIDS. So that was sort of a distraction.

Certainly the people that were here seemed energized. It's the question is whether or not they're going to go home and tell their friends, hey, remember, we went out and supported this guy, we heard him today. He said the work isn't done. He said we can't turn back the hands of time back to Republicans. The question is whether enough of those people are going to get out, not so much here in Connecticut, but much more importantly in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and in Ohio, where he's going to visit tomorrow.

BLITZER: The president doing his best on these final days. Thanks very much.

Sarah Palin was campaigning today. Made a surprise visit in West Virginia. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH PALIN, (R) FMR. VICE PRES., CANDIDATE: Now I know there has been across the nation there's been a lot of mud slinging in the campaigns this cycle, but it's not negative campaigning to point out your opponent's record.

And John's opponent has been all over the map when it comes to the Obama agenda. One minute he's for it, and the next minute he's aiming his rifle at it. And you know, we -- we know, though, where John will be on the issues. He's steady. He's consistent. He has that strong spine, that the rest of those in Congress need in order to do the right thing to put government back on your side. We know where John will be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: John is john Raese, he's the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in West Virginia. Facing the incumbent governor who wants to be senator, Joe Manchin.

Let's go to CNN's Jessica Yellin out in Las Vegas right now.

You spent a lot of time in West Virginia covering that race. That one is pretty close by all indications, Jessica.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It sure is. It's one of those races that has been closely watched. I have to say in recent days Democrats have been a bit more cheered by the polling numbers and feel they have a shot at really holding on to that one. But it is one of those pickups that could help a Senate go in Republican hands, if Republicans should persevere.

One of the reasons we see Sarah Palin there because we know she's so good about getting out the base. That's what it is all about in these final days, Wolf, getting out all the voters they can especially die- hard voters to turn out and get out the vote. It's happening all over the country this weekend, Wolf.

BLITZER: Let's talk about Nevada a little bit, because it's really tight in Nevada. Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader he is fighting for his political life. Sharron Angle, the Republican Tea Party favorite, she's got a shot, a clear shot, some polls even show her ahead of Harry Reid right now. Let me play a little clip of what she's saying.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARRON ANGLE, (R) NEVADA SENATE CANDIDATE: We know there's going to be shock and awe in Washington, D.C.

(APPLAUSE)

And we're going to have a teachable moment. And the message that we want to send is, in your lame-duck session we want you to do two things. Repeal Obama care and make the tax cuts permanent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: So, that race in Nevada, Jessica, that's obviously a very tight race. We're going to be watching it throughout Tuesday night and see what happens. Could be late into the night, but both of these candidates, I take it, are giving it their all in these final hours.

YELLIN: They are giving it their all and their teams are giving it their all. We are constantly being informed of efforts to get out the vote being manned across the state right now.

This is one of I have to say an enormously exciting race to watch because not only is it so mementos, it could unseat the Democratic leader in the Senate, or keep him in power. But also because nobody, none of the political experts knows which way this race will go. You talk to anybody who is smart on this stuff and they're just waiting to see.

Sharron Angle, I went to that event last night where you played that sound, Wolf, what was fascinating was she offered no half measures. She is ready to go. She says shock and awe, Wolf.

BLITZER: Jessica, thanks very much.

Let's go to Alaska right flow. There's a bitter contest for the U.S. Senate up there. Drew Griffin is watching it for us, in Anchorage.

Set the scene for us, Drew. What's going on today?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's really a division, Wolf, of the Republican Party. You have the GOP Lisa Murkowski, the sitting Republican who is now running as a write-in candidate. I guess you would have to call her an independent, against the Tea Party's Republican candidate who is on the ballot, Joe Miller. And we're showing this race at a dead heat between these two Republicans, Scott McAdams, the Democrat you mentioned, is trailing, but even he apparently sees some light. And that is because the feeling here, Wolf, is just in the last week and a half many people are telling me they're looking at Joe Miller's campaign, the Tea Party candidate, backed by Sarah Palin, as kind of imploding.

A bunch of high-profile events, handcuffing of a reporter who was asking him tough questions. Then he had to release some of his personal work files which showed he lied a couple of years ago to state inspectors involved with an interoffice thing. They really feel Murkowski now has the momentum if, indeed, Alaskans will go and write her name on that ballot, Wolf.

BLITZER: How precise do they have to be when they write her name? Do they have to spell Murkowski perfectly?

GRIFFIN: Well, that is the -- that is the big question mark. If it gets down and dirty you can bet the Miller camp is going to question every single written ballot. But Murkowski's campaign is handing out even these bracelets, that you see, with her name spelled correctly. The elections division says, hey, if they get close, if we can judge it was their intent to spell this right, there you go. Also, voters, the Alaska supreme court announced voters can ask, for what Drew Griffin, what I'm calling a cheat sheet with the write-in candidate's names. Although, Wolf, now there's 161 one of them, believe it or not.

BLITZER: It's going to be awhile after the elections, the results close in Alaska. Before we know they're going to have to read all those write-in ballots.

Guys, stand by, we have a lot more to cover tonight. John King is standing by at our Election Matrix. You're going to get an inside view of what's going on as the balance of power in the Senate and the House is up. We'll see what happens. Stand by. Our special coverage continues right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Thirty-seven Senate seats up for grabs Tuesday night; 37 governors races up for grabs; all 435 seats in the House of Representatives up for grabs Tuesday night. CNN's John King is over here at what we're calling our Election Matrix. A new tool we have to explain what's going on.

John, tell our viewers what you're looking for Tuesday.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR, JOHN KING USA: Wolf, groundbreaking new technology we have here to map out the race for the House of Representatives. We're going to start by looking at what we call the CNN 100. If you look at these races here, these are the 100 most competitive congressional races, coast to coast, east to west, north to south.

Here is how you know it is a tough year for the Democrats. Of the 100 races, see the blue? All these blue seats are held by Democrats; 91 of the 100 held by Democrats; 75 of them are Democratic incumbents.

Wolf, one of the things we will look for is the last two classes of Democrats that came to Washington. See them here, the class of 2008. I'll slide this over a little bit more. You see the class of 2006. It's the 2006 class that made Nancy Pelosi speaker. The 2008 class Barack Obama brought in on his coattails. There are 53 Democrats in our CNN 100 just from those two classes.

Let's look at some of the things we'll look for as races unfold. Here's a race we'll look for early on to see is there going to be a GOP wave? Patrick Murray, one in the class of 2006, he came in helped make Nancy Pelosi speaker. His district is in the Philadelphia suburbs, Barack Obama carried those suburbs hugely. So how will we know if there is a Republican wave on election night? We want to watch this race. Look, Barack Obama got 54 percent of the vote. If Republican Mike Fitzpatrick can have a comeback, he is a former Congressman in that district, it tells you that Republicans are starting in the Eastern part of the country with a big night.

That's one to watch, Wolf. We'll watch this closely.

Let's move back over here within the class. Another class of 2006 we'll watch is Ohio's 18th District. Zack Space is your congressman there. Why is this district so important? There are a handful of seats, maybe a half dozen in Ohio, the Republicans are targeting. One of the reasons this race is targeted, you find it right here, if you bring up the results from 2008, that's a John McCain seat. There are a lot of seats Democrats won for Congress but John McCain carried for president. Republicans are saying in a midterm election year that's where we want to work. That's from the class of 2006.

Let's come over just look at a couple from the class of 2008. We come over further. Here's one I'll be watching very closely. This is where the president campaigned last night. Tom Perriello's ticket in the state of Virginia. Why is this so important? He just barely won, Tom Perriello when he carried his seat. Let's look at the presidential results from 2008, if we can get this to click up a little bit.

There we go, again, John McCain again, 51 percent there. That's a key target for the Republicans. One more in the state of Virginia, Wolf, as we go east to west on election night, is Gerry Connolly's district. You can walk to his district from the District of Columbia. You know, Washington, D.C., suburbs have more and more become moderate and Democratic. This is a seat Republicans are targeting. Gerry Connolly always has a tough race.

Here's what you want to look for on election night in a place like this. If you have the Republicans starting to win seats that Barack Obama carried big, 57 percent of the vote Barack Obama carried. Wolf, if the Republicans are starting to pick up seats like this as we go east to west that would be the early sign of a Republican wave.

BLITZER: Some Republicans are hoping not only for a wave, they're hoping for a tsunami. We'll see if that get that wave, then we'll move on. John, don't go too for away.

We have a lot more we're looking at right now including the analysis from the Best Political Team on Television. Joe Johns is here with that team. We'll talk to them when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Amazing midterm election cycle, the Tea Party Movement clearly so important, especially for Republicans. Joe Johns is here together with the Best Political Team on Television. Joe, we covered politics for a long time. I don't remember a midterm that has had these kinds of elements including the expense, what, $4 billion spent?

JOE JOHNS, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely unprecedented. When you think about it, Wolf, perhaps 1994 is something you can compare it to. There are many differences that make it so much bigger.

Now, let's talk to the Best Political Team on Television. Don't laugh at me, folks.

Here we go. We'll start with Candy Crowley, the host of course of our weekend program "STATE OF THE UNION", Ed Rollins, Republican analyst, who's been on CNN for so long. John Avalon, you and I came in from the airport, with the "Daily Beast"; Gloria Borger, well known, of course, as our analyst; and Errol Louis, columnist for the "New York Daily News."

Jump ball, guys, the simple question is the Tea Party. What are they going to do presuming they have big gains particularly in the House of Representatives on the day they're sworn in? How much do we know about what kind of governing is going to happen? Will there be gridlock?

GLORIA BORGER, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: The Tea Party basically when you look at who they are, they're Republican primary voters. Look at all of our polling and you'll see they are largely men over 50, conservative, very often Southern. And they're self-identified as Republicans. Tea Party candidates coming in are not going to be compromisers. They are going to say we were sent here for a reason, so Republican leaders, we're going to want to do something that makes our mark.

JOHNS: How different, Ed and Candy, how really is this from the things we've heard before from Republicans? Ronald Reagan and others?

ED ROLLINS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Think they are very much what the Goldwater, that became the Reagan movement in '76. We were the outsiders, running against Ford, the establishment. When Reagan finally got elected in '80 the Bush team became the Republican establishment. I think that these people, their frustration was not so much with Obama. In the end they were expecting what he did. They were frustrated with the Republican establish not living up to commitments on financial issues, fiscal issue issues, spending too much money. I think there will be a conservative element of the party.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: As far as what are they going to do when they get into power, if and when they get into power? Let's remember that movements always start out with sharp edges. Somehow when they get into the mix of things those edges are rounded off. Guess what, there are going to be more mainstream Republicans, as they talk about than there will be Tea Party Republicans.

JOHNS: So, have the Republicans sort of co-opted the Tea Party Movement, John?

JOHN AVALON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: The Tea Party movement began as a conservative movement angry at the establishment. It's fueling the Republican wave. The real question is going to be, is the Tea Party movement driving the agenda, keeping focused on fiscal issues alone, or do they end up actually being driven and some way used as a Trojan horse by social conservatives?

JOHNS: Errol, let me get you in there.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Social movements go out of business once their goal has been established. If their goal -- we don't really know. And that, to me, is the interesting question, if their goal was simply to sort of get an in effect a recount of 2008, maybe readjust some of the makeup of Congress, push the Republican Party, a little bit further to the right then they go out of business after Tuesday . They may have larger goals and they may have longer staying power.

BORGER: They're going to have to say we're here, we're in town, we're different. You're going it see people to see people say, we need to cut the budget, sort of a 2 percent budget cut. And they are going to say, this is what we want to do to get us started and guess what, the Republican leadership will be right with them.

JOHNS: Say their vote doesn't live up quite to expectations. There are people out there talking 65, 60, whatever. What do you think, will they still have that high a bar to climb?

ROLLINS: They're going to be players. The important thing here is this was a movement led without leaders. Many of these people would have still won the nomination. You know, make a big thing out of Delaware, two-thirds of the Republican voters in Delaware are conservative. As much as they like Mike Castle they were not going to vote for Mike Castle in a primary.

And I think at the end of the day that is the way some of these races turned out. There are good candidates who would have won the nomination. The movement helped them get across the board, but they weren't picked out of the woods some where.

CROWLEY: But who's going to put them in office? Independents. So they have to be careful.

JOHNS: Let me cut you off. There's a lot more to talk about here. Thanks so much.

Wolf, back to you.

BLITZER: Joe, thank you.

There was a huge rally on The Mall in Washington, D.C., today. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert leading all the festivities. We're going there right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: Jon Stewart was at the rally. He hosted the rally together with Stephen Colbert on The Mall in Washington, D.C., the Restore Sanity and/or Fear Rally. It was a combination of comedy, also, music. But at the end Jon Stewart, himself, got serious. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN COLBERT: Jon, my fear bunker is 2,000 feet below the stage. I'm right below you encased in solid bedrock.

JON STEWART: Well, come up. We've got a rally to do. Come up. Just come. It's easy.

COLBERT: No, Jon, I can't. I'm too afraid.

STEWART: No, there's nothing to be afraid of. What are you afraid of?

COLBERT: Well, mostly I'm afraid that no one showed up to our rally.

STEWART: I think you're OK there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: All right, hat was the funny sound bite. There were some serious sound bites as well. Let's go to Pete Dominick. He watched it all unfold. He's still there. You've got the U.S. Capitol behind you.

He did get serious at the end there. Didn't he, Pete? He delivered a very heartful; a very robust statement about what he thought was the insanity going on in the world of politics today.

PETE DOMINICK, HOST, CNN'S "WHAT THE WEEK": He did, Wolf, but -- he did, Wolf, but he did what he always does and he threw some jokes in there. There weren't a lot, but that's what we do as comedians.

You know, we have sometimes an important and serious message we want to deliver, but to keep people interested and keep people entertained sometimes you throw a joke in there, sometimes it's ironic, sometimes it's cynical, but it's there to prove a point.

That's what we can do as comedians and sometimes political commentators. It's all mixed up and it's your job to guess what we're trying to get at, Wolf.

BLITZER: Talk a little bit, Pete, about the crowd. There were thousands and thousands of people there. I have no idea how many were there, but I assume they were mostly young people. Did you get a sense of the political affiliation of those people who were there?

DOMINICK: Well, actually that's my expertise, Wolf Blitzer. I actually -- I warmed up the audiences at the "Colbert Report" and the "Daily Show" for years and I was in front of those audiences every night. The audience today, people here today were just as it was at the shows, at the tapings in New York. To be honest with you, Wolf, they were old and young, there were African-Americans. There were Arab- Americans, Asian-Americans, there were a lot of white people, there were a lot of hilarious Americans with funny signs.

There were, you know, of course there were probably more younger people, but there was a lot of 40, 50. I talked to a lot of 60 and over, people making jokes about Medicare and so on. There were a lot of different demographics.

In terms of politics it was as you expected. Probably more left leaning with the signs, but there were a lot of really, really interesting perspectives. I think the main perspective was unification.

I think Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert did today what President Obama has been trying to do for a long time.

BLITZER: They certainly energized that crowd. By the way, you will get a kick out of this because you used to work for Comedy Central. You used to warm up the crowds for those shows.

Early, the Comedy Central put out a press release before anyone showed up on the mall. They already estimated the crowd size as 400 million. That was Comedy Central. So they obviously knew what they were talking about. All right, go ahead.

DOMINICK: Jon Stewart came out, one of the first things he said after he said pick up your litter, everybody, don't leave it here. There were a lot of people picking up garbage. One of the first things he said, it's great to be here. There are 10 million people here today everybody.

BLITZER: Well, that's less than 400 million. All right. Thanks very much, Pete, for that. We've got more to discuss.

John Avlon was over at the rally, himself, today. We'll get his views and a lot more. Stand by.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: President Obama can certainly bring out a big crowd especially in his hometown of Chicago. They're gathering at this park near the University of Chicago right now to hear President Obama.

He's getting ready to speak at this political rally. Let's go over to CNN's Joe Johns. He has the Best Political Team on Television, including John Avlon, who was in Washington today at that Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert rally.

JOHN AVLON, SENIOR POLITICAL COLUMNIST, THEDAILYBEAST.COM: Right, it's fascinating thing. I guess, the first thing we have to say was it really 400 million people? Probably not, right.

It was maybe 400,000 people. No, it was a remarkable turnout. I mean, it was -- I've covered the beck rally and one nation rally, conservative and liberal rallies.

This was, I think, at least equal of the Beck rally. It was opposite the mall so hard to do (inaudible), but this crowd was packed. It was enthusiastic and after a really bitter, harsh, hyperpartisan political year, it was an optimistic crowd. It was heartening crowd and they put humor ahead of everything else.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is the question, though. Does this translate into some type of a political phenomenon we can actually explore?

GLORIA BORGER, SENIOR POLITICA ANALYST: Did anybody ask at the rally, I'm curious, how many of those people were going to vote? You know? Because those are --

AVLON: Just a party crowd or not?

BORGER: Were they going to vote?

AVLON: There was a political message underneath all this. The people who feel politically homeless in today's debates, feel alienated about the ways the extremes, they came out there today. They came out there today and that was really, I mean, they're all civically engaged folks.

CANDY CROWLEY, HOST, CNN'S "STATE OF THE UNION": I feel like I've heard this type of thing as far back as Richard Nixon, the silent of majority.

JOHNS: Different names. Right. Well, the word narrative has probably been used too much in this campaign, but the question here really is, when you take the rally in context and everything else that's going on, is anything going to change between now and election day? Do we think it's written in stone?

ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: There are a few undecided voters, but they're very small. It's always down about 4 percent, 5 percent who make up their mind the last weekend.

I'd be very surprised if there's that many. Most people don't shift and the critical thing here is who's going to vote? Are you going to get up on Tuesday and go vote if you haven't already? Maybe that helps a little bit today something like this, but most people have made up their mind.

BORGER: Usually in the midterm elections, the people who were the most energized are the people with the most gripes. Those, of course, are the Tea Party voters, the Republican voters.

JOHNS: John King just talked a little while ago about the Joe Miller thing going on in Alaska. There are races that could change direction just a little bit.

ERROL LOUIS, N.Y. DAILY NEWS COLUMNIST: The point and fact of today's rally, see you it actually in polls across the nation as well, there are people who have sort of a silent gripe. They don't like the way the conversation is going on. They don't like a lot of the negative campaigning and we don't know what they're going to do. We don't know who's going to --

CROWLEY: Since everyone's taking part in the dialogue that they don't like, it's a little difficult to figure out where they're going to go. You know, in terms of the overall question, is anything going to shift? Of those 4 percent that are undivided or undecided, 2 percent are going to stay home. If you're this undecided at this point --

AVLON: The responsible thing, which is look, it doesn't matter until Tuesday. It ain't over until it's over. Even though we have the polls and know the trends and you can say that with some degree of predictability, it matters who shows up on Tuesday and everyone should show up.

BORGER: This is why the campaign has gotten so nasty because if the Democrats don't have an issue set they think they can run on it's not working for them, then what they've got to do is attack the credibility and the ethics of their opponents and that's what we --

JOHNS: Which leads me to --

BORGER: Not that Republicans don't do nasty ads, but --

JOHNS: Which leads to the next question which is nastiest races, I mean, there are a lot of them out there obviously. Every time I look at another ad I think that's the nastiest race. What do you guys think?

BORGER: Well, Rand Paul versus Jack Conway in Kentucky. Talk about, you know, a Democrat trying to disqualify his Republican opponent. Using the famous ad which one Republican said to me has now become sort of a description that all ad guys use saying, don't aquabudda -- don't go overboard.

ROLLINS: The race that matters the most in this country in the sense of the symbolism is the Harry Reid race. It's been a negative race from the beginning. He went out and hammered the party favorite Sue Lowden, knocked her out of the primary, got the candidate he wanted, Angle.

Thought he was going to beat her easily. She came back. It's been a nasty knockdown drag-out, in a state like Nevada probably $50 million will be spent by the end. I don't think anyone's can be nastier than that.

JOHNS: Have the Democrats sort of had to lean on personal attacks more?

BORGER: Absolutely, as we were just saying when you -- the issues don't test well for them. There are a handful of Democrats using health care to promote their campaigns. There are a handful of Democrats using - who's using stimulus? Who's using bailouts? Nobody. JOHNS: Errol, this race question about the Tea Party and others. I know, the NAACP has brought it up. It's been attacked, knocked down. It hasn't gone away.

LOUIS: We've crossed a threshold. There are so many individual instances of it all over the nation that it doesn't -- it doesn't -- it's become normalized in this race.

JOHNS: Will it compel African-Americans to vote?

LOUIS: That's an open question there. There are some, about 20 of the tossup states that have 15 percent to 20-plus percent African- American voters. Actually, Nevada is a case in point.

Black voters if they come out, they're about 8 percent of the registered base. If they come out and they often do over that percentage, 10 percent, 12 percent, they can save Harry Reid. I mean, there's some really interesting dynamics going on about how that all plays out.

JOHNS: The global question is, nastiest, nastiest midterm in a generation or not?

ROLLINS: Nastiest in my history. I go back four decades. It's nasty, sustained across the board. The difference here, in 2008 there was a great Bush fatigue and Obama became a positive vote for the people who voted for him. Many people are voting for Republican to get rid of Democrats. It's not necessarily a positive Republican vote.

CROWLEY: You pair that with the idea that the Democrats have not been in these swing places because they are in the normally Democratic places. They are talking about health care and you know, any number of things.

But in these swing areas, the Democrats can't talk about these things that Gloria just talked about. That's why it's so negative. Is because it's kind of -- to quote our colleague Bob Schieffer, is that all you've got?

JOHNS: Candy, I have to say with you now because you'll be talking about these and others issues on "STATE OF THE UNION" tomorrow. Can you sort of tell us what are you going to have on?

CROWLEY: We're going to have on the chairman of the Republican Party, Mr. Steele. Also, Dick Durbin who's the number two Democrat on the Senate side, we're going to give him that, you know, sort of last at- bat and see where they think they're headed.

JOHNS: Great, thanks so much. Thanks so all of you. Wolf, back to you.

BLITZER: Joe, thanks very much. Plenty of nasty races out there, but there's also been some very smart substantive races out there including, for example, in California or Pennsylvania, Ohio. Some of these races have been on the issues, which is obviously good. But there have been plenty of nasty races and this has been very, very expensive for all those politicians as we all know as well. Much more of our special coverage, "America Votes 2010." Only three days to go until the polls close. We'll continue right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: This weekend CNN is airing a unique documentary about the Tea Party Movement. Our political producer Shannon Travis has spent a lot of time over these past many months with the Tea Party Movement across the country. Shannon is joining us right now. Shannon, give us a little preview of what we can expect.

SHANNON TRAVIS, CNN POLITICAL PRODUCER: Well, Wolf, whether Americans support or oppose the Tea Party Movement, I don't think there's any doubt it will go down in history.

I have had the chance, CNN has allowed me to cover this movement for the past 18 months and I've been embedded with them. So basically you will be seeing and our viewers will be seeing what I have been seeing over these past few months and they're literally things you have not seen ever about the Tea Party Movement before.

BLITZER: It's absolutely true. In fact, let me play a little clip for our viewers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRAVIS: Today is the kickoff of the fourth tour of the Tea Party Express and where are they kicking it off at? Sarah Palin, she's the headliner for today's event. This is essentially her political base. I mean, she is the darling of the movement in terms of getting the message out. Sarah Palin can do it like no other.

SARAH PALIN, (R) FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Politicians who are in office today, you, some of you need to man up, the big wigs within the machine. They're driving me crazy because they're too chicken to come out and support the tea party candidates. Now, old glory has never flown higher or prouder than where you have put her, Tea Party patriots.

TRAVIS: Governor, what if the Tea Party winds up splitting the Republican Party in two? Who do you stand with?

PALIN: I don't think it will. The machine within the GOP is going to understand this, we the people message is rising and it's resonating throughout. Independents with hardcore conservatives, with moderates because it's so full of common sense and time tested truth so it the economy on the right track, heaven forbid the GOP machine strays from the message. If so, the GOP is through.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Let's go back to Shannon. Shannon, all the time you spent with these members of the Tea Party Movement, did you get a sense they're simply Republicans or Conservatives? Were there Democrats who were disillusioned, let's say, who were part of this movement as well?

TRAVIS: It's an excellent question. I don't think there's any doubt that most of the vast majority of the Tea Party members and supporters are Republicans.

I mean, our public polling shows, reflects the same thing. About 5 percent Democrat, but Tea Party activists argue the number is growing by the day.

They say that their message is appealing to more and more independents and more and more Democrats are coming on board. In my travels with the movement, I've only spoken with, actually met with a few Democrats who are on board and maybe just a handful who have said I voted for Obama and now I'm part of this movement.

BLITZER: But largely white, is that right? Did you see a lot of minority members in the Tea Party Movement?

TRAVIS: Yes, again, absolutely. They're mostly white and again, the polling that we've seen over the course of this movement, the past 18 months reflects that.

But the African-Americans and minorities that are there are proud to be there, and they feel that the Tea Party message of limited government, returning to a more allegiance to the constitution is something that could attract more minorities.

BLITZER: "Boiling Point" is going air throughout the weekend here on CNN. Shannon, excellent work, thanks so much for doing it. We're going to take another quick break.

When we come back we're going back to John King. He's over at our CNN election matrix, stand by for that.

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BLITZER: We're getting ready for our special election coverage, that will begin Tuesday, but one of the important tools that we're going to have is this new CNN election matrix. John King is working that. New technology for us, John. Some special things you're looking at.

JOHN KING, HOST, "JOHN KING, USA": Special things to look at is how deep of a Republican wave is this, if it's a wave, number one. Number two, the big Democratic classes of 2006 and 2008, do they get washed away and number three, how far back in time will Democratic seats be in trouble?

Let's make that plan. I'll show you just one up here. This is - I'm going to back to the class of 1994. This was Patrick Kennedy's seat in Rhode Island. He's not running for re-election, but Rhode Island, one, if that seat by any chance goes Republican, we'll know that early because of the east coast there's the beginning of a big Republican wave.

Let's come closer to time to where the Democratic classes came into power. You see, 2004 and 2006, all the way to the class of 2008 to give you another race to watch as we come back over, this is Michigan '07. President Obama carried Michigan. It's been viewed as a Democratic state.

But this one is a very competitive race now. Mark Schauer is the Democratic incumbent and look at the results there in 2008 presidential election. If you look at that, 52 percent for Barack Obama.

If the Democrats are losing seats like that, Wolf, as you go through the industrial heartland, it is a sign of big trouble for the party. That's one big thing to look at. We'll walk over here to the wall to make another point as we go forward to election night.

Something to look for, I'm going to use Ohio and Pennsylvania as our examples here because these are two states where the Republicans think they could pick up three seats in Pennsylvania, maybe four, three seats in Ohio, maybe four. So I want to take a look.

These are the House races right now. I'm going to circle some areas and I'm going to make a point. See these two seats, these blue congressional districts, those are targeted by Republicans.

There are two or three districts down here in the Philadelphia suburbs targeted by Republicans. I'm going to move over to Ohio, back to Pennsylvania in a minute, but I want to show you some areas here as well. These are blue, these are Democratic congressional seats targeted by Republicans, targeted by Republicans, and targeted by Republicans.

Now what's the point I'm trying to make here? Two things to watch for in the election. We're going to go back in time to here 2008, this is the presidential election, you see right here, President Obama carried these areas for president.

Let's come up back over this. John McCain in Ohio, the Akron districts down here, these are three districts where you watch to see if the Democrats can take back area where McCain performed very well. That's a big test to watch in Ohio.

Back over to Pennsylvania, this one more important because this was such Democratic territory, all Obama here, mostly Obama up here. Can the Republicans take seats? Wolf, here's something else to watch. Remember these, Democratic congressional districts targeted by the Republicans, areas Obama won on general election day in 2008.

Watch this, let's go back to the Democratic primary, see that light blue, that's Hillary Clinton. These are districts where white blue collar works late to come to Obama, supported Hillary Clinton first, the Republicans believe this is the part of the country in Pennsylvania and across the country voters like that where they can do a lot of gains on election day.

Reinforce the point over here in Ohio, all of the areas I circled that's Hillary Clinton and the Democratic presidential primaries. The Republicans believe white blue collar workers increasingly moving away from the president. We'll watch that as we go across the country. This is your Democratic primaries in 2008 and here's how it turned out presidential day. This is the map going in here, blue are Democratic congressional seats, the Republicans believe, Wolf, as we speak tonight on the eve of the weekend before this election they could gain as many as 50 or more given late weekend polling. People I talked to today some of them think as high as 55 seats.

BLITZER: They need a net gain of 39 to be the majority and John Boehner would become the speaker of the House of Representatives third in line to the presidency and Pennsylvania and Ohio not only important as far as the balance of power is concerned now, but if President Obama wants to get reelected he needs those states.

KING: Governors races in both states, Senate races in both states, the Republicans feel confident. If you look at this part of the country here, you see a lot more blue in this part of the country than you do up in here. Watch that and the early returns we'll have a very good sense of what's happening.

BLITZER: So what you're saying is by 8:00, 9:00, 10:00 at night we'll have an indication if it's a wave, a tidal wave or a tsunami.

KING: Or a traditional midterm election if the Democrats have a good night. We should know right in. Republicans have about 25, 30 targets right here.

BLITZER: John is going to be with us throughout the night on Tuesday. We'll be with us tomorrow. We have a special, by the way, tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, another preview of what's going on.

Don't forget tomorrow morning 9:00 a.m. Eastern, "STATE OF THE UNION" with Candy Crowley. Full coverage on Monday, the day before the election. Don't forget on Tuesday, THE SITUATION ROOM 5:00 p.m. Eastern on coverage will begin 7:00 p.m. Eastern, the results will start coming in, we'll be here throughout the night.

This is going to be an important, exciting day in the world of American politics. We hope you will join all of us here at CNN for complete coverage.

We like to say we have the Best Political Team on Television, and we believe it. Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting from the CNN Election Center. The news continues next on CNN.