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America Votes 2006

Aired November 6, 2006 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: All right, here's a special edition of LARRY KING LIVE, part of our continuing election coverage with the best election team in the business, the best political coverage team as well.
We'll start with David Gergen of "US News & World Report;" James Carville, the Democratic strategist and CNN political contributor; J.C. Watts, the CNN political contributor, former All American football player and former Republican congressman from Oklahoma.

And Wolf Blitzer joins us, he's anchor, of course, of CNN's "The Situation Room" and he'll be the prime anchor tomorrow on our major coverage.

By the way, tomorrow night, we'll be on at midnight Eastern, 9:00 Pacific, following all of this with wrap-ups throughout the night and for a full two hours as well.

All right, Mr. Gergen, what does it look like?

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER ADVISER TO FOUR PRESIDENTS: Well, you know, if I were a Republican -- a Democrat right now, I'd be nervous because these races really have tightened up especially in the Senate. There is a wind that started to blow for Republicans.

But, if I were a Republican, I'd be gravely worried because they are right now I think on the brink of losing the House, even with this wind. And, when you've got six -- it's a bad sign, Larry, when an incumbent senator doesn't hit 50 percent in the polls. And right now there are six Republican incumbent senators up for reelection who are not hitting 50 percent.

KING: Mr. Carville, what do you make of it if we take Mr. Gergen's analysis and that is one side should be very nervous and the other side should be very worried?

JAMES CARVILLE: You know, I agree with him. I was trying to think of something and every Democrat I talk to is very nervous and every Republican I talk to is very nervous, I mean is very worried. And I think that I agree completely. I know I'm nervous. I've talked with Congressman Rahm Emanuel about eight, nine times a day generally but I don't think he's scared or worried. He's nervous.

GERGEN: But if you were a Republican you'd be scared.

CARVILLE: I would be scared and I would be worried and I think that pretty much describes the Republican mood right now.

KING: J.C., what do we know-know? What do we know is going to happen?

J.C. WATTS, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: We know that two candidates are going to be on the ballot and it's all going to add up to 100 percent at the end of the night.

KING: That's all we know?

WATTS: That's what we know.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We don't even know that because I'm really worried, J.C. and I know all of you are that there could be irregularities, the voting machines, some of the problems that we've seen in the past that could develop. All of us hope it won't happen but that's one thing on the minds of a lot of voters out there.

WATTS: And I think there's about ten states, nine or ten states that they're watching and both sides have all the attorneys lined up to dispatch them on Wednesday morning early, late Tuesday night to kind of monitor those things.

But, Larry, I think that's a fair assessment. I think Republicans and Democrats both are very nervous. I think Republicans feel pretty good over the last ten days the way things have moved in their direction but I don't know if it's enough to get them over the hump but they feel pretty good about it.

KING: Let me check in with someone who may be worried, Representative Harold Ford, Jr. Harold Ford, Jr. joins us from Memphis, Tennessee. He's the Democrat seeking to be the United States Senator.

One poll has you behind. By the way, Bob Corker, your opponent, was invited to be a guest tonight. He had a scheduling conflict and couldn't do it. Congressman Ford, one poll has you behind by ten. Another poll has you even. What do you see?

REP. HAROLD FORD (D), TENNESSEE, SENATE CANDIDATE: I think this race boils down to turnout here in Tennessee. We have something called early voting in our state. Some 867,000 people have already cast their ballots. Of that group, there's a 34 percent increase of Democrats voting, a 20 percent increase in Republicans, giving Democrats a 14 percent advantage.

We are encouraged. As we head into this final day or the night before the election all the polls showed a dead heat and I think it boils down, not only to turnout but the intensity, I should say the intensity of the voters on each side. People all across our state are hungry for change and tomorrow they will have an opportunity to go to the polls and express that. But I have to tell you we are encouraged tonight. We are excited and looking forward to a victory tomorrow night here in Tennessee.

KING: Why has this campaign gotten so dirty? FORD: I think there's a group in Washington, Republicans that is, who are so anxious and hungry and determined to hold onto the power structure that they've created for themselves that they have gone all out and really underestimated the decency and goodness of the people here in this state.

They have run ads that have been beneath our integrity, beneath our decency, over and over again. And, frankly, I think that voters not only are going to speak loud and clear tomorrow but are going to send a loud message to the country that this kind of negative, awful, false, misleading and frankly disgusting advertising has no place in American politics.

I hope that that's one of the victories tomorrow as well and clearly a vote for us and a vote for me in this campaign is a clear indication and a clear refutation of the kind of smut and sleaze that we've seen in politics in Tennessee this go-round.

KING: What will you be watching all day?

FORD: Pardon me, sir?

KING: What will you be watching all day?

FORD: Well we're going to spend some time in Memphis in the morning. I'm here tonight. We finished up our campaign just a little while ago here with a culminating rally right in the heart of our district, right in East Memphis.

I will travel to Jackson tomorrow. One of the great stories in our campaign is our stop at the Little Rebel Bar and Grill, a little place with a lot of confederate flags every which way. I'm one of their favorites. They have my paraphernalia, campaign materials up everywhere. We'll go there tomorrow for lunch where we really kicked off this campaign and energized this campaign. We'll make a few stops at polling places tomorrow.

And, I know you said a little earlier that I might be one of the more nervous or anxious candidates. We've had a great campaign manager and one of the unseen campaign managers has been my Lord and Savior. I got great confidence. People in my district and our state want change and it's all in his hands now. We're going to wait tomorrow for the results.

KING: Some pundits have said that if you are defeated it will be due to racism. Do you share that view?

FORD: No, I think that the winner tomorrow and I think it will be us, I know it will be us, it will be because of what we've done in this campaign and no one else. I don't buy into the notion that my state is not ready, is not prepared. We've put everything we have on the table. We laid out every bit of energy. We've laid out every bit of strategy and worked as hard as we possibly can. And I just, I have confidence in the voters here in this state.

All the polling says good things about early voting and how we fared. And I got to tell you, Mr. King, 867,000 voting early they weren't voting for more Katrinas, more wars, and more Mark Foley scandals. They were voting for change and someone to go to Washington and make a difference.

KING: While you're with us Congressman Ford, hold it one minute, because I want to get our analysts here too.

FORD: Sure.

KING: What they think of that early turnout. James Carville is a veteran of these kind of things. What does that say to you that 800,000 people voting early?

CARVILLE: You know what I didn't know that and I got to tell you that encourages me. And I said it earlier I thought that Harold Ford had a good shot in this race. I think he's done the best job of any Democratic candidate and any Republican candidate out there this year. I mean I think he's been (INAUDIBLE).

GERGEN: Of any?

CARVILLE: Any. I think he's the best candidate that we fielded in this cycle and I was -- you saw it tonight in his answers here. You know he's not going to get down in this kind of thing. He very wisely put his faith in the voters of Tennessee and I think that's not an inconsequential statistic in this early voting, although I can't predict like who's going to win off of that but I was heartened to hear that.

KING: J.C., you're on the other side, what do you think of the Ford campaign?

WATTS: No, I think -- I know Harold. Harold is a personal friend and there's a side of me that...

KING: Wants him to win.

WATTS: Well, I (INAUDIBLE). You know I pray for him. No, I think Harold has run a very good campaign and I know throughout this process Republicans have been very concerned. He communicates very well. I think he's done the right thing. He's getting out seeing the people.

And, at the end of the day, that's what you do. You do all that you can. You work hard. As James said earlier, they hay is in the barn and now you've got to let the people decide.

KING: And, Congressman, the best of luck. We'll be checking with you throughout the day tomorrow and hope to have you on with us tomorrow night.

FORD: J.C. say another prayer for me brother.

CARVILLE: We're proud of you. We're proud of you.

KING: Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. WATTS: I'm saying the rebuttal prayer.

KING: Democrat of Tennessee.

We'll be back with more guests and our panel will be with us throughout the hour. Don't go away.


FORD: If you go to the polls on November 7th, we will win this race.

BOB CORKER, SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I just want to thank you so much for all you've done to help me. Thank you.



KING: Our panel will rejoin us momentarily.

But let's check in, in Burlington, Vermont, with Howard Dean, the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee and the former governor of Vermont. How's it look? The polls say it's tightening.

HOWARD DEAN, CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Well it looks tight. I think we're going to do well tomorrow. I'm not going to make predictions but this is about getting out the vote. We've talked or knocked on the doors of 30 million people in the last few weeks and we think we're in good shape.

KING: Any particular races that looked good to you that you're now worried about?

DEAN: Well, we worry about everything but, you know, in order -- the House I think we're in very good shape. If people want change and they get out and vote tomorrow, we're going to win the House but they got to get out and vote.

There's a lot of funny games going on right now of people making robocalls and annoying people and mostly Democrats trying to get them not to vote and all that kind of stuff. Just go vote. Just go vote and do the right thing and we'll win.

The Senate is closer. The math is tough. You got to win I think there's eight competitive races that we're playing offense in. We got to win six of the eight. That's tougher. But, I think we can do it.

KING: Senator Joe Biden has predicted a 50/50 split in the Senate, is that possible?

DEAN: Sure it is. If we win both New Jersey and Maryland we only take five out of the eight remaining competitive seats that's certainly possible.

KING: What about this campaign, if any, has surprised you? DEAN: What surprised me I think is the incredible desire of the American people to have a new direction in the country. It's the biggest number I've ever seen. It's somewhere between 65 and 70 percent. People really do want change and they can do something about it.

KING: Is Iraq the key?

DEAN: Iraq is just part of it. It's Iraq. It's Katrina. It's the huge deficits. It's the economy that helps people who donate to the president but not 80 percent of the rest of us. The average wage has gone down $1,000 since George Bush is in office.

You know nothing is working in this country. We need a new direction, not just in Iraq but we need a new direction for our defense. You know the truth is the Republicans don't know how to defend America. It's not that they don't want to. It's just that they are all tied up in this right-wing ideology and they don't do the things that matter.

They got us into a civil war in Iraq instead of focusing on North Korea and Iran, which are about to get nuclear weapons. It's doesn't make -- or do have nuclear weapons in the case of North Korea.

KING: Governor, Wolf Blitzer said earlier that he's particularly concerned about voting irregularities, are you?

DEAN: Yes. We already know there have been some. We have a hotline, 1-888-DEM-VOTE. Anybody can call that if they feel like there are voting irregularities and we'll send some folks over to the polling place within a matter of minutes.

But we are worried. We've seen these irregularities already in some of the early voting states. And we're worried about voter suppression. We have a huge group of folks out there trying to make sure that every vote counts.

The one thing I would say to your viewers is, first, you got to vote because we're not going to have a change in this country unless you do. And, secondly, don't leave the polling place. If you get there and somebody tries to tell you, you can't vote, don't leave the polling place. Call 888-DEM-VOTE and we'll send somebody over there right away to preserve your right to vote.

KING: One of the members of our panel here is David Gergen, Governor Dean.

DEAN: Hi, David.

KING: Are you as concerned about this?

GERGEN: Hi, Howard.

KING: Are you concerned about this?

GERGEN: About the voting irregularities? Look, I'm very concerned that if it's an extremely close night and we come out of this with almost a 50/50 nation then there are going to be a lot of people who are going to say, conspiracy because the -- if the Democrats don't do as well as they think they will.

In other words, if they don't get 25 to 30 seats now, they come up around 15 to 20, I think you're going to hear a lot of people say there's a reason we didn't get there.

If you go into Ohio right now there's an enormous amount of cynicism about the voting process in Ohio among Democrats because of what happened out there in 2004. There's cynicism in Florida because of 2000.

There are a lot of Democrats who feel they got robbed. So, if the Democrats win big tomorrow night, I don't think we're going to hear very much about it. But, if it's much closer, then I think we're going to hear a lot of complaints and I think we're going to possibly see lawsuits. And we may have some very late counts because of this.

KING: Do you expect a long night, governor?

DEAN: I do. I think we'll all be up watching you at midnight.

KING: Jim, are you or James Carville are you worried about the voting procedures?

CARVILLE: Yes, you can't go anywhere in the country where people don't bring it up. I mean (INAUDIBLE).

KING: Is it always against the Democrats?

CARVILLE: Yes, because we've lost elections. I mean people that win elections generally don't complain about the vote count.

GERGEN: Bingo, exactly.

CARVILLE: But, you know, it's real and I can tell you right now I wouldn't trust one of these electronic voting machines that don't have a record any further than I can throw the thing.

And they had two professors at Princeton could make the thing play music if they wanted to. I mean you can take it and fix that thing like, you know, a NASCAR mechanic can fix a race car.

KING: Governor, thank you very much. We'll be talking to you tomorrow night.

DEAN: Thanks for having me on, Larry.

KING: That's Howard Dean, the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

How's he done, Wolf?

BLITZER: Well, there's controversy. Some Democrats think he's done a fabulous job. Others, like Rahm Emanuel, who runs the House Democratic Committee to try to get Democrats elected in the House, are not very happy because what he's trying to do, Howard Dean, is get Democrats active in all 50 states.

Whereas, someone like Rahm Emanuel has a more immediate objective of getting Democrats elected in some key states right now and they want to spend a lot of money in Ohio and Pennsylvania and Howard Dean has wanted to spend money in Mississippi and Alabama, states where some of the other Democrats think they don't have much of a shot. But he's wanted the Democratic Party to be a 50-state party. So, there's controversy there and I don't think there's, and James can correct me, any love lost between Howard Dean and Rahm Emanuel is that right?

CARVILLE: I think that Wolf has given a typical, accurate assessment of the situation that exists in the Democratic Party today and I don't wish to comment any further.


KING: As we go to break...

WATTS: James, do you get along with anybody in your party?

KING: There's a very contentious race in Ohio and we'll look at both sides of that issue in the Senate right after this.



KING: You're looking at the CNN election express parked outside the Time Warner Studios and building here in Manhattan.

Let's go to Beaver Creek, Ohio, Senator Mike DeWine stands by, Republican of Ohio running for reelection. What does it look like, Senator?

SEN. MIKE DEWINE (R), OHIO: Larry, it looks great. I've traveled around the state today with my wife Fran and many of our children and grandchildren. There's great enthusiasm, a lot of calls being made.

Right here in Beaver Creek, there was 350 people who were here tonight for our final rally and they had been all making calls during the day. So, we feel really good about it.

KING: You were even about a month ago and now the polls have Mr. Brown ahead by about ten percent. Are they wrong or what happened?

DEWINE: They're wrong, Larry. They're a couple days old and what we're seeing great movement. The pollsters are not accounting for this groundswell that we're seeing.

And, you know, frankly the message is getting across that I have worked in a bipartisan way in Congress. I've gotten things done. I've reached across the political aisle to make a difference. My opponent is fundamentally different. My opponent in 14 years in the House of Representatives has only passed four bills, three having to do with the country of Taiwan and one having to do with renaming a federal building.

In addition to that, people now are understanding that when he was secretary of state he had three drug investigations in his office. There was a drug buy, a drug dealer in his office. He knew about it. He was briefed on it. After the buy was made instead of firing this person, Sherrod Brown kept this person in the office and actually promoted them. That is shocking to me as a former county prosecutor and I think it's shocking to most Ohioans.

KING: Isn't thought the overall picture of Iraq or the government's handling of Katrina fall a little bit in your bailiwick?

DEWINE: I think, Larry, that people are concerned about a lot of things. They're certainly concerned about the war. They're certainly concerned about many things. In Ohio, we've had scandals at the State House.

My opponent has tried to link me to these scandals. He knows that I'm honest. I've had no scandal. And the ironic thing is he's the person that's had the scandal associated with him, not me.

KING: Has President Bush hurt or helped you?

DEWINE: The president has come in. He's campaigned for me. I mean look, Larry, the reality is the president's popularity is way down. Our governor, incumbent Republican governor's popularity is way down here in the state. We have these problems.

They're not associated with me. And, bluntly, I'm the person who has worked in a bipartisan way to get things done. The one thing, Larry, that people tell me, whether I'm here in Beaver Creek or whether I'm in Cleveland where I started today is people say, "Mike, we're sick and tired of this partisan bickering we see in Washington. Why can't you people work together?"

And, in this race, Larry, there's only one candidate of the two of us who's worked in a bipartisan way. I've worked with Chris Dodd to get better medicines for children. I've worked with Senator Byrd to help the steel industry, Jay Rockefeller on adoption and foster care and highway safety and I've done it successfully.

My opponent is on the far, far fringe of the Democratic Party. He's further left than Ted Kennedy. He does not represent the values of the people of the state of Ohio.

KING: Do you need a big turnout, Senator?

DEWINE: We're going to have a great turnout from people, Republicans, and people who want to support me. These calls are indicating that we're seeing -- going to see a big, big turnout. That's moved, Larry. We weren't going to see that two weeks ago or three weeks ago. This thing has kicked in for our side very, very strong. And I think it's also kicked in because people understand this is a race between Sherrod Brown and Mike DeWine, no one else. It's not about the president, not about anybody. It's who can represent this great state for the next six years and get things done and I'm the one who gets things done. Sherrod Brown talks about issues but I do it.

KING: Thanks, Senator, Senator Mike DeWine. We'll be talking to you again tomorrow and good luck.

DEWINE: Thank you, Larry, look forward to it.

KING: Let's go to Cleveland, Congressman Sherrod Brown is with us, Democrat of Ohio. He's trying to unseat the incumbent. The polls show you leading. Is that true? Do your own polls show that?

SHERROD BROWN (D), SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, polls show that but, more importantly, Larry, the passion for change around the state in towns as conservative as Wapakoneta and Cincinnati and Dayton, all over people want change.

And what you've just watched is you've watched a 12-year, two- term incumbent Senator morph into a desperate candidate who will do anything or say anything to win an election. That's why the voters are just very tired of the negative ads. They're very tired of 20- year-old unproven, unsubstantiated false charges.

They want to talk about the future. That's why when I talk about increasing the minimum wage, when I talk about turning Ohio into the Silicon Valley of alternative energy, working with soon-to-be Governor Strickland to do that, that the voters want change. They want a new direction and that's clearly coming tomorrow.

KING: He says that you have a pre-9/11 mentality that you're further left than Ted Kennedy. How do you respond?

BROWN: Well, this comes -- it's so funny. I mean Mike DeWine votes with George Bush 96 percent of the time but he's always bragging about the other four percent of the time.

The fact is I have a record of bipartisanship. I will go to the Senate. One of the first things I want to do in the Senate is sit down with Senator Hagel, Senator Warner, two Republican leading senators in the defense area and talk to them about how we bipartisanly work with our generals to come up with a strategy to redeploy our troops out of Iraq in the next year and a half to two years.

I'll do the same kind of bipartisan work on trade issues with Lindsey Graham because these trade -- these job killing trade agreements are hurting our families and hurting our communities in Ohio as badly as anyplace in the country.

I'll work with John McCain on bringing down the cost of prescription drugs. I mean that's my record in the House. That's what I'll continue to do in the Senate. And people are coming to our campaign, Republicans and Independents, joining Democrats because I'm talking about the future, not doing the dirty, nasty, mudslinging campaign that we're seeing from too many people in this cycle.

KING: Are you strongly liberal though?

BROWN: I am a progressive candidate that stands up for the middle class. I want to increase the minimum wage. Mike DeWine has voted against it nine times. I'm for embryonic stem cell research. He's voted against it. I'm against these job killing trade agreements. He supports them. I want to fix No Child Left Behind. He thinks it's working just fine.

I'm in mainstream Ohio. That's why poll numbers are good. And, more importantly, that's why crowds in rural areas, suburban areas, and urban areas are coming out in large numbers for Ted Strickland for governor and for me and for this whole Democratic team because we want a different direction.

People are tired of Republican leadership in Columbus that sees state government as a piggybank for their wealthy friends and contributors and they're tired of a federal government where the drug companies and the oil industry have a stranglehold on Mike DeWine and on the United States Senate. People have had enough of that.

KING: Thank you, Congressman, good luck tomorrow. We'll be checking in with you.

BROWN: Larry, thank you. It's great to be here.

KING: Congressman Sherrod Brown.

Before I take a quick break, J.C. Watts, did Senator DeWine appear to be running away from President Bush?

WATTS: Thirty-five percent approval numbers, he might not have been running but he was skipping pretty fast.

KING: I just thought I'd ask. I thought he was running a little.

Anyway, we'll take a break and we'll be back with lots more. Don't go away.


KING: Two distinguished Americans will join us now to discuss politics 2006. In San Francisco is Markos Moulitas. He's the founder of the liberal blog site Daily Kos, it rhymes with -- Daily Kos. It rhymes with "gross." He's co-author of "Crashing the Gate: Networks, Grass Roots and the Rise of People, Power and Politics".

And in Washington is David Frum, former speech writer and special assistant to President Bush, resident fellow of the American Enterprise Institute and writes a daily column for the "National Review Online". Concerning Iraq and the election, David, we'll start with you. You're quoted in the new "Vanity Fair" as saying mea culpa characterizes neocons as turning on the Bush administration, charging that their grand designs have been undermined by White House incompetence. Have you changed, David?

DAVID FRUM, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: I have not. That's not a quotation. That's a characterization, and it's a false one. I've written about this on the National Review web site at some length.

The author of the "Vanity Fair" article -- that's a press release -- is a good friend, a man named David Rose, who's been a strong supporter of the war to free Iraq. And a lot of people in Washington who also supported the war talked to him pretty freely about our concerns to make sure that we have a war-winning strategy.

Now, the editors and publicists at "Vanity Fair" turned that into a support for their preference for a war losing strategy. I think that's a very different thing.

KING: Markos, were you against the war from the start?

MARKOS MOULITAS ZUNIGA, DAILY KOS: From the very beginning. It was obvious if you looked at the history of the region, given the geopolitical situation and what they had planned, that there was really no hope for victory from the beginning.

KING: David, what went wrong?

FRUM: What went wrong is we had a lot of defects in the American planning process. No question about that. I think we -- you know, many of the people who are advocates of a strong war policy. We had a certain amount of clout within the administration but not quite enough that -- so we were able to sort of set the war in motion. But the actual governance of the war was often entrusted to people who never really believed in it.

There are some objectively difficult factors, as well. And, you know, that Iraq turned out to be a very tough environment, that we were wrong about the amount of weapons of mass destruction the place had.

I think, though, that there's a limit of how much importance to attach to the archaeological debates. Because even if -- even if I were completely wrong, even if everything I said were false, even if the president were completely wrong, the fact is America is in Iraq now. And the only choices before the United States today are win or lose. And losing is a very bad choice always.

KING: Markos, are you saying that that reasoning compounds a wrong?

ZUNIGA: Well, absolutely. I mean, you can keep doing the same thing over and over again. And if it really leads to a path of destruction and failure, staying in longer really does not make things any better.

I mean, David talks about how they were wrong about the number of weapons of mass destruction. They weren't wrong about the number. They were wrong about the fact that there were any. They were wrong about everything that they said in the lead up. Everything -- every justification for this war was wrong.

And now they keep on this failed policy because I don't think they're strong enough, they're not tough enough to admit the fact that they were completely wrong and that doing the same thing over and over again won't get them out of this mess.

KING: David, what's the affect on the campaign, do you think?

FRUM: Well, it's obviously a very difficult effect. And yet -- and yet as we look at all kinds of polls about American public opinion, the United States is still a country committed to a war winning strategy.

There's broad support for the president's terrorist surveillance program. Depending on how exactly you ask the question, you find 45 to 55 percent of the country in favor of military action against Iran as a last resort to prevent Iran from going nuclear.

Americans do not want to lose wars. And all of us are frustrated about the course of progress in Iraq. And I include myself in Iraq. And that's what led to that "Vanity Fair" article.

Still draw that bright line, win/lose. And that is going to be -- to my mind the great ballot question tomorrow, one party wants to win, the other party is willing to accept losing.

KING: You're saying, David, the Democrats want to lose?

FRUM: No, accept it. They will accept it, because they will -- they prefer to lose rather than do what is necessary to win.

KING: Markos, how do you respond to that?

ZUNIGA: You know, we've had six years of Bush. We've had four years of war. We've had essentially government -- Republican-led government from top to bottom. They've had all this time to win.

I don't know what he's talking about when he talks about not doing the right things needed to win because they've had every opportunity. And the fact is that they cannot pull it off because there is no solution. The problem is too difficult. It's too intractable.

And really I don't think the American people want to keep losing our men and women, our sons and daughters, our mothers and fathers. We don't want to keep losing them in Iraq. We want Iraq to stand up on its own two feet. And tomorrow will decide, the elections will decide where the American people stand on this issue.

FRUM: Markos and I are in perfect agreement. I mean, he just -- he seconded it. Democrats say it's time to give up. And Republicans say, "You know what? This is too important."

ZUNIGA: That's not what I said. That's not what I said.

KING: I got to get a break, guys. Thank you both. We'll be calling on you again.

When we come back, our panel will be here, and so will Senator Rick Santorum, the incumbent senator in Pennsylvania. Don't go away.


SEN. RICK SANTORUM (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Don't believe those polls are right. We're going to win this thing on November 7!

GOV. ED RENDELL (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Our next United States Senator, Bob Casey!



KING: Welcome back to this special election eve edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

Let's go to Pittsburgh and Senator Rick Santorum, Republican of Pennsylvania. He is in the political fight of his life to retain that seat. We invited his opponent, Bob Casey, to appear, but he declined because of a scheduling conflict.

While the trailing, Senator?

SANTORUM: Well, I don't think we're going to be trailing when the polls close tomorrow. We feel a tremendous amount of momentum here in Pennsylvania.

Karen and the kids who are just standing next to me here in the hall just finished a five-day tour of Pennsylvania: 19 counties, 27 stops.

And there's an energy on the ground. The volunteer offices are full. Phone calls are being made. We definitely have the momentum in this race. And we are going to surprise a lot of people tomorrow night.

KING: Has your strong support -- has your strong support for President Bush hurt you?

SANTORUM: Well, no. I mean, I would say -- I would say that, look, the president's numbers were a factor for a long time but in the last week or so we've noticed a huge change. People are starting to look at, you know what, who's -- who's the best person to be out there to confront a very dangerous world, a world that has huge threats against us?

And you know, what they saw with the Iranian missile firing and what's going on in South America and Central America, what went on with North Korea. And then you see the irresponsibility of the Democrats who just aren't working -- trying to figure out a way to win this war. They're just trying to figure out a way to play politics with the war and try to have a strategy to get out.

Americans don't want to ignore the problem. That's what the Democrats are all about: let's ignore the problem and hope it goes away. Americans understand that if we aren't on the offense fighting them there, we're going to be on the defense fighting them here.

And that means civilian lives and military lives are going to be lost in the United States. And that's just unacceptable. I think that's going to be the difference in the race.

KING: You also know that Iraq is now an unpopular war. All the polls will tell you that. Do you continue to support it, and, if so, how damaging will that be tomorrow?

SANTORUM: Well, Larry, you may not know, but I've been out giving speeches all across Pennsylvania for over a year, talking about how we have to confront Islamic fascism in the Middle East. But this is the greatest threat that's faced this country.

I've been unabashed in saying that we need to do more, not less, in the Middle East. And I've been critical of the president, even much on the floor of the United States Senate by saying we haven't been aggressive enough on what I see as the principle problem there. And it's not Iraq; it's Iran. And we're seeing it now.

It's becoming evident to many Pennsylvanians that what I've been talking about for a year is right on. Iran is the one that's causing the problem of Iraq. Iran is the one that's funding Muqtada al-Sadr and the Badr (ph) Brigade and the Mahdi Army.

Iran is the one that's giving weapons to these people and providing military support. And they're the ones now that are, you know, firing missiles that now can reach Israel. They're the ones working with A.Q. Khan and North Korea to develop nuclear weapons. They're the ones that just let off a second centrifuge to enrich uranium.

This is a real problem. We have to confront them much more vigorously than we have.

KING: Do you need a big turnout tomorrow?

SANTORUM: We're going to get a huge turnout tomorrow. I can tell you, there's a lot of energy and enthusiasm as you heard behind me.

KING: Yes.

SANTORUM: And they are going to be out there working hard, driving out our vote. And I don't care what the polls say; we're going to win tomorrow.

KING: Thanks, Rick. Senator Rick Santorum, Republican of Pennsylvania, joining us from Pittsburgh. We'll get the panel's thoughts on him.

But first, let's go to somewhere in Virginia. Ed Henry, CNN White House correspondent, covering the Allen/Webb race.

Where are you?

ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening from Richmond, Larry.

Tonight George Allen, the incumbent, on the defensive, like Rick Santorum in a very tough battle here in Virginia. And George Allen had a rally here in Richmond. He's not getting a large crowd. He had about 250 people for his final rally.

His Democratic opponent, Jim Webb, on the other side of the state actually had former president, Bill Clinton, come in. Police officials estimate that rally to have some 5,000 to 6,000 people.

Part of it has to do with enthusiasm for Webb on the issue of Iraq. He's somebody who's a Vietnam veteran. He wears combat boots on the campaign trail, his son's combat boots, because he's serving currently in Iraq. And he's been calling for a new course with the war.

Senator Allen now recently has been doing that, as well. And has been saying there's been a lack of progress in Iraq. In fact, tonight Senator Allen taking an extraordinary step, buying two minutes of airtime all across the commonwealth of Virginia, saying mistakes have been made in Iraq but urging voters to give him another chance, another six years to try to turn this around.

What's also quite interesting, I talked to a senior person in the Allen camp tonight who said he realizes this could go either way. They're going to bed tonight not really sure whether they're going to pull it out.

I talked to a more junior person in the Allen campaign, who actually thinks the senator is going to lose and was already saying he feels the campaign did not handle a lot of the early mistakes like that infamous "Macaca" moment that sparked charges of racism.

So other officials in the Allen camp more optimistic, but this is going to be a very difficult final 24 hours here for Senator Allen and very tight race, Larry.

KING: Thanks, Ed.

Let's go to Missouri. Jonathan Freed of CNN covering the crucial Missouri Senate race between GOP Senator Jim Talent and Democrat Claire McCaskill.

How does it look, Jonathan?

JONATHAN FREED, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Larry, it looks very, very close. All the polls are either putting this in a dead heat or even polls that are showing the Democrats slightly ahead. It's still within the margin of error of those polls.

So when you talk to the Talent people on camera, of course, they're going to say, no, we're feeling momentum, we think we're going to get there. Off camera people everybody shrugging and saying, look, this is a dead heat.

And because of that, Larry, it's coming down to turnout. It's always about turnout. But in this case, everybody you get to the polls could really make that difference when a race is this close -- Larry.

KING: Thanks, Mr. Freed, covering things as well. He'll be there all day tomorrow.

One quick question before we go to break. David, why is Rick Santorum in such trouble?

GERGEN: He's in such trouble because he's so closely aligned with a very unpopular war. And you know, he says we've got to win in Iraq. Of course, we've got to win in Iraq.

But people think we don't have a strategy for victory. And they think we're losing the war. And he's not willing to back away from that. He's wrapped himself around that.

KING: He turns tonight, Jim, to Iran?

JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I thought that was the strangest thing I've seen. He's not talking about Pennsylvania in that case. He's talking about Iran. I'm sitting there -- I'm very close to the case. I'm like, boy, I'm not too worried about this one. He took off on Iran.

KING: I've got to get a break. But I want...

J.C. WATTS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I would also say that being against Rick Santorum's plan is not a plan.

GERGEN: That's true. That's true.

CARVILLE: That's right.

WATTS: So if we're going to be critical of Rick for saying he's aligned with a very unpopular war, which I will buy that. But the fact is what is the alternative?

GERGEN: J.C., that's not what I said.

WATTS: No, that's what I'm saying.

GERGEN: I know.

WATTS: That's what I'm saying.

KING: We've got to get a break. We'll come back with our panel and Ken Mehlman, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, next. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For all of us, every single one of us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're in the middle of a national campaign.



KING: Joining us now from Washington, Ken Mehlman, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, who said earlier on CNN that he sees momentum coming from where, Ken?

KEN MEHLMAN, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Well, there are a number of measures that have indicated it, Larry. There were four recent polls that came out in the last day that all show Republican momentum, that show the generic ballot improving. One of them, the Pew poll, shows Republicans more enthusiastic than Democrats.

I think that you're also seeing it at the grass roots level in Arizona, in California, in Maryland and in Florida. Republicans are turning in absentee ballots and early voting at a higher rate than they are in the overall population. And you're seeing a tremendous amount of grass roots energy in the states.

KING: Might it be, Ken, too late?

MEHLMAN: Well, obviously, we're going to find out tomorrow. I don't think it will be. I think, Larry, what ultimately happened in the last week, and Senator Santorum alluded to part of it, was people focused on a number of important things. They focused on Iran testing long-range missiles. They focused on the Saddam Hussein verdict that came out yesterday. The "New York Times" story revealing Saddam's scientists, in fact, were -- had the knowledge and intent to develop a nuclear program.

All of these things, I think, remind us we're in a very dangerous war. And when you think about that and you then say, OK, on the one side of the aisle are folks who have been in favor, generally, of tools like the Patriot Act and the surveillance program and interrogation and missile defense.

And on the other side, most Democrats have been against those tools. And I think that's an important difference.

KING: Are you -- well, I'll use the word. Are you giving up on the House?

MEHLMAN: Absolutely not. Not in the least. I haven't given up on it at all. I think there's a tremendous opportunity in the House. There's an incredible number of races that are jump ball races. You were mentioning a couple of those Senate races. The same thing is true in the House. And while the six-year itch is obviously tough to deal with and has been all year, nevertheless, I think that tomorrow the voters are going to speak.

KING: What are you going to look for early?

MEHLMAN: Well, it's going to be hard to say. You know, you've got two states that are going to report pretty early. The two first states to close are Indiana and Kentucky. And those are both states where Republicans have a number of seats we have to defend.

It's going to be hard to extrapolate from them to other states. But obviously, you look at a lot of different factors. There are a number of states in the east. Maryland has a very exciting Senate race.

I'm from Maryland originally, and the Michael Steele candidacy is one that is incredibly exciting to me as someone who's worked very hard to try to make sure our party, the African-American community, restore our historic bonds.

KING: We'll be checking with you all day and all night -- and all night tomorrow, Ken.

MEHLMAN: I'll look forward to it.

KING: Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Wolf, briefly tell us what you're going to be covering tomorrow before I join you at midnight, when you're all washed up.

BLITZER: Waiting for the results, the actual results to come in. That's going to be the most exciting thing. I think once the polls close, whether in Indiana or Kentucky at 7 p.m. or some other states at 8 p.m. Some states close on the half hour, 7:30 or 8:30. We will be able to then report on the exit polls from those states, some of the early results.

KING: Reporting what the exit polls tell you or projecting, as well?

BLITZER: Right. And we may be able to project winners as early as the top of each hour, bottom of each hour. We're not going to project anything until everyone has had a chance to vote in those stats and the balloting is done in a state.

But we will -- we will be very, very precise. We'll be very careful. And if it's too close to call or if there's any doubt we're not going to project a winner.

KING: I'll see you at midnight.

BLITZER: Definitely.

KING: Thanks, Wolf. We'll be back with our panel. Anderson Cooper will join us, as well. Don't go away.


KING: We're in our remaining moments. Anderson Cooper joins us. He will, of course, take over at the top of the hour for the AC 360 part of this election coverage, and he will be part of the whole panel tomorrow during the day.

And you look forward to this?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: It's going to be amazing. My first time with this kind of an election with the mid-term elections.

Also, I mean, the big question for me is what happens Wednesday? What happens Thursday? I mean, if analysts think they're voting for change, they want some sort of a change. How much of a change is really possible, you know? I mean, what can the Democrats really do and what can President Bush really do?

KING: You have a stalemate, don't you David?

GERGEN: I don't think you necessarily have a stalemate. Yes, it's going to be a lot of jockeying for '08. But I do think you can get an immigration bill through that was blocked in a Republican House. And that the president wants. And I also think you can get something done on energy.

COOPER: Iraq, though? Do Democrats withhold funding? Does President Bush decide to compromise?

GERGEN: We're going to have huge fights over Iraq. I mean, if the president is going to insist on keeping Don Rumsfeld and staying the course, then there's going to be a huge fight. With a lot of Republicans opposing the president, too.

KING: He worked with people well in Texas, though, Bush, when he had a divided legislature, didn't he?

WATTS: Well, he did. But, Larry, things are going to be so close. There's not going to be a lot of separation in the House nor the Senate. Trying to get things done is going to be brutal, trying to govern for whomever is in the majority.

KING: Got about a minute left. Forecast, James?

CARVILLE: Going to be a real good night for the Democrats. Further north they go from 30 seats to more likely to take the Senate. Closer they get to 20, the less likely they take the Senate.

KING: They definitely take the House?



WATTS: I don't think they'll do 30. I agree with that assessment. If they do the Senate's in trouble. But I think it's all going to be determined by the intensity of the turnout. Mehlman alluded to it, Santorum alluded to it. And I think that's what Republicans are putting their hopes on.

KING: Mr. Gergen.

GERGEN: The Democrats definitely take the House. I think it's somewhere above 20. I thought until recently that they would not take the Senate. I'm moving now -- especially after hear that surprise report tonight on your show about Virginia, about Allen only having 250 people out there for his final rally and this drooping quality to his campaign. I think for the first time the Democrats have a really fighting chance to take the Senate, too.

KING: Thank, you gentlemen. We'll be seeing some of you late tomorrow night when we take over at midnight. And we'll be coming to you from Los Angeles at midnight, 9 Pacific.

Right now, we'll turn the tables over to Mr. Cooper.


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