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Final Push to Election Day; Power Returns for Some

Aired November 4, 2012 - 07:00   ET


RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: From CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING.

It is mile 26 and the marathon has become a sprint. The candidates' final push to get your vote.

The power is coming back and the gas is on the way, but some of Sandy's victims are saying they're being ignored, and plunging temperatures are creating panic.


GLORIA STEINEM, FEMINIST ICON: We talk about women as a social issue. Excuse me? You know, half the population are not a social issue.


KAYE: She says it's dangerous war on U.S. soil and it could be decided by Tuesday's election. My exclusive interview with feminist icon Gloria Steinem.


KAYE: It is Sunday, November 4th. Good morning, everyone. I'm Randi Kaye. Glad you're with us.

We start this morning with the presidential election now just two days away.

President Obama and Mitt Romney seem to be trying to squeeze every last frequent flyer mile out of this campaign. They've got a combined 16 stops in eight states left to go before heading home. And we'll be there for all of it. Our correspondents are spread across the states to bring you all the up-to-date developments. So be sure to keep it right here.

The flurry of campaign activity means it's a close race, right? Yes, you could say that. This new ABC News/"Washington Post" poll came out just after midnight. Take a look here. It shows likely voters evenly split, 48 percent to 48 percent.

And here's what voters said if they had a favorable impression of the candidates. President Obama, 54 percent, and you see it there, Mitt Romney, 53 percent. The last time we saw numbers like this, an incumbent without a sizeable lead was 1992 when George H.W. Bush lost to Bill Clinton.

It has been a hurried pace for the candidates and for our correspondents as well. CNN political editor Paul Steinhauser joins me now from his home base in Washington.

Yesterday, Paul, you were in Pennsylvania covering a Paul Ryan rally. What do you think the message is now for the challengers?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: For the challengers, we're hearing something about change -- change and change. Remember four years ago, then-Senator Obama ran on the mantle of hope and change. Well, you're hearing a lot about change from Mitt Romney. He finished up last night, a very busy day. He finished up in Colorado, at a big rally out there. Colorado, of course, another one of those eight battleground states we keep talking about.

And what Mitt Romney is saying, do you want another four years of under President Obama or do you want a little bit different? Here's part of what he said.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Change can't be measured in speeches. It is measured in achievements. And four years ago, four years ago, candidate Obama promise to do so very much, but he's fallen so very short. You recall. He promised he'd be a post- partisan president but he's been most partisan -- dividing, attacking, blaming.


STEINHAUSER: You know, at this late hour here it's all about the ground game. It's all about the campaigns making sure their supporters actually vote. And, Randi, we heard from both campaigns yesterday. The Obama campaign telling us they've reached to 125 million people over the course of this election cycle. The Romney campaign saying they've reached out to 50 million people since they wrapped up the nomination back in April.

We'll see which campaign had the better get out the vote efforts. I guess when the results coming on Tuesday.

KAYE: Yes. And certainly, they're focusing more on the swing states in these final two dates. How are some of those races shaping up?

STEINHAUSER: Well, we've got some brand new polls came out just a couple of hours ago in the two of those swing states.

Let's start with Iowa. Of course, Iowa out with six electoral votes. And you can see right here, the president with a five-point advantage. This is according to a "Des Moines Register" poll out last night. They're considered the gold standard in Iowa.

And NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll also Iowa a couple of days ago, also had the president with an advantage. Remember, Iowa gave the president his first big victory in the Iowa caucuses back in 2008, launched him towards the White House. He ends his campaign tomorrow night in Iowa.

And let's look at New Hampshire, a state very important to Mitt Romney. That's where he launched his campaign about a year and a half ago. It's dead even there according to a WMUR, Granite State poll.

We also saw it pretty much all tied up in an NBC/"Wall Street Journal"/Marist poll a few days ago.

Where does Mitt Romney wrap up his campaign? New Hampshire -- Randi.

KAYE: Well, we wanted an exciting race. I think we got one, don't you think?

STEINHAUSER: Yes, we do. Yes, we do.

KAYE: All right. Paul Steinhauser, we'll be checking back with you. Thank you.

All right. We saw the latest polls in Iowa and New Hampshire. Both of those states are on Mitt Romney's calendar in these last two days. Today, Romney starts out in Des Moines, Iowa, then it's on to Cleveland, Ohio, Morrisville, Pennsylvania, and finally, Newport News, Virginia. He hits New Hampshire on Monday.

Revenge was the topic, with all new talking points this weekend during their final stretch.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, at the time the Republican Congress, and a Senate candidate by the name of Mitt Romney --


OBAMA: No, no, no. Don't boo. Vote. Vote. Vote. Voting's the best revenge.

ROMNEY: You know, yesterday the president said something you may have already heard that I found troubling, spoke to an audience and said voting is the best revenge.


ROMNEY: He's asking his -- he's asking his supporters to vote for revenge. I'm asking you to vote for love of country.


KAYE: President Obama is hitting the trail again in a few hours with another Democratic heavyweight by his side, former President Bill Clinton. The two will campaign in New Hampshire. President Obama also stops today in Florida, Ohio, and Colorado. Our White House correspondent Dan Lothian is live in New Hampshire for us this morning.

Good morning, Dan.

So, what is Bill Clinton's role for Obama in these final days. How much weight does he carry?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, the campaign does believe he carries a lot of weight, that he's an effective messenger of the president's vision, of the president's accomplishments over the last four years, and so he's campaigning for the president not only here in New Hampshire, but also in North Carolina, Minnesota, heads to Pennsylvania tomorrow. He's been all across those battleground states over the last few weeks.

Remember when the president pulled off the campaign trail for three days to focus on hurricane Sandy, it was former President Bill Clinton who was out there laying out the president's vision for the next four years but also going after Governor Mitt Romney. So they believe he's an effective voice, someone who can really sort of lay out what the president has done and what he plans to do in a very clear way for voters and to potentially sway those undecided voters at this point.

Now, as for President Obama, he will continue hammering away at former -- at Governor Mitt Romney today. The closing argument for the president is that he is the trustworthy leader, and despite the fact that Mitt Romney has been trying to cast himself as the agent of change, the president saying that Mitt Romney is, quote, "a talented salesman".

Obviously, though, there is the reality that there are a lot of Americans out there, including some of the Democratic Party, who are not pleased completely with what the president has accomplished over the last four years. The president realizes that, he talks about it there in his stump speeches, but he says he has been working very hard for the American people. He made a promise to pull out of Iraq, to wind down the war in Afghanistan, to pass health care reform. He said he delivered on that and he plans to deliver on better education for young people and a host of other issues that he believes he can accomplish if he's given another four years, Randi.

KAYE: And he has the help of star power on the campaign trail as well, right? Dave Matthews?

LOTHIAN: That's right. And we saw John Cougar Mellencamp, Katy Perry will be out there performing for the president. Stevie Wonder, Jay-Z even will be appearing with the president as well.

Why are these big acts so important? Well, the campaign believes, number one, it will bring people out to these events and energize them not only at the rallies but also to go back to their neighborhoods and encourage folks to go out and vote. So that's the reason they have this star-studded lineup, to really energize voters in these final hours of the campaign. KAYE: Dan Lothian for us, live in New Hampshire this morning. Dan, thank you. One of our many correspondents all over the country for us this weekend.

With Ohio being one of the key states, Obama and Romney are battling to win, voting rights advocates are already raising some concerns. It follows a report in "The Columbus Free Speech" that Ohio Secretary of State John Husted ordered experimental software patches to be installed in vote machines in 39 counties. The software has the potential to affect more than 4 million registered voters, including those in Columbus and Cleveland. "The Free Press" says the software was never certified or tested.

CNN's Don Lemon spoke to Husted last night and gave him a chance to respond to those allegations.


JON HUSTED (R), OHIO SECRETARY OF STATE: We have a new system, all we have to do is load the data into that election reporting system. And actually, it's so -- it's so -- the reporting system and the actual counting system are not connected in any way, and the results that anybody can get in their home on the computer, they're going to get them the same time I do on election night. So, we have a very transparent system that's brand new and will help people across this country and across the world frankly look right at our Web site and find out what's going on.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: So nothing fishy going on.

HUSTED: Nothing fishy going on.


KAYE: Husted also said that 1.6 million early votes have already been cast in Ohio. That tops the 1.4 million from 2008. Early voting continues now through Monday.

And a programming note: be sure to join our Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer as they take a close at the candidates' final push before the election, in "America's Choice 2012: Countdown to Election Day". That's tonight at 8:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.

Well, life is slowly returning to normal for those affected by superstorm Sandy. In New Jersey this morning, four more rail lines will be up and running, and power is being restored in more neighborhoods across the Northeast. Just listen to how people reacted when the lights came on in New York.




(END VIDEO CLIP) KAYE: And Mayor Bloomberg says 90 percent of New York's subways should be working by today. That will make life easier.

But about 2 million people are still in the dark and becoming increasingly frustrated. Temperatures dipped into the 30th last night and a lot of people still don't have heat. Bloomberg toured one of the hardest hit areas of Queens. That's the Rockaways.

He warned people the cold can be deadly and has advised people to take advantage of the shelters.

Another problem from the power outages. Seventy percent of gas stations in some areas can't pump gas. Despite New Jersey's gas rationing, people are waiting still in long lines and some aren't finding any gasoline at all.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's nothing there.

REPORTER: Nothing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The gas stations were open but the lines are way around the corner and the ones that were open we got to, it's to late. They were closed up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm standing in line for eight hours. It's ridiculous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the lines are absurd.


KAYE: The federal government has shipped some 12 million gallons of unleaded gas and 10 million gallons of diesel to the Northeast. And the Defense Department sent out five emergency mobile gas stations and gave out ten free gallons of gas to each person.

New Jersey among the hardest hit areas by hurricane Sandy, now making special arrangements for voters who can't get to the polls.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While Sandy has had many tragic consequences for many in the present, we also need to take this time to reflect on the important moments in this election cycle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What points do you think are the most important to reflect on?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first of the three presidential debates. Do you remember that? Remember that, the first one? The first one, oh, boy, oh, boy, oh, boy, whoa, what a feeling that night, huh?


KAYE: Well, New Jersey has come up with a plan to help voters as the state recovers from superstorm Sandy. Registered voters who have been displaced by the storm and first responders can now vote by email and fax. Voters can request an electronic ballot from their county clerk's office but the storm won't affect the voting deadline. Votes still must be in by 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

Just two days to go and the candidates are neck and neck. But it's not just about the popular vote but the Electoral College as well, the 538 votes that will decide this election. But who are those mysterious voters and does the system really represent everyone?

To talk about this, I want to bring in Curtis Gans. He's the director of nonpartisan Center for the Study of the American Electorate.

Curtis, good morning.


KAYE: Explain briefly how the Electoral College works.

GANS: Well, what we do in this country is we're length our president by virtue of the majorities of votes cast in each state. When you're voting in each state, you're casting electors for that state. The electors are essentially the congressional delegation, the two senators and however many represents you have. That's how many votes you win if you win the state.

KAYE: So some critics that talk about this and spend some time focusing on this, they say that the Electoral College is outdated, that it really doesn't represent how Americans vote. I know you're against abolishing the Electoral College.

So, why is that?

GANS: Why am I against abolishing the Electoral College? Because if you had a close election like we had in 2000, you would not have to recount one state like Florida. You'd have to recount 130 million votes across the nation. If you had a direct election, you could get somebody elected with a plurality of no more than 30 percent of the vote. If you had a direct election, you would have, by necessity, a national media campaign in which there'd be no incentive for grassroots activity or coalition building.

The problem with the Electoral College as it presently operates is it's not the Electoral College per se, by the winner takes all system of choosing electors, which essentially means only about 18 states get a campaign. You have to change that.

KAYE: So let's talk about the popular vote versus the electoral. I mean, just like we saw in 2000, a candidate can still lose the popular vote and win the presidency. You don't think that needs to change? GANS: No, I don't think that needs to change. Our republic has survived with that happening four times. I'm not sure it would survive a 100-day recount or low plurality president or a national media campaign which will inflict all the ads that people are now getting in limited number of states to all states. I don't think the country would survive very well without grassroots activity and without coalition voting. That's what would happen with the direct election.

There is other ways. You know, we could elect our electors proportionally which would put an incentive for both parties to go into every state because they would have something to gain or we could do it as it now exists in Nebraska and Maine, which if you win the popular vote in the state, you only get the two electors representing the Senate. You have to win the rest by congressional district.

Either, you would put most of the states in play in the way that they're not now.

KAYE: Curtis Gans, appreciate your time this morning. Thank you.

GANS: Thank you.

KAYE: Confusion and controversy, and we're still two days from Election Day. Already, allegations that some groups are intimidating and influencing people at the polling place.


KAYE: Welcome back.

Jerusalem is a city rich in culture and heritage and CNN producer Elise Labott shows us we're shown that it's a fabulous one of a kind- market. Here's this week's "Travel Insider."


ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Jerusalem's old city is famous for its history and culture. But I love to come to the Mahane Yehuda Market on Jaffa Street. This is where you're going to find the real taste and smells of Israel.

Outside the market, you have the freshest fruits and vegetables. The produce in this country is really incredible.

And inside the market, they have all these breads and sweets and dried fruits and nuts and all these great nibbly things that they call bissets (ph) here. There's also a whole alley of different restaurants where people can come and eat lunch.

But the thing I like the most about this market is you can find Israelis and Palestinians from all walks of life here. No matter what the divisions are in this country, everyone can agree on one thing: good food.

Elise Labott, CNN, Jerusalem.


KAYE: A suspect in the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya is expected to be questioned by the FBI in the coming days. The U.S. first became aware of Ali Ani al-Harzi when he apparently posted details of the September 11th attack on social media while it was happening. He's said to be connected to extremist groups in North Africa.

Turkish s officials first detained al Harzi when he entered their country. He now remains in custody in his home country of Tunisia.

The New York nanny accused of brutally killing the two children she was caring for had been charged with first and second-degree murder. Fifty-year-old Yoselyn Ortega fatally 6-yeawr-old Lucia Krim and her 1-year-old brother Leo with a kitchen knife at the family's Upper West Side apartment. She then tried to kill herself.

The children's mother walked in on the gruesome scene and called the police. The nanny is recovering under guard in a New York hospital from her self-inflicted wounds.

President Obama picked up a key endorsement just two days before Election Day.


KAYE: Welcome back and thanks for starting your morning with us. I'm Randi Kaye. It is now half past the hour.

And here are some stories that we're watching this morning. We start with the presidential election now just two days away. President Obama and Mitt Romney seem to be trying to squeeze every last frequent flyer mile out of this campaign. They've got a combined 16 stops in eight states before heading home.

President Obama kicks off his Sunday in Concord, New Hampshire, then it's on to Florida, Ohio, and a final stop in Colorado just after midnight.

And here is where Mitt Romney is going. He starts in Des Moines, then, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and then Virginia. You can count on us to be there every step of the way.

Mitt Romney ended his day yesterday in Colorado at the rally in Englewood. He had an admission about day one of a Romney presidency.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: When I'm elected, the economy and American jobs will still be stagnant, of course, but I won't waste any time complaining about my predecessor.

From day one, I'm going to go to work to help Americans get back to work. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KAYE: Another big named endorsement for the president. He's now got the support of Israel's oldest newspaper. "Haaretz", which is actually liberal-leaning, says Obama is good for Israel. Quote, "The outcome of the elections will be determined by the voter's decision as to which of the two candidates is good for America. But if any of them are vacillating in their vote over whether Obama has been a good president for Israel, the answer is yes."

Kind words by a big paper but the endorsement is expected to have little effect on the voters here in the U.S.

And in President Obama's sprint to head a toss-up state this weekend. He made a stop in Wisconsin where he urged supporters to stick with him even if they sometimes have a difference of opinion.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You may not agree with every decision I've made. Sometimes you may have been frustrated by the pace of change, but you know where I stand. You know what I believe. You know I mean what I say, and I say what I mean.


KAYE: And recent poll of polls of Wisconsin shows the president with a seven-point lead over Governor Romney there.

And overnight, newly released national polls are highlighting just how close this race is going to be. A new ABC News/"Washington Post" poll came out just after midnight. You see it there. It shows likely voters evenly split 48 to 48.

And when voters were asked if they had a favorable impression of the candidates, the numbers are still neck and neck, President Obama with 54 percent, Mitt Romney, 53 percent.

Early voting has come to a close in many states, but Sandy- ravaged New Jersey is allowing registered voters to email, even fax in their ballots. With so many new rules on early voting, voter ID and provisional ballot, the use of poll monitors is growing. But the new rules are also creating confusion over the role and responsibilities those monitors actually have.

CNN's crime and justice correspondent Joe Johns explains.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Long lines in south Florida and in Cincinnati, Ohio, as early voting comes to a close, and those aren't the only crowd this hotly contested election has attracted.

ERIC MARSHALL, ELECTION PROTECTION: Ten thousand grassroots and legal volunteers across the country in election country. CHRISTIAN ADAMS, TRUE THE VOTE: Everywhere. They're going to be everywhere. They've trained people in 50 states to legally poll watch.

JOHNS: Lawyer and poll watch of all political stripes descending on Ohio and across the country in search of any issues that need to be challenged.

MARSHALL: We're looking for long lines that might be the result of machines breaking down, poll workers that might be asking the wrong question, asking for ID when they shouldn't be.

JOHNS: Groups like the left leaning Election Protection have been training for weeks so they're ready to respond to any problems at the polls in real time.

MARSHALL: With all the changes nationally in the voting laws, I think we're prepared for there to be a significant amount of confusion on Election Day.

JOHNS: But controversy over how they do their job, poll watching has become part of the business.

(on camera): What do you think of the election protection people?

ADAMS: Look, they have problems.

JOHNS (voice-over): Former Justice Department lawyer Christian Adams now represents True the Vote, a Tea Party-affiliated vote with a simple goal.

ADAMS: Free and fair elections. True the Vote stands with election integrity. Follow the law, period.

JOHNS: But True the Vote has real critics of their own from the left.

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: True to Vote has been stay it is likely challenged the voting rights of legitimate voters we must address anybody who tries to deny anybody that right to vote and I consider it criminal. I consider it unpatriotic and I think -- and highly offensive.

JOHNS: A claim Adams does not take likely.

ADAMS: They're liars. They're bearing false witness against law-abiding citizens who are doing no more than observing the process, and they should be ashamed of themselves.

JOHNS: Whatever the election watchers find, it may ultimately be up to super lawyers like Ted Olson to determine whether to go to court. Olson, a Romney adviser, led Republicans to victory from a Supreme Court battle between George W. Bush and Al Gore in 2000.

THEODORE OLSON, 2000 BUSH CAMPAIGN LAWYER: I'm clearing my calendar just in case I need to be ready for the next five weeks.

JOHNS: He says if elections officials want to avoid litigation, they shouldn't change direction in the middle of the game.

OLSON: If you follow the rules that were in place on Election Day with respect to counting the ballots, then the presumptive outcome will be respected when the Electoral College votes are counted.

JOHNS (on camera): But the truth is there could be other changes to the rules especially as states affected by the superstorm get ready for the election.

Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.


KAYE: And tonight a program note: CNN's Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer are taking a closer look at where the candidates are focusing their attention and whether the battleground states might hold any surprises. "America's Choice 2012: Countdown to Election Day" airs tonight at 8:00 Eastern.

People in many of the smaller coastal towns devastated by superstorm Sandy depend on summer tourism to survive. But the storm ripped apart boardwalks, flooded businesses, and destroyed many homes. And all the sand from the beautiful beachfront was washed away or even mixed with nails and debris. And now, people are focused on rebuilding.

CNN's Jim Clancy is in Belmar, New Jersey, an area that was flooded a few days ago.

Jim, good morning.

Are you noticing any progress? I mean, is the power back on there?

JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Belmar -- come on, Randi. This is a place that you know very, very well, up close and personal. And as you can see, the trucks are here, there's the mounds of sand.

This, of course, for our viewers, there used to be more than a mile of beautiful boardwalk here. This is really one of the jewels of the entire Jersey Shore. It was ripped out by the force of hurricane Sandy and now because it's a bowl here, they're having to pump water from inland lakes to get it back into the sea, drain that, allow the residents to come back to their homes. They still don't have power yet, Randi. They don't think they'll have it until next Friday.

So, people are really cold out there. They're shivering a little bit. But at the same time, they're thankful for what they have. They're having a mass today to honor the first responders who risked so much to ensure the safety of everyone, not only here in Belmar, but right up and down the entire Jersey Shore. I want to bring in somebody, though, to talk about the issue. You were talking about with Joe Johns. Jennifer Nicolay is a councilwoman here in the borough of Belmar.

What you're going to do on Election Day? How people are going to vote?

JENNIFER NICOLAY, COUNCILWOMAN, BELMAR: What's funny, we were full force for the election about a week ago, for a couple of months, going door to door for the election. Now we're going door to door for other reasons, obviously, trying to help some people out. Not until yesterday, do we realize that the election is tomorrow.

So we've been prepared to bring in -- well, we did. We brought in the voting booths. They're being held in our borough hall for all districts. And they're even allowing people to email their votes in. We do have a lot of residents out of town. They're able to do that.

Hopefully, it will be like any other normal day where people vote and go back to their normal lives as far as --

CLANCY: You're going to go to the mass. You're going to be headed to the mass?

NICOLAY: Absolutely, absolutely. We're going to the mass to honor our first responders, the bishop will be there. And from what it seems like, anybody that's in town that's able to get there will attend. It's very important.

CLANCY: Jennifer, thank you so much for joining us. Good luck in the election. Jennifer is a candidate as well, but she's not as worried about that.

NICOLAY: Thank you.

CLANCY: I'm going to turn it back to you, Randi.

KAYE: And, Jim, as you know, I was up there this week along with you. You can really see the town pulling together. But a lot of people were wondering, you know, what are they going to do about voting? So how are they getting word out?

I saw some councilmen going around in canoes and kayaks. Have you seen any of that?

CLANCY: As I understand, though, there's going to be generators that are going to enable them to cast ballots there. And as Jennifer was telling us, they can use fax. They can use email. I don't know exactly how that's going to work, but at least they're going to try.

KAYE: Yes.

CLANCY: Back to you.

KAYE: All right. Jim Clancy for us in Belmar -- Jim, thank you. It is a war being fought on U.S. soil. And feminist icon Gloria Steinem says it could be lost Tuesday night. The stakes and the victims, next.

But, first, as we head down the home stretch of the presidential campaign, we wanted to look at the closest races in election history. We're not talking vote counts or percentages. Just electoral votes since that's what decides presidential elections.

Here's our top four list. It starts George W. Bush and Al Gore in 2000. That was the fourth closest race. The disputed Florida vote went Bush's way, giving him the win by just five electoral votes.

Number three, it's three. 1796, John Adams became our second president with a narrow win over Thomas Jefferson. Adams served two terms before Jefferson became the third president.

After the break, the two closest races.


KAYE: Welcome back to our countdown of the closest presidential races of all time. These are just by electoral votes.

Number two, the margin was just one electoral vote, Rutherford B. Hayes beat Samuel Tilden in 1876. Still actually won the popular vote there by more than 250,000 votes.

And finally the closest race of all -- drum roll, please -- it wasn't that close really. In 1824, Andrew Jackson beat John Quincy Adams by 15 electoral votes. But with four bona fide candidates in the race, Jackson's total didn't top the 50 percent threshold. So, it went to a vote by the House of Representatives. Adams won that vote and became the sixth president of the United States. Jackson crushed him, though, four years later.

A bit of history for you this morning.

Legendary American feminist and author Gloria Steinem is leading the fight to stop the war on women. That fight is also the cover story of "Ms. Magazine", the publication that she cofounded. I had a chance to speak with Gloria Steinem yesterday about how she defines the war on women. And yes, she had a whole lot to say.


STEINEM: And what it means is first controlling reproduction. You know, we're accustomed in this country to talking about production. We forget that controlling reproduction is even more important. So it would put women's bodies under literally government control with the human life amendment.

It's also about refusing to support equal pay, which is quite astounding, because I don't remember any presidential candidate who at least verbally has not agreed to support equal pay. And it is also interfering with such things as the Violence Against Women Act, even though in actual fact more women have been killed by their husbands or boyfriends since 9/11 than Americans were killed in 9/11, Iraq, and Afghanistan combined, and yet they have refused to extend the Violence Against Women Act.

And so -- yes?

KAYE: I wanted to show you this poll, though, from earlier this month of the most important issue for women in this election, and at the very top, if you can see it there, it's abortion, 39 percent, with jobs and health care far below.

You've been traveling across the country. Does that surprise you? Is that in line with what you're hearing from women as far as their concerns?

STEINEM: Yes. No, it is in line, and that's why I put controlling reproduction first, because the human life amendment, which is supported by Romney and Ryan in the platform, would declare the fertilized egg to be a person, and that means that women's bodies throughout our childbearing years would be under government control.

But also remember that one in three American women has needed an abortion at some time in her life before she's 45. Most of those women who have needed abortions are already mothers. So they absolutely understand that it's important that every child is born, loved, and wanted.


KAYE: And you can check out the rest of that interview and more of my guest on my blog. Just log on to

Have you heard about the controversial film "SEAL Team Six"? It is about the Osama bin Laden raid and it premieres tonight on Nat Geo. Critics say it's timing is political, a move to help the president just two days before the election. And it's also raising eyebrows, the films backer as well.

Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, a big time Democratic donor, contacted by CNN. Weinstein the idea that the film has a political agenda, saying it's about history.

Well, next hour we will take a deeper look at the controversy surrounding "SEAL Team Six."

Looking to shift the balance of power, Republicans hope to make major gains in the Senate but massive missteps could derail those plans. We'll take a look.


KAYE: Welcome back, everyone. Ten minutes now before the hour.

Big races coming up in the House and Senate. The entire House and one-third of the Senate seats are in play.

CNN's Athena Jones takes a closer look at the Senate and the balance of power.


ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Randi, the Senate is going to have to tackle some big issues in the coming months, like how to reach a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff? A series of tax increases and spending cuts next year that could threaten the economic recovery. All that means that that the balance of power matters.

(voice-over): In the Republican wave of 2010, Democrats lost control of the House, but they kept the Senate. Democrats control 53 seats in the 100-member chamber. Republicans need four to take over if President Obama wins re-election. Three if Governor Mitt Romney wins. Since a Vice President Paul Ryan would serve as the tiebreaker, 33 seats are up for grabs.

SHIRA TOEPLITZ, ROLL CALL: It's possible, although it's looking increasingly unlikely that Republicans will be able to gain control of the Senate.

JONES: Why is that? For one thing, there's Maine Republican Olympia Snowe's unexpected retirement from a body she described as hopelessly partisan. Republicans will likely lose that seat.

Then there are the self-inflicted wounds like this comment from Republican Todd Akin who is running in Missouri.

REP. TODD AKIN (R), MISSOURI: I it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.

JONES: Those words sparked an outcry, putting a victory over Democrat Claire McCaskill, a top GOP target in doubt.

TOEPLITZ: That one was kind of a gimme. That was the one they thought they could win no matter what. Because he said those comments, that race is very much in play.

JONES: And then there was this remark by Indiana Republican Richard Mourdock, explaining why he opposes abortion even in cases of rape.

RICHARD MOURDOCK (R), INDIANA SENATE CANDIDATE: Life is a gift from God, and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.

JONES: GOP operatives say that statement while inarticulate is in line with the feelings of many conservative voters.

Still, it may have opened the door for his Democratic opponent Joe Donnelly.

STUART ROTHENBERG, ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT: Now, again, a misstatement, a misstep, and suddenly his election is really in doubt. JONES: It's too close to call in Massachusetts where liberal favorite Elizabeth Warren, the former Obama administration consumer advocate, is trying to win back the seat Republican Scott Brown won in 2010. Polls show Warren up by four.

And polls in Virginia have the Democrat, former Governor Tim Kaine, leading former Republican Senator George Allen by just two points.

With races all tied up many places like Nevada, Arizona, Montana, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Connecticut, it could be a nail-biter on Tuesday night.

(on camera): Now, Democrats say they are cautiously optimistic about their prospects. While a Republican official said recently Romney has to win for us to win the Senate -- Randi.


KAYE: Athena Jones, thank you very much.

And now back to the presidential race. It is a full court press for the swing states. Next hour, we'll take you to the heart of the smallest battleground and see how just a few electoral votes can have a very big impact.


KAYE: Grueling surgeries, a month-long coma and nearly losing her ability to sing, CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta shares the story of a 27-year-old who found a new voice after two double lung transplants.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Charity Tillemann-Dick to sing is to live.

She's performed on some of the most prestigious stages in the United States and Europe.

CHARITY TILLEMANN-DICK, SINGER: Singing gave me something that I could throw myself into that I loved, and that I could do and there was a prospect of losing that and losing my life.

GUPTA: That's because in 2004, Charity was diagnosed with a rare lung disease. It's called pulmonary hypertension. It's a serious disease that causes blood vessels carrying blood from the heart to the lung to harden. For five years, she was able to manage it with medication. But eventually, her lungs became too weak.

TILLEMANN-DICK: I was in the hospital. I still didn't think I needed the transplant until one night, my doctor came in and he said, "Charity, you can't wait anymore. You're going to die if you don't get a transplant now." GUPTA: The operation was grueling. Recovery was even harder. She was in a coma for more than a month. Rehab for several more. But, eventually, she made it back to the stage, sharing her voice with the world at Lincoln Center.

TILLEMANN-DICK: I went on stage, and I sang, and it was everything that I imagined.

GUPTA: But the euphoria didn't last.

TILLEMANN-DICK: (INAUDIBLE) rejects my lungs just a little less than two years ago.

GUPTA: Her doctors said finding a second lung donor would be even harder. Fortunately, Charity got that second chance.

TILLEMANN-DICK: I knew that there was no way that I got those lungs if they weren't going to make me music.

GUPTA: And music they made. Charity is able to sing again.

And on this day, she's performing for a very special audience. It's her doctors and fellow transplant patients at the Cleveland Clinic.

TILLEMANN-DICK: It's such a blessing and a joy to be able to sing for people who may have the same challenges that I have and who might be facing the same challenges that I have.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.

KAYE: Thanks for starting your morning with us. We've got much more ahead on CNN SUNDAY MORNING which starts right now.