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Final Election Day Push

Aired November 5, 2012 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. It's 10:00 here on the East Coast.

And all across the electoral map, the candidates are still campaigning. Take a look. This is tonight's Obama rally, the final event of the final campaign of his political career.

He's closing things out in the place where on a presidential level it all began with the Iowa caucuses. We're waiting for the president to speak at some point during the hour. We will bring his comments live. There's a Mitt Romney event as well tonight in Manchester, New Hampshire, Governor Romney, Kid Rock. We will bring you those events.

Mr. Romney though is not, repeat, not done yet. He has two appearances scheduled for tomorrow, one in Ohio, one in Pennsylvania. The campaigns have been everywhere that matters lately, every state that could swing tomorrow, the president in Ohio, Wisconsin earlier, and Iowa shortly, Governor Romney in Florida, Virginia, Ohio earlier and New Hampshire right now.

Running mates and surrogates also dotting the map. But in the end it's down to the candidate and often the candidate's last vocal cord.



CROWD: Fired up!

OBAMA: Ready to go!

CROWD: Ready to go!

OBAMA: Fired up!

CROWD: Fired up!

OBAMA: Ready to go!

CROWD: Ready to go!

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, if anyone wants to know where the energy is, if anyone out there that is following American politics wants to know where the energy is, just come right here in this room and you will see it.


COOPER: Each candidate trying to get even one more person to vote tomorrow. Millions of people have already voted.

Early voting though has been a blessing and a curse. In Ohio and Florida, limited hours made for long lines over the weekend. Take a look at that. And that could make for post-election legal battles if either state is pivotal and close. We will talk to our legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin about that.

That is a very real possibility. With me here tonight, chief national correspondent John King, also political analysts David Gergen, Gloria Borger, in addition to our partisan pros, Ari Fleischer and Erick Erickson. Ari is an occasional unpaid communications adviser for the Romney campaign. Erick is editor in chief of Plus, former Obama adviser Van Jones and Paul Begala, senior adviser for leading pro-Obama super PAC.

Paul, I want you to play two sound bites from President Obama and get your response, the first from 2009. The second one is just from last Thursday and let's take a look.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A year from now, I think people are going to see that we're starting to make some progress, but there's going to be some pain out there. If I don't have this done in three years, then this is going to be a one-term proposition.

Now, we knew from the beginning that our work would take more than one year or even one term, because, let's face it, the middle class was getting hammered long before the financial crisis hit.


COOPER: Besides the fact that he looks a lot older now -- wow, three years, incredible -- but clearly difference in message there.


In his defense, I think even the best economists and businesspeople didn't really know how deep the hole was when he came in.

COOPER: By the way, when you said big time, were you quoting George Bush or...



BEGALA: You have a good memory.

COOPER: Or was it Cheney?

BEGALA: Ari's old boss.



COOPER: Go ahead.

BEGALA: He came in, the hole was far deeper than even he knew. And he's a bright guy and he had a bright team around him.

But I don't think anyone knew how deep the hole would be. But the political analysis was almost certainly right. If you don't move the needled on jobs in 3.5 years, you will lose your job, Mr. President. Why isn't that happening? Short answer, the election, every time I looked at the economy, I thought Obama couldn't win, but every time I look at the Republicans, I think he can't lose.

Thank God the Republicans have fielded the weakest candidate of my modern memory to go up against this president.

COOPER: Do you believe he's the weakest candidate in modern memory?

BEGALA: He's just terrible.


BEGALA: John McCain was crippled by Bush. It wasn't McCain's fault.


ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER GEORGE W. BUSH WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: These is excuses, excuses, excuses. Here's what happened.


FLEISCHER: In 2009, after the president passed the stimulus, nine months after he became the president, thanks to passage, he projected growth this year would be 4.3 percent.

In 2010 he projected growth this year would be 4.2 percent. One year ago, 2011, he projected growth this year 3.2 percent. Two months ago, he projected growth to be above 2 percent. It's down below 2. It's 1.8 percent for the year.

BEGALA: And yet he's winning.

FLEISCHER: He keeps downgrading his -- Paul, you said nobody saw it coming. It did come and it got worse under President Obama.

(CROSSTALK) COOPER: Before we go down this road, because we can be on this road all night long, and will be probably tomorrow, John, just in terms of the president's path to 270, can you take us down that path?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I can. But I have to leave all this partisan...


COOPER: Please do.


KING: Look, we enter Election Day, they're going to start voting in New Hampshire in just a couple hours, Dixville Notch, but the main event of course is tomorrow.

As we go across the map, I'm working over to the map. It's making me nervous when I looked at it because it's got a file up there that I'm going to have to close and make it go away, but I can handle that. We make this one go away.

The one thing we do know, let's close all these down. The one thing we do know, here's the map from 2008. This is election night. We're not going to have this. We're going to have a much more competitive, much closer election. The question is, who can get to 270?

You have to say this. You have to say this as the voting begins. The president has an easier path, and the president, if you're a betting person, your money would be safer on the president because of his lead in the public polls remain in the battleground states. It takes 270 to win. Election ever, we have the president at 237.

Those are the blue states. Dark blue, strong Obama, light blue, leaning Obama. Governor Romney at 270, same thing. Dark red strong for Romney and the Republicans, light red leaning his red. The question is, who can get to 270 easiest? The president is ending in three Midwestern states, Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa.

If he wins those three and nothing else changes, game over. That's why he's there. All of the candidates, you know where they think they need and what they need. That's for the president. But let's take this one away for now. I'm going to leave this one here for now.

The Republicans would say, no, we're going to get Wisconsin tomorrow with a big surge of Iowa, we can get Iowa with a big surge of agricultural votes and evangelical votes. But for the sake of argument, let me leave this here for now.

Also, in both campaigns, you don't get much of an argument. Republicans will push back. We will see what happens on Election Day tomorrow. Most pros will tell you Nevada likely to go the president's way. If I give him Nevada, and for now give him Iowa and Wisconsin, 259/206. The president is at the doorstep there. What does Governor Romney have to do? He must win the state of Florida. Tonight, the Democrats say we think we're still in play. Again, if you give them truth serum, which ones are you likely to lose, they will put Florida high on the list. Let's give that one to Governor Romney.

North Carolina, we have already declared lean Romney. The Obama operation says watch us turn out the vote tomorrow. But let's assume it stays with its normal Republican DNA, and we will keep it there.

Virginia is a must win for Governor Romney. This is another state where the Obama campaign says we are wired on the ground, we can do it, the key will be the Northern Virginia suburbs. For the sake of argument, I know Democrats are getting mad at me, I'm going to give it to Governor Romney.

If I do that, if he gets Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, then where are we, 259-248. This could be a decisive state we might have to wait for. For the sake of argument, the Obama campaign says we have this state. Romney campaign says, no, you don't, watch what happens tomorrow, especially in evangelical areas.

I'm going through this hypothetical just to show you how close this could be. Give it to the Romney campaign. That would put us at 259-257, and it would leave us only Ohio and the state of New Hampshire. You only get four up in New Hampshire. You get 18 in Ohio.

Under any scenario, I could switch a few of these in plausible ways. Under any scenario, this becomes the key, the 18 electoral votes here. If Romney wins it, he's the next president of the United States. If the president can hold Ohio, he's the next president of the United States.

Of the states I assigned, which are likely to be maybe a different way, the Obama campaign says they think they will win Colorado. The Obama campaign thinks they will win one of these two. They think they can win both, but let's be realistic here. This is actually four and it's a true tossup, the state of New Hampshire. We will watch this one play.

It won't be decisive unless you have some other changes out here. Well, as I walk -- let me stay here in case you guys have any questions.

For now, you would have to say, advantage president. If you look at the public polling in Iowa, the public polling in Wisconsin and the public polling in Ohio, the president is narrowly ahead. In these other states, Governor Romney may be up one or a tie. On paper, advantage to the president. The Republicans say they will prove this wrong tomorrow. Guess what? We're about to find out.

COOPER: I'm not going to take it personally that John doesn't want to be back here with us.

(CROSSTALK) COOPER: But in terms of -- let's keep going over there, if you guys have any questions, feel free to ask.

But what do you not know -- I will make this just a jump ball -- what do you not know that you would like to know? What information do you -- obviously, who's going to win, but just what it boils down to? Senior turnout.


BORGER: I want to know younger voters, because if they turn out in large numbers, that's of course good for the president. You want to know white voters, because the more minorities that turn out, the better that is for the president. The higher the white vote, the better that is for Mitt Romney.

Those are really two important things, of course Latinos, so, so important in that minority.


GERGEN: I think, Anderson, sometimes, when we get through all these individual states, we lose sight of the sort of basic dynamics of a race like this.

The last five elections, there are 19 states that have gone Democratic in five straight elections. They amount to 243 electoral votes. There are 22 states that have gone Republican, but they're only 180 electoral votes. The Democrats start out with a significant advantage these days. They only have to pick off a handful of states.

That's what this is all about, or can Romney break into that blue wall that the Democrats have. That's what this election is all about.


And I think that's really, really critical. He won, Obama, 66/31 with the youth vote in 2008. The youth vote was 18 percent of the electorate. You look at the vote now, at the polling, he's dropped. He's 57-38 with young people.

If the youth vote shrinks from 18 percent to 16 percent, Obama's toast. Young people who have not been talked about, their issues haven't really been talked about, actually in some ways hold...


COOPER: You have spent a lot of time on college campuses of late. What are you seeing out there?

KING: You have smart people on the able. And they will all agree on this. They will disagree on a lot tonight and they will all agree on this. Who votes will tell us a lot about who will win. The demographics of the electorate, as Gloria voted, if the young vote is up or level to 2008, if African-American turnout is consistent with 2008, if Latino turnout grows a little bit or at least stays level, the president is likely to win the election.

That is the big debate. That's why people keep arguing over the polls. Let me show you something. This is 2008, and these are the House races in 2008. Look at all the blue in the House races. Here's the presidential race in 2008. Republicans win a lot of counties for president. This is a center-right country. We have 29 Republican governors, remember that as we go to tomorrow.

But let's look at the House races in 2008. Is it 2008 or is it 2010? Look how much different that is. Watch closely. See the red, that's 2010. That's 2008. It's a presidential year, so Democrats and historians are saying of course it's not 2010. That's a midterm. Turnout will be higher.

But I talked to a number of smart people today who say essentially in terms of the energy on the ground, it's kind of both. The Democrats are fired up, they have a good turnout operation. And Republicans are fired up, and they have a pretty good turnout operation.

The question is, slight changes in the demographics of the electorate. If there's slightly less African-American votes, slightly less Latino vote, slightly down youth vote, and the Republicans come to play, then some of these states could tip.

COOPER: Ari has a quick question for you, John.

FLEISCHER: John, tomorrow afternoon, a lot of pundits and a lot of normal people are going to be looking at the exit polls. Can you walk people through what the exit polls got wrong in 2004 and the Scott Walker in 2012 and what people should be on the lookout for?


KING: I'm not going to go into the specifics of each different elections.

But I would always tell you be careful of exit polls, be careful with any polls, polls are a guide. Exit polls have people, they walk out of the polling place, someone waves and says would you like to answer some questions? You get that group surveyed.

Over time, by the end of the day, you have three waves, you have thousands of surveys. By that time, you have pretty reliable data. Early on, sometimes things are wrong. In a very close election, an exit poll is a good benchmark, but you shouldn't use it to say X is going to win, and Y is going to lose.

You use it to say, what are the issues people most care about? Again, who is voting? What are the demographics of the electorate. I would beware. In this race, the Obama campaign is already saying don't believe the early exit polls because they won't take into account early voters, people who aren't voting tomorrow and they have already voted.

We try to adjust on this, we do national polls of people like that and we try to factor that in. But it's a very good science, not an exact science.

COOPER: We have to take a quick break, and we will have more with our panelists.

Also, we're awaiting live events from President Obama and also Michelle Obama expected to talk, also Mitt Romney. There you see a live shot of the President Obama event in Des Moines, Iowa.

A lot more ahead, we will bring it to you as it happens. Our election eve reporting continues just in a moment.


COOPER: President Obama's expected on stage shortly in Des Moines, Iowa, the state really a bookend to his career and presidential campaign.

Jessica Yellin is there for us tonight.

Big crowd obviously behind you in Iowa. The president is wrapping up his campaign there, even though there are only six electoral votes at play in the state, but for him, that's really where he battled it out against Hillary Clinton.


His stop here, the fact that he's ending his campaign here is meaningful both strategically and symbolically. Strategically, this is a battleground state, just six electoral votes, as you say, but those votes could make the difference between having a second term and becoming a one-term president.

This is a state in which he has an extensive ground operation and in which they have mobilized the early vote almost like no other. They have an extreme advantage with the early vote here, and they almost say it's beyond Governor Romney's reach tomorrow, he would have to break history in order to win it. This is the spin from the Obama campaign.

But also as you point there's real history here, and you will recall after that historic caucus here in the year 2008, it's where President Obama first said they said this day would never come. That's when he started talking about ending politics as we know it in Washington, et cetera. He's coming back to where it all began.

He's landed. Air Force One is here. The first lady's plane has also landed at the airport. The president is right now greeting her at the airport, and they will arrive here together. There will be a performance from Bruce Springsteen and then obviously a big speech here with a lot of the old campaign gang joining, rejoining the team for a final goodbye, Anderson.

COOPER: What's he doing tomorrow? Because we know Mitt Romney is still having campaign events tomorrow. Is the president not doing that? And why?

YELLIN: No. You know, traditionally, first of all, he has not campaigned on Election Day. It's not his ritual.

And he's not going to break ritual. What he will do tomorrow is play basketball. They have this history. There was one campaign, one Election Day they did not play basketball. That was that primary against Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire that he lost. And so they always say they now play basketball every single Election Day, and that's their rule.

COOPER: Is that for real? They are really that superstitious?

YELLIN: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. They all grow beard around the election. All his campaign aides are growing beards again. They're donning their 2008 fleeces. Some of them are wearing 2008 baseball caps. We're having this rally in front of their 2008 headquarters. Yes, they're superstitious.

COOPER: Wow. That's really interesting.

YELLIN: And also, they would not now -- because Governor Romney has scheduled events tomorrow, to now add some events reactively would be far too defensive for team Obama.

What they do is, remember, they are no-drama Obama, they have a plan, they have a strategy, it is locked in, and loaded and ready to go. Now they're just letting their ground game function, because they have total faith in their program, and it is rolling out now.

COOPER: All right.

YELLIN: Win or lose, they have faith.

COOPER: Jessica Yellin, appreciate that. We're also waiting for Mitt Romney to speak tonight in New Hampshire.

We want to bring back our panel, John King, David Gergen, Gloria Borger, Ari Fleischer, Erick Erickson, Van Jones, and Paul Begala.

Does that make sense? Do campaigns often go with magical thinking like this?

BEGALA: Absolutely.

COOPER: Really?



JONES: Romney has a magical budget, so it's like the magic is all in there.

BEGALA: Carville, at the end of the '92 campaign, went days on end wearing black gloves. Don't know why, can't remember.


COOPER: James Carville is a man of mystery.


BEGALA: I went like the whole last couple weeks of the campaign one time and didn't change my underwear.


BEGALA: I washed it at night.


COOPER: Didn't Bill Clinton famously campaign up until the end in a lot of cases?

BEGALA: Twenty-four hours. He went around the clock because he wasn't going to sleep anywhere.


BEGALA: Probably is going to do it again tonight. What the hell?

KING: Until the last dog dies.


JONES: I think one of the things that's happening here, some stuff you can't poll. We have talked a lot about the polls and the numbers.

There is a level of intensity on both sides that I think when it's this close, we're going to be surprised tomorrow. There are people who are in the Tea Party who have convinced themselves that this president is a threat to everything they believe in. They're going to strain every sinew to make sure that they do get defeated tomorrow.

You have women who feel like Roe v. Wade is on the chopping block. The NAACP just announced that they had a stealth program. They are going to put a million extra black people in -- you have a level of intensity here that does not show up in the polling data. We're going to be surprised tomorrow, because neither side wants to...


COOPER: Erick?

ERICK ERICKSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That's one of the things -- going back to Ohio -- and take the campaigns out of it.

Talking to a lot of the third-party groups that have been out there, they say it's closer than the Obama campaign says, maybe not as close as the Romney campaign says. But the frustrating thing for a lot of people hearing all the pronouncements coming out of Ohio is, they don't actually get people by party.

The way that you early vote in Ohio is by the primary you last voted in. So, if a lot of people turned out in 2010 or during a presidential primary, they would be labeled as Republican, when not necessarily so, and some for the Democrats. So, there are lots of unknowns tomorrow, which kind of makes it a little more exciting.

COOPER: That's one of the unknowns?


FLEISCHER: Here's another data point people should keep an eye on. Senior citizens. They haven't gotten a lot of attention in this race.

They went for George Bush in 2004 by five points. They went for president -- for John McCain over Barack Obama by eight points. They're breaking double digits for Mitt Romney. And they vote in higher proportion than their numbers. Haven't gotten a lot of focus in this race. But that could be big in Pennsylvania, could be big in Ohio. Seniors is a very shifting group.

The Democrats have gained in the last several years among minorities and their turnout is up. Seniors is a counterbalance to that.


BEGALA: When we were coming up in the businesses, seniors came of age during Roosevelt. And so they were Roosevelt seniors. They were all Democrats. Now they're Reagan seniors. If you are 75 today, you were 45 when you were voting for Ronald Reagan, you're much more likely to be a Republican if you're a senior today.

BORGER: Can I say one thing about the way we're being spun these days? My head is exploding from both of these campaigns telling us they have a better get-out-the-vote effort, they have gotten more people to the polls, don't pay attention to the early exits.

We don't really know in the end, because these races are so close, whether people have voted already who are likely voters or who are you are unlikely voters and whether you're going to cannibalize is the word they use the people who would normally turn out to vote because you got them to early vote.

What we don't know is what we don't know, which is the enthusiasm that you can't measure.


GERGEN: Thankfully, there's a lot we don't know.


BORGER: Exactly.

GERGEN: We're not in charge. We leave it to the voters.

But I do want to go back to Van's point. I think there is intensity on both sides. But there is, as John King keeps talking about, there's a noticeable difference from 2008. I think that the Republicans are more energized than they were in 2008, Democrats are less energized.

But on both sides, I have to tell you there's a sense about this election when it's over, there won't be so much a celebration as there was in 2008, there's going to be more of a sense of relief about what we didn't get, what we prevented from happening, rather than a real celebration.


GERGEN: Well, a celebration it's over, relief it's over.


GERGEN: I don't think there's going to be the celebration.


BORGER: Well, because it wasn't an uplifting campaign.


KING: Not if you own a local TV station in a battleground state. Then your depression starts.



KING: It is different. When you visit these counties and when you visit the headquarters, and when you talk to people, it's very different.

That's not to say the Obama campaign doesn't have a very, very, very impressive turnout operation. They do, and they have this down to a science. Remember, they didn't have a primary challenge. If he wins a very close election tomorrow, it could be because of a decision he made very early on, the auto bailout, because he did not have a primary challenge and I think, unless it changed in the last 72 hours, a bit of a bump from Sandy.

COOPER: We have to take a quick break.

We have a lot more ahead, including the wild card in all of this that superstorm Sandy has thrown at the election, as John mentioned, the hardest-hit areas scrambling to make it easier for storm victims to vote tomorrow. We will tell you about that next, how they're doing that.

Also, we're waiting for the president and first lady to take the stage in Des Moines, Iowa, also Governor Romney. We will bring it to you live when it happens.


COOPER: You're looking at a live shot of the rally in Des Moines, Iowa, where President Obama just moments from now will wrap up the last campaign of his political career.

He will spend Election Day tomorrow in Chicago playing basketball, among other things, we have just learned. First lady Michelle Obama is with him in Des Moines. So is Bruce Springsteen. It is the third state they visited today. We're waiting for President Obama to take the stage any moment. We will bring that to you live. We will also bring you remarks by Governor Romney when he takes the stage at his event tonight.

Voter turnout obviously in the election tomorrow could be affected by the states hit hardest by the storm Sandy. One week ago tonight, Sandy knocked out power along the Northeast. About a million people in the region are still waiting for power. Thousands have been displaced from their homes, probably tens of thousands. The loss and damage that Sandy left in its wake is immense, its impact still unfolding.

Tomorrow, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano is going to travel to Nassau County, New York, Long Island, to assess the response to the storm. There has been a lot of criticism. A lot of folks in Nassau, in Suffolk County, Long Island, feel like they have not got the attention that they need.

In New Jersey tomorrow, people will be allowed to vote by e-mail or fax. And earlier today, the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, announced an executive order allowing displaced to cast ballots at any polling site.

Despite the scramble to make it easier to vote, an obvious question remains. In areas that were destroyed, can voters focus on the election? Will they actually vote? Another question, will the storm's impact on voting lead to even more leading challenges?

But, first, election lawsuits have already been filed in Ohio over how provisional ballots will be counted and in Florida over the deadline for early voting. We all remember what happened in Florida in 2000. And the lawyers are certainly ready for a repeat, even if the rest of us are not.

Joining me now is CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and anybody in the panel who wants to ask Jeff a question can join in.

Jeff, people might roll their eyes at a possible legal challenge, but it's not like the stakes could be much higher. And you're saying things are a lot more organized this year than they were back in 2000, in terms of lawyers.


This is now a part of political campaigns, just the way television advertising and field organization. A legal team is just as obligatory for campaigns, and they both have them in great numbers.

COOPER: And provisional ballots, which Ohio doesn't count until 10 days after the election, explain what role that could play.

TOOBIN: That's just such an amazing fact. Frankly, I just became aware of it * TOOBIN: ... and field organization. Legal -- a legal team is just as obligatory for campaigns, and they both have them in great numbers.

COOPER: And provisional ballots, which Ohio doesn't count until ten days after the election, explain what rule that could play?

TOOBIN: That's just such an amazing fact, frankly. I just became aware of it, as I've been studying up for election day. And it's really incredible when you think about it.

Provisional ballots are very common in Ohio. Whenever you go to a polling place, and there's any sort of problem -- your registration appears off, you don't have the right I.D. -- they give you what's called the provisional ballot. And they put it in an envelope, and they put it aside. They put it aside for ten days. And during those ten days you or your representatives or your campaign can go to the board of elections and say, "Look, I am -- I am a legitimate voter. Here's my I.D. Here's my passport."

And if we have an election where those provisional ballots could spell the difference, you're going to have essentially 200,000 plus people with lawyers from the campaign saying, "Look, my -- my voters are legitimate," and the election officials are going to have to adjudicate each one of those. I mean, it's -- the nightmare and the length of the dispute could be endless.

BLITZER: And it could go on and on. Jeff, we're going to check back with you a little bit later on.

Bruce Springsteen is taking the stage at the event for President Obama tonight. Let's take a quick look.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, SINGER (singing): We learn more from three- minute records than we ever learned in school. Tonight I hear the neighborhood drummer's sound. I can feel my heart begin to pound. You say you're tired and you just want to close your eyes and follow your dream down. Well, we made a promise, swore we'd always remember. No retreat and no surrender.

Like soldiers on a winter's night with a vow to defend. No retreat, baby, no surrender.

Well, now young faces grow sad and old hearts of fire they grow cold. We swore blood brothers...

COOPER: We'll continue to watch this event tonight in Des Moines. Again, waiting to hear from President Obama, Michelle Obama also expected to take the stage.

We're back with our panel: David Gergen, Gloria Borger, Ari Fleischer, Erick Erickson, Van Jones and Paul Begala.

Besides Bruce Springsteen, in terms of the -- we were talking about enthusiasm before. I mean, do you buy this argument that, obviously, the enthusiasm for President Obama, you would agree, Paul, is not the same as it was in 2008?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely not. But it doesn't have to be.

Nothing will ever again get to that. That was a once in a millennium -- it was very hard. Maybe if you run -- it would be very, very tough for anybody to get there.

But I do think that you have things that have been reported on. The youth movement called Vote Mob and Hoodie Vote. Young people are beginning to surge. They haven't -- they haven't hit the polls yet. Young people are not getting called on their cell phones the way that they would have. I think that there is just that human factor, and we just don't know yet. It's less than it was before, but I think it may be more than people think.

COOPER: Are you expecting us to get a decision tomorrow night or things like a provisional ballot in Ohio, is this going to go on for days?

BEGALA: I guess, but the data. And I do believe in data. And I believe in magic and wearing gloves and all that garbage. But the truth, this is still a day to do business. And the data suggests that it's highly likely that President Obama will win tomorrow. Now, maybe his voters won't turn out. I'm especially worried about young people. But it's not actually an even Steven 50/50 deal. It's only maybe a 53-47 deal, but it's more like...

BORGER: We know, we have the Electoral College given the states that are in play, the handful of states that are in play, that the path for the president is a lot easier to see, and a lot more likely than the path for Mitt Romney. That doesn't mean that Mitt Romney can't do it. It just means that he's got to run the table.

If he loses Virginia, if we see early on tomorrow night that Mitt Romney were to lose Virginia, we would all be thinking, right -- John King, we don't need you anymore. So we'd all be thinking, OK, it's that much more difficult for Romney.

ARI FLEISCHER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: When you look, how many states are this close, I think the likelihood -- 2000 we didn't know from 36 states. 2004 we didn't know until Wednesday morning. 2008 was different. I don't think we're going to know before midnight tomorrow night. I think it's going to be wee hours. In the 2000 race all eyes were on Florida. Wisconsin was 5,708- vote difference out of 2.5 million. Iowa was a 4,000-vote difference out of 1.3 million. And New Mexico was 366 votes separating Bush and Gore out of 590,000. A lot of close states. And this one, too.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: What I think is striking about this, Anderson, is that this race has been all about jobs and the economy. And yet when we talk about the turnout, who's going to be there, it's not about jobs and the economy.

The Latinos, it's been immigration, and how they feel about that. With women, it's about abortion and pay equity, and other issues like that. And with young people it's a series of other issues. It's really striking when you actually get down to the micro...

COOPER: Well, on the abortion -- there was a Gallup poll saying that it was the No. 1 issue among women. But a lot of Republicans have pushed back on that poll and saying it is the economy.

FLEISCHER: The election is this close, you have the big theme, and then you niche mark it. And in a northern Virginia suburb, if you live here in Washington, D.C., you're seeing a lot of choice, abortion ads, because Governor Romney started to move among suburban women. The Obama campaign came after him. So you'll see that. And that's a smart campaign. Look, she says, all right, where's he coming up, and how do we knock him down?

ERICK ERICKSON, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Someone somewhere right now in both campaigns is writing talking points on how they're going to try to say they have a mandate.

GERGEN: Can we stipulate upfront that there will be no mandate? Whoever wins? Whoever wins?

ERICKSON: It will -- you and I were talking earlier, this is about party power controlling Washington. If Barack Obama gets re- elected, you're still going to have the Republicans...

BORGER: I would argue, whoever wins has to do something dramatic to make an overture to the other side if they're going to succeed. Because there is no mandate.

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If most of the tossup states break the president's way, he can get to 300. Maybe get above 300. I'm not saying that's likely. I'm not saying that's likely, but if all of the tossup states, or all but one or two break his way, he can get to 320 or so.

I think if Governor Romney wins he's going to be in the 280 range and just win.

COOPER: Let's everybody stick around. We're going to take a quick break. Up next John King is going to head back to the wall, mapping out the mad cap itineraries the two candidates have been following in the last couple weeks. It's fascinating to see where they've been going, back and forth. Bruce Springsteen on the stage right now in Des Moines, Iowa. President Obama expected shortly. Mitt Romney later on. We'll bring it all to you live when -- when we continue.


COOPER: President Obama's wrapping up a nonstop day of campaigning in Iowa, the state where his 2008 caucus victory put him on the path to the presidency. You see Bruce Springsteen talking there. In other words, he's ending the last campaign of his political career where it all began.

Bruce Springsteen has been campaigning with him all day. He hitched a ride on Air Force One. First lady Michelle Obama is also in Des Moines tonight with them.

The president is expected to speak any moment. He just arrived at the event.

Romney has a rally of his own tonight, as well. We're going to bring you both as they happen and Michelle Obama's comments.

Both candidates have been racking up a lot of frequent flyer miles. John King is going to break it down for us all right now -- John.

KING: They'd get even more miles, Anderson, if the West Coast were still in play in presidential politics, but it is not. Let's look at where the candidates are visiting.

Now, first, this looks a little confusing, right? You see these big discs all over. The one thing you do see, though, is the discs are in certain places -- Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio. In here, you can't even see it. There's so many visits here. Let me stretch it out and make it a little more easy to read. And let me cross over. Excuse me turning my back.

You see this is where all the candidates -- let's break them down by candidate. This is the state of Ohio. That blue dot, that's the president. He's been all around the state of Ohio. You see him up here.

What about Governor Romney? Him, too. You see Governor Romney. Notice the pattern: more in these rural, conservative areas. Also in the cities, but going out to where the Republican base vote is.

Joe Biden gets sent in, as well, pretty much all over the state, especially the suburbs around Columbus in this area here. Paul Ryan, like Governor Romney, most of his attention focused in the more conservative areas. Let's move the map a little bit. We'll come back out, and then we'll come back in.

Where you see the Springsteen rally tonight. This is Paul Ryan over here, Eastern Iowa. Joe Biden. Governor Romney, the president. If you put them all on, it starts to look like that. You come back out to the map. And what you see here is that much of the country, if you live on the West Coast, if you live up here in the prairie, if you live in Texas or across the Deep South, you're not getting a campaign. They're not coming to see your state unless they're trying to raise money, and that was mostly weeks and months ago. Or unless you happen to be in a TV market that bumps into one of these other states.

This is Florida. You see a lot of visits here. Again, you break it down by candidate. Where is the president. You see him in Tampa, Orlando. This is the I-4 corridor where most of the independents are. You see him down here. This is an area I know Ari Fleischer is interested in.

The question is, the Democrats will win these southernmost counties. The question is, will the Jewish votes, for example, be less. Will the president get lower numbers because of the dustup with Governor Romney over Israel during the campaign and the Iran crisis. You see Governor Romney, and again, you see Governor Romney out here. You won't see the president out here. This is the most conservative Republican part of the state. That's to turn out the Republican base. You do see them both competing here in the I-4 corridor, where you find independents.

Again, the vice president and Paul Ryan. I'll just pull out the map as we close the conversation. Again, that's just Paul Ryan. That's just Vice President Biden. That's Governor Romney. And that's President Obama.

Notice the pattern. In the last couple weeks, this is the last two weeks. In the last two weeks of this campaign, about 9 states have gotten the attention. The rest of you just get to watch.

COOPER: Wow. John, thanks very much. We're awaiting speeches as I said by President Obama and Mitt Romney, Michelle Obama.

Romney's wrapping up election eve at a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire. He's going to be out campaigning tomorrow. Jim Acosta is there. He joins me now on the phone.

Jim, what's the mood like within the Romney camp now tonight?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, I'm sorry I can't get in front of a camera right now. But I have to tell you, the Romney campaign has been running behind for the -- a good part of the last six hours or so, mainly because Mitt Romney has been trying to shake every hand. He's been talking to every overflow crowd. He's giving longer speeches than he normally gives.

And I have to say, Anderson, the mood inside this campaign right now is serious and determined, despite what the latest battleground polls show, with the president with a slight edge. I was talking to some senior Romney advisers earlier today. They are convinced, Anderson, that they are going to win a clear and decisive victory tomorrow night.

But just in case, they are trying to pull out all the stops. Obviously, they're going to have their ground game in force across all the swing states that are in play right now. But I did talk to a Republican source that is very close to this campaign. They do concede, at least this one Republican source said, that Ohio is close, in the words of this Republican source, very close.

And Anderson, in the event that this becomes one of those tight elections for provisional ballots, absentee ballots come into play, I have been told by a Romney campaign advisor that legal teams will be in place, just in case there are irregularities or needs that are involved with a very close counting of the ballots.

COOPER: Yes. No doubt about that.

And Jim, tomorrow Governor Romney has a number of campaign events. We've just learned Paul Ryan has also added in more campaign events, while President Obama will not be out campaigning tomorrow.

ACOSTA: That's right. This was a decision that was made and announced late this afternoon. Mitt Romney going to Pennsylvania, which is a state that they are only starting to see in play in the very last stage of this campaign. They're also going to Ohio.

He's going to start the day outside of his home in Massachusetts. He's going to vote with his wife, Ann, and then he's going to head off to the two campaign stops in Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

Basically, the rationale here, Anderson, is that they want to stay visible and keep the energy going all the way until election night. They also say, Anderson, that this is going to be sort of an interesting press coverage situation.

They're only allowing pool cameras, which is, you know, basically a small, tight-knit unit of reporters, to observe Mitt Romney at various campaign events in these -- in these two stops. And essentially, they will not be open to the press. They will only be open to these small, you know, groups of pool cameras.

So this is essentially going to be a photo opportunity, a chance for Mitt Romney to be on local newscasts in these two states before the ballot counting begins.

COOPER: All right. Jim Acosta on the trail. Thanks very much.

We're going to take another short break. When we come back, we should be hearing from President Obama and Michelle Obama, that campaign. We'll be right back.

SPRINGSTEEN (speaking): Patty is much younger, much, much younger, but we've both lived through some galvanizing moments in American history. We lived through the Civil Rights Movement.


COOPER: You're looking at live pictures from Des Moines, Iowa. Bruce Springsteen warming up the crowd for the last campaign of the 2012 race of President Obama's political career. At least most people think. Unless -- until he gets into Bill Clinton's line of work, campaigning for future presidents.

Let's go bring back John King, political analysts David Gergen, Gloria Borger, also Ari Fleischer, Erick Erickson, Van Jones, Paul Begala.

We're watching this event. When Michelle Obama speaks and President Obama speaks, we'll obviously bring that -- bring that to you live.

Does it make sense to you, though, I mean, we just heard now that Paul Ryan has added campaign events tomorrow. Does it make -- Democrats over there, Paul, does that make you nervous that your candidate is not out on the trail?

BEGALA: Yes, he's in Illinois. You've got Wisconsin next door. You've got Iowa next door. You've got Ohio two states over. By the way, he's got Air Force One. He can play basketball on the plane. Get him back out there.

BORGER: We were on call with the campaign, with the Obama campaign about that earlier today, and the question was asked. And one of their answers is that, A, this is their plan, and they're -- they're concentrating on getting voters to the polls, but the second thing is, you can't turn the Secret Service around that quickly.

KING: That's right. They can't turn the Secret Service around.

FLEISCHER: The president deserves a -- the president deserves a mulligan on this one. It's the last day...

COOPER: Of course, you want -- you want...


COOPER: When Ari Fleischer is giving Democrats scheduling advice, that's not a good sign.

ERICKSON: It's the last day. A lot of people scratching their heads this morning. Why are you in Florida when everybody knows you're going to win Florida? Then you go to Virginia and Ohio and others. Paul Ryan and all. Is it because the Romney campaign thinks that they're a little bit behind, or is it because they're not taking anything for granted? The Republicans say they're not taking anything for granted. You know, at this point, I just don't believe...


ERICKSON: Yes, exactly.

BORGER: Well, they're worried. Both sides are worried.

KING: I'm not exactly sure. They said, "We're fine," but they sent Bill Clinton to Minnesota and Pennsylvania. They're not exactly sure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is Bill Clinton going to be up there? KING: If they ask him to, he'll go.


GERGEN: He likes it so much, he could do it -- he could do it in December.

KING: You do not want to be. If you are Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, and these guys just spoke for the Democrats, you don't want to wake up on Wednesday morning and see you lost this election by one state and 10,000 votes and think, "I was watching on television, as opposed to working."

ERICKSON: There's something very refreshing about not knowing today. When you go back to 2008, everybody knew what was going to happen. You go back to 2006, people knew. 2004 -- today you do not know.

JONES: I think he should be out there. I would love to see him, to see Barack Obama, President Obama, this last day, just see him out there. There are people who want to be able to shake his hand. I think it -- there's a danger that there's somebody out there who says, maybe he really doesn't want it. I wouldn't want to take that chance.

COOPER: He's not going to be invited to play basketball.

GERGEN: You -- these guys know, when you put the president in somewhere, it does take a lot of time away from the campaign. And your time, I think, is better spent getting your voters to the polls.

BORGER: Getting your voters out.


FLEISCHER: Tomorrow is the slowest day of the year.

GERGEN: But to people who've got to do -- got to organize your...

FLEISCHER: But a campaign at this point, they can do both. They can crank...


GERGEN: If President Obama loses it's not because he didn't want it.

COOPER: President Obama on the campaign trail yesterday saying that he and David Plouffe at this point are kind of superfluous.


BEGALA: Watch him do satellite TV into targeted districts. Which would not distract -- to the point, would not distract his get- out-the-vote effort. Watch him do radio.

COOPER: So you think he will do that?

BEGALA: Boy, if I worked for him, he would have no choice. We'd strap him to the chair at the least, if not the plane. We'd strap him to the chair and...

BORGER: There's boiler-room operations that -- say the top staff may not be involved, but there are boiler room operations who are looking at turnout saying, OK, we've got to get people there. We've got to get people there in real time.

This is how the campaigns are spending their time tomorrow, trying to get their voters to the polls. Whether a candidate out there can help you or not, you know, remains -- remains to be seen. I remember when people were complaining that Mitt Romney wasn't campaigning enough. Remember, he was doing one or two events a day over the summer.

GERGEN: It's like disasters you've been to, Anderson. You know that if you bring the president in, it's a real diversion of resources. Everybody gets really excited, and they devote all this time and effort.

I think Paul's got the right point. He could do some television, I think; do remote television. That's easy. It doesn't take anybody's time and effort. That would make sense. But to me -- but to me, there's an error with Romney going into this.


JONES: ... Colorado. I think we haven't talked enough about Colorado. One of the things about Colorado, I think is interesting. You really have this tug of war. It's a true swing state. It's 50/50. And you have the -- kind of what I would say, you have this -- to me, Colorado looks like the old coalition of the Republicans, versus this new Democratic coalition of the future. You've got the younger, radical folks. They're in a tug of war there.

COOPER: Is that right?

GERGEN: No, it's just the opposite. Colorado represents the new coalition, and what you're seeing in Ohio and places like Wisconsin and Michigan is the old FDR-type coalition, a lot of working folks in that coalition. But Colorado is much more about the young.

BORGER: And very urban. Colorado's very urban.

FLEISCHER: Colorado in 2004 was 8 percent Hispanic. Now it's 13 percent Hispanic. That's -- that's one of the big changes. And 18- to 29-year-olds were 15 percent in 2004. Now they're down to 14 percent. And then you've got a nice sized senior citizen group there, too.

JONES: This is the future of America in some ways kind of facing off there. I think -- I think what happens in Colorado, it may not be as important for this election. It could determine it. It may not. But I think it says something about politics going forward. It used to be a red state. Now it's a purple state. It's headed toward a blue state. I think Colorado...

KING: I'm just being told the west was going to become the new base of the Democratic Party.

COOPER: Michelle Obama just taking the stage in Des Moines, Iowa. Let's take a look.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: Oh, my goodness. Thank you, guys. Thanks so much. Wow! Oh, my goodness.

And I love you. I love you from the bottom of my heart. And I am -- I am beyond thrilled to be here with all of you. But we have to give -- give some love up for Bruce Springsteen. I mean, gosh.

For months I have heard his songs played at our rallies. But I have to say, there's nothing like seeing The Boss in person. Nothing like it. He has just been tremendous. He and his family and his team, they've just been amazing. So we want to thank Bruce for everything that he's done for us.

And more than anything else, I want to thank you all for being here tonight. I mean, as you know, this is a pretty emotional time for us, because this is the final event of my husband's final campaign. So this is the last time that he and I will be on stage together at a campaign rally.

And that's why we wanted to come here to Iowa tonight. Because truly, this is where it all began, right here. And -- and I have so many fond memories of this state. The house parties in Sioux City and Cedar Rapids, celebrating Malia's birthday in Pella. And seeing my husband's face carved in butter. Believe me, we still talk about that at Christmas.

But I will never forget the kindness and warmth and love that you all showed me and my family, especially our girls. That is truly what made the difference back in those early days when I wasn't so sure about this whole process. Back when I was still wondering what it would mean for our girls and our family, if Barack got the chance to serve as president.

But the truth is, while I had my worries and my fears, I also realized that this decision affected not only me as a wife and a mother, but as a voter, as an American. And I started envisioning the kind of person that I wanted to lead our country.