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Jay Z And Beyonce Headline Clinton Rally Concert; CNN Poll Of Polls Shows A Dead Heat In Florida; Battlegrounds Tight With 30 Million Ballots Cast; Officials Worried But Prepared For Cyber Attacks; Unemployment Falls to 4.9 Percent Before Election; Clinton, Trump Tax Plan Impact on Voters; Behind the Scenes of CNN's Election Coverage. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired November 5, 2016 - 08:00   ET




DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I didn't have to bring J. Lo or J.G. I'm here all by myself.

BEYONCE, SINGER, CLINTON SUPPORTER: We have to think about the future of our daughters, our sons, and that is why I'm with her.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have unfinished business to do and with your help, a glass ceiling to crack once and for all.

TRUMP: I'm asking you to dream big. You will get the change you have been waiting for, for your entire lifetime.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Happy three days before the election, let's call it, on a Saturday morning. We're glad you're up early with us as we come to you live from D.C. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you this Saturday. It is the final weekend of the campaign, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton putting it all on the line, going across all the battleground states this morning. The polls are tightening and new battlegrounds are emerging here.

PAUL: Yes, Hillary Clinton slipping just a bit in our latest electoral battleground maps. She is below 270 for the first time. Donald Trump is above 200 for the first time as well. The biggest shift, though, is in Ohio. It is now moving to lean Republican. Take a look, if you would at New Hampshire, it's moved from lean Democrat to toss up.

BLACKWELL: Let's look at the schedule, Hillary Clinton and her surrogates are blanking these battleground states. She'll kick the day off in Florida and then head north to Pennsylvania. PAUL: Donald Trump meanwhile is making four stops today -- Florida, North Carolina, Nevada and Colorado.

BLACKWELL: We've also updated the CNN poll of polls this morning showing now Hillary Clinton with a five-point national lead over Trump, 47-42. Let's stay with Ohio for a moment because it's leaning Trump, as we've said, but Hillary Clinton enlisting some major stars here to tip the stakes in her direction. Jay-Z and Beyonce there on stage getting people in formation, hopefully they'll be forming a line, she hopes at least, at the polls.


BEYONCE: I want my daughter to grow up seeing a woman lead our country and know that her possibilities are limitless. We have to think about the future of our daughters, our sons and vote for someone who cares for them as much as we do. And that is why I'm with her.


BLACKWELL: Beyonce always has a breeze. I don't know how that happens. There's always a breeze wherever Beyonce -- we have live team coverage all day from our political experts and reporters who are standing by in key battleground states.

Let's start in Florida. Of course, a pivotal must-win battleground state for both Clinton and Trump, maybe more so Trump.

PAUL: That's why it's all hands on deck in that state today. Both presidential candidates, as we said, are making stops there. Democratic vice presidential candidate, Tim Kaine, will make three. Boris Sanchez live for us in Miami this morning. That's when Hillary Clinton will be later. Boris, what are you hearing this morning?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, Christi and Victor. Yes, the all-important state of Florida, 29 electoral votes up for grabs and both candidates want it badly. You mentioned how many times they're stopping here in the state. It really is staggering.

For Donald Trump, it's a must win. He has said how crucial Florida is for his presidential hopes. For Hillary, it bolsters her firewall. She is depending on Florida as one of the key battleground states that will keep her in the win column and keep her over 270 electoral votes.

We're getting some idea of how things are going, trends here in early voting from catalyst data that it passes information along to us. Right now some troubling news for the Clinton campaign when it comes to African-American voters.

They're simply not coming out in the numbers that they did back in 2008 for President Obama. There's a dip of about 3 percent so far in early voting. The good news for the Clinton camp is among Latinos there's actually been a spike of about 5 percent going back to 2008.

Most of that you have to think comes from Central Florida, the Orlando area where there's been a huge influx of Puerto Ricans in the past few years. The Clinton camp has made an all-out effort to attract those voters, not only with extensive voting drives and registration drives but also in advertising.

Orlando is one of the top markets in the country, the top market in the country for ad spending. The Clinton campaign spending about $27 million advertising there alone. Overall when you look at early voting, more than 4.2 million Floridians have already cast their ballot ballots.

[08:05:08]Right now, Republicans hold about 16,000 vote advantage. That is going to continue to get closer. For Donald Trump, he's focused on the base, the Republican base in the central part of the state, specifically in communities like Sanford and the villages and Tampa.

He is actually going to be there later today. Yesterday Mike Pence was in another community here in South Florida in Little Havana trying to attract Cuban-American voters, who are traditionally GOP leaning.

So it is an all-out effort to attract every possible voter here in Florida. It will all come down on Tuesday night. We'll see usually the way Florida goes the election goes -- Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: All right, Boris Sanchez for us there in Miami. Thank you so much. Now to win the White House, Donald Trump must really run the table and win all of the battleground states.

PAUL: Republican-leaning Ohio may give him an electoral boost, but Hillary Clinton certainly is not giving up that state easily. CNN's Martin Savidge is live in Cleveland right now, his hometown. What are you hearing about what was said last night, Martin?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Christi. Last night as you pointed out, star power brought in by the Clinton campaign, Jay-Z, Beyonce to name a few. About 10,000 people were given free tickets.

The concert, of course, though, had a very strong political message, which is get out and vote and hopefully, you will vote for Secretary Hillary Clinton.

Early voting has already started here this morning. Polls opened a few minutes ago. There about 30 people that appeared in line. It's expected to be a consistent flow all day long.

This county, Cleveland, crucial to the Democrats because she has to win big up in the northern part of Ohio to offset where Trump has very strong support as you go farther south in the state.

The latest polling shows that the Donald Trump does have an advantage, up by about five points in this state over Hillary Clinton. One of his secret weapons, you could say, has been the cross-over vote of blue collar Democrats, working-class people, who Donald Trump has been appealing to.

Particularly on the issue of trade talking about these unfair trade deals as he calls them, NAFTA in particular, and that resonates in places like Mahoning Valley where you had a significant decline of manufacturing jobs down from a high of over 1 million back in the '90s to about 680,000 today.

So people are feeling the hurt economically there and thereby are drawn to Donald Trump's message. Continuing the star power effort, turn out the vote up here in her favor.

Hillary Clinton campaigning tomorrow with the king, we're talking about the Cavaliers' favorite, Lebron James -- Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: When you say the king in Cleveland, I think everybody knows who you're talking about. Martin Savidge for us there. Martin, thank you so much.

Let's talk about the home stretch strategy this morning. We have with us, Michael Smerconish, host of CNN's "SMERCONISH," Rebecca Berg, CNN political analyst and national political reporter for Real Clear Politics, and Brian Stelter, CNN senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES." Good morning to all.

Rebecca, I want to start with you and the star power. We saw Jay-Z and Beyonce, Pharrell also with Hillary Clinton. She has these huge rallies now that are in many respects concerts and those are not new.

But when you compare that to what we're seeing from Donald Trump, he says I didn't bring J. Lo, I didn't bring Jay-z, it's just me and he is still getting thousands of people. Is there some diminishing return here for Democrats or is it all still positive?

REBECCA BERG, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's still all positive in the sense that any time you bring Jay-Z and Beyonce out on to the campaign trail with you, you're getting attention for your campaign, certainly you're bringing out millennials, who are very important target audience for the Clinton campaign for Democrats because they tend to be lower propensity voters.

It's tougher to get them to the polls. If you can do anything to at least raise their enthusiasm, raise their awareness about the election. That's always going to be a positive thing.

But at the same time, I don't know any voter and I'm sure they're out there but I haven't met them yet, whose vote has hinged on Jay-Z or Beyonce's endorsement. I haven't met that voter yet, but it's all about enthusiasm, getting people to the polls.

You know, at some of these events, Hillary Clinton was with Pharrell Williams in North Carolina this past week, she did an event at a university there and then immediately afterward told everyone there to go and vote early. So you had nearby early voting places with lines out the door and that's exactly where this starts to matter.

BLACKWELL: They've been very strategic about placing those rallies near early voting locations in some of these early voting states.

PAUL: And when we talk about star power, you wonder who Trump has, Michael. I mean, you have Vice President Biden, Bernie Sanders, and President Obama. In fact, let's listen to President Obama because he has been fired up the last say 24, 48 hours.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We got work to do to finish what we started eight years ago. Donald Trump is uniquely unqualified to be president.

[08:10:10]No, I'm not joking. You laugh. I'm not joking. He is temperamentally unfit to be commander-in-chief. This isn't a joke. This isn't "Survivor." This isn't the "Bachelorette." This counts.


PAUL: I'm waiting for the come on, man. That seems to be his mantra lately. But does this star power, does it really help her because he is able to get out there, say what he wants to say against Trump, which would open the field for her to talk about policy, but she is attacking Trump as well.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST, "SMERCONISH": The GOP entertainment bench has never been that deep. There are only so many times that you can roll out Lee Greenwood, Beau Derek, Tom Selleck, and Clint Eastwood.

BERG: Don't forget Kid Rock.

SMERCONISH: And Kid Rock and Ted Nugent. Beyond that, when you look at the upper echelons of the Republican Party, you can't bring out Jeb. John Kasich voted for John McCain. So he really doesn't have anyone to whom he can go, but give him credit for this to Victor's point, he can still fill an arena, like the Hersey Arena last night with 15,000 people.

And Christi, what I think that does is it gives solace to Trump supporters who are looking at these maps and, yes, they show the gap has narrowed, but they also show that Trump has a very narrow path to pursue.

And I think that it emboldens the Trump supporters because they say, wow, 15,000 people in Pennsylvania came out last night. I'm not alone. We can do this.

And in the end, if it comes down to an election day operation, I think Hillary has got the traditional get out the vote effort and he is relying on a very organic process, not one where award leader or a committee person pulls you out to vote. So there is great purpose in the crowds that he is attracting. BLACKWELL: And also this $4 million he is investing into this two- minute ad that he's rolling out that shows these huge crowds over the last year and a half and using the term movement. Lot of it, as you mentioned, early this morning is some pretty bleak rhetoric. He turned it around maybe in the last 20 or 30 seconds.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he taking one of his most controversial speeches in the entire election year, a very conspiratorial speech frankly. He talked about the global power structure that was hurting the United States. It attacked global elites in the political establishment.

He is taking that message, cutting it down into a two-minute long commercial and running it all weekend long in nine battleground states and also nationwide on "The Voice" on Monday night, on some other big events and on cable news.

Bottom line, what he is trying to do is cut through all the noise. There's so many negative 30-second ads running right now. Both nationally and in local races across the country, by running a two-minute long ad, Trump is trying to breakthrough that noise.

I think it's a very smart idea. It's going to be running during college football games today, NFL games tomorrow, but ultimately the message is still pretty bleak. He does turn it around at the end. He says I'm going to fix it.

We're going to make America great again, but the images of the ad are still very dark. So even though they're saying it's a positive closing message, still pretty negative ad.

By the way, Clinton also buying two minutes on Monday night. She'll also have a long closing argument ad on "The Voice" and CBS Monday night, both campaigns trying to break through the clutter right now.

BLACKWELL: Yes, a lot on the menu for watchers of "The Voice" -- 4 minutes of politics. All right, thank you.

PAUL: All right, thank you, everybody. They'll stick with this too, we're talking about early voting. Boy, is it up, more than 30 million already.

BLACKWELL: Across 38 states. How is that changing the map for the presidential candidates?



BLACKWELL: This morning, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will be making their final pitches to swing state voters. More than 30 million votes have been cast across 38 states already, but the electoral map has shifted slightly to Trump's favor.

PAUL: Want to bring in Maria Cardona, CNN political commentator and Hillary Clinton supporter, and Paris Dennard, CNN political commentator and a Donald Trump supporter. Want to thank both of you so much.

Let's talk about some of what we're learning this morning, the African-American vote seems to be down particularly in North Carolina, that's a must-win state for Donald Trump, actually for either one of these candidates.

What do you think is contributing to that and how can they change it at this stage of the game three days out?

PARIS DENNARD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The Clinton campaign is severely concerned about the low enthusiasm and turnout for Secretary Clinton with African-Americans in North Carolina in particular because, as President Obama said, this is a state that they must win in order for her to win the presidency.

And so I think what's happening is the lack of enthusiasm for Secretary Clinton and the lack of Obama coalition supporters coming over to her side. Governor Wilder, former governor of Virginia, he said, what is the rational for her running? What is the legacy that she's going to run on from President Obama?

And so I think that's a realistic question. I think a lot of African-Americans are asking that question, what is the legacy? What has she done for us lately? With 8.6 unemployment in the black community, that is a serious question.

Mr. Trump has to continue to lay out his plan, the urban agenda, the urban renewal plan that he put out there. He calls it the new deal for African-Americans is a positive step in that direction.

The RNC put out an ad targeting black voters called "Our Choices." I think that's a positive step to mobilize North Carolina voters and African-American voters across the country.

BLACKWELL: Severely concerned Paris says that the Clinton campaign is, but he makes a point that African-American enthusiasm is a bit soft, a term we've been using this morning. How concerned is the Clinton campaign? They deployed President Obama there for several stops.

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure. They are healthily concerned as I have talked about many, many times on this panel, that's how you win is by making sure that you take absolutely nothing for granted.

And look, I think it's natural that there will not be as much enthusiasm for anybody as there would have been for the first African- American president. So that's just reality.

But let's also be clear that the African-American community is going to turn out for Hillary Clinton. Yes, they are making a last- minute push as they should.

Let's remember that North Carolina when early votes started there were many fewer -- a lot fewer voting sites because of the voter suppression laws and efforts that Republicans engaged in. They went to court and a judge slapped them down for that.

A lot of sites were open. African-American turnout has been up since then. This weekend is going to be souls to the polls. It's going to be the big major from the African-American faith community.

[08:20:11]Let's remember, they don't need -- she doesn't need to replicate the exact same Obama coalition. She will have the Hillary Clinton coalition, which will be the majority of African-American voters, historic turnout of Hispanic voters and importantly college educated white voters.

Without college educate white voters, Donald Trump can't win. No Republican has ever won without college educated white voters.

PAUL: You mentioned the Latino vote. We know the Latino vote is up in Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina, but there are Latinos who are for Trump. How do we know who they are going to the polls for?

DENNARD: I think at the end of the day, we cannot really trust the map. We cannot trust what the polls are saying because there's a large group of people who will say I'm not going to vote for Mr. Trump publicly because the media and really the Clinton campaign has labeled him as a racist, sexist.

But they will go to the voting booth and they will vote Mr. Trump because they know that he stands for more what they want. We can't make this all about immigration or think that's all that Hispanic voters care about.

The economy and jobs are major things, student loan debt. These major issues that are going to play in the minds of people when they go to vote.

BLACKWELL: What's your degree of concern that there are also those closet Hillary Clinton voters, those Republican women who were not willing to say that I'm going to vote for Hillary Clinton, but will go into the booth and do that as well?

DENNARD: That's the first I ever heard of anybody ever talk about that.

BLACKWELL: That's the first time you heard --

DENNARD: Talk about closet Hillary Clinton voter. Listen, it is easy to be a Hillary Clinton voter. You can talk about it. You can be any race --

BLACKWELL: Not in every community.

CARDONA: Not in a Republican community, it's not. It's the same effect.

DENNARD: I think if the women issue was that the Clinton campaign was trying to (inaudible) Mr. Trump was effective, lot of those women would say because of that I'm not going to vote for Mr. Trump. I don't think that's going to really happen. I think even women --

CARDONA: It is happening.

DENNARD: -- I think women look at Mr. Trump and college educated women especially look at Mr. Trump and say, you know what, I see how he put his daughter in the leadership position and how she's leading and how she's an effective leader in his company that there's a lot more women in executive roles.

And so I don't think this issue is really what we're making it out to be. But I think at the end of the day, people are going to vote for Mr. Trump because they know he'll do the right thing for him and they'll do it privately.

CARDONA: Paris, he is losing college educated white women. So what you're seeing from college educated white women is they are seeing this man uniquely unqualified to be commander-in-chief, does not have the temperament to be leader of the free world.

BLACKWELL: OK, we got to wrap it there. Maria and Paris, thank you both.

CARDONA: You're welcome.

PAUL: The Department of Homeland Security is concerned about possible cyber-attacks during the election. We'll talk to you about what we learned. Stay close.



PAUL: Welcome back. The U.S. government is very concerned, quote, "By the possibility of a cyber-security incident on Election Day, but they say they are confident no cyber breech could happen.

BLACKWELL: CNN's chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto has the story for us.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Growing concerns that Russia is waging an information operation to sew doubts about the U.S. election. Several U.S. officials tell CNN.

JEH JOHNSON, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: This is something that the Department of Homeland Security along with state election officials have been very, very focused on. I have a lot of confidence in the integrity of our ballot-counting process. I have a lot of confidence in the security and cyber security around the process run by state and local election officials.

SCIUTTO: Here at the Department of Homeland Security Cyber Command Center, they're now monitoring multiple threats. There's growing concern that more hacked documents and e-mails targeting campaigns could be released in the coming days including potentially documents faked or altered by Russia.

The U.S. has also detected the probing of state voter registration systems, at least one of which has been linked to Russia, though they have yet to see those systems tampered with.

The Department of Homeland Security is now coordinating efforts with all 50 states to prevent hacks scanning computer systems to identify vulnerabilities.

However, U.S. officials and cyber experts make clear that the risk of actually changing the election results is minuscule.

DMITRI ALPEROVITCH, CO-FOUNDER, CROWDSTRIKE INC.: These machines are mostly offline. There's paper ballots that can be checked in most of these places and verified that the electronic results matches what's printed on the ballot. It's almost possible to actually hack this election, but it's certainly possible for someone to claim a hack than to try to influence the public that way.

SCIUTTO: Still, sewing doubts and disrupting the voting process is easier. The department will monitor for so-called denial of service attacks targeting voter information, mapping and news websites.

Russian-linked hacking group (inaudible) tweeted what appeared to be a threat, "I'll be an independent observer at the U.S. election 2016. I call on other hackers to monitor the elections from inside the system."

This minutes after another tweet accusing Democrats of rigging the vote. This as law enforcement officials already on high alert are monitoring intercepted conversations among al Qaeda adherence overseas about potential plots targeting New York, Texas and Virginia, but officials stressed to CNN that the threat is nonspecific and could be idle chatter.

JAMES O'NEILL, NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: It's non-specific and right now we are assessing the credibility of it, but we're geared up to go all the time.


PAUL: And thank you to Jim Sciutto for that.

BLACKWELL: The most important issue of this year's election and most cycles, jobs, and the numbers this time may be on Clinton's side, but what do they mean for you. We'll examine that in a moment.


[08:32:37] PAUL: Happy Saturday, so glad to have you with us. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton crisscrossing the battleground states making those last-ditch appeals to voters trying to pick up the undecided voters, we don't know how many there are still undecided three days up from the election. But the candidates are going for them. Let's look at the map. Trump in Florida, North Carolina, Nevada, Colorado. Clinton in Florida and Philadelphia, her surrogates, both surrogates campaigning across the battleground states this weekend.

PAUL: Meanwhile there have been a record number of early voters in the Las Vegas area in Nevada more than 57,000 people cast their ballot in Clark County alone yesterday. That broke the single day record there. It had been at 48,000 and bringing the total number of early voters in the county up to 500,000.

BLACKWELL: All right. So in about 90 minutes, Donald Trump will make his first campaign stop of the day. He is in the crucial state of Florida, a state even he admits he likely needs to win to be elected.

PAUL: Yes. And the CNN Poll of Polls, the latest one shows, that Trump and Clinton are tied in Florida. So no surprise Hillary Clinton is also making a stop in that state later today. CNN national correspondent Jason carol live at the Trump event in Tampa for us. Good morning to you.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Christi. The crowd getting fired up here with chants of lock her up, lock her up. We've heard that many, many times before. So close here in the state of Florida where early voting is under way. The Democrats say that they show early signs that things are going well for them in terms of early voting with a huge Latino turnout for the GOP saying they're saying huge numbers here as well.

Today is the last day for early voting and many of the counties here in Florida. So you can understand why there's such a push to get supporters out to vote. Trump, for the most part, has been staying on message with his attacks on Hillary Clinton, veering off message just a little bit when he went after her for all the celebrity support she's been receiving in the final stretch.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: By the way, I didn't have to bring JLo or Jay Z, the only way she gets anybody. I'm here all by myself. I am here all by myself, just me, no guitar, no piano, no nothing.


CARROLL: Well, his supporters say all he needs is Donald Trump to take the stage. They say he doesn't need a celebrity. He is the best celebrity to deliver

[08:35:16] his message. After today here in Florida, he is going to head back to North Carolina, another state very, very close there, another state that Donald Trump desperately needs to get to that magic number. Then off to Nevada and Colorado and tomorrow when we're talking about some of the other states he's going to be in Iowa and Wisconsin. Wisconsin, another one of those states that's very key for Donald Trump because in order for him to get to that magic 270 electoral votes, he has got to flip the blue states. So perhaps the campaign is thinking Wisconsin might be one of them. Another one of those states, Pennsylvania. That's where he'll be tomorrow as well. Victor, Christi?

PAUL: All right, Jason Carroll, thank you so much. Now Hillary Clinton is hoping the latest jobs report before this election is what's going to give her a boost.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Of course people are looking towards jobs and the economy at the top issues this cycle and here is what the health of economy looks like right now. 161,000 jobs added last month, slightly below Wall Street estimates. The unemployment rate ticked down a tenth of a percent since September to 4.9 percent. Now, according to Donald Trump, these numbers are phony. The economy is a disaster. But the question here is. What are the facts of this economy and the jobs report? For that let's turn now to CNN Money correspondent, Cristina Alesci. And while there are still some challenges here, Cristina. There are still some growth opportunities here. Fastest wage growth in seven years since 2009 in this latest report.

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And you know each side is going to use this jobs report to spin it to their own political end, right? But at the end of the day, the jobs report, if you span the universe of economists out there, both conservative and liberals, they would not really categorize this as a disaster, as Donald Trump is saying, it's a solid showing. It continues the trend that we've seen for the last several years. And it's overall positive. Look, can things be better? Yes, they can be better. The number of discouraged workers out there is still pretty high and that is going to be a drag on our long-term growth, but overall, a solid showing for the U.S. economy.

PAUL: We want to talk about taxes, too. Because when you talk to the electorate, that's a big deal for them, how much is actually coming out of their pockets. And I know that you're going to help us break down here whose plan may be better. I know that Donald Trump's plan is going to lower tax rates if he has his way. Hillary Clinton wants to lower, but only for a particular class.

ALESCI: Exactly. The two plans couldn't be more opposite from one another. Donald Trump once says he wants to cut taxes across the board, but the benefit would disproportionately fall to the wealthy. -- Clinton says she wants to raise taxes, but again she wants that burden to fall on the shoulders of the extremely rich in this country. So very different and one way to look at it is to look at the impacts on the 1 percent. If you look at the 1 percent, under Trump's plan, their tax bill would go up by about $217,000. Hillary Clinton would raise their tax bill -- I'm sorry, their tax bill would go up $215,000 and Clinton would raise their tax bill by $117,000.

So right there, that chart kind of tells you the story, right? Trump is out there saying he is for the little guy. But if you actually look at his tax proposal, a lot of that benefit goes to the upper and higher classes. That's the way it breaks down.

On the corporate side of things, he wants to cut taxes for companies, too. He wants to slash the corporate tax bill in half. And what he says is the companies will use the money they save on taxes and maybe put it to work buying new equipment, hiring people. But, you know, it's hard to encourage companies to use that money for that specific purpose. They could decide, for example, to take that money and give it to shareholders instead of reinvesting it. So it's really a complicated issue, but in terms of the average Joe, the average Joe would probably do better under Hillary's plan.

PAUL: All right. Cristina Alesci, thank you so much.

ALESCI: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Well, a sign of unity for Republicans, even some of the most outspoken never Trumpers are returning home to the GOP and throwing their support behind Donald Trump. But will it help? Up and down the ballot?


[08:43:10] BLACKWELL: So, is this the moment that some top Republicans have been waiting for? The sign of unity, you know for months the GOP has appeared fractured, in some cases actually been rhetorically fractured, unable to calm turmoil and its ranks across the country. Well, now they appear to be rallying. And it has a lot to do with the FBI through as in Clinton's e-mail investigations back into the spotlight.

PAUL: And that's pushed a lot of Republicans to return home essentially and both Trump - and that's good news. Up and down for the down pallet, we should say that. So, joining us now, Amanda Carpenter, CNN political commentator and former communications director for Sen. Ted Cruz and Kevin Madden, CNN political commentator, Republican strategist and partner at Hamilton Place Strategies. Thank you both for being here. Let's talk -


PAUL: Thank you. Good to have you. Let's talk about Ted Cruz. He was with Mike Pence at a rally in Iowa. He wouldn't even mention Donald Trump's name in his prepared remarks, but this is what he said. I believe as he was leaving and he was getting on a plane. Let's listen.


SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) TEXAS: I'll make a point. I'm getting ready to get on a gigantic airplane that has Donald Trump's name painted on the side of it.


PAUL: Only time in that entire rally or that particular trip that he even mentioned Donald Trump's name. What do you make of that? And how does that solidify the Republican Party?

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR AND FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR SEN. TED CRUZ: Well, I think there's a lot of Republicans that wish Mike Pence were on the top of the ticket. And this is one of the reasons that Donald Trump selected Mike Pence as his vice presidential candidate to bring other Republicans, traditional Republicans who are uneasy with Trump home. And you can see by that tape it was somewhat successful because Ted Cruz is campaigning with Mike Pence.

MADDEN: Yes. I think it's just emblematic too, you know, the deep divisions inside the party and the struggle that so my Republicans go through right now, recognizing that they sort of have to draft off of a lot of the party enthusiasm that's out there. But at the same time, not really want to register support for somebody that in conscience, somebody like Ted Cruz, you know, doesn't really support.

BLACKWELL: But the polls show that Republicans are coming -

MADDEN: They are. Yes.

BLACKWELL: Mitt Romney in 2012 had 93 percent of Republicans supporting him.

[08:45:16] Latest ABC news Washington post poll has Donald Trump at about 88 percent, up from 82 just in mid-October. So this influx of FBI leaks and the letter from Jim Comey has started to do the job of uniting the party.

MADDEN: Yes. And you know there was a big chunk of voters out there that were conscious objectors. They just couldn't vote for Donald Trump. And that's what happened. I think, you've seen the atmosphere change over here in the last week because of the announcements of the FBI. Served as a reminder or crystallized a lot for a lot of these Republicans what was at stake, and so you've seen some of them migrate back. Now, 88 is good, but he does have - he has to spend these last few hours all the way to Election Day just reminding people of that contrast that he has between him and Clinton if he's going to get that 90 point. Because that -- 93 percent, that's the base of what he needs just to compete, in order to win he has to get higher than at.

CARPENTER: And I do think there's somewhat of a phenomenon occurring among Republicans, don't blame me. When people do think that this race is going to be closing, kind of sit on the sidelines, after the FBI announcements, they think it might be close, they don't want to be the ones blamed as Donald Trump could have won and didn't.

BLACKWELL: Yes. If they were -- if in their state, I mean, what would be the consequence for Gov. Kasich or for I guess some of the Utah representatives who left and then came back, like a Jason Chaffetz, -- who now says he's going to support him. But he's not endorsing.

MADDEN: I've talked to a lot of Republicans and one friend of mine who is a top Republican said he was talking to a friend of his that said, you know, as much as I've been critical of this guy, at the end of the day, I think when it get into the ballot box, I'm going to vote for him.

CARPENTER: But on that point, there's a big difference and not to parse words too much between supporting ones saying I reluctantly vote for them and endorsing them and going on the campaign trail. I hear a lot of Republicans talk about the moment Marco Rubio, Nikki Haley and Tim Scott in South Carolina saying, man, I wish we would have a party like that people coming together from diverse backgrounds on stage to go against Hillary Clinton. That's a big difference between people rallying behind a candidate like that and saying well, I guess at the end of the day I'm going to vote for him in my ballot where nobody can really watch me.

PAUL: OK. With that example then, let's say that Donald Trump wins. What happens to the Republican Party?

CARPENTER: It will become incredibly different. I think a lot of people will be driven away. It will depend on how he governs in some respect. But we really have to rethink about what the Republican Party stands for because Donald Trump has campaigned on corruption, not traditional Republican issues, a rigged system, yes, you can kind of play into that reform, the tax code, things like that, but predominantly on immigration, a lot on you know, white ethnic identity issues, racial issues. He's a kind of a cultural candidate. And that takes a lot of traditional Republican issues like abortion, gay marriage off the table.

BLACKWELL: What is the role behind the scenes that Mike Pence is playing? We know that he's going to be campaigning with Paul Ryan today to try to bring the party together. That we may not see in front of curtain a lot of work that he's doing that is I guess we're seeing the fruit of it now?

MADDEN: Yes. So much of the criticisms that comes from Republicans of Donald Trump is that he is not somebody who has really previously been strong on espousing Republican principles or ideas. He has been much more driven by, you know, he's a salesmen at the end of the day. And I think what people -- what Republicans really like and respect about Mike Pence is that he is that ideas guy. He is somebody who has a long history of having been a defender of Republican principles. So, you know if Mike Pence were to become vice president, I think a lot of that relationship building with the party and with congressional Republicans will be outsourced to Mike Pence.

BLACKWELL: Donald Trump delivering the weekly Republican address this morning and for the one of the few times, maybe the first time, explicitly saying I need a Republican House and Senate to push through this agenda, something we've not heard on the campaign trail. He goes on stage and he often doesn't mention another person. --

MADDEN: We'll see if it's too late or not.

BLACKWELL: Yes. That's three days. Thank you so much.

MADDEN: Great to be with you.

CARPENTER: Thank you guys. BLACKWELL: Well, CNN is bringing you live election coverage all day on Tuesday, but before then, we're taking you on a behind the scenes tour of all of our election preparations.


[08:53:00] BLACKWELL: All right. Tuesday night millions of people will tune in to CNN for election coverage. And we have teams of political experts and analysts and surrogates ready to bring you all of the angles.

PAUL: So, you might be wondering, how exactly do we prepare for all of these? Take a look.

SAM FEIST, CNN WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: How about if we give you a little bit of a tour of our CNN decision desk area which is the nerve center for CNN's election night coverage. Where I'm standing is where David Chalian, our political director, will bring you the exit poll results throughout the night. He will give you a sense of what's happening state by state and nationwide, who is voting, who they're voting for, what some of the demographic information is, that will all happen right here.

But to my left is our CNN voting irregularities desk. You've already seen Mark Preston report on early vote from here throughout Election Day and Election Night. We'll be tracking what's happening at polling stations throughout the country, whether its long lines or any irregularities that we might see at the voting booths that we feel like you need to know about. So, that's what's happening here.

But the real nerve center of our election coverage is actually where I'm going to take you now, the decision desk. This is the area where all of our statisticians and our political scientists will spend the night, tracking the vote as it comes in. We will look at the vote coming in, state by state and have a sense of who is going to win each state. And when we know the winner of the state, we will project the winners. So, throughout the night, you'll see Wolf Blitzer saying CNN projects the winner in this state or that state.

Well, the information he gets comes from the people that are actually here, our polling and elections director Jennifer Agiesta leads this team. And she and her team will evaluating all of the vote returns, looking at exit polls, looking at statistical models all in an effort to actually be able to project the winner of a state.

Throughout this news room, it will be full of teams of CNN producers and reporters looking at the House, looking at the Senate, we'll have a team of legal analysts looking at any particular voting irregularities. It will certainly be full on Election Night. The other nerve center of course, is our CNN control room and I'll take you there now.

Welcome to CNN Washington a-control which is on Election Day and Election Night, really the most important room in the CNN universe.

[08:55:16] It is in this room where the political team and the production team and our operations team will all come together to bring you our Election Night in America broadcast. The room will be absolutely teeming with people, with producers and directors and technicians that are all coordinating CNN's efforts around the country to bring Election Night together.

We actually have eight control rooms that will be working side by side in a ballet, if you will, together. But this is the room that will control our coverage. This is the room where our executive producer will communicate with Wolf Blitzer, with Jake Tapper, with Anderson Cooper, with Dana Bash to give them election results as we're ready to project the races. To give them information about things that are happening, about what's happening at the campaign headquarters or at polling stations around the country. Everything comes together really in this room in a -- with a remarkable number of people in a remarkable skill set that really only comes to life on Election Day. So once every four years you see an event like this. So that's what happens here. It's going to be a remarkable night. Lot of people will be working hard around the world to bring you the results and I hope you watch.

BLACKWELL: All right. So we often talk about how this election is being received beyond U.S. borders. Well, one southern city in China, has devised a novel way to predict the winner. Our executive producer likes this story.

A monkey.

PAUL: I was thinking about, do I blame him for this too or not.

BLACKWELL: Blame Adam. He likes it.

PAUL: It's a psychic monkey, apparently. And here he is kissing a card board cutout of Trump to make his pick for president. And with that, we're going to close out our show.

BLACKWELL: There you go. All right, "SMERCONISH" is up after our break. We'll be back here at 10:00 a.m. Eastern.