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Polls Show Clinton Ahead but Battleground States Up for Grabs; Initial Operations Begin in Assault on ISIS Stronghold of Raqqa; Delhi under Cloud of Smog. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired November 6, 2016 - 12:00   ET

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


ZAIN ASHER, CNN HOST: -- live reports from Pennsylvania, Florida, and Ohio coming up. Plus, another battle in the war against ISIS. U.S.-backed

Syrian forces say the operation to get rid of the terror group from its de facto capital of Raqqa has begun. And smog in Deli is so bad. It is

closing schools. We'll talk about air quality in India in a few moments.

In less than 48 hours from now, the first polls will open on Election Day in the United States. And at this point, even though Hillary Clinton

certainly does maintain a significant lead, it is impossible to know who will come out on top come Election Day.

Those latest CNN poll of polls shows that Hillary Clinton is leading Donald Trump by three points nationally. She's at 45%, he's at 42% but the race

has been tightening in key swing states.

Now, both Clinton and Trump are putting their campaigns into overdrive. Donald Trump is holding rallies in five states today, his first in Iowa is

set to start in the next hour but the Republican nominee isn't going for just the battlegrounds, he is also making, and this is interesting, he is

also making a big play for states that actually usually vote blue, they usually vote Democratic. Those states include Minnesota.

So question is, are Clinton supporters worried? Our Jake Tapper actually asked that question to U.S. Senator Al Franken from Minnesota.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There are a lot of Democrats out there who are nervous, who are anxious, are you among them?

SEN. AL FRANKEN, (D) MINNESOTA: Oh, sure, I'm always nervous. I was nervous in '12, I was nervous in '08, for good reason. I won by 312 votes.

But I mean I -- you know, we run through the finish line.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ASHER: And Minnesota isn't the only Democratic leaning state Trump is making a play for. He will also be in Michigan in the coming hours.

Clinton is now sending her most powerful surrogate to that state on Monday. We're talking about President Barack Obama. Trump's campaign manager says

that it is a sign the tide is turning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Playing following the leader, and Hillary Clinton is following us to Michigan, following us to

Pennsylvania, following us to Wisconsin, following us to New Hampshire, all these blue states on her schedule now, for an arrogant campaign that's

built -- that's booked fireworks in New York to celebrate her victory on Tuesday night.

She's got the president of United States running around to blue states that he carried twice just to prop her up. That's actually the big story this

morning.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ASHER: And Clinton has enlisted some star power, shall we say, to help her campaign in the battle ground. Saturday night it was Katy Perry in

Pennsylvania and a few hours it will be NBA mega star LeBron James in Ohio.

So we have got the view from three battle ground states. Our Miguel Marquez is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Martin Savidge is in Cleveland,

Ohio and Boris Sanchez is in Miami, Florida.

So Boris I just want to start with you because we've been talking about Florida for the past hour or so here on this show and it is really the

checkmate when it comes to this election. What we're learning from polls and from early voting as well?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Zain, it certainly could be a checkmate for Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump has admitted he needs Florida. It is

critical to his hopes for the White House.

In terms of the early voting numbers, what we have learned is that more than 6.1 million Floridians have already cast their ballots and Democrats

right now have about a 32,000 vote advantage. It sounds like a big number. It's really not going into Election Day.

On 2012, Barack Obama in early voting had about 100,000 vote advantage, ended up winning by about 70,000 so the margins are extremely close and

they're expected to get closer.

Another thing we can gleam from these early voting numbers brought to us by Catalyst Analytics, a data company that provides data to CNN, is that

voting among African-Americans is down about 4% here in Florida and that is certainly concerning for Democrats because that is a big part of Hillary

Clinton's based. In order to counteract that, they're holding a series of souls to the poll drives today across the state helping people go from

church, bussing them directly to voting locations like the one behind me.

There is good news in the early voting for Hillary Clinton though, the Latino vote is actually up 4% across the state of Florida, a big part of

her efforts in the state were focused on the central part of Florida where an influx of Puerto Ricans have really changed the landscape of an area

that is a battleground.

She spent more than $27 million advertising in places like Orlando and holding voting drives and registration drives in order to tilt the scales

in her favor, we'll have to wait and see until Election Day if that ends up being what helps her get to the White House.

[00:05:08] ASHER: And, Miguel, I'm just curious, you know, what are some of the issues that -- without generalizing obviously, what some of the

issues that Floridians really care about, in particular I'm thinking of Cuban-Americans especially given the pouring (ph) relationship between

Washington and Havana.

Actually that question was for Boris not Miguel, so Boris are you paying attention to me, there you go, OK. So what issues -- my question is what

issues are Floridians really caring about in this election?

OK, it looks as though we don't -- do we have Boris? Can you still hear me? Boris, can you hear me? OK, I'm going to switch to --

SANCHEZ: Yes, I'm sorry about that. I missed what were you saying?

ASHER: OK, OK. My question was what are the issues that Floridians really care about in this election?

SANCHEZ: First and foremost, I would have to say after talking to a variety of different voters it has to be the economy, the question about

jobs here in the state of Florida and immigration as well. Education is another big one. I would say that the real deciding factor here in

Florida, the real question comes down to the I4 quarter in the central part of the state and there is a very differing demographics in that area.

For a large number, I mentioned Puerto Ricans before, for a large number of Puerto Ricans there, it is the economy not just in Florida but also in

their island of Puerto Rico.

For some of the folks that are on the redder, the more Republican areas in the central part of the state, trustworthiness is a huge factor. They were

not exactly kind of a Clinton administration going back to the '90s. They're not huge fans of Hillary Clinton.

I actually spoke to one man here in Little Haiti this morning that was telling me this is a tough game, this is a tough game. He said that he

wish that Joe Biden had run because he felt that it would have been a more popular candidate than Hillary Clinton.

So it's not just about the issues, it's also about charisma like ability and obviously trust.

ASHER: All right, Boris Sanchez live for us there. If you could just standby. I'm going to bring in Miguel Marquez who is live for us in

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

So, Miguel, you're in Pennsylvania. I mean this is -- this state is a big deal particularly because of the fact that it has 20 Electoral College

votes. It leans blue. Is there any chance, realistic chance, I should say that, that could change come Tuesday?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is possible. Donald Trump has tried to make Pennsylvania battleground and Hillary Clinton has done

everything in her power to make it into a firewall. Because if the logic of the Democrat side is that he wins here, it opens up several

possibilities for him to get to the White House. If she can close off Pennsylvania, then it protects her lead basically across the country.

A Republican hasn't won Pennsylvania since 1988 where in Pittsburgh which is Allegheny County, it's the big Democratic stronghold, it is sea of sort

of Republican voters in western, and northern, and southern Pennsylvania so that the rural areas of the state. Trump needs to really outperform

Clinton both here in Allegheny and in the areas, other rural areas across the state. You know, in Allegheny County and in Philadelphia and the

counties surrounding it, you have almost half the voters in the entire state.

Barack Obama won only 12 counties in 2012 in Pennsylvania yet he won the state by about five points so it's absolutely essential. She was here in

Pittsburgh on Friday. Joe Biden was here in Pittsburgh (INAUDIBLE) yesterday. Donald Trump is coming in tonight. Hillary Clinton will come

back to Pittsburgh tomorrow before she makes her closing argument in Philadelphia tomorrow night. Do you think she wants to win Pennsylvania?

Absolutely.

Donald Trump has made a play for it but it's going to be a very, very tough battle. Her ground game here enormous, 56 offices, she has them in

counties that Romney actually won. Trump has pretty much given his ground game over to the RNC. They say they have a great ground game, they have a

lot of enthusiasm among their followers but it is hard to see how he can overcome her advantages in the state. Zain?

ASHER: Miguel, you know, Donald Trump sort of main pitched to voters in Western Pennsylvania, is, you know, on loss manufacturing jobs particularly

in the Roosevelt states, this idea of free trade being damaging. Is Donald Trump doing that much better than other Republican candidates in the past?

MARQUEZ: He does better in many parts of the state. It's still unclear whether he is going to do better than other Republicans at this point. The

Republican Party here was pretty split for a while, they've come back together and they are supporting him vociferously right now, but we won't

know until Election Day comes. We don't have early voting here so it all comes down to 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern here across Pennsylvania to figure

out sort of who came out and who supported who and then what number so we'll know a heck of a lot more after that.

[00:10:08] But it is not clear that he is going to get this huge surge of Republicans or new voters to the poll. There may be some but is it going

to be in the hundreds of thousands that he needs to make that difference, probably not. Zain?

ASHER: All right, Miguel Marquez, do stand by. I want to go to Martin Savidge who is in Ohio. And, Martin, you're actually from Ohio I believe

so welcome home, but it is a tight race in Ohio, this explains why audience who maintains the edge right now with just two days left.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is a close race. Right now according to the CNN poll, Donald Trump has about a five-point lead over

Hillary Clinton. However, here's the -- point out two things that give Democrats a reason for renewed optimism.

Number one, you can take a look. This is outside of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. It's the county that surrounds the city of Cleveland.

It's the only place that early voting is allowed up here and right now there is a line that extends all the way around the corner of this

building, so the polling doesn't actually start for another hour, that's a good sign.

The other good sign, blue skies, mild temperatures, weather has an impact out of turnout of voters. And in fact the weather here is incredibly mild

for the early part of November. You can have snow at this time of year, I know it well.

So those factors are what Democrats are saying there yesterday. So record numbers of people coming to the polls early voting compared to say the same

period in 2012. Because most of the urban areas of this state tend to be heavily Democrat the fact that you have so many people showing up and

voting, the Democrats are taking as a good thing. They need good news because in this state early voting like in a number of other places was

down from 2012.

And so that had Democrats worried, but right now the weather is in their favor and it appears that maybe the last minute spike of voters could also

be in their favor as well, but the farther you go down state in Ohio, meaning from Columbus all the way down to Cincinnati, that's where Donald

Trump territory, he has been doing very well because he's been able to appeal to what I called blue collar Democrats, these are Democrats that

traditionally do or would vote for Hillary Clinton but this time around no. Zain?

ASHER: Well, with 18 Electoral College votes it is an important state, swing state, come election date we shall see. OK, Martin Savidge live for

us there. Thank you so much, appreciate that.

And a program to note to all of you at home, do stay with CNN for full coverage of this historic Election Day like no other. We have the best

political team in the game on TV and online. We'll bring you nonstop coverage on Tuesday from before the poll is open to long after they close.

A second major battle front is opening up in the ground war against ISIS. We'll get you on the ground here, more so for the latest on the Iraqi city

in just a few moments but first we do want to begin with Syria where Arab, Kurdish, and other militias are announcing the start of the assault to take

back the militant's self declared capital of Raqqa coming together in the Washington back, Syrian democratic forces crucially, they are saying that

they will be backed by an international coalition of U.S.-led air power but the coalition hasn't confirm that all. Will Ripley has much more now from

neighboring Turkey.

So, Will, just given out the battle to take back, Mosul is barely a month old, explain to us why starting to take back Raqqa is the right timing for

that, just explain why.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the U.S. officials have been hinting that this would be coming for quite some time, the simultaneous assaults on

Mosul and Raqqa for the reason that by splitting the resources of ISIS, dividing the number of fighters who can be focused on either location, it

will weaken the group perhaps more quickly and bring about essentially the end of this caliphate that they call it, this community that they have

formed where people have essentially been many civilians are living under this brutal almost in prison in terms of the type of living conditions that

they have and we've seen when these villages have been liberated. People have been celebrating and quite relieved but it's a very, very difficult

slow going process to get from the initial phases here, where they're going to start to isolate and cut off the supply lines in the escape routes to

when they actually make their final assault on Raqqa and it's going to be several weeks according to U.S. officials talking to Barbara Starr before

that happens.

And what we saw in Kobani in late 2014 when this group of Kurdish and Arab militias took down Kobani after a very difficult battle, it left the city

about 80% destroyed. There was significant loss of life. We know that ISIS uses human shields as practice. They don't allow people to leave and

to escape as these air strikes to support the ground operation are underway.

[00:15:02] And you mentioned by the way the air strike, it is crucial for that air support to continue. Some of those missions being launched from

inner base in Southern Turkey into Northern Syria because those air strikes allow these relatively sparsely armed and ill-equipped militias to move

forward otherwise they might have a very difficult time coming up against these multiple suicide car bombs and the trenches and the tunnels and the

techniques that ISIS is using essentially sending people deliberately to their death to fight back this onslaught.

ASHER: And, Will, I'm just curious, what steps are being taken? I mean you mentioned, you know, ISIS taking people as human shields, what steps

are being taken right now to protect civilians inside Raqqa?

RIPLEY: ISIS is in control of those people's lives inside Raqqa and so not many steps are being taken to protect them. There were -- there was --

there's information pamphlets that were dropped in this in the case of Mosul to let people know that this assault was coming. We -- there have

been attempts that had been made to communicate with civilians inside Raqqa as well but very few of them have access to things like radios and

television and certainly the internet.

I mean you're talking about a city that has been under siege and a city that ISIS has been fortifying and turning into a veritable fortress now

preparing for this battle and at the same time their propaganda has been telling these people that the soldiers who are coming are coming to do harm

to them, that the Kurdish soldiers in particular will slaughter them.

And so they're dealing with a lot of propaganda and they're going to be used by ISIS to try to defend this capital because once they lose their

capital they become like essentially any other terror group. They don't have this caliphate anymore, then they just start launching bombing attacks

perhaps here in Istanbul and across the Middle East and Europe as well, that's the fear, what they're going to do now if their backs are up against

the wall.

ASHER: Will Ripley, we'll continue to monitor the situation there. Appreciate that. Thank you so much.

In neighboring Iraq, the battle is raging on to reclaim the largest ISIS controlled city there. ISIS is using suicide bombs and mortar attacks

against Iraqi-led troops in Mosul as they try to push their way through the city.

The Iraqi Prime Minister has visited soldiers at the front line to help boost their moral. U.S. military officials estimate there are 3,000-5,000

ISIS fighters in Mosul. Our Michael Holmes joins us live now from Erbil which is just east of Mosul.

So, Michael, just explain to us given the resistance, how much has the ISIS resistance slowed down the fight to take back Mosul?

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, it has enormously slowed it down. They're really only a couple of blocks into

that eastern edge of Mosul. It surprised a lot of people because it's been said for a couple of weeks now that ISIS had been moving its fighters that

it had from the east to the west where it's a lot more sort of the streets more densely packed and urban warfare favors the incumbent.

But in the east, we are seeing a lot of resistance today, more fierce clashes as one district out in where they're reporting things like families

being told to leave their homes and ISIS comes in and booby traps those homes to make things more difficult for the Iraqi forces. As you said, car

bombs are a favorite weapon and also some complex ambushes of Iraqi forces we're seeing in the last couple of days.

For the Iraqi side of things, they say that they killed two senior ISIS leaders today, one of them a so-called war commander of Western Mosul. And

that first neighborhood that the Iraqis went into (INAUDIBLE), Iraqi forces say they got a large amount of weapons left behind by ISIS, say the

fighting does continue in a number of eastern neighborhoods, but as you say, it is hard going. It's far from quick progress and it's only likely

to get tougher, Zain.

ASHER: And one major concern above all of this is really the humanitarian crisis as civilians flee the outskirts of Mosul. One major concern as

you've been talking about Michael is making sure that the ISIS fighters don't stop blending in with the civilian populations.

HOLMES: It's a big risk, I mean there are reports out of Mosul sometime ago of ISIS members being seen shaving their beards, changing their clothes

already, trying to fit in, even ahead of this offensive. And as thousands of people pour out into this displacement camp, it is a major concern.

Relief agencies, aid organization say they are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of displaced people. So far 35,000 or so in the last three

weeks and it's increasing every single day. And as you drive around as we have, you see all these camps being built and ones that are there being

expanded to cater to those numbers and seeing the people pouring into the moment, it really can be heartbreaking. We visited one of those camps.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[00:20:03] HOLMES: At a camp for the displaced, mother and daughter reunited, separated by ISIS for two long years. The reunions here come one

after another. A very public torrent of emotions for which words do no justice.

The scenes here are both heartbreaking and joyous, just imagine if it was you on the inside of the camp. You got families from previously ISIS-held

territory. On the outside, you've got their families and loved ones who haven't seen them in two years. But the problem is this, security.

Those on the inside, they need to be screened and process. There could be ISIS among them, and that processing is yet to be completed.

This is my brother Ikram Akten (ph) says. For so long, we didn't see each other or even talk. Ikram story repeated throughout the camp.

And along the road leading to it, lines of cars and trucks headed towards the gates and safety.

Wajsad (ph) tells us he walked 20 kilometers here with his family, at last security, he says. At the fence, his brother-in-law, Asmed (ph), a young

family reunited.

I'm overjoyed he says but it is frustrating to not be able to come in.

This is Hada camp. It was originally built with a thousand tents and meant for 8,000 people. Four thousand arrived in one 24-hour period. This camp

is now full. They're extending it but for now, they're having to send families to other camps.

Aid organizations expected these people to come and have prepared as much as possible, the problem not knowing what's yet to come. The fear that

this is just the beginning of the possible long feared deluge of the desperate and the dispossessed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: And, Zain, we already know there's well over millions civilians inside of Mosul. Many of them being used as human shield. The U.N. says,

maybe as many as 700, 000 people might need some sort of assistance as this campaign continues. It really is a huge number.

One aid group said that, you know, once the number gets through about 250, 000 then they might start to struggle in terms of what facilities are

available, the capabilities. Zain?

ASHER: Possibly 700,000 people displaced in their new home. Michael Holmes live for us there, thank you so much for bringing that report to us.

All right, still to come here on "Connect the World" a blanket of accurate gray smog is choking India. (INAUDIBLE) when residents in Delhi and expect

relief. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:25:06] ASHER: All right, in India now, a blanket of heavy smog has descended across Delhi slowing traffic, stalling construction and closing

down schools as well. Officials are blaming farmers for the awkward air. And they are considering an extreme move to spur artificial rain.

Let's talk more about this. Meteorologist Allison Chinchar joins us live now. So, Allison, actually you saw a little girl -- actually a photograph

of little girl holding up a sign saying please help, I can't breathe. That is how serous it is in Delhi right now.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, METEOROLOGIST: And unfortunately, it's probably not going to get any better anytime soon. So, it's kind of combination. We

have a lot of the fires that have been burn in the northwestern region but also the Diwali Celebrations that have been going on. You have all the

fireworks that are letting off smoke as well.

Take it a look at this image again. This just kind of goes to show you some of that, everybody is celebrating. They're in a great mood. They're

setting off the fireworks. But the air quality wasn't that great to begin with. So you add stuff like the fireworks into it. And unfortunately, it

just tends to make it worst. So a single firecracker by the way can cause heavy pollution within about 10 cubic meters.

And we're not just talking one, two, three firecrackers that were set off. We're talking thousands that were set off. So on this map, again, you can

see the northwestern region. All those red dots, those are some of the brush fire. Some of the fires that we've noticed that have been around a

lot of the farmland and agriculture that's there.

Now, these are Himalayas, that dark green color that you see. What that essentially does is it block smoke and smog for merely being able to exit

the region. It just traps it right in this area. And unfortunately, we've also pick up a northwest wind, meaning all of that smoke has kind of been

funneled right into the Delhi area.

So, look at some of these numbers, 997 in Delhi, 872 or some of the numbers at the airport and lot of the surrounding areas really aren't that much

better. Now, the numbers I know don't necessarily mean anything to you when you hear them. So take a look at the chart. We're talking 800, 900.

It's technically off the chart. Most of the numbers stay at 500 or below. So that just kind of goes to show you how really unhealthy a lot of that

air is.

Now, one of things, Zain, that you said you see a lot of them wearing mask. They try to cover a lot of the pollutants. Now, that will help with things

like sand and human hair. But the really tiny particle that you'll get from a lot of this smoke, the mask really do help with some of that.

Unfortunately, Zain, the weather conditions aren't likely to improve for at least a few more days to help move a lot of that smog back out.

ASHER: All right. Allison Chinchar live for us. Thank you so much for bringing that to us.

All right, I'm Zain Asher and that was "Connect the World". Thank you so much for watching. You're watching CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END