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CUOMO PRIME TIME

More Than 30 Million Have Already Voted in Midterms; CNN Poll Dems Maintain Advantage on Congressional Ballot; Trump Hated Economy Ad, Opted for Anti-Immigration Ad. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired November 5, 2018 - 21:00   ET

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


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: The news continues now. I want to hand it over to Chris Cuomo. "Cuomo Prime Time" starts now. I'll be back live at 11:00 later tonight. Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Anderson, thank you very much. We're also live in Washington D.C. on election eve. I'm Chris Cuomo. Welcome to Prime Time.

These are the final hours. President Trump's fear and loathing is about to be put to the test. The President himself has said vote as if he is on the ballot. Well, that's exactly what's going to happen, and we'll game out the various scenarios. On the Democrat's side, they're making a bet that Trumpism can be defeated. We have the question why if some decided on the Democrat's side to ignore the President altogether in these closing days not taking him on toe to toe about all the lies about the migrants. Might that cost them?

We're going to bring in the head of the party and get a sense of where their collective head is. On the Republican side, if they lose control of the House but keep the Senate, what is that going to mean? Will it be even worse? Will the partisan warfare be more intense? How do we come together if the two houses are divided? All right, this is one thing we know for sure. This is an immutable truth, the one thing that will help is you going out and voting everybody everywhere. So what do you say? Let's get after it.

All right. Here's what we know. Here's the good news. You guys are amped up whether you're red, blue, purple, you want to vote. Everybody's number is over 80 percent in terms of passion to get out there. Now, you don't see that, especially in midterms. We already have over 30 million people who have voted early. And there's some tight races. There's obviously a lot at stake. Both sides are trying to get as many of their people out to vote as they can. That's what midterms are about. Unlike a presidential year, midterms are about intensity of base. So let's go to the head of one of those bases, the DNC Chair, Tom Perez. It's good to have you back.

TOM PEREZ, DNC CHAIR: Always great to be with you, Chris.

CUOMO: Quick question. We're talking about who is going to win. What it will take to win, how many seats. All this. Let's just jump ahead one step. To you, what is success after tomorrow? What does it look like? PEREZ: Well, I think we're going to take the House. I think we're

going to surprise a lot of people in the Senate. Is the pathway narrow in the Senate? Absolutely. But we've got four viable opportunities play often. And what's talked about less than it should be frankly is all the opportunities we have to win up and down the ballot in states across the country. I'm here right now in Milwaukee. I've been in Ohio, Florida, and Georgia in the last three, four days. And we have opportunities in all those states and then some to win governor's seats. And these are 12-year elections.

The next governor of Wisconsin, and I think it's going to be Tony Evers has an opportunity during district cycle to ensure that we have fair maps. And so that's why our focus has been on building that 50- state infrastructure. And I'm proud of the fact that we've become a 50-state party again. The proof is in the pudding. We're competing in Kansas and we're competing in Iowa, we're competing all across this country. Places where you think Democrats couldn't win, I mean, there's two seats in Kansas for Congress where we've got a real fighting chance of winning. So that's, to me, success is that we have this opportunity everywhere. Are there close races? Absolutely. Do people need to vote? Absolutely.

CUOMO: So this is about getting out the base. You're doing that with the infrastructure and you're trying to do that with message. I'm going to talk to you about that in a second. You think that you're going to have a prediction about surprising people that you'll win the Senate. And of course, one of the legacies of the last 10 years is the Democrats getting outsmarted on the state level. We talked about this before, we talked about it in the debate when you are making the case to chair the party.

They focused on those state legislatures. They turned a lot of them red. And they wind up being able to redistrict according to their priorities and that's hurt your party and continues to do that. So when we look at why the base will come out, different story on the right and the left now, on your side let's put that first guys, we do see that the most important issue for the Democrats is health care, 7 1 percent saying that corruption, 54 percent.

President Trump, 53 percent. The Russia investigation, 53 percent, so other than health care, pretty tight nucleus of concerns. So I get you focusing on health care on the left. But when you look at Republicans, their top issue is immigration, no I don't know if that was true before the Trump went on his fear -- the President went on his fear and loathing campaign or after, but that's why I asked you last time and I want to ask you again tonight, you hadn't made a decision to go toe to toe with him on immigration. All the lies about the migrant caravan, scaring people about who they are. And what it means if they come here. Why didn't you take that fight up?

[21:05:03] PEREZ: Well, listen we have a proposal on immigration. It was a proposal that passed in 2013. It was a proposal that passed in a bipartisan fashion. We believe that we can be a government of laws and a government -- and a country of -- nation of immigrants.

But here is the thing, Chris, the reason they want to talk about immigration is because they are hemorrhaging on health care. They have said, and ask Leader McConnell. He had said if we have majorities in both Houses, we're going to go after Medicare and Medicaid and social security. That's terrible.

Preexisting conditions exist in red America, blue America, and they can't possibly compete on this. So what do they do? They change the subject. That's distracting Donald at his worst, and fear mongering, lying, all of the above and it's all because they want to change the subject.

We saw this in Virginia last year. You remember at the run up to the Virginia election, Ed Gillespie, the Republican candidate he went on the fear mongering immigrant bashing band wagon for the last two months, and he lost by nine points because the voters understood health care, health care, health care. And they elected Democrats up and down the ticket.

I think the same thing is going to happen here. We've got so many governors and candidates who are talking about the fact that health care should be a right for all and not a privilege for a few. They're talking about Medicare and Medicaid and social security.

They're talking about a sound education for our children. And they're talking about our democracy, and the character of our democracy. When you have leaders like we do now who -- I don't really understand the word dog whistle. Dog whistle implies a subtle reference to race. There's nothing subtle about what the President is doing.

There's nothing subtle about what Brian Kemp is doing in Georgia. There's nothing subtle about what the governor candidate on the Republican side of Florida is doing. There's nothing subtle at all. I think that's America at its worst and I think Americans want leaders who unite. And that's why I have confidence going into tomorrow.

CUOMO: Do you think that the ad the President put out, the Willie Horton redux, now as you know, CNN wouldn't take money for that ad, the boss says that he wasn't going to take money to promote somebody's racist values and that's what that ad is, OK. Nobody can look at it and see anything else. And yes, he blames the Democrats for why a man like that would be able frame. And we know the fact really there's just as much blame on the Republican side of the ball, but that was never the point.

And now you see different media agencies following what CNN started initially and it seems to be an echo effect of what they're hearing from people. Do you think that ad may have been the one step too far that makes people even on the right side of the ball say this is not the way we want to play this game?

PEREZ: I think there are confluence of forces, Chris. And I think that's one of them. But I think it started in Charlottesville. Charlottesville was a layup for the President. There was nothing ambiguous about what happened. It was a hate crime. It was a mob of far right people who killed someone and injured others. That was a lay-up, and people see the President blew a lay-up. And then you fast forward more recently, and you see what happened

down in Florida, and the man arrested ten days ago or so, and you look at his van, and you see someone who is following through on the President's completely consistent invitations for people to take action that that person was taking.

And you just see it more and more again. And then you see the senseless hate crime in Pittsburgh, and you see the defendant there was spewing these conspiracy theories about Jews and the caravan, and where's he getting this from? And there's this confluence of forces. We saw it to a lesser extent in Virginia. Voters were saying that Gillespie, we reject the politics of division.

And I think there are a lot of people tomorrow who are going to the polls to say our leader with the biggest mega phone in the world is engaging in conduct unbecoming of a President. It is beneath the office of the presidency. It is undermining our national security. It is undermining our character as a nation.

And I don't think there's any one particular event, but I think when you layer that on top of the fact that health care, health care, health care is the first thing on people's mind, and then we now have a commitment from Republicans to cut Medicare, Medicaid and social security, and here in Wisconsin and elsewhere, people want a better public education for their kids.

The lowest paid professors in the big 10 are at Wisconsin. And that's because this Governor, Scott Walker, has cut funding. And now he's talking about how I'm going to fight for preexisting conditions. It's a joke. He ran for president saying the first thing I'm going to do is repeal the Affordable Care Act.

[21:10:06] People are sick of leaders who lie. People are sick of leaders who, and people want leaders who are going to fight for the issues they care about. Health care, education, good paying jobs, not jobs that have you just spinning your wheels, that's not what they want.

CUOMO: Well, Tom Perez, it will all come home one way or the other tomorrow. And we'll be watching every hour. The American people are going to give one side a mandate and then the test becomes what is done with this new opportunity by the American people. Tom Perez, thank you. I brought up the ad because when Fox stops running an ad, you know you've reached a new normal. Take care.

PEREZ: Yes. Get out there and vote, that's like you said at the beginning, Chris. Everybody has to vote tomorrow.

CUOMO: I'll give you that word for the last word every time. Because we all know that, red, blue, or purple, you got to get out and vote. And everywhere in the country is relevant right now. Our thanks to Tom Perez.

Battle grounds abound, OK. Some hold crucial keys to 2020 not just what's going to happen tomorrow. Which races are we watching and why? What's the over under on election eve? You saw Tom Perez say he thinks they can take his Senate. That's his version of we're going to shock the world tomorrow. We'll see. We're going to play magic wall with our wiz, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:15:03] CUOMO: All right. So what do we think going into tomorrow? Look, everybody has to go slow if for no other reason than what we saw in 2016. Polls are very helpful, they help you measure a moment. But they are not this positive.

The most recent CNN polling does show the Democratic Party with a double digit lead over the GOP among likely voters. But that last phrase, my brothers and sister likely voters, you know how many people in races like this with this kind of emotion and this kind of partnership were not likely voters two days ago but today they are? They heard something. Something clicked.

They're triggered. So you don't know. So you can't really predict how many of you are going to take your civic duties seriously tomorrow and that is the big x factor. It's something that you heard today. Is the President's final push, this propel over ad that nobody should have been airing. Will that be a moment?

So there's a lot to watch and we have the right man on the job. Phil Mattingly is taking a look at the state of play. What races are you looking at on the House side?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So let's start big picture, Chris. If you look at this right now as basically a visual of all of the House races. And there's a lot of them. So it can be a little confusing. If you want to know why Democrats have optimism right now, it really starts right here.

There's 31 tossup races, 30 in those Republican-held seats and Democrats probably only need to win about a hand full. But let's actually narrow it down a little bit more. Go into the map. There's a kind of a road map, especially early in the night that's going to give you a sense of what kind of night Democrats are having.

Start with the races that they absolutely have to win, Republican seats they have to flip. And one of them is Virginia 10. The Democratic candidate Jennifer Wexton and Republican incumbent Barbara Comstock, why this is so important? Hillary Clinton won this district in 2016. Ralph North of Virginia Democratic governor, he won the seat in a large margin in 2017.

Republicans have essentially conceded that this is probably going to be a Democratic seat. So the question here is two-fold. One, can Republicans hold on to this. That's a huge jolt for their chances to hold on to the House. And two, if they lose, what's the margin? You basically need to view these in tiers. So let's go down to the next tier. Democrats think they -- know they need to pick that seat up.

Let's go to another seat. This is another one of the districts that Hillary Clinton won in 2016 but this one is a little bit dicier for Democrats. Put this maybe in the second tier of seats that they want to or need to win. Carlos Curbelo, while this is a Clinton district is considered a very good candidate, raise a ton of money broke with President Trump repeatedly. So while there's heavy Democratic optimism in this district, he will be a difficult candidate to defeat. He is also considered, Chris, part of the fire wall.

These are seats Republicans absolutely have to hang onto if they want any chance of holding on to the majority. That's why Carlos Curbelo is on this list as well. If you want to expand it even a little bit further, here's how you know Democrats at least early on or having a very good night, Chris, they flip this district.

New Jersey's third district, this is a district with the incumbent Tom MacArthur, never really had a difficult race won handedly in 2016 and President Trump won district as well, if this district goes early in the night that's when you know Democrats may be on a very good pathway, not just the majority but perhaps expanding it quite a bit.

CUOMO: So let me ask you something. You're talking about Carlos Curbelo. I was just doing a googling there trying to catch up to you, not only good looking but you're damn smart so I had to do a little extra homework here to stay with you. Curbelo is more than just a red wall, more than just a fire wall. He's an interesting choice for that because he's not someone who stands lock step with Trump.

So it's interesting that the party needs somebody to hold that isn't necessarily beholden to Trump the same way that many others are. It's interesting. Tom Perez was just on the show, DNC Chair. He says we've going to shock the world. We're going to beat the Senate. He sees what he calls a narrow path, but he sees a real path. Do you?

MATTINGLY: It's narrow. There's no question about it. Anybody you talk to knows that it's narrow. And let me explain why. When you went into 2018, you knew Democrats were defending not only a lot of seats, more than 20. But they were defending 10 seats in states where President Trump won and in many cases won handily in 2016.

Let me tell you what I'm watching for Indiana. We're going to find out early on where Indiana stands. Joe Donnelly, this is a state President Trump won by 20 points. If Joe Donnelly hangs on in Indiana or rolling up big votes in places like Indianapolis or Gary, that's a very good sign for that very, very narrow path.

It's all about defense, particularly early in the night. And then always, you go to Florida. This could keep us up very late and on often does but in this case follow where the Presidents went. President Obama is going to Miami. That's Democratic base.

President Trump going to Pensacola, that's Republican base. Turnout as always is the old paradigm that that's what matters. If they can turn out their bases in the election, whoever wins, it's going to be a huge sign for what's to come in the Senate, Chris.

CUOMO: Wow. Is there a lot of alchemy going on with this. I'm glad I have you now. And tomorrow night, a lot of pieces to watch, Phil Mattingly, thank you very, very much. All right, now, look, midterms, they're not as jazzy as those main

elections are. But this one is different. I'm going to bring in a great panel for you. Same guy we had last night because there's some things that happened just today that I've never seen before.

I just saw the party and the President split on what the closing argument should be. He just said something about himself, the President that I haven't heard him say since he's been President, and the media just did something I've never seen this close to an election day.

[21:20:09] So we have our A-team here with their crystal balls. They don't need them. They're smart enough. We'll get after what this all means next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: All right. So if you look at the polls, you're going to see the Democrats have a double digit lead over Republicans on the eve of the midterm elections. How much stock do you put in it? Look, I believe in the methodology of the poll. But it's all about what happens tomorrow.

And one of the things that's indicative of what could happen tomorrow are the gaps we're seeing. OK. So you see a gender gap. Women are favoring Democrats 62 to 35. You have to ask if the number is being felt all the way to the White House because you saw what they did today, right?

They brought the women out today and the President said something I've never heard him say. Let's discuss, S.E. Cupp, Dana Bash, and Michael Smerconish.

Thank you for helping the show be better again tonight. Three things I've never seen. First one is not the gender stuff. I'll put that second. First one is the party says got to do our closing argument. Here's what we think it is. And they put it out in the name of the President. He says I don't like it. His own party's closing argument he says immigration is not in there.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: His own campaign?

CUOMO: His own campaign.

BASH: Right.

CUOMO: Yes. Thank you, Dana. I've never seen that before on the eve of a midterm in a way that was made public.

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, you can't argue that Trump doesn't know his base. He knows his base. He knows what they want to hear.

CUOMO: And they do poll immigration as the number one issue?

CUPP: Yes. I think that's true of Republicans. I mean, you know, I think that's true of the party. That issue works. We can talk about how he goes about that issue. That's another thing. But that issue, for sure works. He knows his base. And if he sees what I assume was sort of a staid, normal kind of sanitized campaign ad about the economy I'm sure he was like no, they're not having it. But this is sort of emblematic of where Paul Ryan has been.

CUOMO: Quiet Paul. You know why?

CUPP: I did a lie.

CUOMO: He's too quiet.

CUPP: I hear you. I hear you. But you know, he has been trying to hammer this economic message to everyone who will hear it. The 25 candidates he's campaigning for, anyone that will listen because he thinks this will work with more voters than Trump's nationalist campaign.

[21:25:16] BASH: And you know who did like this ad that came out a week ago today? $6 million from the Trump campaign which was very touchy feely, it was -- we had it here on CNN.

CUOMO: The vote Republican ad.

BASH: Vote Republican, paid for by Trump's campaign because they've raise over $100 million, which is a whole different segment about Republicans being mad about him gobbling up all that money for a campaign that doesn't even start yet officially at least until after the midterms. But never mind that, the people who liked the touchy feely ad with the woman talking about her daughter that she can keep her safe, that she can send her to violin lessons, the House Republicans.

CUPP: Yes, of course.

BASH: Why? Because that's exactly the turf on which House Republicans are fighting all across the country. In suburban districts, that's where they think they are going to lose the House. So the idea was --

CUOMO: We saw the number in the poll --

BASH: Exactly. The idea was do that in this ad and have the President, you know, scream and yell about immigration on the stump.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: Can I give you --

BASH: He didn't like it.

SMERCONISH: Can I give you another interpretation of this?

CUOMO: Always.

SMERCONISH: Maybe those numbers justify his approach. I don't think you can justify morally the nativist approach that he's made, but politically if that's the gender divide, and there's a similar gap among Latinos and people of color, maybe those votes were never up for grabs for Republicans in the midterm and consequently doing what he did was the only way in which to protect the Senate and energize the base. I don't know whether those numbers are the way they are because of his close or if that's the way they were throughout the course?

CUOMO: No, no, I mean I think he's had trouble. He's been making his own trouble for a long time on top of anything that was endemic to the party.

SMERCONISH: So maybe he knew those numbers?

CUOMO: Maybe but then why did he do that today?

Another thing that I've never seen today, so you have Kellyanne Conway, you have got Sarah Sanders and I think there was a third women -- oh, and his daughter. His daughter comes. Now they have the check problem, right? You're not supposed to go to a political rally.

They say we're here on our own time. The women come out, or at least the ones that they waned to assemble. And then he says my tone is a regret. I've never heard him say he regrets anything in his life. This is the man who said I've never had to ask god for forgiveness. In fact, many of you may not believe me. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there anything as you look back at your first -- almost two years, thing you regret that you wish on you that you could just take back and redo?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, there would be certain things. I'm not sure I want to reveal all of them, but I would say tone. I would like to have a much softer tone. I feel to a certain extent I have no choice, but maybe I do, and maybe I could have been softer from that standpoint.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Look. It's not the cleanest thing I've ever seen in my life. It wouldn't get him through a therapy session. But the idea of --

CUPP: But it would, actually. That was remarkable.

CUOMO: You know, they hit you with this do you really mean it? What do you going to do. How are you going to make --

CUPP: You know this isn't actually a therapy session.

CUOMO: Every night it is. Every night they come out with new problems. So he says that I have regrets. My tone, I would want to change. We've never heard him say that. So to counter the contrary notion, is he aware and is he trying?

SMERCONISH: Well, I think he's responding now to the conversation that we're having and that so many others are having who are looking at this and saying is this campaign malpractice, the way he's approached the closing argument. And this is his response now to those critics.

CUOMO: And he did say, I don't want to mention all of them. That's the part that wouldn't fly in a therapy session. It's got to all come out in order to get any kind of absolution. Now, the third thing I've never seen before, so the new Willie Horton ad comes about the man from Mexico, the murder. Bad guy anyway you look at it.

They say it's the Democrats' fault that he got out. The counterfactual becomes actually, you got blame on both sides at best, but that was never what the ad was about. It wasn't about the facts, it was the felling. CNN won't run the ad. I played it in parts, but we don't take money for the ad we were running. This close to an election, the see media backing off one by one saying, we won't run the ad. What's that about?

BASH: Including Fox.

CUOMO: Even Fox.

BASH: That's the kicker. Including Fox, what said about --

CUOMO: Who have been loathing the ad and saying it was true. The Trump trio there at night were all saying this was the medicine.

BASH: Yes, that there was backlash. That's the -- I mean, that's the answer that there was backlash among viewers. And that is the reason why they did that. And it really does speak to the disconnect between what Donald Trump does on a daily basis now on the stump which is basically a Trump version of that ad, you know, except that it had the images to go along with it which were incredibly powerful.

And the disconnect between that and what is and should be acceptable for networks, cable broadcast networks to accept money for, and these three networks starting with CNN, and again, remarkably including Fox, felt that went over the line.

[21:30:18] CUPP: Yes. You have to wonder what Bill Shine is thinking. Now, with that, but let me just make a quick point, this idea that women can't silo off the gross rhetoric from policy priorities. I think that's going to really come into play tomorrow. We're going to see how that works out. I did a very unscientific call today reaching out to a bunch of suburban white well-educated women voters in Ohio, Arizona, Kansas, North Carolina, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Florida.

SMERCONISH: Busy day.

CUPP: Yes. It was. I spent all day doing this. And this is not scientific, again. These were all women who lean right, don't love what Trump said. All plan to vote Republican down the line because they like the policies. So I think we're -- we decided that women as a monolith will be turned off and flee the other way. I think women are turned off, but many I think will still vote for the policies.

CUOMO: He may be lucky that he isn't on the ballot.

CUPP: Yes, on that case, right.

CUOMO: Turnout is the key tomorrow. We're looking eligible voters, not registered ones. Do you think we get at 40 or above in terms of eligible voters that vote in the midterm and probably be a high voter, Mike?

SMERCONISH: Remarkably, I think that we can. What's surprising to me is this early voting. I still maintain the question that I offer to you previously which is I don't know that it necessarily translates to this exceptional turnout at Election Day. Maybe they were already coming out to vote and maybe they've just taken the easy route of casting those ballots sooner.

CUOMO: What a great panel. Thank you so much.

CUPP: Thank you.

CUOMO: I could do it forever but I'm getting yelled at. S.E. Cupp, Dana Bash, Michael Smerconish, thank you very much.

All right, so you hear what we're talking about. This ad was a really offensive ad. So much so that even Fox pulled the President's ad. Now, the President approved the message. It's on the tape of the message. He's still not backing away tonight. And what does that tell you the voters? We have former Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski to make the case on the eve of the election next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:35:32] CUOMO: All right, President Trump is defending his controversial ad that's been rejected by all major networks for playing to racist themes. Even Fox pulled it. Why? Well, Republican officials tell CNN the hard line immigration message was all Trump's idea. The President's aides wanted a closing ad featuring upbeat themes about the economy, but Trump reportedly hated it.

Corey Lewandowski ran Trump's last campaign. It's good to have you here. Thank you for making the time.

COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Great to be here. Thank you.

CUOMO: So this is a rough thing to have happen on the eve of an election that you have the party and the President at ads about what the message should be and ads so ugly even the mother ship pulled it. How do you explain it?

LEWANDOWSKI: Look, I don't think the party and the president ads are at odds in the messaging. The party wants to talk about the success that this President has had on the economic side. That makes a lot of sense because from every demonstrable measure, things are better today than they were two years ago.

So of course they want to talk about that, particularly when you're looking at smaller House districts that probably don't have an immigration focus on. I'm thinking of some of the Midwest states. Now, that being said, what this President has campaigned on and has made a platform of his first two years of the administration is the issue of illegal immigration. So he wanted to remind the voters that his policies, not him, but his policies are on the ballot in November tomorrow.

CUOMO: Well, he's on it too, and he's said it many, many times.

LEWANDOWSKI: And really this policy immigration is on that ballot.

CUOMO: Right.

LEWANDOWSKI: So --

CUOMO: But he's on it, Corey just to keep it clear. And he's said it many times. A vote for Corey is a vote for me. Think of that way, he tried to move away from it, though, when it started to get through to him that he might be in trouble tomorrow on the House side.

Now it's not about him. That's not on it, that's for Trump to say, but the ad, though I got to go back to it because if you don't want to say the party's at odd with Trump, that's fine. I understand why they want to put out the economic message. It would make sense, the President disagrees, he says it boring and it's seems that he made a trade.

Forget about the facts, go with the feelings. Scare them, fear and loathing, the brown menace. They're coming. They're going to invade us. That was his call. And he's gone long and strong with it. You know, a lot of people, your own candidates aren't echoing it the way the President is. Do you think he's made a bet here that's going to break against him?

LEWANDOWSKI: Well, look at the Washington Examiner did a story on this just this week and talk about the caravan. They said six out of ten people who they polled are in favor of sending troops to the border, 51 percent of the people are Hispanics who are also in favor.

And just tonight, I'm sure you saw this, the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in the state of Arizona has come out and said she favors sending U.S. troops to the border to stop the caravan from coming. That's a far cry from what the Democrat's traditional message has been. But in the front line states like Arizona --

CUOMO: Obama sent troops.

LEWANDOWSKI: No, no, troops to make sure this caravan doesn't get through.

CUOMO: Right, but Obama sent troops to secure the border. Bush sent troops, they sent National Guards because they had governors who would work with them.

LEWANDOWSKI: That's right.

CUOMO: Trump is trying to send active duty troops.

LEWANDOWSKI: But we've seen today is a very, very close Senate race in the state of Arizona.

CUOMO: Yes.

LEWANDOWSKI: For the seat of John McCain have.

CUOMO: Yes.

LEWANDOWSKI: Today the Democratic candidate came out and said I support the President for his position on immigration. She's the first Democrat I know of who has said that. Because she understands exactly what takes place in Arizona. They're on the front lines as it relates to the issue illegal immigration coming in.

They've seen what's happened to the local communities. And so she has come out today and so that's so -- look, I think the ad was a very strong ad, but clearly in those states that are impacted the most and Arizona would be one of those, she has now made the strategic decision politically to support the President.

CUOMO: But what you see is the ad didn't say we got to make the border safer. It's poorest in places, it's no good. We need more money for ICE, we need more money for the border. We need all this, got to figure out a way to work with Mexico. We got to figure out how to do our asylum process better. We have to get with Congress. Those are all real issues. That's not what that ad was. That ad was fear the Mexican menace. And the Democrats are the ones who let him come in.

Now, we know now that factually, there's plenty of stink on the Republican side. And that's the truth of this problem as we both know for 30 years.

LEWANDOWSKI: That's right.

CUOMO: Both parties own it. But it seems that the President got bitten here by his own bitterness that I'm going to try to scare you for Fox to pull the ad, Corey, we would have bet money all day long that they would never do that to the President on the eve on election. What does that tell you that they did?

LEWANDOWSKI: You know what's better than paying for the ad? The free advertising you get --

CUOMO: Do you think this is good ad? Do you think this is good?

LEWANDOWSKI: I think when you put that individual who said that, his only regret -- this illegal immigrant was he didn't kill more police officer police officers and want to kill more. People look at that and say that's not the values that we want to have in our country.

[21:40:07] CUOMO: Yes. But also -- Right. But do you think that we're going to see -- but that's not why people pulled the ad. Why did they pull the ad, because it's a racist ad? That's why.

LEWANDOWSKI: I don't think it's racist for the individual's own words to be used. CUOMO: No, but you're projecting that he's the norm. That this is

who gets in if you go with the Democrats. This is who the migrants are.

LEWANDOWSKI: Look --

CUOMO: You know, very well, that's not just a lie. That's a bigoted message to send about this group of people. It just is by definition. They're not all murders like this guy.

LEWANDOWSKI: Of course they're not, but unfortunately the footage that they used in the ad was footage from a courtroom where this individual came into the country illegally. Said his only regret was he couldn't kill more police officers.

CUOMO: Right.

LEWANDOWSKI: And so the problem -- look, I believe it's the President's job above all else to keep each American safe from all enemies foreign and domestic. And if that means you have killers coming into the country, who by his own words, so his only regrets that he couldn't kill more police officers then we have to do everything we can, and he has to do everything to make sure that we don't have more people coming in who want to commit those heinous acts.

CUOMO: But at the end of the end, what's the difference between this guy and all of the other killers in this country right now? All the, you know, the unsolved homicides, the disproportionate killings of the lower on the economic scale and of African Americans?

Those are all way bigger problems than the brown menace coming from the south who are barbarian hordes. He's not so worried about them. If he wants to keep us safe, keep us safe from the people who have the best chance of killing us. That's not this group of people.

He's demonizing them, and the media on the eve of election including the mother ship, Fox said we can't run this ad anymore. And you don't see that as a rebuke?

LEWANDOWSKI: What I see is the issue of the caravan has become extremely politicized. What we saw originally was it was a 3,000 person caravan, that was a 5000 --

CUOMO: By him. He said he has a good eye for numbers.

LEWANDOWSKI: But here is what we've seen -- is the argument has been made on the caravan, as they're coming to the United States to seek asylum. OK, the way the asylum process works is if you're seeking asylum from your country, it's the first country you cross into you seek asylum. You don't have the privilege of walking into a country, then walking 500 miles to the next country to seek asylum.

CUOMO: That's an issue.

LEWANDOWSKI: That's not how it works. CUOMO: That's an issue. But you can't fix that issue when Mexico

doesn't want to work with you because they think your President is a punk.

LEWANDOWSKI: The New Mexican president has been very clear and these people who have come through Guatemala and Central America have not sought political asylum in Mexico because Mexico could grant them political asylum.

CUOMO: Yes, they can.

LEWANDOWSKI: So they have the legal right to do that. They've chosen not to seek that. And so what this President said -- and it's a very fair statement to say, it goes back to what Ronald Reagan said and what members of the majority party at that time, the Democrats, whether it's Barack Obama or Harry Reid said, we have to secure the borders.

CUOMO: Yes.

LEWANDOWSKI: Hillary Clinton herself.

CUOMO: Everybody said you have to secure the border. Nobody says they don't want to secure the border. I've never heard anybody say it. The ICE stuff, you guys can beat the left about and say you have to figure out who you are. Do you really want to abolish ICE? Fair criticism, do it. Do it candidate by candidate. Nobody says they want open borders.

LEWANDOWSKI: How come we can't get it done?

CUOMO: Here is why, because when you would rather paint them as the brown menace than work with Congress and figure out a deal. When you get up and leave the table after promising that you'd stay and you start bashing the Democrats and bashing anybody who doesn't stand with you and bashing anyone who tells the truth about the lies about the migrants, you're never going to get a deal.

And now you got Mexico, who I guess the President thought he'd never need for anything holding the key for the correction. You need to work with them. And they don't trust him, they don't have the relationship with him and they clearly don't want to go out of their way to help us and the people keep marching this way, and the people we need to help us won't walk to us on a real level because of what the President said about them.

LEWANDOWSKI: But Chris, you remember this President went to the table and said if you give me the money to the wall, I'll grant citizenship for all the people in this country through no fault of their own, basically DACA.

CUOMO: Right. And you have to let me pull the strings that let my wife and her parents get into the country.

LEWANDOWSKI: What's amazing is that was more than any President preceding him offered. Not Barack Obama offered that. CUOMO: Sure. Barack Obama offered the dreamer, he had designed and

he owe for. There was no wall involved then.

LEWANDOWSKI: The President said I'll take -- the problem is we don't even know how many illegals are in the country. We don't know but the President said if you're here through no fault of your own, and you're a dreamer, I'll give you a path to citizenship on the condition --

CUOMO: Schumer took the deal.

LEWANDOWSKI: But they never built the wall. They never gave him the money for the wall.

CUOMO: They gave him the money. They gave him as much money as they could. Schumer says that the Republicans held the string. But here's the good news, tomorrow we know.

LEWANDOWSKI: We will.

CUOMO: Tomorrow we know the next time you're on the show you'll be able to say you know, Chris, you were chasing me around about all this. The American people voted. We kept the House. Whatever happens in the Senate, so that's the mandate. Shut up. Let's see what happens going forward. And if it goes the other way, there's now a new mandate, they're challenge to live through it. We'll have a new conversation. Either way, I'll be good to have you here.

LEWANDOWSKI: Thank you.

CUOMO: Corey Lewandowski, thank you very much.

So like we were talking here, this -- I've never seen this before on the eve of an election. You know, ads can be negative, they can be out there. NBC, Facebook, Fox, the mother ship, stops running that Trump immigration ad that was slammed as racist, what's the response? The President says, well, a lot of things are offensive. Is that the new standard?

[21:45:18] D. Lemon, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: The President is doubling down on his arguably racist and certainly anti-immigrant commercial even after it was pulled from the air waves first by us here at CNN. We rejected it from the outset, period. Then you had NBC and now even Fox is saying they won't run the ad. Think about that. Don Lemon is here.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: We never ran it. I'm glad. Out right.

CUOMO: Yes. I mean, I used it when it came out. We were trying to -- because we were attacking.

LEMON: You know, I meant we never ran it as a TV commercial.

CUOMO: No, we didn't get paid to run it. LEMON: Yes. I'm hearing you in my ear. Can you guys stop that?

Thanks sorry.

CUOMO: Who are you talking to? Crazy Don Lemon.

LEMON: I'm going to take this out.

CUOMO: So what does it mean to you that this happens on the eve of the election? I've never seen something like this.

LEMON: It means that the ad is what it says it is.

CUOMO: Is that your fan club?

LEMON: We have hecklers in the audience.

CUOMO: That's how bad it's gotten.

LEMON: It means that it's racist. I mean, it's -- look, you know the saying. You know who can see that, right? Anyone can see that it's racist. It's obvious. And again, I'm glad we and our management said no, we're not going to do it.

It's interesting that NBC did it after about 20 million people saw it and they took the members money, well, they had to deal with that, and then for Fox News to out and say, I'm not going to run this either on Fox News or Fox Business network says a lot about this ad and it must say something about how it's being perceived by the people who are watching it. They must have had some complaints or either from the people who work for their company, they may say, look we don't like this. We're either aware of how racist it is, and/or there are minorities who are offended by it.

[21:50:20] CUOMO: I'll tell you what. The truth is tomorrow.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: We will see.

LEMON: Not on whether the ad was racist but whether it's effective.

CUOMO: Right but in part because there may be a recoil. We're going to see Trumpism tested like never before.

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: Because once he's President, it matters a different way. A mandate will be delivered in all likelihood tomorrow and everything begins again thereafter. What do you have?

LEMON: We don't know. We're going to be talking about this -- and Ryan Lizza has an amazing piece. Did you read that?

CUOMO: No.

LEMON: What happens if Democrats lose? CUOMO: Oh, very interesting.

LEMON: What does that mean for the country?

CUOMO: Yes.

LEMON: What does that mean for this President? Does it mean he says, I've got a mandate? I can do whatever I want. Truth doesn't matter, nothing matters. So we shall see and we'll talk it. We're going to discuss that.

CUOMO: Good stuff. Don Lemon, thank you very much.

All look, we're talking about voting because, again, left, right, reasonable, wherever you put yourself, you have to vote. You have to exercise the franchise. Otherwise not just that you can't complain, but you don't have any control in what happens, and everybody wants a little bit of control. So the closing argument is a reminder from a man who is much better to hear than me, a life example and a lesson, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:55:48] CUOMO: A man named Major Brent Taylor sent a message from Afghanistan that was meant for all of us. Take a listen to a little bit of it. It was beautiful to see over 4 million Afghan men and women brave threats and deadly attacks to vote in Afghanistan's first parliamentary elections in eight years.

I hope everyone back home exercises their precious right to vote and that whether the Republicans or the Democrats win, that we all remember that we have far more as Americans that unites us than divides us. United we stand. Divided we fall. God bless America.

Now, Taylor's job was to secure those parliamentary elections in Afghanistan, and he saw that struggle, literally life and death, and it made him appreciate what so many here take for granted. Taylor knew our political system well not just as a soldier but as a politician. He won the race for mayor for his town, North Ogden Utah.

I have three arguments for listening to the major. First, he's right. Barely half of the eligible population here votes. That is embarrassing in a place that is supposed to be a bastion of democracy. Second, Taylor is a reminder that our current leaders have thousands of our men and women in Afghanistan.

The place is called the graveyard of empires for a reason. And what they're telling you are advice and assist missions, that may sound benign, but it's a deception. Know that, that our leaders are giving us an idea that is false.

Now, the biggest reason of all is that the Facebook message that Taylor sent us is the last one he ever sent. Major Taylor was killed in Afghanistan in what they call an insider attack, meaning that one of those he was advising and assisting took the life of this 39-year- old national guardsman, this public servant. They stole a husband from Jenny, his wife, and a father from those seven kids.

Now, by all accounts, Taylor did not consider himself special, but he was. He served country and community and family in a way that few of us could ever match. And his last message was done to awaken a sense of duty in all of us. We don't have to go fight like he did. We don't have to be heroes. We get to do something easy. We use the precious right that we take for granted.

You know, when we lose people who matter to us, we often struggle with how to honor them in their passing. We did that after the synagogue shooting most recently. We talked about the Jews' deep beliefs in making the world better and charity, and maybe we should consider thinking more about how we direct our own energy in positive directions in their memory.

Well, given this loss, I can't think of any more powerful gesture than honoring Taylor's sacrifice by doing what he asked. Vote. Let those elected know we bring you in, and we'll take you out.

And maybe, just maybe, if you come out in big numbers, not only will we prove to ourselves that we're respecting our hard fought franchise, sending a message to lawmakers that we, the people, are their proper focus. But hopefully a family in Utah whose husband and father and mayor were taken far too soon, the message will also be that his sacrifice mattered back home.

Thank you to Major Taylor for the message and for the service and the sacrifice. May he rest in peace. Our condolences to Jenny, his wife, and to his children, Megan, Lincoln, Alex, Jacob, Ellie, Jonathan, and 11-month-old, Caroline. You should all know and tell your sister when she gets older, your father is a hero. For the rest of us, tomorrow go vote.

I'll be back at midnight eastern for a special late night edition of Cuomo Prime Time. "CNN TONIGHT" with D. Lemon starts right now.

LEMON: I can't think of a better way, you're right, to honor him. There have been many people who have died for the right directly and indirectly. This is an indirect way because he's overseas and he's fighting for our freedom.

He's on the front line in a different way than the folks who were on the front line during the civil rights movement, fighting for the right for people to vote. So that would be the best way to honor him and all of our service members, right, is by --

CUOMO: They're there fighting for our freedoms. We should exercise those freedoms and show them that their fight is worthwhile.