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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Tens of Millions of Americans Have Voted Early; Former President Obama Makes Surprise Visit To Virginia; Candidates Hold Last Rallies in Key Races; Racist Robocall Targets Stacey Abrams and Oprah Winfrey in Georgia Governor's Race; Trump Says 'I Don't Care' if Democrats Go After My Taxes; Large Bloc of Florida Voters May Hold Key to Tight Election. Aired 11-12a ET
Aired November 5, 2018 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And good evening. We are one hour away from Election Day, an election the President of the United States says will be all about him and seven in 10 likely voters agree. They say they're voting that way. An election the former President of the United States, Barack Obama, calls the most important election of our lifetimes. Tens of millions of Americans have already voted early, the kind of numbers you simply do not see for midterms.
In fact, little of what we've seen so far has ever been seen before or said before and President Trump is campaigning like no President has, as if he is indeed on the ballot. Look at all those stops. This is a map of where he has gone since Labor Day. 30 campaign stops, including three tonight. We'll be checking up on some of the key races off the top of the broadcast including the hotly contested races in Florida as well as Texas. Starting at the President's latest and final stop in Missouri where Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill is locked in a battle to keep her job. Jeff Zeleny is there for us now. So Jeff, what's the President's message has been there tonight in Missouri?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, good evening. A bit of a pause at this campaign rally at the moment. There's someone at the beginning -- at the front of the crowd who fell ill. So the President actually was standing silently on stage for the last several minutes. The crowd just was singing "Amazing grace" here. So we're not exactly sure what became of this Trump supporter, but Anderson, I can tell you this message here that the President has been giving he largely started off by talking about this being the final rally, but really waxing nostalgic about 2016.
Going again and again state by state by state, all the states that he won. He clearly tonight, though, is trying to perhaps soften his message a little bit in the final hours, at least so far. And he also invited the top women of his administration, Ivanka Trump, Sarah Sanders, Kellyanne Conway to stage. That is a key purpose here. The President, the White House knows that they need the support of women voters. They believe they've been hemorrhaging women voters in some respects. So that was the message at the beginning, but Anderson, make no mistake about it. The President is here in Missouri because he believes this Senate race with Claire McCaskill, the Democrat is one of the closest in the country. That is why he came back here tonight, Anderson.
COOPER: And the President's closing message, I understand you're learning he actually didn't want to focus on the economy.
ZELENY: Right. I mean, the President in the last -- in the last week you'll remember his campaign issued this very optimistic upbeat ad, sort of like Ronald Reagan's morning in America ad, talking about you know, how things have gotten better and will only get better if you keep Republicans in office, but I am told the President quote, hated that ad. He was not in that ad. So that is one of the reasons he personally changed the message to immigration, delivering that hard line, many people would say racist views on immigration of that ad last week.
So the President is a bit sort of a split message. Many Republicans want him to talk about the economy. He has made it clear he wants to talk about immigration, but so far that has not been a central message here. They want to close even slightly more positive. Anderson, this has been a scorched earth campaign led entirely by the President, largely on immigration, because he thinks it worked for him in 2016 and he hopes it will now, but in House districts across the country look for those tomorrow night. Republican voters believe that this immigration message actually may have energized the opponents, not the supporters of Trump. Anderson.
COOPER: Does the President have anything on his schedule for tomorrow?
ZELENY: Anderson, on the President's official schedule at least there is nothing on it at all. He is not scheduled to get back to the White House until about 2:00 in the morning after this rally here. So there's nothing on his schedule, but be sure he is going to be on Twitter. He may be doing radio interviews, other things. He is going to stay engaged in these contests, but he is going to be watching these results and regardless of the fact that he is not on the ballot he will get the credit or the blame, but Anderson, we do know tonight the White House -- the President, they are expecting to lose the House of Representatives and expecting to hold the senate. We'll see if that happens tomorrow, but look for him to be involved some way, but no official schedule at the White House tomorrow, Anderson.
COOPER: Jeff Zeleny, thanks. In Florida two tight races for senate. The governor's race between Democrat Andrew Gillum and Republican Ron DeSantis, very bitterly fought at the highest levels. President Trump campaigning for DeSantis, former President Obama for Gillum. Tonight, though, Mr. Obama made a surprise stop in northern Virginia bearing donuts and stumping for Senator Tim Kaine and House candidate Jennifer Wexton. Wexton credits Mr. Obama for inspiring her to run for office and just today was national donut day. Nobody got me donuts. With that or anybody here on this panel got donuts. Ana Cabrera. She is in Tallahassee. What is Gillum's message to voters now the night before the election?
[23:05:01] ANA CABRERA, CNN NEWSROOM SHOW HOST: Hi, Anderson. The main message tonight is go vote. And you can hear this crowd is fired up. They are calling this the, bring it home midnight rally. We are at Florida A&M University, a fitting venue given Andrew Gillum was a graduate of Florida A&M. And he has a star-studded line-up trying to turn out the vote for him tonight. The headliner at this event is going to be Sean "Diddy" Combs. They had DJ Khaled, they had Monica, all trying to help Andrew Gillum become the next governor of the state of Florida.
Now we talk to people who lined up for hours before they even opened the doors here. A lot of young voters and students here who told us, all of them who we talked to told us they had already voted or they were definitely going to vote tomorrow. And Andrew Gillum really needs that young vote to turn out. The potential there is huge. Here in the State of Florida more than 50 percent of registered voters are of the generation x-ers, millennials or generation z-ers.
And already the early voting numbers show that there is enthusiasm in this group. I can tell you more than double the number of voters under the age of 30 voted early in this election compared to 2014, the last midterms, but still their numbers are dwarfed by the over 65 crowd who voted early already. In fact, we know they are the most reliable voters and they steer toward Republican.
I know this is a neck and neck race. Every vote is going to count. You look at the latest polls, CNN has this 49 percent Gillum for his Republican challenger Ron DeSantis 48 percent. So it could be a very, very tight race as we approach the election tomorrow. And these candidates are not taking anything for granted. I can tell you Ron DeSantis, the Republican challenger in this race, has also been campaigning to the very, very end. He was out today with Marco Rubio and Lara Trump.
President Trump was also here last weekend, or this past weekend campaigning for him. And Barack Obama has been here on behalf of Andrew Gillum. So this is a race for the country to watch. I just want to let you know, Anderson, I spoke with a political science professor here in Florida who told me that Andrew Gillum has largely followed the Obama model in his campaigning, back to basics, grassroots strategy. Go where the voters are. And will it be enough? That is the big question. We'll know in about 24 hours from now. And remember, that is a state that hasn't voted for a Democrat for governor since 1994. Anderson.
COOPER: Ana Cabrera, thanks very much. No race it seems has generated more heat, more surprises than Beto O'Rourke's attempt at unseating Senator Ted Cruz in deep red Texas. CNN's Ed Lavandera is covering this close race for us. He is in El Paso tonight. I wonder what the message today in the final stretch was for both campaigns.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, both candidates really pushing home. Beto O'Rourke landing in his hometown of El Paso tonight holding his last rally really trying to strike an optimistic tone. And he knows full well that all of the money that he has raised, all of the energy, all of the coverage that he has amassed if he were to lose tomorrow it's essentially all for naught. So that is why he left here with this crowd saying the really kind of
a call to action that that is exactly what his campaign eventually will be measured by. Whether or not they were able to turn all of this attention, all of this energy into votes, which is something that we saw to be seen. As for Ted Cruz, he spent the day campaigning in various stops around his hometown of Houston. And the message very clear with him as well. He has been embracing this for several weeks now, this idea, and warning his supporters that the left is angry, filled with rage toward President Trump and that that is a very dangerous thing.
He starts hitting home on the themes of this election boils down to jobs, freedom and security. Those are the themes that he has hit over and over here in the last few days of this campaign, Anderson.
COOPER: Beto O'Rourke has remained pretty steady with his numbers. Occasionally Ted Cruz I think has dropped in the polls, but for all the attention Beto O'Rourke has been getting has he really been getting any new voters or turning any Republican voters to his side?
LAVANDERA: Well, the O'Rourke campaign points to what they believe is a huge influx of younger voters, and really all of the stars are going to have to align for the O'Rourke campaign. And this is what the Cruz campaign has been banking on, that essentially at the end of the day here there are just more Republican voters in Texas than there are Democrats.
So O'Rourke has really got to focus on younger voters, which he has done over the last few weeks, hitting college campuses. It's no surprise here that he ended his last rally here at the University of Texas at El Paso with a huge rally in front of students here. And really getting perhaps suburban women in the towns of Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio who were disgruntled and angry with President Trump, to get them to switch over. As well as a huge influx of Latino voters. So, really a lot of people thinking that all of those stars are going to have to align if Beto O'Rourke is going to have a chance tomorrow night.
[23:10:08] COOPER: All right. Ed Lavandera, thanks very much. I just want to take a minute to expand on something we touched on at the top of the broadcast and that Ana Cabrera said is a factor in Florida, the number of people voting early. Here are the figures. At least 31 million this election. That is about 10 million more than voted early in the 2014 midterms. Just for comparison, about 41 million people voted early in the 2016 Presidential campaign. Again, the President has been saying the midterms are a referendum on him, but he is also been saying more. Here he is today in Cleveland.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, the midterm elections used to be like boring, didn't they? Do you even remember what they were? People said midterms, they said, what is that? What is it? Right? Now it's like the hottest thing. I mean, whoever even heard of midterms? They don't even know what it is. I've had a lot of people say I don't know what midterm is, but now I'm watching every single minute. And I'm going out to vote, but the key is you have to go out to vote. Because in a sense I am on the ticket.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And with that let's bring in the after-hours gang who probably have spent a lot of their time paying attention to midterms their entire lifetime. David Chalian, Nia Malika Henderson, David Axelrod, Gloria Borger, also, Van Jones, Jennifer Granholm, former Senator Rick Santorum, David Urban, as well. Senator Santorum, have you ever paid attention to midterms?
RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I remember one particular midterm in 2006. That was very memorable.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which permits you to be here tonight.
SANTORUM: That is why I'm here. So thank you very much. You know, people have asked me how important this midterm is. I'll be honest with you. I hate to say it. I don't think it's that important. I mean, I don't think things are going to change that much in Washington. In fact, I see -- David and I were talking about this offstage. I actually think that the way it's stacking up right now just is a -- is perfectly for Trump.
COOPER: How so?
SANTORUM: Well, because he needs to pick up seats in the Senate. For a variety of reasons. He wants to confirm his judges. He wants to be able to have a block about any bad things the House is going to do. And I think that is happening. If you look at where he is campaigning, he is campaigning in Senate races. His message, all about winning those red states in the Senate race. He is trying to build his buffer in the Senate. Why? Because in two years when he thinks he'll be re-elected he needs a little cushion, because it's not a good map for Republicans in 2020.
The other thing he is doing is he is campaigning -- I think pretty blatantly so, not really caring about suburban voters. Not really caring about those Republicans out there. Why? What is the best thing that could happen to Donald Trump tomorrow night?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nancy Pelosi.
SANTORUM: That he loses the House of Representatives and he will have someone to beat up on for two years and blame for every problem he has. This is a great setup for the President.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is great in theory. Honestly, I agree with the theory, but the truth of the matter is that yes, he needs an enemy, he'll have someone to punch and maybe he can even get one or two things done --
SANTORUM: He is been lacking an enemy.
BORGER: Right. SANTORUM: You've been the enemy. Now he has something that is a real
BORGER: Nancy Pelosi?
SANTORUM: Like Nancy Pelosi.
BORGER: But if you have a Democratic House, they're going to subpoena his tax returns. He is got to face Bob Mueller. We'll go back to witch hunt.
SANTORUM: This is what Republicans count on all the time. Which is the left overplaying their hand and doing crazy stuff --
BORGER: I remember Newt Gingrich did that in --
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I hear you, Rick, but it reminds me of when Winston Churchill lost re-election and lady Clementine said it's a blessing in disguise and he said, it's rather well disguised.
SANTORUM: I don't know.
AXELROD: I have been in a White House that lost control of -- that lost control of Congress, and I know what it's like when you have a Congress that is now looking at every aspect of what you're doing. I don't know how much the President is going to enjoy that scrutiny. They could overdo it -- well, I was thinking today probably the first thing someone will think to ask is how did that decision get made to send troops to the border and how much did it cost and were there e- mails exchanged from the White House to the Pentagon on this?
And that is just a small thing, but you know, the Congress has the power to investigate, and if they have the gumption to investigate that can be very, very irksome.
Secondly, one thing you didn't discuss, you're putting it in the context of the Congress. There are governor's races tomorrow as well. And Republicans stand to lose a whole passel of governorships which has implications for redistricting, but also for the Presidential election, because who the governor is and who controls the sort of political mechanisms of the state is important in Presidential races.
So I'm sure the President has a way of finding the good spin on any event, and he may adopt yours, but I think that he'd sooner trade that for a big win tomorrow.
[23:15:00] VAN JONES, CNN ANCHOR: I would add that the Democrats need something. The pain and the frustration and the fear at the base of the Democratic Party is something I've never seen before. People are literally going to psychologists. I mean, people are very afraid -- no, you laugh, but it's not funny, because you've got people, they're scared their neighbors are going to be deported. You have Jewish people who are afraid. You have a lot of fear.
And when you have fear and helplessness, you don't have the House, you don't have the senate, you don't have the Supreme Court, you don't have the White House, you've got nothing, it's unhealthy. I think having something, some way to stay apart, some way to be involved, some way to feel like your voice matters is going to be healthy for Democrats and it's going to get people the ability to hang on for two more years and deal with 2020.
DAVID CHALIAN, POLITICAL DIRECTOR, CNN: I think it's that angst, Van, and I understand you night after night have been skeptical of the polls and you say, why should we believe the polls --
COOPER: I just feel like we should wait 24 hours.
CHALIAN: I think that is totally fair. That is why I actually think we don't have to look at the polls. We can look at the votes that occurred over the last year and a half that Democrats cast in the primary season and in special election after special election after special election.
In the entire Trump era the story of American politics has been over performance of Democrats in some Republican areas, some they didn't win at the end of the day, some they did like the Alabama Senate seat or Conor Lamb's seat in Pennsylvania, but the story has been all that energy and angst actually coming out in votes being cast. And that is what I think is giving Democrats on the eve of this election greater hope than even what the polls suggest is an advantage, is the last year and a half they've seen it work.
COOPER: All right. We'll talk more ahead. Coming up, what the President's said about his daughter Ivanka and political correctness and what the President's gender gap issues might mean tomorrow. Later, Oprah Winfrey's contribution to Stacey Abrams' campaign for Georgia governor. The racist robocall featuring an impersonator and her now new response to it. We'll show you that. As our 11th hour rolls on. We'll be right back.
[23:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: We are the discussing earlier tonight the new CNN polling confirming what just about every poll has shown, President Trump facing a considerable gender gap. John King tonight called it a canyon, not a gap. Many things play into it obviously and perhaps it's going to affect the outcome tomorrow. In point of fact, though, if it bothers the President he doesn't seem to show it right now. Here's another moment from his rally in Cleveland introducing his daughter Ivanka and, well, take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The truth is she is a very, very -- you're not allowed to use the word beautiful anymore when you talk about women. You're not allowed. No, no. It's politically incorrect. No, no. It's politically -- I will never call a woman beautiful again. And every man here, every man here, raise your hand. You will never, ever say your wife, your girlfriend, anybody is beautiful. Right? So I'm not allowed to say it because -- because it's my daughter Ivanka, but she is really smart. And she is here. Should I bring her up? Come on. Ivanka, come up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Back now.
JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He is such an idiot sometimes. I mean, really. Like you can't say to your wife you're beautiful? The problem is --
COOPER: That is in the Democratic Party platform.
GRANHOLM: It is. Of course it is. It is a platform 1A, but what the problem with him is that he is from a generation and he himself -- and I don't want to castigate that generation. Take that first part back. He himself is so obsessed with women's looks that that is how he views them. They're not useful to him if they don't look the right way, and we can go through all the things he is said about women. He doesn't -- I mean, it's nice he said his daughter was smart, but he doesn't think that way as a first matter.
Women looking at that, I mean, he just can't get it right. And he is going to put Sarah Huckabee Sanders and he is going to put Kellyanne Conway up on stage and Ivanka and he is going to think just having those women up there will make those suburban women come back around. He is just -- he is such --
COOPER: But doesn't the anti-political correctness, you know, war on Christmas, I mean, that message work? A lot of people believe -- feel --
GRANHOLM: Nobody's going around saying you may never say that a woman is beautiful. He called a woman horseface.
SANTORUM: He didn't handle it particularly deftly, but the idea of political correctness is a serious issue and it does resonate not just with the base, but with a lot of people in this country about, you know, speech codes and what you can say and what you can't say and a little bit of hypersensitivity --
GRANHOLM: All women are asking is that people --
SANTORUM: I'm not talking about women. I'm talking about --
GRANHOLM: Not just on how they look, but --
SANTORUM: Of course. And I agree with that.
GRANHOLM: That is not politically correct. That is just human.
SANTORUM: I'm talking about the whole idea of political correctness. That is what his focus was on.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER, CNN: It's the culture war too. Right. I mean, he can't help, but play the culture warrior on any number of issues. "Me too," kneeling, NFL games, the war on Merry Christmas. He is going to make everybody say Merry Christmas at this point. And again it's sort of this nostalgia for a time gone by and he stokes that among his base, which again is older --
COOPER: I mean, one person's political correctness is another person's you know, sort of decency or open-mindedness to not making somebody else feel uncomfortable who doesn't celebrate Christmas, but who's celebrating Hanukkah or whatever it may be.
JONES: Yes. I think part of what you're seeing with Trump is he really needs to have that victimization. It's so weird. Because usually the conservatives say we're rugged individualists.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it's the left that is all about --
JONES: I was going to say someone from the left talking about us playing the victim card.
[23:25:00] SANTORUM: Whoa. Whoa. I have vertigo right now. Van talking about victimization. Whoa.
COOPER: Let Van finish.
JONES: I think you've made this point before, Nia. The idea that identity politics is only being played by African-Americans and women and LGBTQ plus people. No. Trump has perfected white identity politics. We are these aggrieved straight white guys that everybody's mean to and doesn't like and understand and makes fun of and I'm going to stick up for us. That sounds an awful lot like the stuff that conservatives used to criticize folks for. And so this is an instance, maybe a silly one, of him playing that particular song over and over again. We are the beleaguered. We are being mistreated, but I'm going to stand up to these people who, you know, need to be stood up to.
BORGER: But Van, maybe people could believe him a little bit if he hadn't called a woman a horseface.
BORGER: And so he had no problem calling Stormy Daniels horseface, but he has some trouble saying that a woman is beautiful. I mean, which is politically correct and which isn't politically correct? I mean, I don't think either of those things are terrific and I think he made a mistake in calling Stormy Daniels what he called her, and I think tonight was silly and ridiculous and an effort to appeal, as Van was saying, but --
AXELROD: But you guys were getting at something that I think is actually central to his politics, which is there is a sense of loss among like the folks who you really spoke to as a candidate, the sense that somehow their America is under siege and that change is working against them. And that is at the core of Trump's appeal. He understands it. You know, everything he does -- I mean, he is instinctual, but he has an instinct for vulnerability. And this is at the core of his appeal.
CHALIAN: Not just his appeal. I think it's at the core of the American political divide. Right?
AXELROD: It's a cultural --
DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That is why we're talking about this as a re-alignment election. You're talking about white suburban women shifting over to be Republicans -- Democrats, excuse me. From the Republican Party. And now you have Democrats switching over to be Republicans in the Trump Party.
GRANHOLM: This is the opportunity for the 2020 election, is a candidate who is saying it doesn't have to be one versus the other, it doesn't have to be us versus them. It can be all of us. It can be we. That is the opportunity.
URBAN: That is not a winning message.
COOPER: I'm not sure how that is going to play.
Sit here on a panel for a while. You didn't convince six people on this panel.
Coming up, Oprah's response late tonight to a racist robocall about her support for Georgia gubernatorial candidate, Stacey Abrams. We'll play you some of the racist call and also Oprah's response.
[23:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: Oprah Winfrey has been out campaigning in Georgia for Stacey Abrams, who if she wins, will become the country's first African- American female governor. Tonight, Winfrey has responded to a racist robocall that targeted Georgia voters from a white supremacist group. We're going to play you her response in a moment. Here's just some of that call. And again, a warning, it's pretty vile.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): This is the magical negro, Oprah Winfrey, asking you to make my fellow negress, Stacey Abrams, the governor of Georgia. Where others see a poor man's Aunt Jemima, I see someone white women can be tricked into voting for, especially the fat ones. And so I promise that every single person who votes for Stacey Abrams, you're going to get a new car! So you get a car! And you get a car! And you get a car! And you get a car! Everybody gets a car!
(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: That actually was sent out. Here's what Oprah Winfrey posted on Instagram tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OPRAY WINFREY, AMERICAN EXECUTIVE: I heard people are making racist robocalls in my name against Stacey Abrams, who I am 100 percent for in Georgia. I just want to say, Jesus don't like ugly. Uh-uh. And we know what to do about that. Vote. Tomorrow, show up and show out and vote!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Oprah's response. I mean, what can someone say about the robocall? It's just sickening.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yeah, and you've seen a few of these in a couple of the races here down in Florida and now of course down in Georgia. Who knows where they're coming from? I think most of the candidates' camp and DeSantis have rebuked them and obviously they have nothing --
COOPER: I think this one they know the white supremacist group --
HENDERSON: Yeah, it's some group in Idaho or somewhere. It's some white supremacist group. The thing is Oprah Winfrey was a very compelling person to come down and essentially testify to suburban white women about why they should vote for Abrams in that race.
And I think there's some worry there because if they can make those white women who typically vote for Republicans switch parties and vote for Stacey Abrams, the African-American vote, and then get some Latino voters out there as well, they're changing the demographics of the state.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And that was a brilliant way to turn something negative into something positive. I mean, you take the crap, you turn it into fertilizer, and you do something positive with it. She's done that her whole career. She did it tonight. She will keep doing it. And I thought it was really extraordinary.
[23:35:00] She's not somebody, Oprah Winfrey, who likes to jump into politics.
JONES: But I think she saw something in Stacey Abrams. I think she also saw, you know, her being mistreated. And she says, you know what, this is another time for me to open my mouth and open my heart and open my arms, and I think it was very effective.
CHALIAN: But to Nia's point about the appeal from Oprah to white women is so key because followed up by the visit is this closing out ad from Stacey Abrams which is completely geared towards appealing to white women there. I mean, the ad is full of just white women basically. And it is no doubt that it was sent out and distributed directly on the heels of the Oprah visit to try to hammer that group home.
AXELROD: I've got to say that was -- I mean, in a litany of stupid things done by the Kemp campaign and for the Kemp campaign, even if he didn't authorize it at the end, this is just throw this on the pile.
COOPER: And he denounced --
AXELROD: Of course. I understand that. All I'm saying is like if someone may have thought they were helping him --
COOPER: But the group -- I mean, I'm not saying the name of this group, but a group does this not to actually convince voters. They do it to gain recognition and fund-raise.
URBAN: It backfires. It drives more people --
COOPER: For the group, it gives them publicity if people say their name and --
SANTORUM: They don't care about Brian Kemp.
SANTORUM: They don't care about -- they just want to get their scurrilous stuff out there. So it's played on CNN. That's why. They're going to get national recognition for this. That's why they do it.
COOPER: I mean, which is why we're not saying their name. But they have done this before. And that's what it's all about. It's what all these people want, is they want publicity.
AXELROD: It does speak to -- I mean, race is the jagged edge of American politics, and it has coursed throughout politics for the length of the republic. These are close races.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: They're in the south.
AXELROD: States where race has been at the center from the beginning. And you know, it speaks to what happens at the end of close races. These kinds of despicable --
URBAN: You can tell a runoff is what happens here. To Van's earlier point about lack of trust on both sides. If it's really razor thin, you get to a runoff. It's going to be really heated.
COOPER: Right, there's a good chance there will be a runoff in Georgia between Abrams and --
BORGER: But we've seen these kinds of racial overtones in Florida and in Georgia where you have African-American candidates. And both of these candidates, I have to say, have handled it so, so well. And they've -- Gillum has sort of dismissed a lot of stuff that he could have really picked on and she --
GRANHOLM (ph): But he also picked on -- SANTORUM: But he also picked on -- I think unfairly picked on DeSantis, to be honest with you, using the term, somehow know that the term monkey up is somehow a racist term. And I just don't -- and last night, that --
BORGER: He kind of --
SANTORUM: He still confirmed that it was sort of a -- it had no place. He didn't say oh, that was -- he didn't say what Van said. Last night, Van said, you know, this is a common term, it has nothing to do with race. He didn't say that. So the idea that Gillum has risen above this, not at all. He has pointed to DeSantis and tried to play that card.
JONES: I see it somewhat differently in that first of all, Andrew Gillum is an extraordinary -- I've known this guy for 10 years -- he's an extraordinary person. His class and his dignity show through even when he's trying to deal with tough stuff. It's all politics. It's tough stuff.
But I think he's done himself well. He's done his family proud. And I think he's given people a reason. If he does win, I don't think people will feel like he was a racial bomb thrower in any way and he could have been.
COOPER: Let's take a quick break. More with our political team. Plus what the president said today when he was asked if he was concerned that the Democrats, if they win any control in Congress, might go after his tax returns. We'll show you that ahead.
[23:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: If the president is at all concerned about Democrats taking control of the House in tomorrow's elections, he is certainly not trying to let anybody know that. He said at rallies that it could happen, but he's not worried about it, he'll just figure it out. And here's what he said today when he was asked if he's concerned the Democrats will go after his tax returns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't care. They can do whatever they want, and I can do whatever I want.
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COOPER: Does anyone actually believe he doesn't care about the tax returns?
URBAN: I think he cares, and he's going to care a whole lot in about 60 days.
SANTORUM: Just remember the reason Donald Trump likes to watch CNN is because you talk about him all the time. And if you think, if you think that he is not up for the fight of having the Democrats fight with him every single day and have a war with the Democrats about him every day, you're wrong.
SANTORUM: I disagree with David. I think he is perfectly prepared to run the next two years -- you think he won't like it and they'll do all those investigations. Great. You know why? Because we're talking about him. And as long as we're talking about him, he's a very --
CHALIAN: It's hard to believe that that's the preferred -- just because of the onslaught of investigation, subpoenas --
SANTORUM: Look at how he's campaigned. Look at where he's campaigned.
CHALIAN: No, he relishes the fight. I get that. I just think it's got to be a little more of a silver lining than the actual --
AXELROD: I'm not disagreeing with you that he may feel that way. I'm just telling you that it is not a blessing, and he will find that out.
SANTORUM: But Donald Trump is not Barack Obama. Barack Obama --
AXELROD: I agree with that.
SANTORUM: You hit Donald Trump, it's like he absorbs the energy and becomes stronger.
JONES: Sebastian Shaw. In the X-Men, the Marvel universe, the enemy gets stronger.
[23:45:00] BORGER: I think you're forgetting about Bob Mueller. Because he's not only going to have the Democrats. We don't know what Bob Mueller is going to do. I don't know if Bob Mueller has his tax returns or not. Presumably he does. So there will be that onslaught if there is one as well. There will be a congressional report. There will be a fight over whether it's privileged or not, whether Congress is going to be able -
JONES: This is all terrible stuff --
BORGER: He's not looking forward to that.
COOPER: Van has got something --
JONES: Can I say something positive?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Another guy who doesn't want to win an election.
JONES: There is something positive happening in America right now, which is in Florida, this huge battle going on, everybody is supposed to be mad at each other.
URBAN: Amendment Four.
JONES: Amendment Four. Thank you, David Urban. Amendment Four --
COOPER: I was going to get you there.
JONES: I can't wait. It's so good.
COOPER: Van made me write it down. Amendment Four.
JONES: Exactly, Amendment Four.
JONES: Listen, you've got the Christian coalition of the Koch brothers, alliance for safety and justice, black preachers all coming together --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ben & Jerry's.
JONES: Ben & Jerry's.
COOPER: Explain what it's for.
JONES: All coming together to get people the right to vote who lost their vote when they got convicted of a crime. People in Florida, no matter what they do, after they've been convicted, they can never vote again, even if they have jobs, no matter what. This is going to fix that. And it's brought left and right together. Koch industries and black preachers and everybody come together. That's a positive thing happening --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ben & Jerry's.
JONES: And Ben & Jerry's. I just had to say something positive.
CHALIAN: Why is it that you think it brings people together?
JONES: Because I think both parties have values that are offended when there's no redemption. I think Democrats believe in justice. I think Republicans believe in liberty. We're a liberty and justice for all country. I think after you paid your debt, the idea you can never come back, you can never be included again, I think offends both parties, anti-liberty, anti-justice --
SANTORUM: All those things are true. The other reality is, we have a huge population who have been incarcerated. Huge. I mean, much bigger than in the history of this country. And we see substantial -- I mean substantial number of people who can't vote. And that was never a problem until mandatory minimums and other things went in place. Now we have I think people saying look, there's just too many people out there --
JONES: I'm going to brag on you. You actually voted the right way on this thing years and years ago, Rick Santorum. You never got any credit for it. But it's finally caught up to you.
AXELROD: There you go.
AXELROD: Finally the endorsement you've been waiting for.
COOPER: I want to thank everybody, appreciate everybody's insight. We're going to have a lot more tomorrow. In Florida, of course, there are two extremely tight races, the contest for governor, the battle for Senate seat. Just ahead, the large bloc of voters who could be the difference that might surprise you. Stay tuned.
[23:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: On this election eve, two races in Florida are just about as tight as they can be. As we said earlier in the broadcast, there is Democrat Andrew Gillum facing off against Republican Ron DeSantis in the race for governor. And incumbent Bill Nelson faces Florida's outgoing Republican Governor Rick Scott for the Senate.
Randi Kaye tonight reports on one wild card group of Florida voters who are are actually new to the state and can't wait to cast their ballots.
VI MARIE CARDONA, VOTER FROM PUERTO RICO: They made it easy for me to just be like, you know what, no.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, as in she is not voting Republican. Vi Marie Cardona and her children evacuated from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, and now calls central Florida home. She's so disgusted with how the Trump administration responded to the hurricane that she's registered to vote Democratic. After the hurricane, tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans relocated to Florida whereas U.S. citizens they can vote if they register.
KAYE: Is this group a lock, do you think for the Democrats?
AMY MERCADO, FLORIDA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: No, there is no such thing. The Puerto Rican community is definitely not monolithic.
KAYE: Which explains why in the Florida Senate race, both Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Rick Scott are pushing hard to gain support among newly registered Puerto Rican voters. Both have released Spanish-speaking TV ads along Florida's coveted I-4 corridor.
WADI GAITAN, SPOKESMAN, LIBRE INITIATIVE: The candidates who can talk to how to remove those barriers to opportunity, remove barriers to better jobs, to better housing, to better education is really the candidate that's going to win the support of this community.
KAYE: The Trump administration's handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Maria is a major motivating factor for many displaced Puerto Ricans.
So the more Donald Trump tweets or says things about Puerto Rico like the death toll isn't true, how does that impact the vote here?
MERCADO: Actually the more he tweets, the better it is for the Democrats to engage and organize better. Those are his words, those are his challenges, those are his hateful thoughts.
KAYE: So it motivates the evacuees.
MERCADO: It motivates the evacuees.
KAYE: Evacuees like Olga Hernandez.
OLGA HERNANDEZ, VOTER FROM PUERTO RICO (through translator): Rick Scott went to Puerto Rico, yes. And Donald Trump also went after Maria. And he was throwing paper towels at the Puerto Rican people. And I was thinking, we're American, too. We have rights as well.
CARDONA: What he does and how he expresses himself towards, you know, Puerto Ricans is so disrespectful.
KAYE: But not all Puerto Ricans are going against the GOP. Evacuee Jose Ruiz is voting for Republican Rick Scott.
You're not a big fan of Donald Trump but you're supporting the candidate who is part of Donald Trump's Republican Party.
JOSE RUIZ, VOTER FROM PUERTO RICO: Oh, yes, because he is a good candidate and that's why I would vote (ph).
KAYE: He was impressed with how Scott handled Hurricane Irma in Florida last year. His son is voting for Scott, too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have seen a lot of construction work. I have seen a lot of improvement. Also I've seen that there's a lot of job opportunities here.
[23:55:00] KAYE: Still, Democratic representative Amy Mercado believes anger is a great motivator.
MERCADO: They know. And they understand that a vote for Rick Scott is a vote for Trump.
KAYE: They're connecting the dots.
MERCADO: They're connecting the dots.
KAYE: Do you feel like in this election, Puerto Ricans really can make a difference?
CARDONA: Oh, we're going to make a difference. We're definitely going to make a difference.
KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN, Orlando.
COOPER: Well, we will see you tomorrow. It's a big night and even bigger day tomorrow. The news continues all night long here with Chris Cuomo for Cuomo Prime Time Live right after a very quick break. He'll be followed by a live Don Lemon broadcast as well. See you tomorrow.
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