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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

House Speaker Pelosi First One-On-One Since Attack On Husband; Battle For Control Of The Senate; All Eyes On Georgia Senate Race. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired November 07, 2022 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Tonight, an American citizen killed in Eastern Ukraine. Timothy Griffin was fighting with Ukraine's International Legion, which is a volunteer force of foreigners helping to defend Ukraine. The Legion says he was a taking place in counteroffensives.

Thanks so much for joining us. It's time for Anderson.



Tonight, an exclusive. For the first time since what might easily have been a deadly attack on her husband, Paul, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is talking about the ordeal.

She was not at their San Francisco home in the overnight hours of October 28th, which is when Paul Pelosi was awakened by an intruder asking to talk with his wife.

According to Federal prosecutors, the suspect told them he intended to hold Nancy Pelosi captive, interrogate her, and possibly break her kneecaps if her answers did not satisfy him.

Paul Pelosi managed to call 9-1-1. Police arrived just in time to see a suspect hit him with a hammer fracturing his skull.

Tonight, Mr. Pelosi is out of the hospital. Speaker Pelosi is telling her story.


COOPER: First of all, I'm so sorry for all that's happened. How is your husband doing? What does his recovery look like?

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Well, thank you. Thank you for asking and your comment.

He is doing okay. He is -- it is a long haul, but he knows he has to pace himself. He's such a gentleman that he is not complaining, but he is also knowing that it's a long haul.

He's so concerned about the traumatic effect on our children and our grandchildren and we are concerned about the traumatic effect on him. But again, he's on a good path with excellent care from San Francisco General and his healthcare providers.

COOPER: Has he been able to talk to you about what he was thinking when he woke up and found this person in the room?

PELOSI: We haven't quite had that conversation, because any revisiting of it is really traumatizing. It was hard, and one of the hardest things all week was to go back into the house for him. In the entrance, which is of course where --

COOPER: Where the attack took place.

PELOSI: He was hit, and of course, upstairs in the bedroom where that person made his entrance, shall we say? But -- so we haven't -- and the doctors have said, you know, we don't want him to watch the news, we don't want him to be revisiting a lot of this, at least not now because it will add to the trauma.

And the operation was a success, but it's only one part of the recovery, a traumatic -- a drastic head injury. It takes some time.

COOPER: Have you been able to listen to the 9-1-1 call?

PELOSI: No. I haven't been able to listen to that or the bodycam, any of that, no.

I imagine when it is in the public domain is when I will have a chance to see it. But even then, the physician --

COOPER: Do you want to hear?

PELOSI: I don't think so. I don't think so. But -- I don't know if I'll have to. I just don't know that's all a matter on the legal side of things.

COOPER: There are obviously a lot of details in the affidavit, but I mean, had your husband not had the presence of mind to call 9-1-1 and be able to call 9-1-1, there is no telling what would have happened.

PELOSI: He was cool and Paul is cool. He called and with enough information, but not too much information because the guy was very threatening. He was very big. I don't know if you can see that or not. He is very big, six-four, two sixty, so --

COOPER: The assailant?

PELOSI: The assailant, and he was right there, you know just like a few feet away from Paul, hearing all of this, so he had to -- and he saved his life. Paul saved his own life with that call because that really gave enough information to go.

COOPER: Had the 9-1-1 operator not been -- you know figured it out.

PELOSI: God bless her, yes, for that, and then took it from one level of concern to another and therefore, the police came and that's what got the police there.

COOPER: Where were you when you got the news?

PELOSI: Well, I was sleeping in Washington, DC. I had just gotten in the night before from San Francisco, and I hear the doorbell ring, I think, five something. I look up, I see it's five -- it must be the wrong apartment. It rings again and then bang, bang, bang, bang, bang on the door.

So I run to the door and I was very scared to see this Capitol Police and they said, "We have to come in to talk to you," and I'm thinking my children, my grandchildren. I never thought it would be Paul because you know, he wouldn't be out and about, shall we say.


And so, they came in at that time. We didn't even know where he was or what his condition was. We just knew there was an assault on him in our home, and now they were taking him to a hospital, which turned out to be San Francisco General, which is leading trauma center.

Thank God, they went there. It wasn't the closest. We have hospitals a few blocks away. It wasn't the closest, but it was the right place to go for that.

COOPER: He was actually struck in the head with the hammer.

PELOSI: Right, on the top in two places and that is pretty awful. That's pretty awful.

But the good news was when he came -- when he had the operation, we were blessed by the healthcare professionals at San Francisco General, they told us it had not pierced his brain, which was -- it could be deadly or worse.

COOPER: So the hammer had not actually cracked --

PELOSI: Oh, no. It had cracked. What they had to do is they have to take off the skull, reshape, and put it back so it isn't scratched or pierce the brain. So it's pretty -- it was a pretty serious operation.

COOPER: There is always concern about swelling also on the brain.

PELOSI: Always concern with hematoma and all the rest of that. But my son, Paul, told me that when he -- see, I got on the plane right away to go -- come to California, but he was now out of the operation and Paul said, "Mommy is on her way here." And Paul said -- the first thing he said, "Oh, your mother's going to be very happy because the Ravens won last night."

COOPER: That's what your husband said out of the operation.

PELOSI: Yes. We love Baltimore, you know. I have Baltimore connection. So, we thought well, okay, he is with it. You know, he remembers they won and obviously knows my -- after the 49ers, my dedication to the Ravens.

COOPER: You were the intended target. PELOSI: Yes.

COOPER: The assailant has told police, it's in a sworn affidavit that he wanted to take you hostage, interrogate you, break your kneecaps with a hammer if you didn't give him the answers that that he wanted.

PELOSI: For me, this is really the hard part because Paul was not the target and he is the one who is paying the price. I mean, we all are, but he is the one who is really paying the price, but it really -- it's really sad because it is a flame that was fueled by misinformation and all the rest of that, which is most unfortunate. It shouldn't -- it has no place in our democracy.

COOPER: President Biden drew a line between what happened on January 6th and the attack on your husband. The President said, I quote: "The assailant entered the home asking 'Where's Nancy? Where's Nancy?' Those were the very same words used by the mob when they stormed the United States Capitol on January 6th," do you draw that same line?

PELOSI: Absolutely. There is no question. It's the same, the same thing. Copycat or whatever it happens to be, inflamed by the same misrepresentation.

But the fact is, right now it's time for healing. We want the country to heal. This is not a path that we can continue on and we want people to run for office, local, in every way and you can't say to them, you're risking the safety of your families by going forward. There are no guarantees of safety.

I'm very pleased that in August, we were able to reach a place where the Sergeant-at-Arms informed the Members of the House of an amount of money that they would have, $10,000.00 to and have Capitol Police come and evaluate what their needs were to make their homes safer, because there was a recognition. When we are gone, our families are home and that's scary, or even if we are home.

So we recognized that. It was figured that that amount of money could do what it needed to do in the homes.

COOPER: But I mean, you have a large security detail, you have great protection around you. If this can happen to someone in your family, it can happen to any Member of Congress' family.

PELOSI: That's right.

COOPER: How does -- no amount of security is going to stop that. How does this stop? How does this not happen again?

PELOSI: Well, you would think that there would be some level of responsibility, but you see what the reaction is on the other side to this, to make a joke of it, and really that is traumatizing, too, but nonetheless, forgetting them, there has to be some healing process.


And Democrats and Republicans, you know, Member of Congress, anybody could be a target. And we can't -- there is no guarantee, but we can. In our democracy, there is one party that is doubting the outcome of the election, feeding that flame and mocking any violence that happens. That has to stop.

COOPER: The former President of the United States, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, others have spread stories casting doubt on what happened, fomenting conspiracy theories. What do you have to say to them?

PELOSI: It's really sad for the country. It is really sad for the country that people of that high visibility wouldn't separate themselves from the facts and the truth in such a blatant way. It's really sad, and it is traumatizing to those affected by it. They don't care about that, obviously.

But it is destructive to the unity that we want to have in our country, but I don't have anything to say to them. I mean, we have nothing -- there would be no common ground to have any conversation with them.

COOPER: Is there enough common ground as Americans to try to bridge this divide and lower the temperature?


COOPER: Because I mean, I think people on all sides would agree that it does not seem sustainable.

PELOSI: No, I completely agree with you. But, I wouldn't say on all sides, because the fact is, this is a one-sided assault on our democracy, an assault on the credibility and integrity of our elections and the rest.

There has to be some adult supervision on the Republican side in order to say, "Enough." Enough, but why not, we need a strong Republican Party in our country. I've said that over and over again.

COOPER: You want a strong Republican Party.

PELOSI: Absolutely. The GOP, a strong Republican Party. They've done great things for our country and they should take pride in that, instead of yielding to a cult, to a thug actually, the way I see it, but nonetheless, really, to stay with the healing part of it. I think that prayers --

I mean, we have been receiving so many prayers, thousands of well- wishers with prayers for Paul's healing, and I think prayers are a unifying force. I also think that there are enough people who, while they may not may legitimately be Republicans, and I respect that, are not a party to feeding the flame of violence and disunity in our country.

Let me just say that it's about time, you know, it's a time for healing as Ecclesiastes says. Ecclesiastes says, the time -- there is a time for everything and this is a time long overdue for healing, to do so in a prayerful and respectful way, to do so open to hearing each other, about the future of our country. I do believe that our democracy is in danger because of what the others are saying about undermining elections, even now, as we go forward. I think that if enough people in our country are aware of what that challenge is, it might change behavior on the other side. But I do think a great deal of the healing has to come within the Republican Party itself, and it's not up to me to tell them how to shape themselves.

But again, it is to have them take pride in what they have been and what they have done for our country.

COOPER: If the former President Donald Trump runs again, do you think that healing is possible?

PELOSI: I really am -- I am just in a place where I need to talk about what comes next. Tomorrow is a very big day for our country where democracy is on the ballot, our planet is on the ballot, our values are on the ballot.

COOPER: How concerned are you about tomorrow?

PELOSI: As I've said, I have heard from at least 50 of our candidates in races that are shall we say, some view, too close to call, in our view ours. And I feel optimistic. It just depends on turnout.

And I'm a former Party Chair and I'm always about owning the ground and getting out the vote, and I feel confident that we're in that position. Their races are close. Some of them could go one way or another. We could split it, we'll see, but it is up to the people and whatever happens, we will respect the results of the election.


COOPER: When we come back, I ask Speaker Pelosi about how this experience has affected her thinking about whether she would retire if Republicans take control of the House.

Also tonight, as we look at campaign rallies in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Georgia, the state of the race in the final hours before Election Day. We have correspondents all over the map and John King at the Magic Wall.

More ahead.



COOPER: Before the break, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi talked about what it was like to learn in the middle of the night that her husband on the other side of the country has just been badly hurt and attacked, targeting her in their home. A politically motivated attacked by the suspect's own admission according to Federal authorities.

With the assault on the Capitol still fresh in memory, combined that and that kind of violent politics it signify with the possibility of Republicans retaking the House tomorrow. It's hard not to ask the question that begins Part Two of our conversation.


COOPER: I know there has obviously been a lot of discussion about whether you'd retire if Democrats lose the House. I know, you're not going to answer that question. So, I'm not even going to ask that question.

PELOSI: I am glad.

COOPER: But I will ask, can you confirm that you've made a decision about what you would do?

PELOSI: Well, that's like asking the question.


COOPER: I'm not asking what the decision is. I'm just asking you have you looked ahead? And I mean, have you made the decision in your mind whatever that decision might be?

PELOSI: Well, I have to say my decision will be affected about what happened in the last week or two.

COOPER: Will it be -- will your decision be impacted by the attack in any way?


COOPER: It will.

PELOSI: Yes. And it will be impacted by -- but I -- let me just say this. I have been blessed by my colleagues, as Whip first, then Leader, and then Speaker of the House, for four terms, that's a great honor. The greatest honor I have, though, is to represent the people of San Francisco to walk on the floor of the House.

Every time I walk on, I think they chose me to be the one to speak for them.

COOPER: They've chosen you for a long time.

PELOSI: They have, 35 years. Imagine, I only thought I was coming for 10 years, at the most, if not, and here we are. I never expected to run. I never expected to run for leadership, but people encouraged me to run and then people encouraged me to run for leadership and here I am.

But this institution is a great institution. My father served here and I have great reverence for it. I was taught that as a little girl. And then when he was Mayor, of course, he always referenced his service in the Congress. It's a place where great things have happened for our country.

To see the assault on January 6th on this Capitol was something that was so devastating, and traumatic for many of us. Some of my Members who are calling me about their races now and understanding the trauma we're experiencing, again with Paul, we are revisiting the trauma they felt that day on January 6th, having the same root, disinformation and the rest.

So, I think it's really important for us to find a way to restore unity in the Congress of the United States, and to do so by showing who is meeting the needs of the American people and hopefully, pulling some folks to that point of view.

COOPER: Do you think if the rhetoric doesn't change, if the vitriol and division doesn't heal to some degree, that there will be more attacks on people's families? On people in public?

PELOSI: Well, I certainly hope not. I mean, when somebody is assaulted in your family because of you, I mean, he was not looking for Paul, he was looking for me. Members, I think, have to weigh that among the equities as to whether they will run.

And we want Democrats, Republicans, everyone to see the opportunity to run and make their contribution to our country, whether at the State or local level, or at the Federal level. As they weigh the equities, it has to be one that is made with confidence, and not with fear that something could happen to their families.

COOPER: Do you worry that something like this will dissuade future people, you know, young people who are thinking about a life in service, a life of public service? I mean, as you said, your dad served, you looked up to him. You served.

Do you worry, the tenor of everything just makes good people not want to serve?

PELOSI: Running for office is really a family decision and that is going to have to be up to their families to decide whether it is worth, if there aren't other ways.

Most of the people that we want to run have options. They have options to be in the academic world, in the military, and all law enforcement, in all kinds of fields where they can thrive. They are not people without options.

And so they have to weigh what it means to their families that they would run. I don't think that this will become an epidemic of violence, but I do think that there has to be some message to the Republicans to stop -- to stop the disinformation because that is without any question, a source of what happened on January 6th, and the denial of that and then the source of what's happening to me.

Now, I've been a target for a long time, because I'm very effective. I'm a great -- she says -- master of the legislation. I love doing that. That is what I love to do, is to write legislation, and on the policy side, on the political side, I'm an outstanding, shall we say, a master of the resources necessary -- intellectual, financial or political to win elections.

[20:25:23] And so they have to put a stop to me, right? Because they know that I'm about having our members succeed.

I have great confidence in our members, and every compliment I receive about being a great legislator or a great political force, I convey that gratitude to my members for their courage, for their astuteness, for their excellence, and so I take great pride in what they -- we all do -- working together.

COOPER; Tomorrow, Election Day, what is your message to voters?

PELOSI: To vote. I think a vote tomorrow is a vote to defend our democracy, but I just want people to vote and then we will respect the outcome of the election. And I would hope that the other side would do that as well.

I've sent a message to my colleagues that we have to own the ground tomorrow and we want to help protect the sanctity of the vote, as well as the safety of our precinct workers and our poll workers.

COOPER: When you hear some candidates say that they won't, you know, they'll have to see what happens, they'll have to let the process play out before they'll say whether or not they'll accept the results. What do you think?

PELOSI: What do I think? What do I think that they have to see how an election will work? Is that dependent on how the election turns out? What I see is across the country, legislation that says if they don't like the results of the election, they will establish new standards for what wins an election and determine for themselves what that is. That is not what a democracy is.

A democracy is freedom to vote free and fair elections, a standard that we apply to other countries, it should certainly apply to us here, whether it's a Democratic victory or a Republican victory. It isn't about it, unless it turns out my way, I don't accept it. That's not a democracy.

So that's why I say that defending our democracy is on the ballot in so many ways, and we are just being very prayerful about it.

Now, when I was growing up, we were taught in our very democratic Italian-American Catholic family, you don't pray to win an election, you pray that God's will, will be done. So it's not about saying, God be on our side, it's just that God's will, will be done, but we do pray. We pray for that.

And then as President Kennedy said, God's work will be truly be our -- must truly be our own, and that's how we go forward. So it is -- I've done very well. I've been close to tears a number of times in this conversation. I think I've done very well in containing that.

But you know, of course, I'm sad because of my husband, but I'm also sad because of our country, unless we can get over this and have enough people out there say, while I may not agree with everything the Democrats are for, or the Republicans are for, I do agree that our democracy is important. And that we must, we must protect it.

It is a model to the world. What we do -- what we do now, we see as our charge from our founders. Imagine the courage and the vision that they had, the vision -- we have to honor the vision of our founders, the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform and their families to protect our freedoms, and democracy, and the aspirations of our children as they go forward into the future.

Babies born now will live into the next century. We want to make sure that our democracy is strong, our planet is safe, and our values are intact, and that we have healed as we go forward.

COOPER: Speaker Pelosi, thank you very much.

PELOSI: Welcome.


COOPER: Coming up next, we'll have reaction with what you just heard from two of the best political reporters and thinkers we know and the latest on the races and the election tomorrow.



COOPER: Before bringing two people who spend much their careers reporting on a woman will go into the history books, for many reasons want to revisit just a portion of my conversation with Nancy Pelosi specifically how the attack on her husband, and the fact that it targeted her as affected to her decision which she would not reveal whether to retire or not if Republicans take over the House.


COOPER (on-camera): Have you made the decision in your mind whatever that decision might be?

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D) SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Well, I have to say my decision will be affected about what happened the last week or two?

COOPER (on-camera): Will it be it -- will your decision be impacted by the attack in any way?


COOPER (on-camera): It will.

PELOSI: Yes. And it will be impacted by -- but I let me just say this. I have been blessed by my colleagues, whip first, then leader and then Speaker of the House for four terms. That's a great honor. The greatest honor I have though is to represent the people of San Francisco to walk on the floor of the House. Every time I walk on, and I think they chose me to be the one to speak for them.

COOPER (on-camera): They're chosen you for a long time. PELOSI: They have 35 years. Imagine I never thought I was coming for 10 years. But the most is that. And here we are. I never expected to run. I never expected to run for leadership. But people encouraged me to run and then people encouraging me to run for leadership. And here I am.


COOPER: Joining me now CNN chief political analyst, Gloria Borger. And also in Washington, CNN chief political correspondent and "STATE OF THE UNION" co-anchor, Dana Bash. I'm wondering what your reaction do you think she's going to retire based on what she said? Or do you think she's not?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's hard to know. But when she said that this had affected her decision. You know, immediately I thought, oh, she's going to retire. But then she because her husband has a long haul as she put it in his recovery but then when she was she seemed so energized when she was talking about her career and what she's done and the future of democracy. You kind of wonder, does she want to fight on?


COOPER: Dana, I mean, if Speaker Pelosi does decide to retire after the election, how does that impact House Democrats who she's led both as minority leader and speaker for the past 20 years?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean, it's almost hard to quantify the impact that it would have if she was not the leader. But I just want to go back to what Gloria said, because I had the same kind of vibe from her. I mean, well, we'll see what happens. But as she was talking to you, which was it was a terrific, terrific interview Anderson. And she was talking about the fact that she's really good at her job. I was remembering, going with her to Baltimore, where she grew up. Four years ago, she was on the brink of becoming speaker again. And there were lots of questions about whether she should do that job, or she should retire then. And she said, no, I'm the best person for the job. And I said, you know, not a lot of people, never mind, women can say that. And she said, you know, I say that, because I want other women to hear me and to follow my lead. I don't think women do that enough. And then she said, I want women to know, and people to know that you stay and you don't shrink away from the fight. That is what she said to me four years ago.

Now, they're very different circumstances, the most important of which is the fact that her husband is still very much trying to recover. And she used the word trauma or traumatized so many times in your interview. That is, was really, I was almost taken aback by how many times she said it.


BORGER: You know, it seemed to me and she said this a couple of times that, for me, the hard part is that Paul is paying the price for this. And that she's clearly traumatized by that, that the attacker wanted to attack her, hold her hostage break her kneecaps, and that he was the one who was attacked. And I think she's probably having a very difficult time as we all would, trying to deal with that, that he was home in bed asleep, and this person was looking for Nancy, and that's hard when you've been married for what 59 years, especially.

COOPER: Also, it seems -- I mean Dana, the, you know, there's the rough and tumble of politics, but you know, the, the mockery of by, you know, Kari Lake, and Alicia (ph) didn't name her by name. And, you know, Elon Musk forwarding, you know, made up articles. And the former president, I mean, that clearly has deeply offended her. And under understandably so.

BASH: And understandably so, I mean, it offends people who have just an ounce of humanity, as it should. And, you know, regardless of your political persuasion, I mean, this is somebody who is happens to be married to a somebody who is second in line to the President, and who is and has been for decades, sort of the chief boogey woman, if you will, for Republicans, and has been made that way for a long time. So, it is absolutely understandable.

But even then, I mean, also what she said Anderson about the need for a strong Republican Party, this is a very, very loyal, very proud Democrat, the need for a strong vibrant Republican party that was so --

COOPER: With a leader who can stand up and say enough.

BORGER: Right.

BASH: With a leader, who isn't it, in her words, a thug. That was also very telling about how she sees the situation right now.

BORGER: You know, it was also fascinating to me that when you kind of talked about Donald Trump, she got emotional. She didn't want to talk about Donald Trump. It was it was a sort of unexpected moment for me that she would get emotional about Donald Trump. It's very clear to me, she blames him for a lot of this. And of course, he was out on stage calling her crazy Nancy after the attack, right. And I was sort of stunned because you don't see Nancy Pelosi getting emotional a lot, you can understand why she would be after this event about Trump.

COOPER: Let's talk about the election tomorrow. I mean Dana, if Republicans take back the House, as many, you know, if you look at a lot of the races, there's a high probability of that. What happens, though? I mean, is any substantive ledges new legislation likely to be passed and signed into law or in the next two years? Certainly, I mean, by the Democrats, and what do you what -- I mean --

BASH: I mean that.

COOPER: Go ahead.

BASH: It's a key question, it's a key question. We know, based on what Kevin McCarthy, he told our colleague Melanie Zanona today, what they're going to try to push, they've been saying it on the campaign trail from immigration to, two other issues that likely won't the way that they're going to frame it likely won't see the light of day, no matter who's in charge of the Senate because of the threshold that's needed there. The unknown the big unknown is if there is any genuine bipartisan business to do, it has happened in so many instances even in modern history when a president loses the majority in the Congress and their first term, they are forced to work across the aisle, but you need a partner. And it is not clear whether that will happen on both sides, especially when you have Donald Trump out there saying I'm going to run and he wouldn't even support the idea of the bipartisan infrastructure bill. He supported challengers to Republican members because they dared to support something that was very, very widely backed in a bipartisan way to help build the country's roads and bridges.


COOPER: Gloria, in terms of races tomorrow, what are you?

BORGER: The ones we've been talking about? Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, look, these are Senate races that are going to be really close. It's going to determine control of the Senate, Dana was just talking about this. That's very important because if Republicans were in control of the House, what's the Senate going to look like? And we just don't know the answer to that. And these races are so close and we may not know for a couple of days. Anderson's will be sitting here for hours.

COOPER: Thanks very much, Dana Bash as well.

More on the midterms. The big rallies tonight with the former president in Ohio, Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania and that pivotal race plus CNN's John King joins us, all next.


COOPER: A lot of anticipation building up around this Ohio rally going on right now near Dayton featuring the former president, his handpicked candidate for an open Senate seat JD Vance. Sources telling CNN that the former president had been toying with the idea of possibly announcing a run for the presidency tonight. That has not happened. It does. we'll certainly bring it to you.


COOPER: Right now, we want to focus on another rally in Pennsylvania. Republican Senate candidate Mehmet Oz outside of Philadelphia soon to wrap up his final pitch to voters. Oz is in a close race, obviously against Democrat John Fetterman that could determine which party controls the Senate.

CNN's Kate Bolduan is trailing Mehmet Oz joins us now. So obviously pivotal race. What's the closing argument from us tonight?

KATE BOLDUAN. CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and this is this final rally his final moment with supporters before the votes start to be counted tomorrow. His closing message has been in the final days, Anderson, has been a message of unity. And also, in his words, rejecting extremes on both sides. And it's been a balancing act and striking that for Mehmet Oz, he was appeared -- he appeared on the stage with former President Donald Trump this weekend. But also, tonight on stage right now is former ambassador, South -- former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who's going to be introducing him. He also appeared with moderate Senator Susan Collins over the weekend, two people who are very much kept their distance from Donald Trump in a very clear way.

The focus on unity and bringing balance to Washington is another way that he puts this is aimed at the swing voters that both candidates need in order to get over the finish line. These are these independent voters that you can find in a county like where we are Montgomery County, or all along were called the collar counties outside Philadelphia, they could be in very likely will be the deciding factor on who wins and losses in a race that is so tight tonight.

COOPER: There's also been some issue with mail-in ballots according to an election official in Philadelphia.

BOLDUAN: Oh, absolutely. So, the latest development on that actually late this evening is a John Fetterman's campaign has actually joined a lawsuit with other Democrats to try to get a federal judge to overrule the state Supreme Court in in their decision. And what the state Supreme Court decision basically lays out is it is ordered that mail- in ballots that are missing a handwritten date that voters are required by state law to provide a mail-in ballot or have an incorrectly signed date on their mail-in ballots. They've ordered county officials that they cannot count those votes. The Fetterman campaign in this lawsuit saying they argue that it's a technicality. It does nothing to qualify whether or not this ballot is actually being cast illegally or legally. They say because it's a technicality. They're imploring the federal judge to overrule it. So, these ballots can be counted.

And we're talking about thousands of ballots, potentially, 34,000 votes and Philadelphia, another more than thousand in Allegheny County, which is Pittsburgh. So, when you put it all together, you could believe looking at 4,600 ballots that could be rejected and not counted. Democrats very concerned that that means in the end, that could be thousands of ballots for John Fetterman. That could be rejected. Clearly not what they need right now.

COOPER: Yes. Kate Bolduan, appreciate it. Thank you.

I'm going to see at John King at the magic wall for more on some of the key races. So, we talked about the Mehmet Oz closing out his campaign in in Pennsylvania. Talk about the importance of where he is in the state tonight?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we're going to be spending a lot of time tomorrow in Pennsylvania and across the country in these big Senate and governor's races in towns. They call them boroughs in Pennsylvania, like Pennsburg where Kate is. Let me stretch out the map and show you where we are here. Excuse me turn on my back a little bit. But you go to Allentown, that's Lehigh County, you go south you get on Route 29. You cross the line. And this is where you find Pennsburg. Just across the Lehigh County line in Montgomery County, just a very short drive from Bucks County. Now why does that matter? As Kate noted, that is the suburban call around Philadelphia that decides close elections. Let's go back in time. Pat Toomey is the Republican senator right now, he's retiring. That's the seat Fetterman and Oz are running for. In Montgomery County and 2016, he got beat, right you say, oh, well, he got beat. Why is Mehmet Oz there? Look at the margin. Right look at the margin for Pat Toomey, he lost in Montgomery County, but it's about 11 points.

Let's look at Donald Trump the same year in Montgomery County. He got smoked more than 20 points by Hillary Clinton. That's why Donald Trump is not with Mehmet Oz tonight. Donald Trump is not welcomed in this more upscale, more moderate. Yes, formally a lot of Republicans there but they don't like Donald Trump. Let's come back to that Senate race in 2016. What do you notice about this? This is Bucks County. Pat Toomey carried Bucks County. If you come to the presidential race in 2016, and in 2020, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden carried Bucks County. So, if Mehmet Oz, if Bucks County is red tomorrow night, and if Mehmet Oz is within eight, 10 points, maybe even 11 points in Montgomery County, he's got a shot to win the Commonwealth. That's why he's there tonight. And that's why Anderson, he's there without Donald Trump.

COOPER: What are you going to be watching to see whether Republican's retake control of the House?

KING: So again, the suburbs will decide these key Senate races. Let's come out to the national map here and take a look at the House races, we'll come at it from a different perspective, come out nationally, bring up the House campaigns for you. We're in 2022 and let's take a look here at these competitive races. We have 82 competitive races. This is partnering with our partners at inside elections, 82 of them across the country. And you see they are from coast to coast from the Northern Quarter corner of Maine all the way to Southern California competitive race up in Alaska as well it could take a while to count in some of these races.


But of these 82 races, 57, 57 have Democratic incumbents, they're defending almost three times as many seats as the Republicans. Joe Biden, won 60 of these 82 races we have across. And so, the Democrats are on defense, Anderson. What are we looking for? Number one, we'll get some early clues. I'm going to move the map again. We will get some early clues. Again, we may not know the final House number for days, possibly even weeks. And there's nothing wrong with that, it takes time to count votes. There's a lot of skeptics, obviously after 2020. Absolutely nothing wrong with that in 2018. It took a long time to get the final number for Speaker Pelosi who you talked about earlier.

But you see these to the east in the eight o'clock time zone, the nine o'clock time zone. There are dozens of competitive districts here, most of them blue, as you see in New Hampshire, in New York, especially in the suburbs, not terribly far from where you are. There's four competitive Democratic races in Pennsylvania if you pull them out there, so we'll be watching the Fetterman- Oz race, but we'll also be watching these four competitive districts here that are in Northampton County, Luzerne County, key places there Allegheny County, as Kate mentioned out there.

So yes, it will take us a long time to have the final numbers Anderson, but just looking here four more -- three more in Virginia, excuse me, competitive races here. This state will tell us a lot. You have an embattled Congresswoman Elaine Luria, down here in a very, very tough district, a more Democratic district just outside of Washington. If the Republicans are winning those three seats in Virginia, or say two out of the three or three out of the four in Pennsylvania, then we'll know, it's a big red night. If they're competitive, then we'll be counting for a long time.

COOPER: John King, great to see you. Thanks, John.

John will be with us tomorrow as we kick off Election Night In America. Our special coverage starts at 4:00 p.m. Eastern get the latest from the campaigns and election results from coast to coast all night until the polls close. And that starts at 4:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow.

Coming up next to look at the governor and Senate races in Georgia and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on how the early voting went there. What's been done to keep the election safe and secure tomorrow.



COOPER: Taking a look at Lieutenant -- Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman campaigning tonight in Pittsburgh carrying a slight polling edge just outside the margin of error over Republican Mehmet Oz in their key Senate race.

Two more key races were watching the governor and Senate battles in Georgia. Earlier tonight, Governor Brian Kemp campaigned in the Atlanta area in his reelection fight against Stacey Abrams. She ran and lost a campaign in 2018. We're also following the Senate race between incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker. Walker campaigning tonight with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Ben Carson polls showing no leader going into tomorrow.

Joining me now is Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, author of Integrity Counts, he dismissed pressure from the former president to find, quote unquote, find votes to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Secretary Raffensperger, over 2 million votes already cast in early voting in Georgia. What are you hearing from election workers about how things are going?

BRAD RAFFENSPERGER (R-GA) SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, went great for the 17 days of early voting to over 2.2 million early votes. Plus, the absentees were over 2.5 million. And that's before we even hit Tuesday tomorrow. But we've told the counties since day one to prepare for big numbers tomorrow. And we think that they will be.

COOPER: We've seen images out of other parts of the country in Arizona for example of armed individuals watching over ballot drop boxes. Have you taken any new measures in Georgia to protect voters election workers from any kind of intimidation or threats?

RAFFENSPERGER: Yes, we have. We introduced a texting tool. And so, we offered that to all 159 counties. But 85 took us up on the free offer that we offered in which it is when someone comes in and you have the texting tool. As soon as you press the button if you see something that you know, makes you nervous or concerned when that goes to our state election director, county election director and then you can loop in law enforcement, we want to make sure that all of our poll workers are safe and feel comfortable tomorrow that we want everyone to have just a great time voting.

That's why with Senate Bill 202, we introduced that and passed that and signed it into law. All lines tomorrow are supposed to be one hour or less longer. And that'd be, you know, tremendous to have that kind of throughput. So, everyone has smiles on their faces.

COOPER: Despite the fact there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud the 2020 election and the many lawsuits filed by the former president's allies, ultimately were unsuccessful in court. There is still a large segment of the population believes, you know, things were stolen, rigged. Do you think that faith and America's democratic process has been permanently damaged?

RAFFENSPERGER: Well, I think that people know in Georgia, I'm going to make sure we have honest and fair elections for everyone. And that's why with the Election Integrity Act, we now have photo ID for all forms of voting. We have photo ID for absentee voting, we actually have been sued by both the Democrat Party and Republican Party, they said signature match was subjective. So, we moved to a very objective standard photo ID.

So, we've taken things off that people could somehow complaint and use objective criteria wherever possible. Then today, we have a verifiable paper ballot. We are now pre scanning all the absentee ballots that have come in so that we can get those results a whole lot quicker. And most voters have gone back to their traditional way of voting in- person. That's why we have huge numbers. And we probably totally expect about 6 to 7% of total voters will vote absentee. It's still no excuse like it always has been.

COOPER: How prepared are you for any disputes that may arise from voting tomorrow?

RAFFENSPERGER: Well, we'll be ready. We'll look at them on a case-by- case basis. But I know that our counties have been working really hard to make sure that you know they're ready. Sometimes, you know, at seven o'clock in the morning, our biggest concern is hopefully, no one forgot a power cord. No one forgot to get free -- forgot to bring the key so you can get in for the polling location. But you know, you have those minor hiccups. But the end of the day, the county should be prepared. We've told them to expect a big numbers for tomorrow.

And so, it's always either easier to adjust down and adjust up and we think we're in good shape.

COOPER: A judge as you know, has extended the deadline by which more than I think thousand absentee ballots can be received in Cobb County after so-called human error prevented them from being sent out to voters. Are you satisfied with the resolution? Do you worry that even relatively small things like that are like that could undermine voter confidence?

RAFFENSPERGER: Well, that was an isolated condition in one county, where in two days they did not send out the absentee ballots. They identified their issue, apologize profusely to the county commissioners and then took some proactive countermeasures, and they said we're going to send out next day air to everyone on Saturday, the people that were affected, and they also included a return envelope for next air -- to expedite that process.


Now the judge came out of consent ordered that giving these potentially up to about 800 voters the ability to get that back by November 14th was what by the time we have to receive all of our UOCAVA, overseas military ballots.

COOPER: Brad Raffensperger, I appreciate your time tonight. Good luck tomorrow.


COOPER: News continues. Let's hand over with Jake Tapper in "CNN TONIGHT."