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Comedian Jon Stewart Talks Elections; Obama Barely Visible, Clintons Everywhere on Campaign Trail; Smaller Midterm Turnout Will Decide Who Controls Senate

Aired November 04, 2014 - 14:30   ET


ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Crist and Scott are virtually tied. And the polls show that voters have an unfavorable opinion of the candidates. As you know, this has been a very extensive race. It's also been at times nasty with attack ads from both sides. So really both of them are out there trying to connect with their voters, trying to energize their base and get the people out to the polls today. We know that the incumbent Governor Scott is out crisscrossing the state right now with Texas Governor Rick Perry. We also know that yesterday Clinton was out campaigning for Crist in Orlando.

Right now, Crist is out on a bus tour in the Tampa Bay area. He's expected to wrap things up and then come here to St. Petersburg where he'll be waiting for the votes to come in -- Brooke?

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: You talked about Bill Clinton on the campaign trail. We'll talk about the Clinton's presence coming up in a few moments.

Alina Machado, thank you for watching that gubernatorial race for us out of St. Petersburg.

Coming up next, Comedian Jon Stewart takes a new unique look at the races today. And you will hear his take on Hillary Clinton's chance in 2016. What is one criticism he has about her right now? He talked with Christina Amanpour. She joins me live, next.


BALDWIN: Just past the bottom of the hour. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

You know someone who will be watching the midterm elections quite closely, looking for any comic fodder, is none other than Jon Stewart. And "The Daily Show" host just sat down with Christiane Amanpour, who is sitting next to me, out chief international correspondent.

Here you fly London to New York, you sit down with Jon Stewart, talking to him about this film.


BALDWIN: But you had to ask the question about politics.

AMANPOUR: Of course. Because this film, in fact, centers on what happened to an Iranian journalist after a disputed Iranian election in 2009. I said, look, Jon, people are going to the polls today, what do you think? Is this going to be comic fodder for you no matter what happens? This is what he said.


AMANPOUR: We are talking about Americans go to an election, the midterms right here today.


AMANPOUR: Did you vote?



STEWART: No. I just moved. I don't know where my thing is now.

AMANPOUR: What do you mean?

STEWART: I moved to a different state.


AMANPOUR: Really, where are you?

STEWART: I can't disclose --

AMANPOUR: You can't divulge.

STEWART: Yeah, the whole thing going on.

AMANPOUR: It's very secret?

STEWART: Yeah, it's very secretive.

AMANPOUR: So for your job, your work --

STEWART: That's right.

AMANPOUR: -- is this going to be equal fodder for your comedy? How can you see this playing out, this midterm election?

STEWART: How do I see it playing out in terms of --


AMANPOUR: First of all, who do you think is going to win tonight? Who is going to hold the Senate?

STEWART: If I'm listening to the people that know these things and study these things, because that's not what we do, the Republicans are going to win the Senate. They're going to increase the House. They're going to win the Supreme Court and the judiciary. And they're going to win a lot of the restaurants and lobbyists. They're going to win K Street. So the only thing they don't get, I think, is the presidency in this election. But if it goes the way they want, enough votes, they may get that, too. Obama may have to leave as well.


STEWART: So they may get everything that they want. And, from what I understand, their first order of business will be to destroy ISIS and eradicate Ebola. If the commercials they have been running are to be believed.

AMANPOUR: This is comedy as usual?

STEWART: This is major. This is not comedy as usual. This is a true changing point in American history.


BALDWIN: I mean, is he like that off camera, too? Straight up, that's just Jon Stewart?

AMANPOUR: That is him. He's obviously a brilliant satirist, right?


AMANPOUR: But off camera, we were actually off and on talking about his next job, or his new job as a first-time film director.

BALDWIN: Wrote the whole thing.

AMANPOUR: He wrote the whole thing and it's about an Iranian journalist who was jailed about four months after a disputed election in 2009. It's rally amazing. I know quite a lot about Iran and the disputed election. I know what it's like to be a journalist. And I think he's captured that terror and that absurdity of being dragged off the street and put into prison incredibly well. It's an amazing first film debut I think

BALDWIN: So you give the Jon Stewart film, two thumbs up, it sounds like?

AMANPOUR: It's interesting. I said, do you think it's going to be commercial here in the United States? He said, that's a good question. He opens next week. He just hopes that people will get a view of what real journalists do. Because he's a satirist and not a real journalist. And he wants to sort of show that actually people are different to what the stereotype is, both the American and the Iranian people, when they meet and when things happen.

BALDWIN: Did he give you any indication as to whether there's more satirical news in his future, more filmmaking?

AMANPOUR: I asked him about that. Filmmaking, he didn't discount it but he didn't say if he did it, it would be exclusive. In other words, he's not spilling all of his cards right now. Obviously, people have been talking about what his next role would be if, indeed, he is not going to be on "The Daily Show" anymore. But he wouldn't go that far, but I think he will try film again for sure.

BALDWIN: Christiane Amanpour, fresh off the set with Jon Stewart.

AMANPOUR: Yeah. It was fun.

BALDWIN: Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

AMANPOUR: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Coming up next, Democrat Senate candidates distancing themselves from President Obama. In fact, he was barely visible on the campaign trail. But a familiar first family is making a lot of appearances. The Clintons, both Bill and Hillary Clinton, stumping for various candidates across the country. What can we glean from this, about the Clinton's message on the campaign trail? That conversation is next.


BALDWIN: If there has been a bright spot for the Democrats in campaign 2014, it has been the reemergence of one of the party's heavy hitters. She is everywhere, everywhere it seems.




BALDWIN: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton not seen in the trail in earnest since 2008 when she first time she ran for president. She's the Democrat's wing woman. By our count, she's stumped for 26 Democrat hopefuls in a total of 18 states. Husband, Bill, is her only rival. Bill Clinton campaigned in 22 states while becoming a Zen master at the art of the selfie. By comparison, Barack Obama, with his 45 percent approval rating, has appeared in eight states with last count.

With me now were all three from Washington, D.C., political commentator, Maria Cardona; "Politico's" Maggie Haberman; and CNN host, S.E. Cupp.

Ladies, welcome to all of you.


Maggie, I have to begin with you.

When you look at the list, the Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton states compared with the president, 18 states, way more than her former boss.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, POLITICO REPORTER: Right. There's one person who's going to have a very good election score card and it's President Obama, because he went to very few states. It's going to be clear how he did. Look, Hillary Clinton has been in demand since she left the State

Department in 2013. The requests began coming in. They put them off until the fall so she could maximize the focus, maximize the impact. She's been working very closely with all the national committees about where she could do the most good, the women voters in certain states and Independent voters. That narrows the target. But she's done -- especially in states like Kentucky, Louisiana, for women candidates in North Carolina and elsewhere, she's done repeated visits. She's done a lot of work. She has earned a lot of chips. That is not to say that her candidates are going to have a great night. It's not going to be because of factors that relate to her, but because of the national climate.

BALDWIN: That is not to say that she does not have a target on her back.

HABERMAN: That's true.

BALDWIN: Roll the sound bite, Roger.


SEN. RAND PAUL, (R), KENTUCKY: Hillary Clinton comes up and says, oh, well, businesses don't create jobs.

JEB BUSH, (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: A candidate, a former secretary of state, who was campaigning in Massachusetts where she said that, "Don't let them tell you that businesses create jobs."



BALDWIN: I mean you had Rand Paul, you had Jeb Bush and I could Ted Cruz to that, S.E., all evoking Hillary Clinton's name on the trail, seizing obviously this recent flub. She's not officially in it.

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah. Bill Clinton gets to sort of go out on the campaign trail, have fun, do what he does best, which is give speeches, retail politics, photo-bomb appearances. Hillary Clinton, the stakes are a little higher for her because everyone assumes she's running. And she has moments, like that that, not so great, or she shows up at a lackluster campaign event like she did in Maryland, for Anthony Brown, running for governor, sparsely populated. That doesn't look so great for her. But at the end of the night or the end of next week or maybe next month, when we know what's happened with the Senate, Hillary Clinton will not be to blame or credited for Democrats and how they perform tonight.

BALDWIN: But what about at the end of two years, Maria? Let me play the "if" card. If Republicans retain power in the House and also seize power of the Senate, how would that affect Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it all depends on what Republicans choose to do if they do take the Senate after tonight. Look, you have clearly a very desperate electorate in this country, very divided. But you also have to look at, if Republicans take control tonight, it's a very schizophrenic party. Which one is going to show up? Is it going to be the Ted Cruz wing of the Senate? Is it going to be the Mitch McConnell wing, who has said repeatedly years ago that his first focus was going to make this president a first-term president or is it going to be the Mitch McConnell that's talking about reaching across the aisle? I think there's a lot that Hillary Clinton, if she does come in to this and does decide to run, a lot is going to depend on what happens in the next two years. I think now that's why the Republicans are trying to focus on her, to try to cut her down a little bit. I don't think they're convinced that if they take the Senate they're going to be able to govern.

BALDWIN: Maggie, I want to ask the same question of you, but since we're on the "which Republican party will show up" line, let me pose that to S.E.

Who will?

CUPP: I think what you've seen this year, so far, and tonight will tell us a little more, is sort of a resurrection of the establishment Republican candidate. Where we've seen Tea Partiers and Independents be Republicans from the right with the exception of Virginia and Eric Cantor. You've seen the establishment candidate be successful and you might see a couple more pull it out tonight, which means that maybe over the next two years, while ideologues are important for correction, it's also really important to show that you can govern as well. And I think and I hope that you see a little bit more action toward that over the next two years if Republicans pull out the Senate win.

BALDWIN: Maggie, final question to you, let's say that is the group of Republicans who would show up and govern over the next two years a if this become as win. How will that help or hurt Hillary Clinton in two years?

HABERMAN: If she wins in two years and becomes the president, that becomes a different story. In the lead up, I think whichever wing of the Republican Party shows up in a Senate majority, I think she will campaign probably the same way, which is essentially describe them as extreme, describe them as not working across the aisle. I think that that gives her -- there are a lot of strategist who think the best possible outcome for her tonight is a Republican Senate because that gives her a very clear thing to run against when she is going to have trouble separating from President Obama. That's just reality.

BALDWIN: This is all fascinating.

Maggie Haberman, Maria Cardona, S.E. Cupp, thank you very much. We will be up into the wee hours along with you. Thank you so much.

Coming up next, how will CNN project the winners in tonight's races? We'll take you behind the scenes in the CNN election decision room. Stay right here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Control of the U.S. Senate, that is the big prize on Election Day. Democrats have control now, but Republicans are posed to gain some seats. And a look at historical trends suggests there's a midterm curse for the president's party. The president's party has lost Senate states in 40 of the last 43 midterm elections since 1842.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 36 Senate seats are up for grabs on Election Day. But if midterm voting trends continue, the number of people voting in the most competitive races determining the fate of the U.S. Senate is pretty small. It's less than a tenth of the number of people who watched the last Super Bowl.


BALDWIN: In the hours to come, predictions and pundit analyst will begin to turn into cold, hard facts. And when the data starts to stream in, what tools determine the race?

CNN's Mark Preston gives us the breakdown on exactly how CNN projects the election results.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We've got a really major projection to make right now.


Yeah. If I said I was good, would you be surprise.


PRESTON: On election night you're going to find out the winners and losers by going here, here, here, here and here. But this is where it all begins. When you walk out of the voting booth on Tuesday, you may be approached by somebody with a clipboard asking you some questions. This is called the exit poll. Once that data is collected all across the country, it comes back to here, to our exit poll team, five people dedicated to taking all of the data from across the country, looking at it, trying to figure out what makes the most sense to explain to you how the election night is unfolding.

OK, we've talked about exit polls and we're at the decision desk. This is where a dozen members from across the country -- these are journalists and statisticians, professional mathematicians, and they're working on 10 different models to try to figure out how to call a race. They look at the exit poll data and call the race just off of that. The raw vote is your vote. That's the vote that we start to see that comes in from the individual states and the individual counties. We can call a race on the raw vote. We don't even use the exit polls. Because sometime throughout the night, the raw vote becomes more dominant and important. Then ultimately, we may never call a race because it comes too close. We're talking about potentially recounts. And looking at so many races that are going to so competitive this year, who knows what's going to happen this year.


BALDWIN: Mark Preston, thanks for the tour.

Who will come out the victor and who will be left picking up the pieces? Election night in America begins right here on CNN at 5:00 eastern. We'll take a closer look at the fight for Congress, the battles for governor, and the races that decide the Senate in President Obama's final two years in office. It is election night in America and CNN will be there until the last vote is counted.

Make sure you stay right here. Our special midterm election coverage continues with my colleague, Erin Burnett, after a quick commercial break.