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Surrogates Swarm Pennsylvania in Race That May Decide Senate; House Races to Watch in the 2022 Midterms; . Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired November 07, 2022 - 07:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning all over, right? We have a beautiful shot of New York City, and we got the Capitol behind us. We're going to go all across the country this morning.

Hello, everyone, Don Lemon here, Poppy Harlow, Kaitlan Collins. It is Monday, it is November 7th. And you know what that means? It's election eve.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Also the New York City Marathon was yesterday.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: It was so great, right?

LEMON: Did you run?

COLLINS: I'm not running unless someone is chasing me. But the race -- I just moved to New York, and somewhat a friend of mine was like you have to go to be a real New Yorker, you have to go and see a real marathon. And it was so inspiring after Alabama's loss on Saturday night. It was really down on the dumps. But seeing these people of all walks of life running for all these different causes was really a nice, little heartwarming --

LEMON: Did the person who told you had to go with, they weren't a real New Yorker. They must have been a new New Yorker or a tourist, because --

HARLOW: I totally disagree with you. I was like this for the runners in --

LEMON: You know how New Yorkers watch, from a bar with a beer and some chicken wings. That's what I did.

HARLOW: Congrats to the marathoners.

Shall we get to the news?

LEMON: No, we're going to just stop talking about it, because we have got to talk about LSU versus Alabama.

HARLOW: There's that.

LEMON: Well, let's get to the news. Tomorrow, the talking ends, the voters are going to have their say. Candidates have reached the final stretch in the long and often bumpy midterm campaign.

HARLOW: That's right. The candidates and their surrogates are not letting up in the final push. CNN has this midterm election covered. We have a team on the campaign trail, analysts from our expert election team, also this.


MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Will you tell your members to accept the election results even if they lose?

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Members will accept the election results and make sure that it's all put out in an honest election going forward, yes.


COLLINS: We have got a CNN exclusive with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. He talks about his plan if Republicans do take back control of the House and he becomes House speaker.

LEMON: But, first, John Fetterman, Mehmet oz neck and neck in battleground Pennsylvania. President Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama and Donald Trump have descended on the Keystone State as the race that could determine Senate control enters the home stretch.

We're going to get now to Jessica Dean is live in Pittsburgh this morning for us. Jessica, this is for all the marbles right now. Good morning to you.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is it. We are in the final 24 hours. Good morning to all of you as this final sprint toward Election Day happens. This is the most expensive race in the country, some $146 million in T.V. ads from Labor Day to tomorrow. That's just a tremendous amount of money. And, look, you nailed the hammer on the head -- the nail on the head. This is about Senate control. And this could very well determine who controls the Senate. That's why Democrats want to flip the seat and Republicans want to hang on.


DEAN (voice over): After months of campaigning.

SENATE CANDIDATE MEHMET OZ (R-PA): I believe that we are the land of opportunity. Tell them that we are the land of plenty. And tell them that I will bring change to Washington.

LT. GOV. JOHN FETTERMAN (D-PA): You know, I'm running to serve Pennsylvania. Oz is running to use Pennsylvania.

DEAN: And tens of millions of dollars in ads. FETTERMAN: I got knocked down but I got back up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Oz knows we can work together.

DEAN: The hotly contested, closely watched Pennsylvania Senate race is closing out its final hours. Democratic Nominee John Fetterman, who suffered a stroke in May, framing his closing argument as a stark choice between himself and Republican Challenger Mehmet Oz.

FETTERMAN: I've spent my career fighting for people. Oz has spent his life taking advantage of people making himself rich. I've taken on the powerful, been different. Oz will only work for himself in Washington.

DEAN: While Oz, who's endorsed by former President Donald Trump, has pitched himself as an independent voice.

OZ: Politicians point fingers, doctors solve problems. Together we'll stand up to extremism on both sides and bring balance to Washington.

DEAN: In a sure sign of just how critical this race is to both parties, three presidents hit the trail in the commonwealth over the weekend, President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama rallying voters in Democratic strongholds.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Listen, it's easy to joke about Dr. Oz and all these quack remedies he's pushed on T.V. But it matters. It says something about his character. If somebody is willing to pedal snake oil to make a buck, then he's probably willing to sell snake oil to get elected.

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I know Pennsylvania well and John Fetterman is Pennsylvania. He is Pennsylvania.

DEAN: And former President Donald Trump appearing in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, to boost Republican candidates. Oz briefly appeared on stage with Trump even as the celebrity doctor continued to position himself as a moderate.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Pennsylvania desperately needs Dr. Oz in the U.S. Senate. He could very well be the tie breaking vote, as I said.

DEAN: Inflation, crime, abortion rights, threats to democracy, these are some of the issues driving this race. It'll be the decision of Pennsylvania voters, whether it will be for Oz --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like he cares about people. I felt that watching the show. I feel it now.

DEAN: -- or Fetterman.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I decided a long time ago that I was voting for John Fetterman. But, again, this election is so much bigger than just Fetterman.


DEAN (on camera): the commonwealth of Pennsylvania is truly a purple state, you guys. And it sounds pretty basic. But for either candidate to win, they have got to really turn out their base and then they have to convince the independents, the swing voters that they're the person that should go to Washington. We're going to see both candidates headed back to where they are going to spend election night. Mehmet Oz will head close to Philadelphia, just outside in the suburbs in Montgomery County. John Fetterman coming back here to Pittsburgh, they'll both rally with supporters late night as they try to get every last vote. Don?

LEMON: Beautiful sunrise there. Jessica Dean, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

DEAN: Yes.

HARLOW: Thanks, Jess.

All right, 435 seats, all of them up for grabs in the race for control of the House. Democrats hold the majority right now. But if the GOP were to secure a net gain of five seats, they would control the House.

Let's talk to Senior Data Reporter Harry Enten about all of this. Good morning, Harry.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Good morning. So, look, here's the deal in the House of Representatives. Right now, Republicans are a heavy favorite to take back control. So, the chance of Republicans taking back control, 88 percent to the Democrats' 12 percent. Could Democrats maintain control? Perhaps. But if they're going to do so, they are going to probably have to win the four following races.

And let's start off in Virginia, right, Virginia's second Congressional district. This is a race I'm definitely going to be watching. It has one of the earliest poll closings at 7:00 A.M. This is a district that flipped from Trump in 2016 to Biden in 2020. Elaine Luria won in a wave here just a few years ago.

A second district in the northeast that I'll be watching is in Pennsylvania's seventh congressional district. Susan Wild won there again in 2018. This is among the swingiest of all the swing districts. It flipped from Trump 2016 to Biden 2020. When I knew that Biden was winning this district back in 2020, I knew he was probably going to win Pennsylvania and, therefore, the presidency.

HARLOW: Talk about Iowa. What are you seeing there?

ENTEN: Yes. So, let's go to Iowa, the heartland of the country. There's only one Democrat still representing Iowa in Congress, it's Sidney Axne. And this is a district that was as close as it could be in 2020. Both Biden and Trump got 49 percent of the vote. This gives us a pretty good understanding of which way the Midwest may be going, which, of course, tends to be region we look to in elections to understand which way the nation is going.

And, finally, let's go down to Texas. We're going to go down to the Rio Grande Valley. Normally, we don't talk about the Rio Grande Valley, but here's what's going on there. We have seen massive movement from the Democrats to Republicans. So, that even though Biden won there in 2020, it was a dramatically improved performance for Donald Trump. If we want to understand what's going on nationally with Hispanic voters, we should look to this particular district. We have two incumbents running up against each other. I didn't think this district will be close but it may very well come election night.

HARLOW: That's happening in a lot of places over the last few weeks, for sure.

Harry Enten, thank you.

ENTEN: Thank you.

COLLINS: All right. Now, we are bringing you part two of CNN's exclusive interview with the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy. The California Republican is poised to become House speaker if Republicans do retake control of the House tomorrow.

CNN's Melanie Zanona sat down with Kevin McCarthy on the campaign trail in Texas. And, Melanie, I know we talked about what he could potentially do with Marjorie Taylor Greene and the committee assignments she may have if Republicans are in control. You also asked him about that recent attack on Speaker Pelosi's husband. What did he tell you?

ZANONA: Yes, that's right. There have been some Republicans who have mocked the attack on Nancy Pelosi's husband or even spread conspiracy theories about it.


And so I asked Kevin McCarthy what is your message to those Republicans?


MCCARTHY: I think what happened to Paul Pelosi is wrong. And I think people should not get into this rhetoric about it or anywhere else. We have watched Paul Pelosi, we've watched Steve Scalise get shot. We've watched Supreme Court justices, individuals sitting there wanting to kidnap them, and, luckily, they got picked up at the time. That is no place anywhere in politics and in this nation.

ZANONA: As speaker, how do you tone down the rhetoric? How are going to stop that, turn down the temperatures?

MCCARTHY: Well, first thing I'll ask the president not to call half the nation idiots or challenge them or say things about them simply because they have differences of opinion. There's a number of people in this country that I have a difference of opinion on, I respect them. I respect their ability to debate. I respect their ideas. Let the idea win at the end of the day. I think leadership matters and I think it probably starts with the president and it'll start with the speaker as well.

ZANONA: What about members of your own party who have spread these conspiracy theories that resulted in some of this violence?

MCCARTHY: Yes. I've watched people on both sides of the aisle. As speaker, I'll be speaker for the whole House. So, I won't be looking at just Republicans, we will look at Democrats as well. If Maxine Waters tells people to get in their faces, we've watched this so many times before. And I appreciate you bringing them up too, because as speaker of the House, I will look at all.

ZANONA: Will they get committee assignments? Are you willing to kick some Democrats off of their committee assignments.

MCCARTHY: Well, I've been very clear that Eric Swalwell will not serve on Intel, the knowledge that I have based upon the friendship that he had with the Chinese spy. An d if he cannot get a security clearance in the private sector, he should not be given government security clearance either.

Adam Schiff should not be serving on Intel either, after lying to the American public and missing, as the chair of Intel, what was going on in Afghanistan and others just to play politics. I think that's wrong as well.

ZANONA: Will you tell your members to accept the election results, even if they lose?

MCCARTHY: Members will accept the election results and make sure that it's all put out in an honest election going forward, yes.

ZANONA: Besides the legislative aspect of this, I mean, you obviously are also --

MCCARTHY: I also -- but, no. I also hope my last question that Hillary Clinton will accept it and Stacey Abrams too, because they still have not.

ZANONA: Yes. On the speakership, how confident are you that you have the votes to become speaker?

MCCARTHY: Well, we have got an election Tuesday, two days away. I know the pollsters said last time we'd lose 15 seats and we end up beat 13 Democrats. Well, we're going to work hard and we're going to run hard. And if we win the majority, I'll run for speaker.

ZANONA: But do you think you'll have the votes for speaker?

MCCARTHY: I believe I'll have the votes for speaker, yes.

ZANONA: Do you think Trump will support you to become speaker?

MCCARTHY: I think Trump will be supportive, yes.

ZANONA: Do you feel like you need his support?

MCCARTHY: I think the people who vote for it are all in the conference. So, I mean, that's the most important. Nobody on the outside can vote for you.

ZANONA: But he does have influence in the Republican Party?

MCCARTHY: The people that have the most influence are the constituents back home to decide represents them. So, that is always the people with the most influence.

ZANONA: Do you see any opportunities for bipartisanship?

MCCARTHY: Very much so.

ZANONA: And where are those areas.

MCCARTHY: Well, I would think from the very beginning, on the first day, I would hope Democrats join with us to repeal 87,000 new IRS agents. Government should be here to help us not go after us, the citizens. I think they should help us to become energy independent. I will make sure that I'll send to every single Democrat they don't already have it, a commitment to America, and all have an open door and invite them, anyone who wants to work with us that have the ideas to put America on a new path, yes.

ZANONA: What is your working relationship with President Biden like? Do you have any communication with him?

MCCARTHY: I had a really good working relationship with him when he was vice president. It doesn't him that the White House -- I don't know that it's just me. I don't think they've tried to work with anybody in that process and I think that's probably why they haven't been so successful.

ZANONA: On Ukraine aid, I know you've said no more blank checks to Ukraine. Does that mean no more aid, whatsoever?

MCCARTHY: I'm very supportive on Ukraine. It means no blank checks for anything. It means no blank checks for any other policy. By the way, I think there has to be accountability brought forth. We have a $31 trillion debt. I think the American people deserve that.

In 2015, I had gone to Ukraine after Russia had invaded it. And I then went to the White House with a bipartisan group and I met with then Vice President Joe Biden trying to get them to sell the Javelins, a defensive weapon to protect the Ukrainian people. And, unfortunately, President Joe Biden at the time said Germany wouldn't want that. And I asked them, well, let's keep them in Poland so they can defend themselves.

I just think the actions have been too slow, too late. I would have rather taken actions where Russia would never have invaded. And I think we should look forward-looking to other challenges throughout the world, too.


We should supply the weapons to Taiwan early so China would not invade, make the world a safer and more secure place. And that's why I think you always need not a blank check but make sure that resources are going where it's needed and make sure that Congress and the Senate have the ability to debate it openly.

ZANONA: So, you do support it if there's oversight of what those dollars are?

MCCARTHY: I support oversight on any dollars that are being taken from hardworking taxpayers.

ZANONA: Last question.


ZANONA: Can you give a prediction for how many seats do you think Republicans are going to pick up on Tuesday?

MCCARTHY: At least enough to win the majority. We're going to fight for every single one possible. Look --

ZANONA: What do you see as a red wave? What will be a red wave on Tuesday night?

MCCARTHY: Well, I think anywhere over 20 is a red wave. And what's interesting is think about where we're sitting right now. Think about the quality of the candidates that have been recruited from Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut. These are just places I've been traveling recently, from Ohio, from Oregon, from Washington, Nevada, California. I see more competitive races than I've seen at any given time. I see Democrats spending money in seats that Biden won by 20 points, New York.

And why is it competitive? Cost of living, crime, the inflation, the lost learning from COVID, that's why a parent's bill of rights, I would like to see Democrats join with us. Let's empower the parents to have a say in their child's education.

ZANONA: After Democrats got a boost from abortion this summer, did you guys change your plan at all or was it sticking to the plan from the beginning?

MCCARTHY: Our plan from the beginning was always the same. Create a new path for a plan, for a new direction for America. We spent, as you know, the last year-and-a-half working on solutions, listening to the American people and then presenting them. And we presented the commitment to America and have campaigned across this country. And we want America to decide which direction they want to go. Do they want to getting down this path of inflation, of more crime, defunding of the police, of a DOJ that goes after parents, no accountability in Washington, or would they like a new plan?

And the thing I would like to point out is, it is the commitment to America. It's not the commitment to the Republican Party. It's the commitment to America, to all Americans, to make this nation stronger. And that commitment is we'll work with everyone that wants to make America better.


ZANONA: It's a commitment to America that Kevin McCarthy could very well be responsible for, along with other important issues, like funding the government, raising the debt ceiling, as voters head to the polls tomorrow. Don, Poppy, Kaitlan?

COLLINS: Yes, Melanie, big questions too. He was very confident that he'll have Trump's support to be House speaker. We'll see how that plays out if they do win the majority of the House tomorrow. Melanie, thank you so much for bringing us that interview.

LEMON: Yes, great interview there by Melanie.

So, let's bring in now CNN's Senior Political Commentator David Axelrod and CNN's Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger. Good morning to both of you.

Listen, I think it's very important to have someone like Kevin McCarthy on the air. But there are a couple of things that I want to talk to you guys about. He said tone down the rhetoric. And when he was saying -- good morning to both of you. When he said tone down the rhetoric, I was like, is he talking to Trump? Because he says the president should not call half of the country -- I'm paraphrasing here -- idiots because of a difference of opinion. I thought maybe he could have been talking about Trump.

And then he talked about Clinton and Stacey Abrams not conceding. Hillary Clinton did concede. Stacey Abrams did not. And she said, concession means to acknowledge an action is right, true or proper. As a woman of conscious and faith, I cannot concede. That's what she told her supporters in 2018. So, she didn't concede but she did not contest the election. So, there's a lesson there.

But, also, I think he's right. One thing, he says, would you encourage your supporters or leadership to accept the results of the election? He said, well, I think they will. So, he didn't answer the question. And the last thing is, Ukraine. He thinks that the people should have more oversight. I think most Americans agree with that. So, that's a lot of stuff. But what do you make of all of this?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, on the whole what did you think of the interview, Don?


AXELROD: Now, listen, Kevin McCarthy is a very, very proficient politician.


AXELROD: And what that was was an interview with a very proficient politician on the eve of an election. The truth of the matter is that he needs more than 20 seats. He needs a red wave. Because if he doesn't get it, he's not going to be running that caucus, Marjorie Taylor Greene and that crowd, is, and Trump will have a lot of say over who the next speaker of the House is.

One of the things that McCarthy did that I give him credit for is he spent a boat load of money, his PAC has spent over a quarter of a billion dollars because he knows he needs a bigger majority in order to have any kind of control over that caucus.


So, we'll see what happens tomorrow.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: There's something that really stuck out to me, which is what he didn't mention, when he talked about immigration. He didn't say build the wall. We have heard build the wall for how many years now. He did not say build the wall. And when he talked about accountability, which means investigations, he didn't talk about Hunter Biden, which a lot of his caucus is pushing for an investigation of Hunter Biden.

LEMON: Why do you think he didn't do it?

BORGER: Because I think he's sending a signal to his own caucus this is how I'm going to run it for now at the beginning, if I'm the leader. And I think he's spending so much money, as David points out, that a lot of them have to listen to him. So, I think he was trying to just kind of take it down a notch.

COLLINS: And also what he was said when he was asked about impeachment and how they're going to pursue that. And he said he wants accountability but he did not say no to impeaching obviously President Biden is someone, but also DHS Secretary Mayorkas. They want to go after other officials, that they also have made are going to be targets.

BORGER: It wasn't at the top of his list. Immigration was at the top of his list.

HARLOW: David -- and the interview was done, by the way, at the border.

David, to the point that Kaitlan makes, which I think is a great one, that may be what he wants, but the question is what he gets if Republicans take the House, if he becomes speaker, he's also going to have to deal with -- if she wins, increasingly powerful and vocal Marjorie Taylor Greene as an example, right? Remember when she won and he had that phone call with her and he said, well, I'm going to have to sit down with her and tell her not to call the speaker an expletive. And then a few months later, he came out in 2021 and said that her theories and comments on school shootings, on political violence, on anti-Semitic conspiracy theories don't represent the caucus. But she is now saying he's going to have to give me a lot of power or else. What does he do?

AXELROD: Well, listen, I think it's everything that when he released his palm card for the election, he had a very formal press conference. And who was featured sitting front and center in the picture next to him, Marjorie Taylor Greene, which tells you the power that she has with the base of the party. And that's what he's concerned about.

But the thing about being speaker when you don't have the White House is -- I think he sees this job as kind of setting up the next election and he's going to be wanting to set up confrontations. It was interesting when he was asked, do you see opportunities for bipartisanship, he s said, absolutely. I welcome people to join us in eliminating the new 87,000 new IRS agents and I welcome people making America energy independence.

And, basically, what he was saying is, yes, Democrats -- I want to work with Democrats who will embrace our agenda. So, it was kind of -- he was kind of giving Democrats a red wave except he wasn't using all his fingers.

BORGER: These people in the Freedom Caucus are going to be a big headache for him. And Marjorie Taylor Greene is not his best friend. And she does wield a lot of power. And so she's going to have some say on what committees she's going to sit on. She isn't on any now. He said he's going to put her on committees. He's walking this fine line. Not only has he walked a line with Donald Trump but he has to walk the line within his own caucus if he wants to get elected, first of all.

HARLOW: Let's talk about Biden's closing --

COLLINS: Yes, let's about Democrats.

HARLOW: Let's talk about Democrats. You worked in the White House for a long time --

AXELROD: It was only two years but seemed like a long time.

HARLOW: You know the president. We've felt long, I'm sure.


HARLOW: And you know the president who was vice president then really well. And I just wonder if you think that Democrats and the Biden administration sort of bungled it, to say the least, on the economy, especially in the last few weeks. Did they make this harder for Democrats --

AXELROD: You come out as a messaging man.

LEMON: Did you hear Hillary Rosen on the air?

ALEXROD: Yes, I agree with Hillary.

LEMON: She said that we -- she said, we, meaning Democrats, not me.

HARLOW: Tell us what you think.

AXELROD: I mean, Democrats are sort of engaging in pre-mortems and probably post-mortems are more appropriate because we don't know what's going to happen. But there's no doubt that when you talk to people out there, the thing that they're exposed to, the thing that they're concerned about on an everyday basis is the economy and the cost of living. And that's particularly true among some elements of what is the Democratic base.

There's a piece in The Wall Street Journal this morning about their poll and the erosion of support among some black voters, some Latino voters. These are working class voters who are experiencing the economy. So, you may not want to talk about the economy, but first of all, Democrats had arguments to make on the economy. But you can't sort of choose what it is you want to talk about if the voters are very focused on something else.


So, yes, I think that more of an emphasis on the economy.

And I would have made the point that this group that, you know, Kevin McCarthy represents are not offering any solutions on the economy. They are talking about things like impeachment and investigations and so on. And how does that actually address the day-to-day problems that people are facing?

LEMON: But, Gloria, the Republican message is resonating. And the question is, is it Democrats' message resonating? Because remember talking, when -- what happened with the Dobbs decision, the Supreme Court, and I said -- everyone said, this is going to carry Democrats through. And I said I think this may have happened a bit early to resonate on November.

BORGER: It did. And people -- women voters care about the Dobbs decision but they're losing suburban women, Democrats, again, according to The Wall Street Journal, by something like 15 points. And I think that it's not that suburban women don't care about the abortion issue, it's that they care about inflation. And inflation and the economy, and when you look at polling, who do you trust to handle the economy better, it's Republicans.

So, they're running on an issue set that is a Republican issue set, it's not a Democratic one. They could have turned it around, I think, like talking about health care.

AXELROD: Listen, midterm elections are -- being the incumbent party in a midterm election, when you have 40-year high inflation, which is global, in fairness, it is global, but you're responsible, you're saying you're going to take a beating.

But let me just make one point on suburban women. I really think that the emphasis on crime, even though it has an index high on the overall, has had an impact on those voters as well in these metropolitan areas, it is a big concern. You see it New York State.

BORGER: Both issues Republicans do well on. And when you look at everyone's polling, who do you trust more to handle crime, Republicans. Who do you trust more to handle the economy? HARLOW: It's the two things, I was saying this last week, the two things that affect your family. The two thing you think about, can I afford to feed my kids, can I pay for their home and can I keep them safe.

LEMON: Lots more to discuss. And this why we have got a long runway, well, sort of, because CNN's Election Day coverage begins tomorrow at 4:00 A.M. We're going to be on the air for five hours. And so, as I said, we have got a lot more to discuss, followed by special coverage at 4:00 P.M. Eastern.

Thanks to both of you.

HARLOW: All right. Thank you both very much.

Next, the Congressional race in New York that is now being called a tossup, Republican Mike Lawler will join CNN this morning as his matchup with Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney tightens.

COLLINS: And we'll take you to a county in Texas where an entire elections office has quit on the same day, and election conspiracies are still running rampant.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then you have an official title --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is that title?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm an election judge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you believe the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump?