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Lou Dobbs Tonight

Final Hours of Campaigning; Polls Tighten; Broken Borders

Aired November 03, 2008 - 19:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, HOST: Wolf, thank you. Tonight Senators McCain and Obama presenting their closing arguments in their final push for votes just hours before Election Day. Tonight we have live coverage from the campaign trail. The best political analysis anywhere.
And tonight, many states with early voting are reporting problems at polling places. We'll tell you what those problems could mean for voters tomorrow.

And tonight, an issue the presidential candidates have avoided throughout this entire campaign, illegal immigration and border security. We'll have a special report on the issue that is vital to the very future of this nation, all of that, all the day's news and much more, from an independent perspective, straight ahead here tonight.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT; news, debate and opinion for Monday, November 3rd. Live from New York, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: We're getting closer. Good evening everybody. The longest and costliest presidential campaign in history is almost at an end, Senators Obama and McCain today racing across the country in a frenzy of last minute campaigning both candidates trying to mobilize their supporters making a final effort to win over the uncommitted voters.

Polls show only five percent of voters now are undecided or could change their minds before tomorrow. We have extensive coverage and we begin with Jessica Yellin in Chicago covering the Obama campaign.


JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On his last full day of campaigning, Barack Obama reprised a theme that's moved undecided voters in the past.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: John McCain actually came here to Veterans Memorial Arena and repeated something he said at least 16 times on this campaign. He said, and I quote, "the fundamentals of our economy are strong." Florida, you and I know that not only was John McCain fundamentally wrong, it sums up -- the fact that he's out of touch. This out of touch, on-your-own economic philosophy.

YELLIN: At the same time he urged supporters not to trust the polls. To get out and vote. OBAMA: We cannot afford to slow down or sit back or let up not one minute, not one hour, not one second, not any time in the next 36 hours, not now, not when there's so much at stake.

YELLIN: Obama is closing out his campaign with a push to expand the map, rallying in three cities that voted for Bush in 2004. Jacksonville, Florida, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Manassas, Virginia. And he's sending his top surrogates to one-time red state, Michelle to Nevada...

MICHELLE OBAMA, BARACK OBAMA'S WIFE: This year has been fun. The rallies are great but the only day that matters is tomorrow.

YELLIN: And Biden to Missouri.

SEN. JOE BIDEN (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need to get out and elect Barack Obama, president of the United States tomorrow.

YELLIN: The candidate did seem to reveal his own prediction for tomorrow.

OBAMA: We are one day away from changing the United States of America.


YELLIN: Lou, we learned late this afternoon that Barack Obama's grandmother actually died overnight. It was a woman with whom he has been very close. He said she helped raise him. We're told that he learned about her death at 8:00 this morning but went on to have two campaign events.

He just acknowledged her death in remarks he gave in Charlotte, North Carolina and did seem to wipe away some tears. He has another event tonight, though. He is continuing on the campaign trail and then he spends the night here in Chicago. He will vote here tomorrow and hold an impromptu rally in Indianapolis tomorrow. Winning Indiana would be a surprise upset for Barack Obama. Lou?

DOBBS: Jessica, thank you very much -- Jessica Yellin.

Senator McCain tonight is nearing the end of what has been a phonetic seven-state dash, McCain trying to close the widening gap in the national polls in the final hours of campaigning. Dana Bash reports now from Prescott, Arizona where McCain will hold his final rally of the day later this evening.


DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In his frantic final push, John McCain is closing not so much with an argument but an urgent plea.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need to win Virginia on November 4th and we've got to take this country in a new direction and we will win. Volunteer, knock on doors, get your neighbors to the polls. We need to win in Pennsylvania. And tomorrow, with your help, we will win. With this kind of enthusiasm and this kind of intensity we will win Florida and we will win this race.


BASH: The mantra inside camp McCain is that polls are tightening but privately McCain advisers admit winning would be nothing short of a miracle. The itinerary for McCain seven-state sprint says it all. Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Mexico, Nevada and Arizona, all but one are red states he's trying to keep Obama from winning. A game of defense, big-time.

MCCAIN: We need to bring real change to Washington and we have to fight for it.

BASH: At McCain's first stop in Florida's critical I-4 corridor, about 1,000 people showed up. Lots of empty space in a place George Bush drew 15,000 four years ago. But what some of his crowds lack in numbers they make up with enthusiasm, fired up by lines like this.

MCCAIN: Senator Obama is in the far left lane of American politics. He's the most liberal senator in the United States Senate. More liberal than a guy that used to call himself a socialist.

BASH: And as he has his whole life from prisoner of war to politician, McCain is drawing his energy from being an underdog.

MCCAIN: They may not know it, but the "Mac" is back!


MCCAIN: And we're going to win this election.


BASH: And McCain ends his marathon day here in Prescott, Arizona. He is going to speak at midnight on the courthouse steps behind me and that is a place where Barry Goldwater launched his 1964 presidential run and because of that, it is the place that John McCain has ended all of his Senate races here in Arizona. Now it was supposed to be kind of a sentimental and symbolic event here for John McCain, but it turns us it's going to be a little bit more of a campaign event because, Lou, it looks like John -- excuse me -- Barack Obama is gaining ground right here in John McCain's home state -- Lou.

DOBBS: All right, Dana, thank you very much -- Dana Bash.

Despite nearly two years of campaigning voters still have little idea of Obama's values and his background. One reason, perhaps, the liberal bias of much of the mainstream media. Most mainstream news organizations have given Obama all but a free pass over his links with highly controversial figures in his past, including his former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the founder of the Weather Underground Terrorist Group, Bill Ayers. Most journalists in fact accept without question explanations such as these from Obama. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I'll repeat again that what some of the comments that Reverend Wright have made offend me and I understand why they've offended the American people. He does not speak for me. He does not speak for the campaign. And so he may make statements in the future that don't reflect my values or concerns.

The notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old somehow reflects on me and my values doesn't make much sense.


DOBBS: That was Senator Obama referring to his ties with Bill Ayers. Obama also succeeded in tamping down the controversial remarks he made about residents of small town America, remarks he made to wealthy liberal supporters at a fundraiser in San Francisco.

In those remarks Obama said, quote, "and it's not surprising then that they get bitter. They cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

And today the Obama campaign trying to downplay a new controversy, this time involving comments the senator made to the "San Francisco Chronicle" about coal powered power stations which provide 55 percent of our electricity. Obama told "The Chronicle's" editorial board that, quote, "so if somebody wants to build a coal powered plant they can. It's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted."

The Obama campaign said his remarks have been taken out of context, as they put it. The 2000 elections for the White House, Congress and the state office, by the way will cost now an estimated $5.3 billion. The presidential race alone will cost more than $2 billion. The presidential candidates have raised and spent nearly $1.6 billion alone.

That is double the candidate's fundraising just four years ago. It is triple the money they raised in 2000. This is also the first time that the presidential candidates have raised and spent more than $1 billion in an election campaign. The biggest corporate contributor, by the way, is Goldman Sachs.

Goldman's political action committee has contributed more than $5 million to the 2008 election campaigns. Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase close behind each contributing more than $4 million. And you wondered why Wall Street won a bailout.

New evidence tonight that Congressmen are raising must of their campaign funds from outside their districts. Much of it from Washington, D.C., in fact. A new study from shows that 97 percent of all Congressmen raise more than half of their funds from donors who live outside their districts. In point of fact the survey found 21 percent of all contributions came from, where else, the District of Columbia, the base of the country's most powerful lobbyists and special-interest groups.

Time now for our poll, the question, did you know that the majority of our Congressmen in Washington raised more than half the funds needed for reelection from outside their districts? How about that. Cast your vote at We'd like to hear from you. We'll have the results here later.

Joining me now, three of the best political analysts and CNN contributors, Republican strategist Ed Rollins, who served as White House political director under President Reagan and was the chairman of Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign. Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for the "New York Daily News", Michael Goodwin, and Democratic strategist, Democratic National Committeeman, Robert Zimmerman. Good to have you all with us.

These guys, Misters Obama and McCain, Robert, are working their tails off here at the final hours. Do you think that the result is already baked in?

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Let me tell you, after having been in national in 2000 and after being in Boston in 2004, I'm not dancing in the end zone but I think I can see the end zone and that's encouraging. So I think that a lot of movement for Obama. I think -- and what's really important is...


DOBBS: ... your Heisman pose...


ZIMMERMAN: Not yet. Maybe tomorrow night. But I think what's important as we're seeing -- as we're seeing the polls tighten up, keep an eye on the ground game and that I think is Barack Obama's great strength. Hundreds of thousands of volunteers.

DOBBS: Ed, you've seen more than a few ground operations. What's your impression of the Obama ground operation?

ED ROLLINS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: This is the most extraordinary one I've ever seen. You have a story out today where 15,000 union members outside of Pennsylvania are coming to Pennsylvania to knock on doors and do efforts. There's probably as many as four million volunteers which is unprecedented. He was an organizer. His friends were organizers and I think to a certain extent...


DOBBS: His organizing friends had friends who were...

ROLLINS: And it's become an extraordinary effort. At the same time, our efforts are minimal compared to what they were in 2000 and 2004. DOBBS: And the reason for that is, Michael, just a lack of enthusiasm toward this candidate and the traditional base? Is it an antipathy to borrow Senator Obama's word towards George Bush? What is it?

MICHAEL GOODWIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah, look I think we'll be studying the 2008 race for a long time to see -- and this question will be debated. Was there any way for a Republican to win in this environment? I think you pointed out how the national media fell in love with Obama, clearly a very important part of this campaign. John McCain did not run a good campaign. The economy melted down in the middle.

DOBBS: They also have lousy ideas.

GOODWIN: Well I think when you look back he was close enough. He was clearly -- you know had a chance until Wall Street went south in the middle of September. And he never quite made the adaptation to that issue.

DOBBS: We're going to be back with our panel who will be with us throughout the broadcast. Much more on these final hours of the presidential campaign. And we'll be reporting on a last minute surprise. The latest on an aunt of Senator Obama who's living in this country illegally. A federal investigation is now underway, not into how it is that she was living here for four years, but rather how it is that the word of her presence leaked out.

And as Senators Obama and McCain race to the finish we'll tell you what's happening in the key battleground states. All of that and much more straight ahead. Stay with us.


DOBBS: The Obama campaign tonight trying to downplay the significance of revelations that the senator's aunt lives in this country illegally and has done so for four years. She's been living in a Boston public housing development for that period. Her status in the country raises new questions about the government's illegal immigration policy and the senator's pro-amnesty policy for illegal aliens. Louise Schiavone with our report.


LOUISE SCHIAVONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The quiet anonymity of Zeituni Onyango, an illegal immigrant living in Boston public housing is over. The case coming to light in the waning days of the presidential campaign of her famous nephew, Barack Obama. The government confirms the 56-year-old Kenyan has been slated for deportation for four years. Senator Obama told CBS News he knew nothing about it.

OBAMA: I haven't been able to get in touch with her but it -- you know, I'm a strong believer that you obey the law.

SCHIAVONE: Obama had written about meeting the half sister of his Kenyan father on a visit to Africa. He recounts her parting words to another relative, quote, "you take good care of Barry now, she said. Make sure he doesn't get lost again", end quote. It's unclear why Zeituni apparently had not informed her nephew about her failed appeal for asylum even while attending Obama swearing in to the U.S. Senate in 2004.

KRIS KOBACH, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: Why wouldn't she tell him, hey, I'm in fear of my life and I don't want to go back to Kenya and here's why. It seems very, very strange. It just doesn't add up.

SCHIAVONE: As for what's next...

PROF. JAN TING, TEMPLE UNIVERSITY: It sounds like a pretty open and shut case that she should be removed from the United States. Again, you know, I think a good lawyer could negotiate voluntary departure agreement.


SCHIAVONE: Meanwhile, Lou, somebody in the government with access to Zeituni Onyango's file is in trouble. The homeland security inspector general is investigating the leak of the information on the case, which is a violation of policy. Lou?

DOBBS: Well, it's a violation of policy. The investigation is underway, but you sort of have to scratch your head that that's the point of the investigation rather than how it is she alluded authorities for four years, was in public financed housing and all without consequence. Doesn't somebody want to investigate that anywhere in Washington?

SCHIAVONE: Well, according to Professor Ting at Temple University, there are hundreds of thousands of people in just such a status as Zeituni Onyango has been and that is an issue.

DOBBS: One would certainly hope it is. And it's also worth investigating as to why this took so long for this to come out. But that would require investigating of course the campaign of Senator John McCain, I suppose -- Louise, thank you very much -- Louise Schiavone.

Well Senators McCain and Obama have been avoiding the issue of illegal immigration and border security throughout this campaign. You may have noticed that. Both of these candidates support amnesty for illegal aliens. They are pandering to ethnocentric interest groups trying to gain votes and there isn't much difference at all between Senator McCain or Senator Obama on other border security issues either. Casey Wian has our report.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the issue of illegal immigration, they are like two peas in a pod. Not identical but so close it's often difficult to tell them apart. Both say they favor secure borders, a legalization program for illegal aliens, crackdowns on employers who hire illegal workers and an increase in the number of legal foreign workers.

OBAMA: What we need is a comprehensive approach. We're serious about the borders. We make sure that folks aren't breaking the law. We track down on employers who are unlawfully hiring undocumented workers. But, we also provide a pathway to citizenship. That has to be earned.

MCCAIN: And we tried twice to pass comprehensive immigration reform and we failed because the American people did not believe that we would secure the borders. So we obviously have to secure our borders but we also have to have a temporary worker program that works.

WIAN: There are differences. McCain says border security must come first and illegal aliens would have to return home before applying for citizenship. Obama wants a more direct path to citizenship, not just legalization for illegal aliens. Obama supports the dream act, which would allow children who came to America illegally the chance to go to college and become citizens and also allow illegal aliens who serve in the military to apply for citizenship.

McCain once supported it but is now opposed. However, the candidates have more in common, especially an effort to keep the controversial issue of illegal immigration in the deep basement of their campaigns.


WIAN: In fact, we did a search on the words "Obama" and "McCain" with several other words representing campaign issues including war, economy, taxes and education to find out how many news reports mentioned the candidates and those issues. Immigration didn't even crack the top 10, Lou.

DOBBS: Well, there's a surprise, especially with the compliance and the assistance cooperation, and perhaps outright support of the national liberal media in this. Not a single moderator to my knowledge brought this up during, as I can recall, during the presidential debates. Can you recall of a single instance, Casey?

WIAN: Not at all. They were very helpful for both of these candidates who wanted to keep this issue way deep in the background because they didn't want to anger the so-called base of both of their respective parties, Lou.

DOBBS: All right. Well of course the base, obviously, is not the middle class of this country or the citizens of this country who are concerned about the national interest or national sovereignty and the security of our borders and our ports. Thank you very much, Casey -- Casey Wian.

Up next, what would a one-party Congress mean for this country with the same party, of course, controlling the White House? We'll have that report. And the fate of the next president could lie with the remaining uncommitted voters. We'll take a look at the states that could make the difference next. John King is there at the magic board. The magic wall, getting ready to work his magic with these numbers. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: This just coming in from Alaska. Alaska's state government personnel board has concluded that Republican vice- presidential candidate Governor Sarah Palin did not violate ethic's law in the so-called "Troopergate" scandal. She was accused of trying to get her ex-brother-in-law fired from the state police and creating an ethic's violation thereby, at least according to the partisan contest in Alaska over this issue, all of this, by the way, contradicts an earlier investigation's findings. Again, Governor Palin has been cleared of any ethical wrongdoing in the so-called "Troopergate" case.

Well, coming with just hours to go before Election Day some might question the timing of the release of this report. The presidential candidates themselves are now fighting for votes in key states as the campaign winds down. Senator McCain campaigning to move undecided independent voters to his side. Senator Obama trying to do the same thing and strengthen his lead. John King watching all of the numbers in the battleground states and he has analysis for us of what it will take for both of these senators to be the next president. John?

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Lou, as we look at the electoral map heading into the final hours I want our viewers first to look at the map from 2004 and remember this red. Look at the swath of red. George W. Bush won convincing re-election in a huge electoral victory four years ago.

Remember this area here from Virginia, North Carolina up through the Midwest and remember this area out here, where you get into the mountain west, the southwest and up into the mountain west actually all the way up here. Now I'm going to switch to our electoral map.

Remember where all this red is and you will see the change, the potential change as we go into tomorrow. This is where we now have the race. Blue states leaning Obama, out where it was all red four years ago. Toss up states out here in the Midwest where it was all red four years ago. And Virginia leaning Barack Obama's way right now.

Our bottom line heading into final hours, Obama leading in states with 291 electoral votes, John McCain, only 157 where he is leading safely or leaning his way. It takes 270 to win, of course, so Lou, how does John McCain make it back? Well first and foremost he has to sweep the toss-up states.

The gold states are our toss-up states, all won by President Bush four years ago. John McCain would have to win them all. Florida, 27 electoral votes. North Carolina is a very tight contest heading into the final hours. McCain needs that. He also must win Ohio. Must win Indiana and 11 electoral votes there. Missouri gets it right almost always.

McCain needs that one. And he has to pick up North Dakota and Montana and keep those in the Republican column. But if you notice, even that would not be enough. John McCain would still be behind Barack Obama and more importantly, Obama would have enough to clinch the White House. So McCain is looking at a strategy that does these two things.

Number one, he is hoping he can somehow turn Pennsylvania and its 21 electoral votes, not since 1988 has that gone Republican but that is critical to the McCain strategy. And yet, even if he pulled off all that drama he would still not have enough. Barack Obama would still just barely be the next president of the United States, which is why you see McCain not only going home to Arizona to vote but on Election Day he will go to Colorado trying to get those nine electoral votes.

If he did everything I just laid out and turned Colorado that would be enough. The other alternative in the McCain strategy is also an Election Day visit to the state of Nevada out here in the southwest. All of these states won by Bush four years ago. McCain needs to sweep the toss-ups, Lou, somehow turn Pennsylvania and find his final goal or a miracle, even his own strategists would say, somewhere out here in the southwest.

DOBBS: John, thank you very much. A clear demonstration of what is certainly a difficult head wind, I guess we could put it that way, for Senator McCain to overcome Senator Obama's lead right now across the country. Thank you very much, John King.

And a reminder to join us for a special live edition of LOU DOBBS TONIGHT on "Headline News" this evening. That's LOU DOBBS TONIGHT on "Headline News" at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, 6:00 p.m. Pacific. And please be sure to join us for election night coverage on "Headline News" as well tomorrow evening beginning at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

Up next here, Democrats say they can win the presidential campaign and seize absolute control of government, both Houses of Congress and the White House. We'll tell you what an outright Democratic victory will mean for our government and for the country.

Senators McCain and Obama making an 11th hour appeal for votes. Can Senator McCain surprise the pundits and Senator Obama or is it simply too late? We'll be examining that and much more with our panel of political analysts next. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: Welcome back. The Democrats are hoping not only to win the white house tomorrow but to gain a decisive win and majority in both the House and the Senate. The party needs to gain nine senate seats to give them a filibuster proof majority. But one party rule isn't exactly likely to mean the end of inefficiency or incompetence in Washington, D.C. Lisa Sylvester has our report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the house, Democrats expect to pick up 10 to 20 seats. Senate Democrats already enjoy a 51-49 majority and it's just possible they could reach 60, a filibuster-proof majority. The Democrats are poised to pick up seats in Virginia, Colorado and New Mexico. All three states have Republican incumbents who are retiring. Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens, who was convicted this month, could be replaced. In North Carolina, Republican incumbent Elizabeth Dole is in a tight race against conservative Democrat, Kay Hagan. Other Republicans who are vulnerable. John Sununu of New Hampshire and Gordon Smith of Oregon.

JAMES THURBER, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: I think the Republicans certainly are strategically spending their money in areas where they think they'll lose some seats and they are running scared at this point.

SYLVESTER: Democrats are giddy at the prospect of pushing through legislation such as immigration and health care. But does the end to divided government mean the end of gridlock and bickering? Not necessarily according to history. In 1977, Jimmy Carter had a Democratic congress with 61 Democratic senators but he didn't always get his way.

STEPHEN HESS, BROOKINGS INSTITUTE: Within one month, they were shouting at each other. Tip O'Neill, the speaker of the house, he was saying things about the Carter's chief of staff that I can't repeat to you on the air.

SYLVESTER: And this year many Democrat who is stand to win states are from moderate, even conservative districts.


SYLVESTER: Democrats say they don't actually need to get the 60 seats in the senate. Even if they get 57 or 58, that there are enough moderate Republicans to push through their agenda. But history has shown us that when congress and the respect to from the same party politicians over-read and that can back fire. We saw that with President Clinton. He took office and pushed hard for health care and Democrats ended up losing control of congress. And the same thing with president Bush. He had Republicans in control on Capitol Hill but it wasn't long before the Democrats took over. Lou?

DOBBS: All right. Thank you very much, Lisa; Lisa Sylvester from Washington.

Back with me now, Ed Rollins, Michael Goodwin and Robert Zimmerman.

We just received word as you heard me report, that Governor Palin has been cleared of any ethic's violation by the state personnel board in Alaska. Are you at all suspicious that it took so long to clear her, Robert Zimmerman? I know it has to upset you terribly.

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I don't want to appeal to the cynicism or the audience but - DOBBS: I have no cynicism.

ZIMMERMAN: I recognize that. Bottom line is, it's irrelevant. I'm more concerned that she can't define the duties of the vice president sir. And I think the bigger issue here is --

DOBBS: Can I do this, may I -- are you suspicious of the times at all? I know you're a Democrat.

ZIMMERMAN: The timing is pathetically inept.

DOBBS: Do you agree?

ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think it's inept. I think the tragedy of this is they reported it about a month ago that a committee of the Alaska legislature had found her -- it wasn't a committee it was a report by an investigator who presented evidence and they didn't take action. I think it's a whole lot about nothing and wouldn't be an issue if she wasn't a vice-presidential candidate.

DOBBS: And the business with the coal industry and what Barack Obama had answered in an editorial meeting to the San Francisco Chronicle editors, talk about bankrupting coal companies?

ROLLINS: How you can take that out of context when you're sitting with editorial writers is beyond me. He said it will tax them dramatically and that's certainly not an effective energy policy when the coal is so important to the electricity industry.

DOBBS: I have Ed marked down as a Republican. And Robert Zimmerman as a Democrat. Michael?

MICHAEL GOODWIN, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: As far as Sarah Palin is concerned I would have fired that guy, too, if he did anything -- the supervisor, the cop who tasered her stepson and threatened her father, if all that is true, the cop deserved to be fired. On the other hand, this may be the biggest win she has in the next 48 hours so she ought to savor this one.

DOBBS: Let's turn to the issue of illegal alien aunt, apparently, about whom Senator Obama knew nothing. Your thoughts?

GOODWIN: Well the timing is suspicious that it comes out now.

DOBBS: There's a lot of suspiciousness about these last few days.

GOODWIN: We were talking earlier about eight years ago George Bush's 30-year-old DUI came out on the last weekend so this is sort of in that category. What is odd, Obama never seems to know anything about anybody. He didn't know anything about Jeremiah Wright or Bill Ayers or -- and he didn't know his aunt was here illegally although she contributed to his senate campaign and she shows up so --

DOBBS: Let's be fair. She donated what, a couple hundred bucks? He raised $600 million. I can for give him for not knowing. GOODWIN: But you might know your aunt's name if she showed up.

ZIMMERMAN: Any issue with regard to his aunt is a private family matter and should be respected as such.

DOBBS: Respected as such?

ZIMMERMAN: Right. There are more important issues, conflict in immigration laws on the state and federal level. This is a private family matter and I think it's obviously --

DOBBS: The important thing is this family matter, as you put it, Robert, has resulted in Obama saying laws should be obeyed. This, in my judgment, is progress on the issue of immigration.

ROLLINS: It's also advocating change in the immigration and I think that's more serious than anything else. I think my concern is that we're the eve of an election and we still haven't had Senator Obama explain his tax program. How much is it going to cost? Who's getting tax reductions? 95 percent of everybody that pays any tax is going to get it reduced? Those that make over $250,000 will pay a little bit more? How are we going to solve the deficit?

ZIMMERMAN: I think the American people have made a gut check and a personal valuation as to who can best lead this economy and I think we're seeing in ever I poll we've seen --

DOBBS: You're scaring me -- you are if you're suggesting that either of these men would be leading the economy. That's nerve wracking.

ZIMMERMAN: It's important to note, in the past four presidential elections, 34 states voted the exact same way and we're seeing Barack Obama break through in a whole range of new states because there's comfort in his leadership.

DOBBS: All right. We'll be back to see if that comfort is universal. We'll talk with Michael Goodwin next about that issue.

And we'll talk about voting problems, serious problems, before Election Day. Could this be a repeat of 2000? The last thing we want to think about but there it is.

And John McCain and Barack Obama campaigning until the very last minute. Will they be able to win over uncommitted voters? We'll talk with three of the best radio show talk hosts in the country next. Stay with us. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: Joining me now, three of the best radio show talk hosts in the country. In San Diego, Roger Hedgecock of KOGO radio. And by the way, Roger is simulcasting his appearance over KOGO. Great to have you with us, Roger. In New York, John Gambling WOR Radio, Good to have you here John. Errol Louis, host of his morning show on WWRL. We'll start with that affiliation. Earl is also a columnist from the New York Daily News and CNN contributor. Errol, delighted to have you with us on the radio panel.

ERROL LOUIS, WWRL: Glad to be here.

DOBBS: A change of pace.

John let me start with you. These numbers are starting to look problematic, which is a kind way to put it. For Senator McCain, what are your listeners say something.

JOHN GAMBLING, WOR IN NEW YORK: I think they agree with that assessment and I certainly do, as well. I wonder why with the perfect storm for the Democrats, the environment that Barack Obama has walked into at this political year, why at the very end here, his numbers aren't even larger than they are? They have been pretty parallel with McCain eats for the last three months.

DOBBS: Errol, your thoughts on that? That is an interesting point.

LOUIS: I think the reason and we'll know for sure 24 hours from now but the reason that I've heard from pollsters that most pollsters are only using past behavior. And tomorrow's voting behavior, especially for certain groups like first-time voters, students, black voters, will shatter all expectations so instead of saying 60 percent of registered black voters going to the polls it might be 80 or 85 or 90 percent tomorrow.

DOBBS: It's incredible. Roger, what does it look like there in southern California?

ROGER HEDGECOCK, KOGO IN SAN DIEGO: I'll tell you, Lou there are lines around the block. More than 5,000 people over the weekend voted. We're looking at record registration and probably, record turnout.

What's interesting is that Barack Obama isn't farther ahead than he is, even in California, where he's way far ahead, because in this year, with an unpopular war, a terrible economy and an unpopular president with historic low approval ratings, any Democrat should be able to walk into the white house without too much of an effort.

John McCain has put up, a, one heck of a fight. And, b., people are still suspicious of Barack Obama's change. What does it really mean? Because some of the ideas shutting down the coal industry and higher taxes and what have you, sound very suspicious to a lot of people.

DOBBS: Well, I would think that that's -- when you start talking about bankrupting companies and you're talking about jobs, irrespective of your politics, that's fair to say.

But, John Gambling, the idea that John McCain is tried to say Barack Obama's undefined. We don't know who he is. A lot of questions have come up about John McCain because here we are in the final hours of this campaign and we're learning about the coal bankruptcy. We're learning about -- from public radio, last week, the Barack Obama wealth redistribution concepts, reparations. This is sort of a staggering approach to campaigning, isn't it?

GAMBLING: Well, it is, I think John McCain has, up until the last three weeks, possibly, really been unable to kind of find his way. Find his pace. And as I've said right here on your show, that I think that he has had some very bad advice. I think he should have shut those advisers long ago and come out and be John McCain and attack the policies that you're talking about.

DOBBS: We see the Republicans running, Errol, the Jeremiah Wright ads this weekend. Mainstream -- the national liberal media there's not even a discussion about what in the world the aunt is doing in Boston living illegally and there isn't an investigation but it's not into what the heck was she doing there. The investigation is into how did people find out she was there.

LOUIS: Sure, sure. I'll tell you if they had -- if we had all this and tried to figure out why she was there and what her status was, it would have helped John McCain not at all. I mean, it would be the equivalent of what the Jeremiah Wright ads are at the last minute which is bringing a hockey stick to a football game. This is not what the voters care about. Nowhere on the list of what the 308s say people care but does Barack Obama's aunt show up or his ex pastor or any of that kind of stuff.

DOBBS: Roger Hedgecock, my good friend, Errol Louis is suggesting the hockey stick analogy. But there seems to be no hesitation on the part of the national liberal media when it came to going of Joe the plumber, Joe Wurzelbacher, I mean, he was killed in the national media and he's a private citizen expressing a legitimate thought that happened to be uncomfortable for the national liberal media.

HEDGECOCK: There are been some uncomfortable situations where people have been gone after like that and the hockey mom herself Sarah Palin can attest to that. But I'll tell you something, Errol, the fact is illegal aliens are a big issue. The idea that his aunt would be here in Kenya, not only an expired visa, not only defying a deportation order, but also living in public housing at our expense, I'm telling you people are concerned about that.

LOUIS: What does that tell you about Barack Obama that you need to know before Election Day?

HEDGECOCK: It tells me that he's not much of his brother's keeper because if he was he would be taking care of his own family first.

LOUIS: If he saw to her deportation what would that have told you?

HEDGECOCK: He finally had to come out and say what the law was.

LOUIS: Well with, then now what?

HEDGECOCK: Why isn't -- why isn't he helping his own family first? GAMBLING: I think what's happened, Barack Obama has backed himself into a corner with the law comes first. What is he going to do after tomorrow about the aunt?

DOBBS: If the margin is what I think it is at this point, based on these polls, we're going of the an interesting contest of conscious for Senator Obama and his first day in office and also for the head of the citizenship and immigration service as well.

LOUIS: They better start apartment hunting.

DOBBS: Roger Hedgecock, great to have you with us here. Thank you. Ed, always thank you. John Gambling, thank you sir.

GAMBLING: Always a pleasure.

DOBBS: Up next, much more. We'll talk about what's happening in these campaigns. Why are these two senators campaigning in the 11th hour with such I have gore and some would say, nastiness towards one another and more problems to report at the polls. We'll have our special report next. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: 31 states have early voting, and many of those states have already reported a lot of problems. That's causing concern just hours before a record number of voters are expected to go to our polls tomorrow. Bill Tucker with our report.


BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There have been reports of machine either flipping a vote, such as in West Virginia or not recording it at all. Reports on those problems have come in from Texas, Tennessee and Colorado. The problem is, those states are among the 18 that either don't use machines with paper trails or they have a mix of machines that do and don't have paper trails throughout the state. Registration issues are the number one complaint among people calling the CNN hotline. Some people says their names were not on the rolls or the verification process was slow. People were complaining they have not received their ballots. Poll access and integrity issued followed poll access issues are generally related to long lines and long waits to vote.

NOEL CARTER, OHIO VOTER: Don't understand why they don't open up more booths, because they've got all these government buildings, not utilizing them.

TUCKER: With millions expected to show up to vote on Tuesday, the problems could intensify.


TUCKER: And the hope is when the polls booths open tomorrow, the number of places will ease the crush, but already in cities like Philadelphia, or the battleground state of Pennsylvania, officials are watching and anticipates an historic turnout.

DOBBS: All right. Bill, thank you very much to keeping us up to date.

Coming up at the top of the hour, Campbell Brown, no bias, no bull.

Campbell, what are you working on?

CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: In a few minutes, John McCain live from one of his campaign stops today, a whirlwind last-minute blitz. Combined they'll have hit 16 states before they call it a night. Naturally our final shot of the electoral map.

Plus a gut-wrenching twist, as you well know in the campaign today, Barack Obama's grandmother who helped raised him and just today in the rain, North Carolina, he paid tribute to her. We'll have that as well. We're also live from the key state that could decide everything, Lou, plus from a charter member of the rogues galley, Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, who is fighting to keep his seat. See you in a few minutes.

DOBBS: I should point out, as we were talking about the problems at the polls places, that a court ruled against the NAACP. NAACP had brought a motion seeking to have the polls open later in the state of Virginia. That motion turned back today in court.

We'll be right back. I'll be talking with three of the sharpest political minds about what we can expect tomorrow. We'll be right back. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Well, we're back with our panel. Ed Rollins, I want to ask you, the tragic news of the death of the head of the Obama campaign in Nevada last night. 44 years of age, and we're -- a reminder, as if we needed it, the grueling task that campaigning in this country --

ROLLINS: When you work 16 hours a day, seven days a week, extreme pressure, you don't eat properly, probably drink too much and you run at a pace that basically leaves a lot of people very damaged. There's a big, big price people pay in this big. I'm only 35 and look at me.

DOBBS: But it does -- it's also a reminder, my god, at 72, John McCain has been incredible and -- particularly in the last few weeks.

ROLLINS: He's been on a pace that's unbelievable. I'm sure he's going to crash on Wednesday, but you can't say that he's been taking it easy.

DOBBS: One party ruling the house, I think -- I'll try it a different way -- in power, house, senate and white house, we've seen it before, and Lisa Sylvester reported it hasn't worked out well. What do you think the issues will be most affected by this nomination that it appears will be --

GOODWIN: I think you can line them up. Taxes will be one, but immigration, who really stopped the immigration reform bill last year? It was the conservatives in the house. Many of those are gone now. They'll be in a shrinking minority. That's the kind of issues -- the checks and balances that are institutional with the congress and with the executive branch require an active approach from the people in the legislature. It's not there.

ZIMMERMAN: Well, you know, Michael, I don't think you have to worry about Democrats speaking in one voice, we're more of a chorus, but many of the Democrats that are winning this year and won in 2006 come from red states and Republican districts, and in many respects they are certainly more conservative than northern Republicans, so I think you'll see institutional checks and balances. The issue is not the party these serve, but their responsibilities.

ROLLINS: They won't stand up against a new president and peer pressure. They'll try to pass health care and immigration reform, and take care of the unions and their tax plans.

ZIMMERMAN: You make a valid point. If Barack Obama is fortunate to be elected president, he has to govern from the center. That will be the challenge.

DOBBS: Nancy Pelosi summed it up well. If the Democrats control all three branches of government, all three houses of government, we will see a far more bipartisan effort as a result. Thank you very much. Thank you so much.

And Campbell Brown, No Bias, No Bull begins. Let's turn to Campbell Brown.