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CNN Larry King Live
The 2008 Presidential Election Day is Here
Aired November 03, 2008 - 11:59 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news. Election day is officially here. Right now on the West Coast, it's here. And it's just hours before record numbers are expected at the polls all across the United States.
This -- making this one of the most important decisions ever. Who's going to lead this country for the next four years?
They're already at it, by the way, in Dixville, New Hampshire. And that's Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, and we'll have the returns from that community shortly.
Plus a look at the candidates' last day on the campaign trail.
Let's begin, though, with John King who's been so on top of this. John is at our studios in New York. He's not at the map because we want to get him in a different concept.
John, is there one state, one state that you're going to look at early that you might say, yes, this is the one?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I would watch Indiana, Larry. It's one of those that closes first in the 7:00 p.m. hour here in eight -- in the East. It's been a red state as back as far as you can remember, back to the LBJ days and it is a place where Barack Obama has made a huge stand and a huge fight.
And if you look at the electoral map, if Barack Obama can take Indiana, it's only 11 votes electoral votes, but it is pretty impossible to see John McCain get to 270 if Barack Obama wins Indiana and even if Barack Obama is very close in Indiana, that would be a sign that he's winning in some conservative areas, in some white, small town rural areas where Democrats don't traditionally do well.
So if you -- if you make me pick one, I would watch Indiana right off the top.
KING: Thanks, John. Looking at Indiana early. And you can do the same as you watch results on CNN.
Dana Bash is CNN's congressional correspondent covering the McCain campaign. She's in Prescott, Arizona.
Dana, are you surprised to learn that Howard Dean is also in Arizona and he says that it's a two-point spread there?
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm not surprised. If you would have asked me that question maybe three weeks ago, I would have said yes. But not recently, I mean, the McCain campaign along with the Republican National Committee have actually -- have launched robo-calls in this state.
They realized maybe about a week, a week and a half ago, that it is going to be competitive right here in John McCain's home state and it is -- it's interesting. Where I am right now is where John McCain is going to end his day or maybe a better way to put it is the way you did, start -- officially start the Election Day here because it will be at midnight local time.
It was supposed to be kind of a sentimental event because this is the place where he has always ended his Senate races but it is really turning into much more of a campaign event, Larry, for the reason that you just said because it is competitive.
John McCain still has a lead here but it is a very, very small one.
BASH: And Barack Obama is launching ads here. He's running ads here so they think they can do OK here.
BASH: They hope that they can do OK here, but it's not sure thing right now, Larry.
KING: That's Dana Bash in surprising Prescott, Arizona.
We go to Denver, Colorado, Dan Simon, CNN correspondent, Colorado went for George Bush both times. What does it look like tomorrow -- or today now?
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Larry, by every objective measure, it appears that Barack Obama is poised to carry the state of Colorado. You look at the polls. He's up by six points. You look at the early voting numbers, more Democrats have cast ballots than Republicans, about 30,000 more.
That's just the basic landscape and then when you turn on your television, you see a lot of Barack Obama ads. On the other hand, the McCain campaign -- they trimmed their advertising budget by about 50 percent in the last few weeks.
That said, John McCain is going to be holding a rally tomorrow in the conservative area of Grand Junction. Barack Obama, he was in the state this past week and so still a dogfight here on the ground.
Larry, we should tell you, though, about 50 percent of Colorado voters have already cast their ballots so right now both sides trying to target those who have not cast their ballots. They have people in the field, they have a list that they get from the county clerk's offices that tell them, you know, who's already voted. So right now they're concentrating on those people who have yet to cast their ballots early and before we let you go because 50 percent of the people have already voted hopefully that will translate into shorter lines at the polls. We're going to be watching things from a Denver suburb tomorrow at a polling station.
Back to you, Larry.
KING: Thanks, Dan Simon, in Denver.
Now we go to Richmond, Virginia, Dan Lothian is CNN's Boston bureau chief but he has traveled south to Richmond. What is the story in that pivotal once considered almost automatic Republican state?
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN BOSTON BUREAU CHIEF: That's right. Considered automatically Republican. But this time, Barack Obama leading here in the polls by five points.
Larry, remember a couple of weeks ago he was leading by 10 points but that's been shaved in half. Still 5 percent undecided now.
Elections officials are encouraged by the large number of absentee voters that they're saying about 10 percent of the more than 5 million registered voters here in the state of Virginia have cast absentee ballots.
You break that down. It's about 500,000 absentee ballots processed so far. Compare that to 2004, only 200,000 absentee ballots. Now what they're saying is that with these high numbers this should relieve some of the pressure that might be at the precincts later today as they're expecting 90 percent voter turnout.
Both of the campaigns have been working very hard on the ground here in the final sprint and what has been a long marathon. The McCain campaign saying they have about 20,000 volunteers all the state making tens of thousands of phone calls. The Obama campaign, as well, saying that they have about 15,000 volunteers making about tens of thousands of phone calls, as well.
And one other thing, Larry, we know how weather always plays into Election Day. Well, we're expecting to get a little bit of rain here later today so that's a bit of a concern, but one elections official telling me that people here so energized by this campaign she thinks they'll turn out to the polls rain or shine -- Larry?
KING: Thanks, Dan Lothian in Richmond.
Back to John King. Knowing your history of elections, is there a way to judge how absentee ballots come out?
J. KING: The Republicans, Larry, in the past have always had an edge in pure absentee ballots. That is people voting from home who, for some reason, can't make it to the polls or out of state on Election Day, and will do it the old fashioned way, either go and get -- go and pick up an absentee ballot or fill out the application. Republicans, over the years traditionally, they've had an edge in those absentee ballots. But the game is very different this year because of this early voting or what many states call in-person absentee voting. That's what you could do where Dan Lothian was in the state of Virginia.
They don't call it early voting, but you can show up and vote essentially early but if -- by filling out an absentee ballot. The Democrats, this year, if you look at the early voting numbers, those who have turned out in almost every state with early voting, have been by a significant margin Democrat.
Now that's not a guarantee all those Democrats...
J. KING: ... voted for Barack Obama but the early advantage would seem to go significantly to the Democrats, which is a scary moment for the Republicans given that this is a different campaign.
Barack Obama has on the ground an organization at least as equal if not better than the Republicans, Larry.
KING: On the phone with us from Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, first place in the United States to vote, is David Mattingly.
David, what can you tell us?
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Larry, Dixville Notch is very proud of that designation of being first in the nation with the vote. In every presidential election, they're behind closed doors right now.
The polls opened at midnight tonight. All 19 registered voters plus a couple more people who registered late were there voting. They all had their own individual voting areas where they cast their ballots.
And now, we're waiting for them to count those ballots and bring them out here. To traditionally Dixville Notch usually goes Republican. The only time they haven't gone Republican was for Humphrey back in 1968.
But since then, straight Republican run here in Dixville Notch. We're not expecting to see the change tonight. Most of the voter -- most of the 19 registered voters here were undeclared but, again, this is an area that typically goes Republican.
John McCain won this area in the primary. Barack Obama won the Democratic primary in this area. But we're still waiting to see haven't count those...
MATTINGLY: ... 19, 22 votes, however, many there might be and come out here with the results to proudly proclaim again, first in the nation for this election.
KING: Thanks to our panel. We'll get back with David when the results are in.
You can go to our blog, CNN.com/LarryKing. Have your say about the election. We'll get your comments later in the show.
Next, an old friend, ESPN's Chris Berman who interviewed both candidates during half-time of the Steelers-Redskins game tonight.
Don't go away.
KING: In a moment Chris Berman from Bristol, Connecticut. But first, back to the phone. Dixville Notch, New Hampshire. We thank WMUR, our affiliate there for giving us a picture of what took place inside the polling room.
But how did they vote, David?
MATTINGLY: A big surprise in Dixville Notch tonight. The town that hasn't gone Republican since -- that hasn't gone Democrat since 1968 did so tonight. Here's the rundown.
Barack Obama 15 votes, John McCain six votes, Ralph Nader, zero votes.
So that is how Dixville Notch...
MATTINGLY: ... is going to register the first vote, the first precinct reporting in this election. Again, the first time they have gone Democratic since 1968, Larry.
KING: Great reporting, David.
So there you have it. Obama 15, McCain 6. Obama wins Dixville Notch, New Hampshire.
Now we go to Bristol, Connecticut, Chris Berman, ESPN, NFL studio host, he's been there since there's been an ESPN and he was fortunate enough and talented enough to have both McCain and Obama on at half- time of their Monday Night Football game, taped interviews a little earlier before the game.
Let's watch a little of it and then we'll talk with Chris.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't get too high when things are going well or too low when things are going tough. And I think that -- that's helped me and the organization stay steady. You know, we just try to run our game plan, and, you know, don't get distracted too much and I think that it served us well and hopefully, if I should have the honor of serving as president, that will serve us well at a time when things are pretty tough.
CHRIS BERMAN, ESPN ANCHOR, INTERVIEWED OBAMA, MCCAIN MONDAY NIGHT: When Americans go to the polls tomorrow, Senator, and they read your name, Senator John McCain.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes.
BERMAN: What's -- what's the one personal quality you want them to think about?
MCCAIN: I'm -- I want them to think he could go all the way to the White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Now, Chris, that -- that had to flip you.
BERMAN: That blew me away. I mean I had no idea it was coming. I was just thrilled that he even watched it all, especially they've been a little bit busy, Larry. And it was a heck of an attaboy (ph) from a really good person.
KING: Do you think both were kind of relieved to talk sports for a while?
BERMAN: It was -- it was a brief time-out, yes. They both are legitimate sports fans. You probably know that as well as I do. They both conveniently had first place teams, football teams, the Bears and the Arizona Cardinals, which is saying something in first place so they were -- football they had a smile on their face.
And I -- you know, although they are big fans, there's also some issues there, too. But they were -- look. They were in, what? Four or five or six different places. McCain's probably not even done yet. So this was just a brief time-out and they seemed to enjoy it. I know we did.
KING: How about the both points they made? Interesting, Obama wanted a national collegiate -- two national collegiate champion with a playoff and McCain, well, hoping for a way to test drugs reliably.
BERMAN: Well, in this race, you know, Barack Obama certainly the more of a collegiate guy, so that he went right to that, too. He -- let's have a playoff in college football. And you know he can get that done if elected, I guess. So he's kind of the more of the collegiate type guy.
And Senator McCain has talked about this before, as you know, Larry. And -- but what bothers him is it filters all the down to high school and beyond. And that -- I know that bothers him deeply. So it's not the first time I heard him say that about steroids.
KING: How did they -- how did they impress you?
BERMAN: Senator Obama -- now, we didn't know at the time we interviewed him, Larry. He announced that in his next stop in Charlotte or his campaign did that his grandma had passed away. So now I look back at it, I mean, a very sad day for him, although, obviously, an important day before -- the day that can't even -- it's hard to even describe for him.
He impressed me as being confident, Obama did. As being certainly upbeat as all polls would say he has reason to be and someone that seemed very self assured in where he was, but also very at ease with people.
Now Senator McCain was relaxed. It was interesting he chose to do it in Indianapolis. Obama was in Jacksonville. You may have seen the football stadium in the back.
BERMAN: Senator McCain was in Indianapolis and chose to have people around although they were well behaved and quiet, and he was very introspective and very assured, as well, but almost like in a reflective mode and not knowing what was going to happen tomorrow, Larry, but someone who -- who was, OK, I have done all I can.
I have a few more stops to do but I'm satisfied with what I have done and how I've done it. They both impressed me that way although they sounded differently.
KING: Noble work, Chris. Keep on keeping on, man.
BERMAN: Thank you, Larry. It was -- what am I doing here and what am I doing with the candidates? It was a big day for us. I was happy to be in the middle of it.
BERMAN: Thanks for having me on.
KING: You deserved it. Chris Berman of NFL.
We'll be back in 60 seconds with governors Tim Pawlenty and Bill Richardson. Don't go away.
KING: Two prominent American governors join us now. In Santa Fe, New Mexico is Governor Bill Richardson. He's the Democrat of New Mexico. In Minneapolis is Governor Tim Pawlenty, the Republican of Minnesota.
First and foremost, Bill, is -- your candidate going to win your state tomorrow?
GOV. BILL RICHARDSON (D), NEW MEXICO: I believe he's going to win my state narrowly. We have had -- we're expecting almost a record 80 percent turnout. But 60 percent through early voting have already voted. And that favors Democrats, I believe.
We've got a large Hispanic, native American population. The Obama campaign has done a great job in organizing and canvassing and getting the voters out and so I predict a narrow victory but this is a race that is going to stay very tight.
We're not predicting a victory nationally.
KING: All right.
RICHARDSON: Yet. But I do feel confident. And I do think that New Mexico's going to be a battleground bellwether state which will go from Republican to Democrat narrowly for Senator Obama.
KING: Governor Pawlenty, what's the view of Minneapolis?
GOV. TIM PAWLENTY (R), MINNESOTA: Well, Larry, Minnesota, of course, is a state that leans Democrat in most years, although there's a lot of independents and ticket splitters here and swing voters that are quite independent minded.
But, you know, most of the polls are leaning Obama, although there was a poll out yesterday, a survey USA poll that showed that only 49 for Obama, 46 for McCain. If that poll were accurate, that would be within the margin of error and show a significant tightening. But I think it's fair to say Obama does have an advantage here.
KING: What do you make of this race, Governor Richardson? Is it the most extraordinary one in your career, viewing and participating?
RICHARDSON: Well, certainly. Having participated in it, it's an honor. The fact that we had viable Hispanic woman candidate, African- American candidate, a woman on the Republican side as vice president, a war hero in Senator McCain. Somebody like Senator Obama who has been agent of change.
But you know, Larry, it really -- the best part is going to be the huge turnout that I think will happen tomorrow nationally. Maybe as high as 75 percent. When in the past we've only gotten about 48 percent.
The new voters coming in to vote. The independent voters and I think the ushering of hopefully Senator Obama is the candidate of change and bringing the country together. But one final thought, I'm very glad it's going to be over tomorrow.
KING: Governor Pawlenty, do you ever say to yourself, he should have picked me? I mean you were certainly high up on the list as a vice presidential possibility.
PAWLENTY: Well, Larry, I'm not the kind of person who is ungrateful for what he doesn't have. I'm grateful for what I do have. But I got a wonderful opportunity to serve my great state as governor. I also think Senator McCain's pick of Governor Palin was a positive pick.
It brought energy to the Republican base. It -- he, I think, when he picked her realized he would have an uphill battle so he wanted to do something that was perhaps a little different or bit of a gamble, and I think it paid dividends in the sense that it energized the base and Senator McCain believes it -- has brought appeal more to the ticket more broadly than just that.
KING: Who's going to win in your state, Al Franken or Norm Coleman?
PAWLENTY: Well, the polls have been back and forth on that but I think most recently the polls are favoring Norm Coleman. I'll also tell you that just from watching the state and knowing the state, I do believe, you know, the feel of it is that Norm Coleman is going to win. Not by a lot but he is going to win.
KING: And how about in New Mexico, Republican Steven Pearce and Democrat Tom Udall, Bill?
RICHARDSON: Well, I believe that what's happening in New Mexico is extraordinary. We may have an all Democratic delegation as in the past being primarily Republican. My prediction is Tom Udall will win the Senate seat and we have three House seats that could all go Democratic when in the past we only had one of those so we could have a clean sweep energized by Senator Obama's tremendous ground game and organization so New Mexico may go blue all the way.
And I see this as a national wave in many other states.
KING: Governor Pawlenty, if McCain wins, would you serve in an McCain administration?
PAWLENTY: You know, I have said I'm very happy to be governor of the state of Minnesota. I've committed to that through the end of my term. I'm just helping him out as a volunteer, a national co-chair.
I feel very strongly about him. I think he's an epic leader, obviously, somebody who is -- whose whole life story is one that is one of courage and duty and patriotism and service but I've got a day job that I like very much, Larry.
KING: Governor Richardson, would you come back to national public service if Obama wins and asks you to?
RICHARDSON: Well, I'm very happy where I am. I love being governor. But you know, again, we'll see what happens after tomorrow. Our first objective is to win the election. But I've already had the honor of being in the cabinet before so like Governor Pawlenty, I love my job.
Actually, governors are the best jobs in the world because you can actually do something, help kids, create jobs, preserve the environment.
KING: Yes, you can.
RICHARDSON: But who knows what will happen?
KING: Thank you both very much, Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico and Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota. And in case you missed it, in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, upset. Obama 15, McCain 6. 21 voted when 15 last time a Democrat won there was Hubert Humphrey in 1968.
Joe the Plumber is here right after the break.
KING: He is in Toledo, Ohio. The very now famous Joe Wurzelbacher known to the world as Joe the Plumber.
What difference do you think you've made this year?
JOE WURZELBACHER, "JOE THE PLUMBER": What difference have I made? Maybe have brought a little bit more awareness to the political process, I hope, as far as maybe getting more people interested and getting involved be they're Democrats or Republicans. You know, that would be my main goal if I actually had sought out to the do something.
KING: You -- it all began with your meeting Obama, right? Did you like him personally?
WURZELBACHER: Well, you know, I didn't get really a chance to talk to him about fishing or hunting or nothing. But I mean he was respectful. You know, I've said that many a-times. You know he answered my question. Didn't blow me off so, yes, no. He was decent when I spoke with him.
KING: You say, though, or you've been quoted as saying that you're scared of him. Scared of what, Joe?
WURZELBACHER: Scared of his ideology, Larry.
WURZELBACHER: The whole idea behind the punishing somebody for working harder. I know everyone talks about the progressive tax system and everything else that's been going on this country for a while, but I still -- you know, it's against my principles, as I don't want somebody else's money.
You know he wants to talk about how it'll help me in my tax bracket but the problem is, is, you know, they've worked for that money. And you know, I'm taxed already. They're taxed already. Why do they need to be taxed more to give me -- I just -- I don't buy into that. That's just not what I'm about.
KING: How have you been able to take the time to do all this, to go on the campaign trail?
WURZELBACHER: Support from my family and friends, and then just the outpour from the American society. You know, people on the streets of New York. People here on the streets. From all over the country. I mean, I have thousands and thousands of letters. The postman has become my new best friend. So it's just -- asking me to continue to do what I say because no one else has a voice. I mean, many a times, you know, T. Boone Williams, you know, he's a millionaire, he can buy the air time to get his message out.
Middle class American worker can't -- you know, can't get air time. No one wants to hear what he's got to say.
KING: What do you do, Joe, when it's over?
WURZELBACHER: What do I do when it's over. That's something I've been trying to decide. One thing I am doing, is I created a charity/watchdog group because whoever gets into the office here November 4th, you know, they're going to have to be held accountable for whatever actions be it John McCain or Obama -- Obama, excuse me.
You know, people are going to want to make sure they're going to follow through with what they've said they're going to do. So that's -- I'm going to give that a shot and then that started up is going to be -- I'm about it starts in the home.
You know, home, neighbors, community -- it doesn't really start at the federal level. It usually gets screwed up so that's what I'm going to work on right now and see if I can make a go with that.
KING: You've made an extraordinary impact. Thanks for joining us, Joe. And we hope that after all this is over you can sit down here for a long period of time. We can really get into a lot of things.
WURZELBACHER: Yes, that'd be a lot of fun, Larry. I look forward to that.
KING: Me, too.
Joe Wurzelbacher, known to the world as Joe the Plumber, and of course, backing John McCain, coming to us from Toledo, Ohio.
We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You have to wait in line. You have to vote. You have to take your friends, take your neighbors. We can't stop. Not now. Not when there's so much at stake. We are going to change America, Virginia, starting tomorrow.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You have to volunteer. You have to knock on doors. You have to get your neighbors to the polls. I need your vote. We need to bring real change to Washington. And we have to fight for it.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP) KING: Joining us now in Phoenix, Arizona, is Tucker Bounds. He is the McCain campaign spokesman and has been a frequent guest on this show. In Chicago is Bill Burton, a campaign spokesman for Barack Obama. Bill, the impact of Obama's grandmother's death, did that affect anything? The funeral and the like, or when he goes to Hawaii, do you know what's happening?
BILL BURTON, SPOKESMAN, OBAMA CAMPAIGN: Well you know it's obviously tough and of course Senator Obama is glad that he was able to take some time last week and go see his grandmother. She was someone who was very important in his life. She was a real fighter. She worked on a bomber assembly line during World War II and then went on to work at a bank and worked herself up to a vice president at a local bank. Something that not a lot of women were doing at that time and she was a real role model.
KING: But do you know his plans?
BURTON: She saved, she fought and she did what she could for Obama. No, we're taking it one day at a time at this point, Larry.
KING: OK. Tucker, Senator McCain, we know he's a fighter but he couldn't have expected to be running around to seven states in like two days.
TUCKER BOUNDS, SPOKESMAN, MCCAIN CAMPAIGN: Well, it's hectic schedule Larry, but the truth is this has been the longest campaign in presidential election history and John McCain's going to fight until the very last day. We're going to have two more events tomorrow in fact because John McCain knows, he can sense the enthusiasm that's building around his candidacy. We're hearing it on the phones. We're seeing it on the ground.
People know that we need change in Washington but they also know that we want to elect somebody that can deliver change. Somebody that has a record of working across the aisle, somebody that's taken on the challenges. If you consider how serious things are, the way the American people are seeing things right now, there's a grave seriousness to the issues that we face and we need someone that's proven, someone that's ready and that's why we think that John McCain is going to be successful tomorrow. We're certainly seeing data that supports it.
KING: Bill, do you feel McCain coming on?
BURTON: I'll tell you what we feel out there, which is such strong enthusiasm. We just got 90,000 folks in Manassas. What I worry about right now, is that our supporters saw the results that are already in from New Hampshire and they're going to get complacent. I want to make a plea right now, just because we took Dixville Notch for the first time since 1968, we are only up by a couple of votes. You have to get out there and vote tomorrow.
KING: If this goes wrong, Tucker, will it be that terrible day when the economy kind of fell apart? BOUNDS: Well, I don't anticipate that. Frankly, I don't anticipate that we're going to lose. I think that if either candidate wins, I mean if Bill and I are going to be honest, if either candidate wins, we need to come together as a country, we need to recognize that we need to move forward together united to take on the challenges that we face because they're just too serious to be left to political partisan differences.
It's a serious time in American history, whether you're talking about the economy, whether you're talking about the international community and the challenges that we face abroad, it is time to come together and get things done. I think that's been John McCain's message and quite frankly I think it's been Barack Obama's message, too.
I think whatever happens tomorrow night, both these candidates are going to come together, we're going to start taking these things on head on. I think that if John McCain is elected, of course, I think we'll be taking them on more effectively and we'll have a proven candidate that's ready but I'm confident in what we're going to see tomorrow night.
KING: Bill, do you think we're going to have a long day? Long night.
BURTON: Well, you know, it's tough to say. We think that folks are going to vote in record numbers and there are states that are battleground states that weren't in 2004 and haven't been for a long time, like Indiana, North Carolina, Virginia, North Dakota, Montana and I think that, you know, they're going to see spikes in voter participation.
It can take a lot longer to count votes than it has in the past but either way I think that we feel very strongly positioned going into the final days of this contest. We're on offense in states that Bush won and I think that John McCain is in a very defensive posture having to defend places like Florida and Virginia and all of these states that Bush won.
But you know, ultimately, this is a country that's looking for change and I think that's why we've been able to do so well all over the country and why we're able to close in a place like Manassas, Virginia. With 90,000 Americans, so excited about the change that Senator Obama's talking about out there on the campaign trail.
KING: Tucker, are you predicting a victory?
BOUNDS: Absolutely. I am. I think that we're on offense in Pennsylvania. We are on offense in New Hampshire and, you know, Bill and a lot of the pundits like to say the same things, that we're on defense in red states but those are red states because the president of the United States is a Republican and if they weren't red states then, of course, it would be a Democrat in the White House.
The pathway to the White House is already proven by one candidate and the thing that we all need to recognize is that no matter what happens tomorrow night, George W. Bush is not going to be in the White House. We are going to get a new chapter in leadership. We're going to get a different type of leadership right there in the oval office and I think that John McCain represents something entirely different.
Somebody that's proven that he can buck his own party, buck his own president. Work across the aisle and do the right thing, put the country first. I frankly think it's been quite a while since we've seen leadership like that and I think that's why we're confident that people are going to go into the booth, and they're going to make their own decision for someone that's ready. Not someone that's risky, someone that's ready.
KING: Thanks, Tucker Bounds and Bill Burton. McCain and Obama spokes people. Thanks very much for being with us from Phoenix and Chicago. We have some knowledgeable and feisty people standing by with analysis and some argument as Election Day is officially here.
We'll be right back.
KING: We're back. In case you missed it, democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama emerged victorious in the first election returns of the 2008 presidential race. He received 15 of 21 votes cast in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire. First time by the way since 1968 that the village leaned democratic in an election.
Let's meet our new panel. In New York, Paul Begala, the democratic strategist and CNN political contributor. In New York, as well, Bay Buchanan, CNN contributor and president of the American Cause. In Pittsburgh, old friend Bev Smith, WALK talk radio host, straight up commentator for American Urban Radio Networks. And here in Los Angeles, Larry Elder, radio host at KABC radio, a supporter of John McCain.
Paul Begala, is it over?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well it's over in Dixville Notch. I don't want to say it's over anywhere else. It's a tough, tough prospects for John McCain. Obviously, I'm an Obama supporter. But my heart goes out. Senator McCain is a good person. He has not run a good campaign, frankly. His career in public life is very honorable. His campaign has not been very honorable. Frankly, voters are probably going to punish him for that tomorrow.
KING: Bay, how do you see it?
BAY BUCHANAN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: There's no question it's a real challenge for John McCain at this stage. Most all of the battleground states are republican states, they're red states. But you know it's not over until the fat lady sings and that fat lady is not singing yet, she's warming up those chords. So I think the key is everybody get out there to vote and we have to hope for is the undecided coming in large numbers for John McCain and close some of those states in our favor. KING: Bev Smith, how do you look at it? You are in Pittsburgh, how does Pennsylvania look?
BEV SMITH, TALK RADIO HOST, WALK: Pennsylvania looks good for Barack Obama. I think we're going to be in for a surprise. But I would have to agree with both of the people who spoke earlier, that it ain't over until it's over. And as Barack has advised us to do, the senator has told us all along, he and his wife, to get out and vote and that's the most important thing that we're telling people. Get out and vote. Take your bedroom slippers, take some water, talk to your neighbors. Get out and stand in line and vote like your life depended on it.
LARRY ELDER, TALK RADIO HOST, KABC: It is going to be daunting for John McCain to win. Clearly, he has to take all of these swing states and looks like he might be behind in many if not most of them. But I disagree with Paul Begala.
He did not run a bad campaign, in fact he was winning this thing about six weeks ago until the sub prime melt down. You look at the unpopular president, you look at the unpopular war and this whole economy, it is amazing that John McCain is as competitive as he is. So I don't believe that he ran a bad campaign. In fact, he should not have taken so much stuff off the table including but not limited to Reverend Wright.
BEGALA: You know, we can go back over this later. I frankly as a democrat, I hope that republicans listen to Larry and they don't learn anything from this. I hope they look back and they say, well John McCain did just a great job, it was just a bad year. Because then that will open up the center as John McCain has for Democratic dominance.
Barack Obama is winning because the democrats are seen as more centrist; more mainstream, more unified and most importantly, more able to bring change. These were all attributes many years ago that people saw in the republican party. Now it is switched and it is in the democratic party's favor.
So, look, my party has gotten beat a lot in presidential politics and we've learned from it, that's how we got Bill Clinton and I think that's how we got Barack Obama. And I think when you lose, the view from the canvas Larry can be highly educational. The question is, will you all learn anything from that view.
KING: Bay, does he have a point?
BUCHANAN: No. The key here is you have to learn from our mistakes. That's true. We're all going to take a look and see what the mistakes are. But what is really key here is what Larry Elder said. We were ahead, five, six weeks ago, up two or three and we lost 10 points because the economy collapsed. Now, that's an environment that Ronald Reagan would have had a hard time winning in. So the key here is, what do we learn and if I were the democrats I would learn one thing. They got a great environment in which to run.
This was clearly should have been their year and they should win this thing tomorrow. We're still in it, we hope they don't. But if they think that the American people are voting for Barack Obama, they're wrong. They are voting against republicans.
KING: Bev, do you agree?
SMITH: Of course not, Larry. You know me well enough to know that I don't agree with them.
KING: You might agree.
SMITH: Not hardly. I put my garbage out. This sounds like garbage to me. Especially when Larry brings up the minister because if we bring up the minister, you want to throw garbage, we'll bring up Sarah Palin's husband who wanted to succeed from the United States. But America doesn't want to do that anymore. I wish Bay and Larry would listen to the American people.
We are tired. Tired of not working, tired of polarization. Tired of greedy, rich people taking our taxpayers' dollars and going to the spa. We are tired. And what you're hearing which is what they probably don't hear because they talk to each other all the time, what you're hearing is people saying we're tired. We want a new America and you're going to see tomorrow --
KING: Hold on Bev. I have to get a break. We'll be back in 60 seconds with Cindy McCain and her appearance on "Saturday Night Live" and then more of our panel. Don't go away.
KING: Cindy McCain was on "Saturday Night Live" this weekend and then she was on our show to talk about it. Look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
J. MCCAIN: Are you someone who likes fine jewelry and also respects a politician who can reach across the aisle? If so, you can't go wrong with McCain fine gold. It commemorates the McCain/Fine Gold Act and also looks great with evening wear. Thank you, Cindy.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Did you like selling jewelry on "Saturday Night Live?" That was funny.
CINDY MCCAIN, WIFE OF JOHN MCCAIN: That was a lot of fun. I had a lot of fun doing that. I was surprised that they were -- I didn't know I was going to be doing that until I actually got there. So, I enjoyed it. That's such a fun show to do and it's always fun to poke fun at yourself. And remember to keep a good sense of humor because after all you can't take yourself too seriously in anything that you do.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Your blogs next when LARRY KING LIVE returns.
KING: We'll be right back with our panel, but we got lots of blog activity tonight. You can join in at CNN.com/larryking. The question we posed earlier, do you think there will be problems with the vote tomorrow? We're joined by our own David Theall who will go over some of the things you have been writing. David?
DAVID THEALL, LARRY KING LIVE PRODUCER: Larry, nearly two years in the making Election Day is upon us. But will it go off without a hitch? That's what we're talking about tonight on the blog. Tim in California chimed in he says that, yes, he believes there will be problems with the vote tomorrow. How does he know?
Well, he says he is an IT professional and he said that we can subject ourselves to voter fraud because the U.S. doesn't have what he calls a standardized electronic voting platform. Joe says that he's very leery about the vote tomorrow because we haven't fixed the problems of 2000 and 2004. We have, nobody has told him about it. And he says that you shouldn't be surprised if history repeats itself tomorrow.
Denise had a comment tonight on the blog that really caught our attention. Says Denise in her opinion, there are third world countries that have a better system of tallying the votes than particular states in our nation. Finally, Larry, Abraham says he also believes that there will be some problems with the votes tomorrow because he thinks there has been problems in the last two presidential elections. And Abraham has a message for any American who might complain about standing in line to vote. Says Abraham, get over it.
We Americans will stand in line for two or three hours at an amusement park to ride the latest ride and he says we'll even camp outside of a store to get a PlayStation 3 when it's released, thus he believes that we ought to be able to stand in line for a little while to vote for the president of our country. The conversation continues. It's on CNN.com/larryking. When you go to the page, look for the live blog link, click it, come on in.
KING: Thanks, David. David Theall and covering our scene of blogs. Larry, does it concern you a little this voting apparatus appears sometimes not to work?
ELDER: Yeah it does, but I don't think it's going to be a significant problem tomorrow. It does -- it is bizarre that you have all these different counties with all these different methods of counting which is exactly why George W. Bush won the Florida race in the supreme court. It's just ridiculous to have one county counting things one way another county counting things another way.
KING: What do you make of early voting, Paul?
BEGALA: Astonishing, it really is. The level of turnout for early voting is remarkable. It was very well for the democrats. The turnouts have been so high --
BEGALA: Well, generally early voters tend to be republican. But so many more are democrats this time than have ever cast early ballots before.
Maybe we're just canalizing the turnout that we're going to have in person that we would've otherwise had in person tomorrow, we don't really know. That's why Bev's point is right and the one that David read from the blog is right, which is, wear comfortable shoes, get in line, bring your best temperament, as well.
Because there has been a few cases of harassment of voters of really vicious harassment in Fayetteville, North Carolina of African- American voters standing in line to vote so bring your patriotism, bring your Bible if you're so inclined, bring comfortable shoes.
KING: Bay, what do you make of early voting and do you think it aids the democrats?
BUCHANAN: I think it certainly aids the democrats this time, simply because, you know, when they were voting Obama was even stronger in the polls than he is now. And especially in key states that looked like they're closing. Colorado, for instance, I hear 50 percent of the people have already voted.
That's not in our favor, I don't believe. I've always been hesitant, I understand the reason for early voting but it's not something I have supported because I think grass roots candidates often take a while to get the momentum going and sometimes especially in primaries, you have those early primaries, it gives real chance for somebody who doesn't have the support of the establishment to get something going. And if voting has already taken place, they don't have the money in the future states yet so I think it hurts that.
KING: What do you think Bev?
SMITH: Well I think one of the reasons why you see early voting is because people are concerned about what took place in Florida. But I'm also worried about the dirty tricks that are happening on the telephone.
For example, we're getting calls at our studio here in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from people who are saying people called us and told us we don't have to vote if we're a democrat on the 4th, we can vote on the 5th. We're hearing this. We're hearing people saying that if you have a traffic ticket and you ever served a day in court for a traffic ticket, you cannot vote. So we're hearing a lot of these complaints and that's what we're really worried about. ELDER: You know, Larry, maybe if people are that naive and are that clueless, maybe they shouldn't be voting. I hear this stuff all the time, somebody calls --
SMITH: Oh, well, I don't think that you can say Americans are --
ELDER: If somebody calls up and says you're wearing a red jacket you shouldn't vote. I mean come on.
BEGALA: I'm sorry. I don't think a guy who's on right wing radio --
SMITH: I don't like calling people naive, Larry King and Larry Elders, I don't like calling them naive. If you get a -- look. Sarah Palin was on the other day with two disk jockeys who pretended to be the president of France. Would you call her naive? So I would say if you have a serious-sounding voice and you sound like you have authority, that there are people who will believe you.
ELDER: Bev, if the guy on the phone told her that Election Day was the 5th, I don't think Sarah Palin would think Election Day was on the 5th.
SMITH: I don't know, she wanted to go shooting with them.
ELDER: If you don't know what day the election is, maybe you shouldn't be voting.
KING: We'll take a break and be back with more right after this.
KING: Paul Begala, in your opinion has this been a dirty campaign?
BEGALA: You know, I have to say, the McCain campaign has sunk below the standards that I expected out of John McCain.
BEGALA: It's been -- wait a second. They said that Barack Obama wanted to teach children about sex before they could even read. That was a lie. They said that he was palling around with terrorists. They called him a socialist.
They have thrown everything at him that they could possibly find. Guess what? None of it has stuck. Americans want change. They see Barack Obama as uniquely able to bring change and to heal the country and these divisions that the republicans keep trying to open up are divisions that Americans want to heal and close.
KING: Those things weren't dirty, Larry?
ELDER: No, they weren't dirty.
KING: He's a terrorist?
ELDER: And Paul Begala is mischaracterizing many of those things. Reverend Wright was taken off the table. Ayers should have been an issue from day one. The relationship that Barack Obama has with A.C.O.R.N. should have been an issue a long time ago. Father Fleiger should have been brought up. Others of those --
BEGALA: It should have been dirtier, uh, Larry? It should have been even dirtier?
ELDER: Who built slum housing should have been brought up. All those things should have been and could have been brought up and Begala still would've been crying about how dirty things are.
BUCHANAN: You know, Larry, Barack Obama went right after McCain and lied about his record on immigration. I wish it was accurate. It was not. He sent that message right out there. His commercial was completely fraudulent. This is what happens in tough campaigns. Things are said that are not truthful.
But the bottom line is, we are not victims in this country. We can listen and decide ourselves and for Bev to suggest that somehow we all have to be protected because somebody might not say something that we like is ridiculous. And for her to suggest that somehow the rich people in this country we're tired of the division that they shouldn't be allowed to go to the spa. You tell me if this isn't polarizing to take the rich peoples' money, hard-earned money and give it to people that have not earned --
SMITH: Disappointing -- she misquoted me. That's something republicans do. I didn't say rich people going to the spa. I'm talking about people we bail out with our taxpayers' dollars and they use some of the money, $23,000. Maybe that's not a lot to you but to someone out of work that's a lot.
And I will tell you something. We are tired of the game being played the way it is played. We can tell the truth in America. We are strong enough to take the truth but, you know, don't wake him and let him sleep seems to be the policy of the republicans. This campaign as Paul has said is about America and about America wanting a change. We want to come together, not stay apart.
KING: We are out of time. Thank you, guys.
SMITH: We want to come together. Not stay apart.
KING: Thanks guys. In case you missed it, reported earlier by David Mattingly, Dixville Notch in New Hampshire, they vote early, the vote is in, 21 people live there. Obama got 15 of those votes. We thank our panel. We usually close our show by telling you to check out our web site. Not a bad idea, CNN.com/larryking. But tonight, this morning, this Election Day, I want to leave you with something else. Go vote!
Election coverage continues now on CNN around the clock with T.J. Holmes and Betty Nguyen -- guys.