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Minimum Wage Increase Likely to Pass; Key Senate Races in Dead Heat

Aired November 04, 2014 - 06:30   ET



MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Glad to have you back with us here on NEW DAY.

Big day ahead, but let's give you a look at your headlines. We've learned two younger siblings of the Chicago man accused of trying to join ISIS were arrested with him last month. Prosecutors say the 16- year-old and 17-year-old were arrested with Mohammed Hamzah Khan at O'Hare airport. Now, those teens haven't been charged yet. But attorneys say they expressed a passion for committing violence, and intended to act on it. A judge ordered Khan meanwhile to be held as he awaits trial on terror charges.

Chilling video out of Philadelphia appears to capture an abduction on the street. You can see a man dragging a woman and forcing her into his vehicle. Just before that car pulls off, the woman manages to smash windows but she could not escape. Police released the footage in hopes of finding the suspect who remains at large along with his victim. They are offering, in fact, a $10,000 reward. So, take a good look at that.

And now, a former CDC security guard is speaking out, saying he was unfairly fired after the incident while he was escorting the president. Kenneth Tate tells CNN he did not take photos of the president in an elevator as reported. But after the security detail was done. Tate doesn't dispute that he was in the elevator with the CDC-issued gun, a major violation of Secret Service protocol. One of the incidents led to the resignation of Secret Service Chief Julia Pierson.

Just make me sad to have lost him. One of NPR's "Car Talk" guys has died. Tom Magliozzi who hosted that wonderful show with his brother Ray died Monday of complications of Alzheimer's, he was 77 years old. "Click and Clack, The Tappit Brothers" and their weekly show "Car Talk" has long been one of NPR's most popular programs, and really only ever occasionally about cars. The brothers stopped doing broadcasts in 2012, but their archive material remained a hit. Really a loss for NPR family and for radio viewers around the nation.

All right. Shall we talk money, my friend? Yes, it is CNN money time. We're talking minimum wage. It is up for a vote today in several states that trend Republican, where political support for the president's proposed hikes was tepid at best.

Christine Romans is here.

Yes, a lot of states looking at this issue.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: This is a major, major effort by the president of United States. He has not been able to get momentum for it in Washington. The states are doing it themselves.

And we're seeing more states, four states will be on the ballot here, you can see Alaska, take a look at South Dakota. Look at Illinois. It's in yellow, an advisory measure there and they're saying they want it to be above $10 an hour. Most of the states would raise it in a couple of steps.

Look, those red states? The polls look like it's going to pass in the red states, there's been a shift, Michaela. A shift in public perception, 71 percent of Americans say they support a higher minimum wage.

PEREIRA: We wouldn't have seen this five years ago. The discussion was sort of --

ROMANS: I have really seen a change in trend. I've even been hearing more CEOs and business leaders say they believe we should raise the minimum wage, because income inequality is a problem, it seems to be entrenched, and raising the wages for these folks to pour money in their pocket and right into the economy.

I will say there are small business owners --

PEREIRA: I was about to say, small businesses probably saying, what does this mean for me? Yes.

ROMANS: They don't like it. Next year, they have to provide coverage for Obamacare for the first time ever. They're saying this is not a good time for them.

But look at San Francisco. San Francisco really taking a lead. They want to raise it to $15 by 2018. This would be 142,000 workers who get a raise today if San Francisco voters -- that's a quarter of the workers in San Francisco. Get a raise. If San Francisco raises the minimum wage today.

Cities, on the ballot in some California cities and for four or five states today.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: A lot more states wanted it on. Couldn't get it on. Just because you see it there, that was already a battle that had to be won.

ROMANS: Yes, let me show you the states, already higher than $7.25, it's spreading, right? They can't do it in Washington; the states are taking into their own hands. The cities are, too.

Seattle has some rules, other rules say for city workers they have to be paid more in L.A. restaurant or hotel workers have to be paid more. Sector by sector, city by city, state by state. Raising the minimum wage.

PEREIRA: One of the initiatives that could get people to the polling stations because they care about it pretty strongly. Christine Romans, we appreciate it.

ROMANS: You're welcome.


Well, the polls claim that Republicans are poised to take control of the Senate. But of course, it's the vote who are will have the final say. Can Democrats hold on to their Senate majority? Both parties weigh in as the polls begin to open.

CUOMO: And we have seen the enemy and it is the campaign commercial. We've reached a new low in negative ads. You need to see them, if only to see what some candidates now think is OK.


CUOMO: Welcome back to our special coverage of Election Day.

Several key Senate races are too close to call. The ballots are out there for you. The polls are opening and it's going to come down to you, whether you got after it with an early ballot or going to maybe get out of the house a little early or after work to hit the polls.

The stakes: only control of Congress.

So, if you're on the fence about which party is right for you. We've got representatives from both of them here to tell you why they are the best or really why the other side stinks, which seems to be a much more common strategy these days. We have Republican Sean Spicer here and Democrat Mo Elleithee.

Hey. It's great to have both of you there.

Mo, let me start with you. Why are you confident that the Democrats can stave off the movement that Mitch McConnell says is in the air? Especially given the fact you haven't had a whole lot of a national campaign that's anything but running from the president?

MO ELLEITHEE, DNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Well, we've actually, I think -- we've got a lot of great senators. We've got a lot of great candidates. In both Senate and governors races around the country who are running fantastic local campaigns. And that's why see so many of these races coming down to the wire.

A couple of months ago, people thought the Republicans were going to run away with this thing in all the states. But we're finding them too close to call. So, it is going to come down to the voters at the very end.

We've got a good ground game. We've gone after the early vote pretty aggressively. And I think we'll see surprises both in the Senate, as well as in governors' races where a lot of Republican governors are poised to fall tonight, maybe even more Republican governors than Democratic senators.

CUOMO: All right. But governors won't be the story line. The story line is going to be the Senate. I saw you smiling, Sean, but I don't think it mean as regular smile.

To Mo's point, these states, a lot of them are purple states, a lot of them are states that Mitt Romney won. It wasn't wild to think that Republicans would win run away with it, given the mood of the country.

How do you see the races lining up as so close?

SEAN SPICER, RNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Well, look, Chris, if you keep this in perspective, a year ago, Charlie Cook, Stu Rothenberg, other national handicappers said we have a 15 percent to 20 percent chance of taking back the Senate.

Today, the question is, you know, are we going to take it back by enough. I think that, you know, sometimes you have to keep this election in perspective. But regardless, the idea that Colorado, Iowa were on the map was crazy a few months ago. They idea that New Hampshire is coming down to the wire was crazy. The idea that Virginia has closed as tight as it is was crazy.

I think what we're seeing around the country from one coast to another is a lot of Republican momentum, a lot of desire for change in Washington. So, whether you're talking about Iowa, Colorado or Alaska, I think we're going to have a good night. If all the people who want the change they talk about in Washington, who want to see things actually get done and if he focus on the economy, I think we're going to have a good night tonight.

CUOMO: Sean, let's look into the future a little bit here. Let's assume that turn-out is a little flagging today, which will probably motivate the change that you're looking to see. And then we get into the be careful what you wish for category. You got Ted Cruz out there who won't say he'll back Mitch McConnell as the leader.

What happens -- what gives you the sense just because you'll have the seats, you'll have control of your own party?

SPICER: Well, I think one thing that s unified in our party is actually getting a few things done -- focusing on the economy, reining in spending, getting some regulatory reform done.

So, frankly, I'll be honest with you, some of the enter-party discussions that occur, usually all take place -- they took place when Barack Obama beat Hillary Clinton. They sat down, they said hey for the good of the party. Let's all come together. Hillary Clinton became his secretary of state. We all know the story there.

Parties generally kind of have these discussions going into an election. They get together after the end, especially after what we believe will be a good night tonight. They'll find a direction and move forward. And then we'll move forward and make progress.

So, I really don't worry about that. My focus is on tonight and getting everyone out to vote.

CUOMO: Mo, what do you see?

ELLEITHEE: The last time the Republican party was unified is when it shut the government down over an ideological vendetta against this president. I think -- look, I think we're going to hold on to the Senate tonight. I think that moving forward, Democrats have a middle- class focused agenda that would invest in infrastructure, that would invest in education, that would invest in creating jobs, raising the minimum wage, equal pay for equal work for women.

These are the types of things we're focused on. Republicans seem to have been more focused on another Benghazi hearing and shutting down the government and suing the president, some even talking about impeaching the president. That's the difference.

If they take control of the Senate, they might. I don't think they will. But if they do, I think that's what is at stake. Think they've already as you mentioned, Chris, Ted Cruz has already said, Mitch McConnell said they may take us back to the kind of governmental gridlock that led to the last government shutdown do that again. So, that's what we need to focus --


CUOMO: You've got a lot of people in your own party who are running away from your own president. You're not exactly the most cohesive group either. So, it's all going to come down to the people today and who comes out to the polls. We're going to see fellows who's got the better ground game. That's what will come out to today.

Sean Spicer, Mo Elleithee, thank you very much for being with us. Good luck to both of you.

Now, we're going to start you off looking at the polls, as you're getting going there, we're going to follow it. But it's an all-day affair. We're going to have to watch every second.

And "Election Night in America" will start at 5:00 p.m. Eastern. That's when you start to get the second flush at the polls. We'll start there and CNN will stay on it until the last vote is counted.

Which may very well, Alisyn, bring them right back to us tomorrow right tomorrow right there. I'm going to change my tie. But we'll still be counting votes. There's a chance.

CAMEROTA: And we do start an hour early tomorrow at 5:00 a.m. Eastern, Chris. So, I will be looking forward to that outfit change of yours.

Ready, set, vote. The crucial mid-term elections today. After a long campaign and bucket loads of money. Much of it spent on down and dirty attack ads. Will they be worth it in the end? How have voters responded to the negativity?

Our panel breaks it down. We'll show you some of the most choice negative ads coming up.


CAMEROTA: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Candidates across the country say victory in today's midterms is all about getting out the vote and how better to do that than nasty mud- slinging insulting personal attacks on television. The web, radio and print for weeks and months before the election, billions have been spent on negative ads.

CUOMO: I mean, look, it's not something new. But it does seem to be a new low. Let's bring in our political panel to break down some of the sludge most negative ads of 2014.

It's good to have all of you here. With us, we got Ron Brownstein, Errol Louis is here, we've got Margaret here and John here. A little bit of the extended family.

Let's take a look at these examples here of what we have first. What's our first one?

CAMEROTA: OK, the Texas lieutenant governor has done an ad basically accusing his opponent of well, suggesting that perhaps ISIS might be able to cross the border and kill Americans. Let's watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While ISIS terrorists threaten to cross our border and kill Americans, my opponent falsely attacks to hide her failed record on illegal immigration.

Here's the truth.

AD NARRATOR: Leticia Van de Putte opposed putting national guard troops on the border.


CAMEROTA: John Avlon, what's the problem?

JOHN AVLON, THE DAILY BEAST: Oh my God! What's not the problem?

I mean, this is the stupid it hurts, plus fear-mongering and he follows it up my opponent falsely accused me. ISIS has never gone across the southern border. This weird Rorschach test that sort of fear the other that he's trying to attack Republicans. Totally low, totally false, totally crazy.

CUOMO: Did it help him?


RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: He's going to win anyway. Lieutenant governor is actually a very powerful position in Texas. Dan Patrick is leading the Republican party of Texas away from the moderation on immigration that characterizes George W. Bush and Rick Perry. But this ad implied it was a two-day drive from Syria to the Rio Grande. So, it was --

CUOMO: Facts aside, Margaret, if it helps, isn't a campaign going to do it?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. But here's the real insight on political ads this season. Because there's been so much money put into political ads, most candidates don't need to go negative it makes them look bad. Outside groups do it for them.

So, even though nobody is directly coordinating, if I'm a candidate and I'm running and I see money has been put down in a race by a group I know is supporting me, I don't have to go negative on anyone --

CUOMO: If people don't attach this outside group to the candidate, we have a much bigger problem than these ads. If you don't see that's how the system has changed, it's not Margaret Hoover, but it's people who hate everybody but Margaret Hoover putting out the ad.

AVLON: Totally undisclosed dark money and 80 percent of it is negative.

HOOVER: Except on the bottom, it says this ad was paid for by the Republican National Committee or by such and such PAC. And can you look that up.

BROWNSTEIN: Look, the reality is when people are as negative as they are now on what's coming out of Washington and politicians -- negative messages are more persuasive than positive messages. That's just a reality of campaign. People are more likely to believe something negative than something positive. That's part of the reason why it tilt heavily in that direction.

CAMEROTA: OK. Errol, let's talk about this ad that got a lot of play and it was Wendy Davis' ad she put out against her opponent, who is disabled in a wheelchair. Watch this.


AD NARRATOR: A tree fell on Greg Abbott. He sued and got millions. Since then, he's spent his career working against other victims. Abbott argued a woman whose leg was amputated was not disabled because she had an artificial limb.


CUOMO: I mean this is like one of those where you expect it to like, as you come out of it you're not on NEW DAY, you're on some political satire show, where it was a spoof ad. Who thought this was a good idea, Errol?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This works. This pushes buttons that people like to hear. When you --

CUOMO: People in wheelchairs are bad? He deserves to be in it? Like what is the message?

LOUIS: The notion here is that you've got a slick trial lawyer sort of abuse of the system, once you attach it to a candidate. It's hard to shake it off.

CUOMO: The guy is in a wheelchair.

CAMEROTA: Wasn't he trying to point out the hypocrisy, that what's good for him, he hasn't applied to his constituents.

AVLON: Yes, she was and that's an interesting debate. When you're going after a guy in a wheelchair, it looks like you're sort of poking at him and trying to highlight his disability as a political negative? That's low and it turns off folks.

BROWNSTEIN: Not every Hail Mary pass is completed. This is Wendy Davis was kind of you know facing a steady deficit. Kind of threw this very catching, but risky ad out there, and it simply was too much.

CUOMO: Ron, just people get it -- this is not you and me sitting in a room, we're exhausted, desperate and we figured out this is where what we have to. People are paid a ton of money to come and present you with ideas of what will work, and this is what they arrived at.

BROWNSTEIN: People walk into rooms all the time and say the race is solid. Not moving, we're not going to win, we've got to shake it up. As I say, sometimes the shaking doesn't end with you on the top of the heap.

CUOMO: And Wendy comes in on such a high-minded situation.

HOOVER: And that she was behind by nine points when she chose to run that ad, it shows the tone of the race, because she paid for that one herself. That was not an outside group.

CAMEROTA: That's one that is considered to have back-fired.

One that has caught fire is the Jodi Ernst in Iowa ad. Many would have in that room where we were debating what the best ad was, many would have said this was a risk, talking about -- well, hog castration. Let's watch.


JONI ERNST (R), IOWA SENATE CANDIDATE: I'm Joni Ernst. I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm. So when I get to Washington, I'll know how to cut pork. Washington is full of big spenders, let's make 'em squeal.


LOUIS: That's another one that could have been on "Saturday Night Live." But it actually resonates in a rural state and it happens to be true, and cutting pork is what a lot of people want to vote for. AVLON: She's running in a crowded Republican primary. She's not a

leading candidate and all of a sudden that ad goes viral outside of Iowa because of the pig castration line. It has humor, which is the most effective way to run an ad, because people aren't going to take offense you see the wink and the nod, and there's a fiscal conservative point with pork. Great ad. It might make her one of the most influential senators in the country.

HOOVER: The key of any of these ads, right, most ads are quite boring, most people go in poll-test the districts, they figure out what messages work and cut a boring ad to those points specifically.

But if you can get an ad to go viral, you get 20 times your money's worth --


CUOMO: That ad didn't take itself seriously, which is important, right?

BROWNSTEIN: This is a candidate who wants to not only roll back the federal, the Obama rules on climate, but wants to eliminate the federal EPA. She wants to eliminate the federal minimum wage, she's been able to make the race about herself and compelling personal story. Rather than issues that are edgy for a swing state.

I would just say, whatever -- I like to know what the emotional undertone of a candidate who's introduced that way, and yet who has a double-digit lead among men and is trailing among women.


BROWNSTEIN: That's an interesting kind of dynamic there. Gender dynamic in Iowa.

CAMEROTA: Panel, thank you. Stick around, we appreciate your insight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got my vote.

CUOMO: All right. This is one story we're going to have to follow all day long. There's news to give this morning, so let's get to it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is election day and here we go.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For Republicans, it's all about President Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His name is not on the ballot, his policies are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will be a bad night for Democrats.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Regardless who's in control, I continue to think it's going to ill be Democrats, but we'll see. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president really is our best asset.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's it has been a bloodbath. More than 300 members of a Sunni tribe slaughtered in recent days.

ADM. JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON SPOKESMAN: This is a brutal group with a barbaric sense of reality.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He says he was behind the Navy SEAL who took the first shot at Osama bin Laden.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did I disclose anything that would have put the guys in harm's way? That's absolutely not what I intended to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People want to know what we do and how we do it. So does our enemy.


CAMEROTA: Good Election Day, everyone. Welcome back to NEW DAY. I'm Alisyn Camerota, alongside Chris Cuomo.

And voting is under way in 22 states in critical midterm elections. Go vote while you have sometimes. Those polls get crowded after work, just a reminder.

CUOMO: A lot of people did early balloting, too, so we're going to have do see how it goes this year.

Republicans -- one thing is for sure, they feel good this morning. They have strong indications that they could take control of the Senate. They're saying the magic number is six. More interesting perhaps is why Democrats don't feel that way. They're saying turn-out is the big question of the day. That early balloting, especially seems unusually robust.

So, with more than a third of the seats in the chamber at stake, as many of the top national players are keeping an eye on 2016, there's a lot for to us watch, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Sure. And CNN has the vote covered, where the big races are across the country from New Hampshire to Alaska.

So let's bring in Dana Bash, CNN's chief congressional correspondent. In Washington, Jim Acosta, CNN senior White House correspondent, outside the White House for us. Along with CNN correspondent Ana Cabrera, she's in Colorado, and Gary Tuchman is in Arkansas, where crucial Senate races are taking place this morning.

Welcome to all of you. What an exciting morning.

Dana, I want to start with you. Of course it's all about voters turn- out. And Democrats claim to have an advantage in the ground game. What are your sources telling you?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They certainly have tremendous get out the vote operations in really all of these key states. But here's the problem. Democratic sources admit this, it's one thing to go knock knock knock, please, Democratic voter, don't forget to go out and vote today. It's a lot harder to say knock knock knock, please would you please support this candidate. It's a whole lot harder to persuade even a registered Democrat or a likely Democratic voter to get out and voter to get out and vote for the Democratic candidate. .