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New Day Saturday

Trump Pushes Baseless Claim that Doctors Are Inflating Death Toll; U.S. Presidential Candidates Focus on Battleground States in Final Push; U.S. Daily COVID-19 Count Nears 100K as Election Looms; Unpredictable Election Night Results as Millions Vote by Mail; Voting from Space. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired October 31, 2020 - 05:00   ET





CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: This has been the worst week ever for coronavirus cases in the United States.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: By the way, you know, without it, we're still rounding the corner.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: The president of the United States accusing the medical profession of making up COVID deaths so they make more money.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Doctors go in, putting their lives on the line to take care of patients every day. That's not how doctors get paid.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: So we're tracking one of the biggest stories this election, the exclusion and early voting numbers, nearly 87 million have already voted across the nation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel like people came out because there is a lot of hot topics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They haven't sent their ballot in yet, walk it to the election office or dropbox but do it in person.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You really don't feel you have an excuse at this point for not being able to vote.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is "NEW DAY" weekend with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Beautiful crisp start of the day. There in New York City. Brand new day. Good morning, good to have you with us. Three days out now, just three days from Election Day. But millions of people have already cast votes. Today, both candidates are focusing in on the Rust Belt states. These

are the key battleground states, that really are the reason that President Trump won in 2016.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Yesterday, the U.S. recorded 99,321 new coronavirus cases. And I want to put this in perspective for you, that is now the highest number of new infections in the U.S. and, in most cases, ever recorded in any country in a single day, since the pandemic began.

BLACKWELL: President Trump is holding four rallies in Pennsylvania. He won that state by less than 1 percentage point in 2016.

PAUL: Joe Biden is going to be in Michigan; the president won that state by fewer than 11,000 votes last time around. CNN's Poll of Polls has the former vice president ahead by eight points there.

BLACKWELL: And let's start this morning with CNN's Sarah Westwood.

Good morning to you. The president is headed to Pennsylvania.

What should we expect to see today?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, President Trump spending significant time in Pennsylvania today, with four events across the state. Just showing you how valuable the Trump campaign sees Pennsylvania. With 20 electoral votes. And a state that the president won by less than two points last time.

This is a really key prize for President Trump. It's one of those states that the next President of the United States is likely going to have to carry in order to win next week. And it is also one of those states where we may not know the results on Election Night, because of the volume of mail-in ballots and the way that state counts them.

So it's one that's going to be a very suspenseful situation as we move forward here. The president having those four campaign event as he has done a blitz of battleground states. Over the next three days, he is going to hold 14 rallies between now and Election Day. This is not even the last time we will see him in Pennsylvania.

So Trump is spending a lot of his precious final hours of the race in Pennsylvania and we expect that Joe Biden will also be spending some time there. So it's very important for President Trump.

Now if you talk to Republicans, they say they still see some hope in Pennsylvania. Even though, as you guys mentioned, Joe Biden is leading President Trump there in the polls. At the moment, they say that their ground game has given them an advantage there, that they have been doing in-person voter contact, to get out the vote efforts, since far before the Biden campaign started doing the same thing there.

And they point to an uptick in voter registration for the GOP as a reason why they still have hope. But again, Biden is ahead there, as President Trump is spending his closing argument there, in Pennsylvania today. PAUL: So this is what we're hearing from the president at numerous

rallies in the last 24-48 hours, he says, and I'm quoting, "Our doctors get more money if someone dies from COVID."

There is no evidence we know that that is true.

What do we know about the effectiveness about that false claim he's making?

WESTWOOD: That's right, just a stunning attack on health care workers, from the president yesterday. And it's not the first time that we've heard him baselessly questioning the COVID data.

But yesterday, we did hear the president suggest, without evidence, that doctors have been inflating the number of COVID deaths in order to get funding.


TRUMP: If you have cancer and you're going to be dying soon and you catch COVID, that happens, we mark it down to COVID. You know, our doctors get more money if somebody dies from COVID. You know that, right?

I mean our doctors are very smart people. So what they do is they say I'm sorry but you know, everybody dies of COVID. But in Germany and other places, if you have a heart attack --



WESTWOOD: Those comments obviously drew scrutiny, particularly from the medical community. And take a listen to one doctor's response.


DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: The president is a liar. I mean I'm sorry to say that. But I just can't take it anymore. Look, over a thousand health care workers in this country have died trying to save the lives of their fellow Americans.

And every day, they go to work and they're the real super people, super men and super women. They go to work every single day and put themselves at risk to put out the fire that he has stoked and that his actions have continued to endanger the lives of people in this country.


WESTWOOD: Again, there's just no evidence for the president's assertions there. And it comes as states across this country are seeing record highs of coronavirus cases, as we head into the fall and winter, As public health experts had warned. The virus is getting worse in many places. And the contrast between Biden and Trump here just could not be more

stark. This is at end of the day a pandemic election and the president's closing argument seems to be focused on minimizing the pandemic, as Joe Biden is basing his entire pitch on handling it better than this president -- Victor and Christi.

PAUL: Sarah Westwood, thank you for the update.

So the Democratic nominee Joe Biden slams President Trump for his comments regarding those doctors, during a stop in Minnesota.


BIDEN: Doctors and nurse goes to work area day to save lives, they do their jobs. Donald Trump should stop attacking them and do his job.


BLACKWELL: And Biden will continue to focus on the Midwest today. He's got two stops in Michigan. And he will be with former president Barack Obama for the first time, during this campaign. And also, Stevie Wonder will join them in Detroit. CNN's Jessica Dean is traveling with the Biden campaign. She's in Wisconsin.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi and Victor. Vice President Joe Biden wrapping up his busiest day of travel since becoming the Democratic nominee on Friday.

And began the day in Iowa, traveling to Minnesota and ending in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which is seeing a record number of coronavirus infections. And it is a very dire situation here in Wisconsin.

And to that end, Joe Biden holding his last event of the day, in an airport hangar, with a small crowd, to ensure everybody's safety. The coronavirus pandemic is absolutely central to Biden's closing argument, to Americans.

And everywhere he goes, he's hammering home the point that he has a plan and that he will take action, the day he's inaugurated, if he's elected.

And he also took the chance on Friday to slam President Trump, on the 9 million cases that America has now marked in terms of the coronavirus. And he said that should be utterly disqualifying.

Now later today, Vice President Biden will join with former president Barack Obama, as the two travel together, for the first time to the state of Michigan, a critical battleground state. They will make two stops there.

BLACKWELL: Jessica Dean for us there this morning. Thank you very much.

The campaign, they've got these three days left until Election Day. But record numbers of people have already voted. And more than 86.8 million votes cast. Actually, looks like 86.8, according to the right side of the screen in early ballots.

That's according to survey of election officials in all 50 states. Washington, D.C., CNN, Catalist, a data company that provides data, and other services to Democrats, academics and nonprofit issue advocacy organizations.

PAUL: The pre-election count by the way is already two-thirds of the more than 136 million total ballots that were cast during the 2016 election. We know early voting wraps up today in North Carolina. More than 4 million voters there have already voted. That's more than half the state's registered voters.

BLACKWELL: Jeff Zeleny has a look at how both campaigns are ramping up the ground game in the last two days.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Crowds thunder for President Trump.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you, North Carolina! Go out and vote.

ZELENY: And horns honk for Joe Biden.


ZELENY: But the real work is also happening here, in the neighborhoods of Trump and Biden supporters.

In the closing days of the race, volunteers for the Biden campaign are hitting the streets for the first time in eight months, after being grounded by the pandemic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, Joe Biden. Let's do this!

ZELENY: They have gloves, masks and an urgent task, finding voters who still haven't been reached.

CAROLYN EBERLY, BIDEN CAMPAIGN VOLUNTEER: People have been calling and texting and writing and everything they can do and have not heard from these voters. So this conversation or this contact is really important.


ZELENY (voice-over): Carolyn Eberly and Scarlett Hollingsworth have been itching to knock on doors and look those voters in the eye.

SCARLETT HOLLINGSWORTH, BIDEN CAMPAIGN VOLUNTEER: We say in North Carolina, we don't do landslides; we do squeakers.


HOLLINGSWORTH: So, we have to really get, you know, those votes out.

ZELENY (voice-over): Do you wonder what the other side's been doing and if they have been doing this all along?

EBERLY: We've heard that and seen that the Trump campaign has been out canvassing throughout this all -- all of this. The people we want to elect care about people's lives and so that's why this decision was made to not do it. ZELENY (voice-over): Until now, team Biden has done most of its work

virtually while Trump has gone full speed ahead with his rallies at the center of it all.

TRUMP: Thank you to Gastonia, beautiful name.

ZELENY: Four years ago, Trump won Gaston County by more than 30 percentage points. To win North Carolina again he is trying to increase those margins.

JONATHAN FLETCHER, CHAIRMAN, GASTON COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY: That is really one of the reasons he wanted to come here was to energize the race.

ZELENY (on camera): So, the rally is part of the GOTV effort here?

FLETCHER: Absolutely, absolutely. Here and everywhere else he goes, you know, that is the point of him going places is to get people out to vote.

ZELENY (voice-over): Yet it's not just big rallies.

Republicans have been going door-to-door for months.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's better to come to their houses and come to where people are.

ZELENY: Here in the growing Charlotte suburbs, Amy Bynum (ph) is running for statehouse. She is also secretary of the county GOP.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's our job to reach the new folks and get our Republicans out to vote.

ZELENY: North Carolina has more than 1.3 million new registered voters since 2016. As cases of coronavirus soar, turning out voters is a challenge facing both sides but particularly Democrats.


CROWD: Got to the polls!

ZELENY: For Biden to win here, high enthusiasm among black voters is key.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With a leader like Joe Biden.

ZELENY: Charlotte's mayor Vi Lyles says she thinks about this every day, but believes Democrats have an even bigger motivating force.

MAYOR VI LYLES (D-NC), CHARLOTTE: And this time it's been framed by COVID-19 and president's lack of response for it and that's why I think people are going to come out to vote.

ZELENY: Now more than 3 million people have already voted early here in North Carolina and early voting extends through Saturday. No question of enthusiasm here. But the Biden campaign believes they can find more voters through this on-the-ground organizing.

Now President Trump for his part has been in the state twice over the last six days and there's no doubt he is a motivator for voters on both sides -- Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Charlotte, North Carolina.


BLACKWELL: So whether you are voting early, by mail or voting in person, going on Election Day, head to, for the voter guide.

PAUL: You are going to find state by state guidance there on deadlines, on rules and requirements. Make sure your vote is counted on November 3rd.

The new world record of coronavirus cases set in a single day was set by the U.S. It was set yesterday, 99,321. We're going to talk about what is driving this surge and the message for the people, who are now going to celebrate Halloween tonight.





PAUL: You want to get a real gauge of what is happening with COVID, take a look at this stunning new record this morning. The U.S., with the highest number of coronavirus cases reported in a single day in any country, in fact. More than 99,000 new infections were recorded yesterday. And that surpasses the previous record that was held by India.

BLACKWELL: The director of the CDC says a silent epidemic of asymptomatic infections is what is driving this spread. CNN correspondent Jean Casarez is in New York.

And as stark as that number is, for the new cases, hospitalizations, in plenty of states, those numbers are startling, too.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's very true. And you know, Victor, yesterday, as we watched the states come in one by one on their tallies of brand-new cases, it was quite startling.

But we are learning this morning that 14 states also have record high hospitalizations.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CASAREZ (voice-over): Scary numbers across the country this Halloween weekend, as the U.S. surpassed 9 million coronavirus cases on Friday, 1 million of them added in just the last two weeks.

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: At the moment, today, we now have one person being diagnosed of coronavirus every second. We have one American dying of coronavirus every two minutes.

CASAREZ (voice-over): Officials nationwide are pleading with people to opt for public safety instead of public celebrations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As we head into Halloween weekend, the time when many would normally be out and about in the different sort of face masks, please stay home.

CASAREZ (voice-over): The Midwest, where both President Trump and former Vice President Biden campaigned on Friday, is seeing a particularly grim spike. And while mask wearing and social distancing guidelines were visible at all of Biden's events, Trump poked fun at FOX News personality for following protocol at his rally in Michigan.


TRUMP: I can't recognize you.

Is that a mask?

No way.

Are you wearing a mask?

I've never seen her in a mask.

Look at you. Oh, she's being very politically correct. Whoa.


CASAREZ (voice-over): This, as the new seven-day case rate in that state is up 52 percent from last week. In Minnesota, 3,165 new cases were announced on Friday, the first time the state has ever crossed 3,000 new cases in one day.

And Ohio reported nearly 4,000 new cases yesterday, marking its highest increase for the second day in a row.

GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R-OH): The virus is raging throughout the state of Ohio. There's no place to hide.

CASAREZ (voice-over): That's not just true for middle America.

REINER: It's very bad and it's going to get worse until we do things differently.


REINER: So what distinguishes our current outbreak from what happened initially in the spring, with our so-called first wave, is that the virus is all over the country now.

CASAREZ (voice-over): In the northeast, New Jersey reported over 2,000 cases on Friday, marking the state's highest one-day total since May. And out West, in Utah, a statewide alert was sent to all residents on Friday, as the percentage of positive tests hit a record 18.17 percent. . And a whopping 72.5 percent of the state's ICU beds are occupied. In California, a Bay Area resident, someone under 65, has become the first person there to contract both coronavirus and the flu, yet another reminder of how important it is to be vigilant this time of year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People shouldn't let their guard down now. We should try to remain vigilant and be careful these last two or three months as we get through what is going to be the most difficult season.

So I would say have the same prudence around Halloween and Thanksgiving this year. We've protected people for a long period of time. We've got two or three months to go here that we need to be careful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the end, whatever fun you choose, please remember, this virus does not make exceptions for holidays or because you want to take a break from it.


CASAREZ: And we've been hearing for months now, about the fall resurgence. And that prediction was correct, it is here. And Christi, we'll just have to see exactly what today's totals are, tomorrow and, of course, next week.

PAUL: And it is scary heading into the holidays because you know people just want to be with their families. Jean Casarez, thank you so much.

CASAREZ: Thank you.


BLACKWELL: British prime minister Boris Johnson, according to some reports, is considering issuing a lockdown as early as next week, because of the surge.

PAUL: And in fact, as of yesterday, France entered its second nationwide lockdown, because of rising cases there. That's going to last for the next four weeks, we understand. CNN's Melissa Bell is in Paris with more details for us.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Melissa Bell in Paris. Here, the first full weekend of a French partial lockdown, the second this country has seen since the spring, as authorities try to bring the country's soaring COVID-19 figures back under control.

So people are obliged to stay at home. They can only leave their homes with a piece of paper explaining why their outing is necessary. If they travel to go to work they can leave their homes and within a kilometer of where they live for an hour at a time.

Fairly strict lockdown and that prevents people from traveling within regions in France, which had these extraordinary scenes on Friday night as the partial lockdown came, in nearly 500 miles of traffic jams while many tried to leave for their second homes or other French regions while they still could.

This will be in place for a month to see if figures get back under control. For the time being, here in the greater Paris region, ICUs under serious strain, with more than 74 percent of beds now taken up by COVID-19 patients.



FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Fred Pleitgen in Berlin as Germany has put in place tough new lockdown measures to try to stop a surging tide of coronavirus infections. Starting Monday, all bars, restaurants and cafes in this country will have to shut down except for takeout.

All amateur and recreational sports will be shut down as well. Concert halls, movie theaters and theaters will also have to shut down. All this comes as Germany has seen record spikes in infections on several days, over the past week and Angela Merkel came out and said, the country must do something and must do something now.


BLACKWELL: Fred Pleitgen, Melissa Bell, thank you both.

PAUL: Thank you.

So still ahead, the president's latest attacks on doctors, who are on the front lines of the pandemic.

BLACKWELL: Plus she is considered to be one of the most popular Democrats.

Is Michelle Obama expected to be on the campaign trail?





PAUL: In case you haven't noticed, this is the final weekend heading into Election Day and this has been a campaign probably that we've never seen before. All that's been going on, particularly because we are doing so in the middle of a pandemic. Now both campaigns are on the trail today, of course, big focus today on the Rust Belt.

BLACKWELL: President Trump is in Pennsylvania and he flipped that state in 2016. He also flipped Michigan, where vice president Biden is.

PAUL: And the president is in a familiar place; when you look back at 2016, he's running behind in most battleground state polls. And this time, there's little evidence of late Trump momentum though.

BLACKWELL: And the coronavirus surge is perhaps the biggest political, at least, headwind that he is facing. Friday, officially the worst day of the pandemic, nearly 100,000 new cases reported. Let's bring in now to discuss CNN political analyst Errol Louis, host of the "You Decide" podcast.

Good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: So many of the lies that the president tells, especially at these rallies, are, as analysts say, are baked into the cake.

But I wonder if this new one, that doctors are lying about a cause of death on death certificates to earn an extra $2 grand, is something different. And let's consider 14 states yesterday reported record hospitalizations. And yesterday, the U.S. set not only its own record but a world record for new cases in a single day.


LOUIS: Yes. It's extraordinary. When you see this kind of a mismatch between what the president is saying and what people can see with their own eyes, locally, their local news, their local newspaper, their hospitals that are being overwhelmed, the staff that are searching frantically for additional personnel and materials so that they can meet this emergency.

And the president is talking about something that is -- he's asking people to deny the most serious reality that many have encountered, in their local government, in their local communities.

And so this is not going to work. These are not the people who you should be defaming and taking on as enemies right now in the closing hours of the campaign.

The president's enemy, the president's opponent, is the Democratic Party and Joe Biden. It's not the local first responders. It's not the local doctors and the local hospital. That is not --- not only is it not going to work; the level of backlash, it could be quite serious by the time all of the votes are counted, Victor.

BLACKWELL: You know, with these new records, it makes us think back to how this all started and what, at least politically, the strategy was for the White House and for the president, coming out with these briefings every day, with health experts, reading statements sometimes, yes, but also announcing resources and some command.

Now there is none of that. We don't see the medical experts; there are no announcements of resources. There is no command. I wonder how you receive or interpret the strategic shift of going from here is what we're doing to "I know what you're seeing but everything's fine."

LOUIS: Look, we know those briefings weren't working. There was a time when, during the spring and into the summer, when there were almost daily briefings and we saw the president's approval ratings began to tank. Politically they couldn't sustain that and so they dropped the briefings.

The easiest thing that the president could have done all along, the thing that actually might have rescued his campaign from the plight it now finds itself in, in the closing hours, is to do what everyone said needed to be done, to step back and put the scientists in front and be guided by what they tell you.

And be more in charge of organizing the response and telling the people that it's bad news coming from the scientists but we'll get through this together. None of those strategies were attempted by this White House ever.

And so they decided to politicize it. They decided to be divisive about it. And now they're actually attacking the medical establishment and the health establishment, all of wrong things to do in a pandemic.

Substantively, it will probably result in more sickness and death than we would have otherwise have seen. Politically, it puts the president completely out of sync with what almost all Americans, I think at this point, understand needs to be a coordinated, logical, calm and science-driven response to this pandemic.

BLACKWELL: Let's turn to Vice President Biden. President Obama will be with him in Michigan today and we know historic Black turnout, and that, historic advantage with Black voters, in Michigan and really across the country, was part of the central part of his coalition.

We have learned, over the last, what, 12 years, that that coalition is not transferrable. It certainly wasn't to Hillary Clinton in 2016.

And I wonder, is Joe Biden, though, building a different coalition?

Black voters still a crucial part of it but putting together a different map to win.

LOUIS: Well, sure. Look, we know what happened in the Midwest, four years ago, which was that Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan all broke together. And they all broke in the direction of Donald Trump.

What the Biden team is going to have to do is figure out whether they want to try and juice up, just as you suggest, the kind of Obama coalition, which is really centered in places like Detroit and Milwaukee and Philadelphia. Or do you want to sort of creep out into sort of the outer ring

suburbs and flip some of those voters who broke for Donald Trump last time?

Joe Biden is probably more palatable, using that suburban strategy. That is partly why you see Donald Trump saying from the stump, hey, suburban voters, please, like me, please vote for me, please come back.

If Joe Biden can sort of stop him in the suburbs and they can get a reasonable amount of Obama levels of turnout in places like Detroit, with very high levels of turnout in Detroit and Milwaukee and Philadelphia, then it's game over in the Midwest.

BLACKWELL: Mitch McConnell says now that the coronavirus relief bill, will likely have to wait until 2021. We have heard some very angry and nervous Democratic representatives of purple districts, who have been critical of Democratic leadership.

I wonder if we, if you expect that there will be some electoral consequence to not having any relief, as people are continuing to file for unemployment benefits, evictions increase and the rest?


LOUIS: Well, you know, what's interesting is, there is a possibility, Victor, that the Republican brand as a whole, not just the Trump White House, not just individual candidates like Mitch McConnell up for re- election, will suffer.

But if the entire Republican ticket goes down, which is a distinct possibility, they could lose control of both the Senate. They could deepen their losses in the House and could lose the Senate and lose the White House.

If all of that happens and if you read between the lines, that might be what Mitch McConnell is saying, the consequences would be catastrophic. And then a rear guard action will start to be fought when the new Congress is sworn. In.

When the 117th Congress sits, they will find themselves, no matter who is in the White House, in a really dire situation, with people who very badly need help. They will have to confront this multitrillion dollar problem that they have put off these last few weeks. Mitch McConnell I think is signaling he doesn't necessarily want anything to do with it, that he will sort of maybe fight against, it and wait until the pieces all fall into place, after the election, to see what the strategy will be.

In the meantime, of course, a lot of misery for a lot of local governments, a lot of families, a lot of counties out there, are really going to be suffering going into the Christmas season -- Victor

BLACKWELL: Very difficult time of year for this to be happening. Anytime, it is difficult but especially now. Errol Louis, thanks so much. LOUIS: Thank you.

PAUL: So with millions more of you who have been voting by mail this year, this is a chance that the election outcome won't be known until after Tuesday night. Next, we are seeing if there are any lessons that we can learn from that long legal fight, remember it, back in the 2000 election.






FRANK SESNO, CNN ANCHOR: Stand by. CNN right now is moving our earlier declaration of Florida back to the "too close to call" column.

Is there clarity yet to precisely where the vice president is headed?

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: There is clarity in the sense, Frank, that he is headed out of this race.


PAUL: Remember that, from CNN's Election Night in 2000?

The presidential race between then vice president Al Gore and George W. Bush, it caused chaos when Florida was too close to call. And that prompted numerous legal challenges and lawsuits. And I don't know if you remember, but it was 36 days after the election that this happened.


AL GORE, FORMER VP OF THE U.S.: This is America. Just as we fight hard when the stakes are high, we close ranks and come together when the contest is done. And while there will be time enough to debate our continuing differences, now is the time to recognize that, that which unites us is greater than that which divides us.

While we yet hold and do not yield our opposing beliefs, there is a higher duty than the one we owe to political party. This is America and we put country before party. We will stand together behind our new president.


PAUL: That was a reluctant concession speech by Al Gore and subsequent call for unity, obviously. It came after a 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court -- Bush of course won Florida and its electoral votes and therefore the White House. And they say hindsight is 20-20, this year, people are concerned that

history will repeat itself here. We're seeing historic voter turnout across the nation, despite this deadly pandemic that we're living through.

The current president is actively pushing false narratives about voting by mail, all as we witness attempts of voter suppression and intimidation at the polls.

A lot of Americans are worried that their ballots are not going to be counted and that we won't have a clear winner on Tuesday night.

The question is, could the 2000 election foreshadow what is ahead for us now?

And what lessons can be learned from 20 years ago?

Nobody better to talk about that than CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer, historian and professor at Princeton University.

So good to see you. I want to listen to something else from former vice president Al Gore, who spoke with Fareed Zakaria recently on how Election Night might be similar to 2000. Listen to this.


GORE: On Election Night, there may be what's called a red mirage. The people who vote on the day of the election may be more in Trump's favor. Then a blue shift as the mail-in ballots are counted. And again, more of them this time than ever before, for reasons everybody understands.

We have to be patient and let the votes be counted. And when he says we may not know the results on Election Night, I thought to myself, well, I think that's actually happened before.


PAUL: I know there is a little chuckle there, kind of this feeling that we've been through this before.

But looking back at 2000, what similarities do you see that we may be watching again on November 3rd, on Tuesday?

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's easy to foresee that, after Election Night, we still don't know what the result is. And it's very possible that this turns into a contest that involves litigation and political battles, just like we saw in Florida over recounts, over disputes about what ballots say.

And in this case, over processing and reading absentee ballots. So we could see many weeks where there are disputes over the ballots, just like in 2000.

[05:45:00] PAUL: What is the -- what is the credibility of the argument, that a lot of the questions about a fair and safe process, for voting, are in light of the pandemic that we're in?

How do we balance what is true suppression and what's being done to try to make it safe for people to vote?

ZELIZER: Well, unfortunately, both are issues. We've seen in many states that voting restrictions are going to be a problem. They've been put on the books for years now.

And in this election, those restrictions can have effects on dissuading people from voting or discounting votes that are put through.

And then you have the pandemic, everything from long lines to the absentee ballots will all be part of Election Day, because people are scared and want to protect their health. So I think we're actually dealing with two fronts in terms of the integrity of this election and a much greater challenge than 2000.

PAUL: I want to bring the Supreme Court factor into play here, as you talk about rulings that may need to be had. They've already ruled that ballots in North Carolina can arrive up to nine days after November 3rd; three days, they can be late, in Pennsylvania.

Wisconsin, the court said the ballot has to be in by Election Night.

What are your thoughts on the involvement we may see from the Supreme Court?

ZELIZER: Well, everyone has their eyes on the court. That was the final moment in the 2000 election. Back in 2000, people then wanted the courts to be involved. There was a lot of frustration that the Supreme Court ended up stopping the recount.

And now, we're seeing the courts intervene before the election is fully underway. I hope it doesn't end up there, especially with the new configuration of the Supreme Court. I think it would only raise questions in the country about the legitimacy of the decision.

What we need is a full, full vote count. And that was the lesson of 2000 and I'm hoping that's the lesson that actually has the biggest impact in the next few days.

PAUL: It is always good to get your perspective, we appreciate you taking time for us. Thank you, sir.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: It clearly is the single greatest challenge in the U.S. right now, coronavirus. And it is one that is impacting states that will be crucial in the election. We're going to take a closer look at those states, next.




BLACKWELL: The U.S. set a new record for new coronavirus new cases in a single day, five times over the last eight days. But yesterday's record was unique, 99,321 cases, the highest number of coronavirus cases ever reported by a single country, anywhere in the world, on a single day.

PAUL: States across the U.S. though, they are reporting record high single day figures as well. And that can have a direct impact obviously on how you vote in three days' time. John King takes a look at the politics of the pandemic.

KING: This map and, on this day, another sad reminder that this is the pandemic campaign. Yet another record in daily case count, daily new infections here in the United States, almost every day this week setting a new record.

A reminder as the president runs against Joe Biden, he is also very much running against his record on the coronavirus.

Red and blue are the colors we will fill in on this map on Tuesday night but look at the red, the pink and the deep orange here. This is pain. This is a map showing confirmed COVID-19 cases. The deeper the red, the higher the rate per 100,000 residents.

This is a map, not a political debate, the pandemic, but we are in a campaign. It is a map that overlays Wisconsin. The president was there today, look at all that red and pink. Florida, a key battleground state; Arizona, the vice president, Mike Pence, campaigning out there today.

Senator Harris was in Texas, making the case that America needs change. Look at all of the red. Former vice president Biden ,the Democratic nominee, in Iowa, again, look at the rural parts in the northern part of the state, hard hit in red.

The coronavirus is the number one issue and it makes it almost impossible for the president to try to change the subject to other issues.

Here's some other ways to look at this. If look at right now, the top 10 states, new COVID cases per capita in the past week, you can see them highlighted in gray here, what do they have in common, four years, ago they all voted for Donald Trump.

This is Trump country. Trump country on the map, right, now experiencing the most new COVID pain, including the battlegrounds of Wisconsin and Iowa, states the president won four year ago that he is at risk of losing this time around.

Here's another way to look at it, as we look at coronavirus data and overlap it with the campaign, new confirmed cases Thursday across the United States, these are the 10 states with the top cases on Thursday, again, you overlay it with the 2016 map.

Three voting for Hillary Clinton, the other seven were Trump states, including, again, critical battlegrounds, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, the collision between the coronavirus and the campaign, quite obvious in this map.

One more piece of data we want to show, you the biggest problem in the United States, right now with the coronavirus, is the high positivity rate. That is why we are breaking case records. High positivity rate in communities across the country, these are the top 10 states.

Highest positivity rate in the last week. Again, Trump country. Nine of them voted for the president four years ago.

The president making the case at his rallies, we have turned the corner. Vaccines will be here soon, all as well, tough it out.

Even in Trump country, people, every, day living with a very, very different reality that complicates the president's comeback strategy in the final days of this critical campaign.


BLACKWELL: So obviously, we know -- we've covered it for a while -- that there are a lot of hurdles for a lot of people to vote this election cycle. Maybe you are trying to cross one of them.


BLACKWELL: How about Kate Rubins, an astronaut?

She voted from space. We'll tell you how when we come back.




PAUL: So 86.8 million of you have already participated in early voting. And we know that some of that is because an absentee ballot is needed if you're away from home.

BLACKWELL: If you're not just away from home or out of town, how about outer space?

Astronaut Kate Rubins showed us how she voted from a unique polling place from space, as she cast her ballot last week.


KATE RUBINS, NASA ASTRONAUT: We fill out, it's called a federal postcard application for voting overseas. And I don't know that I'm technically overseas.