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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

McCain, Obama in Last Lap of Presidential Race

Aired November 3, 2008 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, the end is in sight, history about to be written by all of you, whether it's the first African-American, the first woman, the oldest man, the biggest turnout, or the highest stakes anyone can remember.
Right now, with just two hours to go before Election Day, the campaigns are still going, an Obama rally in Manassas Park, Virginia, about to get going -- looking there at the crowd. John McCain expected shortly in Nevada. We will bring you all the drama, the excitement, the energy of their live events throughout the next two hours that we're on the air for.

Today, the candidates have been all over the map, literally, McCain visiting seven states. He will finish his long day at 2:00 a.m. Eastern in Prescott, Arizona, Obama hitting Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and arriving back in Chicago in the early hours of the morning.

He's also dealing with tragedy, the death, at age 44, of his Nevada campaign director, and the passing of his beloved grandmother, Madelyn Payne Dunham, his last living parent or grandparent. She died of cancer late Sunday night in Hawaii. Obama learned about it this morning. Ms. Dunham was just 86.

There is also breaking news in the Sarah Palin trooper controversy and new polling, the latest CNN poll of polls showing a seven-point Obama lead holding steady, tightening polls in Pennsylvania, Florida, and elsewhere, and Obama gains in states that went red four years ago -- a lot to cover tonight, a lot of breaking news.

We're live for the next two hours. We begin with Obama and Candy Crowley on the trail.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the eve of the most political day of his career, the political collided painfully with the personal.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Obviously, this is a little bit of a bittersweet time for me.

CROWLEY: On a misty North Carolina everything, Barack Obama told the thousands gathered that his grandmother, who helped raise him, had died. OBAMA: She was somebody who was a very humble person and a very plainspoken person. She was one of those quiet heroes that we have all across America.

CROWLEY: Obama learned of her death early in the day. But, at his first rally, there was no hint of his loss, just a campaign moving on.

OBAMA: I have just one word for you, Florida: tomorrow.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CROWLEY (voice-over): No accident Barack Obama came to Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville as part of his finale. John McCain was here in September, and there was a pivotal moment that marked the beginning of Obama's pull-away.

OBAMA: He said -- and I quote -- "The fundamentals of our economy are strong."

CROWLEY: The candidate who launched his presidential bid on opposition to the war closes out on the economy. Still, the fundamental premise, the gale-force winds that pushed him forward, is a single word, in ads, speeches, placards: change, and the hope it brings.

OBAMA: It's what led those who could not vote to say, if I march, if I organize, maybe my child or grandchild can run for president some day.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CROWLEY: The Obama campaign has always dreamed big, seeking from the start to be less of a campaign, more of a movement.

OBAMA: If you will stand with me and fight with me, I promise you, we will not just win Florida. We will win this election. You and I together, we will change this country. We will change the world.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: That was CNN's Candy Crowley reporting.

Again, we are expecting to take you shortly to Obama and McCain rallies -- the McCain side picking up the spirit lately of that Obama slogan: fired up, ready to go. There's no doubt the energy is higher for candidate and crowd. The question is, will it be enough?

On the trail with John McCain, here's Dana Bash.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

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

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We need to win Virginia on November 4.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MCCAIN: And we have got to take this country in a new direction. And we will win.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MCCAIN: Volunteer. Knock on doors. Get your neighbors to the polls. We need to win in Pennsylvania tomorrow. With your help, we will win. With this kind of enthusiasm, this kind of intensity, we will win Florida, and we will win this race.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BASH: The mantra inside camp McCain is that polls are tightening. But, privately, McCain advisers admit, winning would be nothing short of a miracle.

The itinerary for McCain's seven-state sprint says it all: Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Mexico, Nevada, and Arizona. All but one red states he's trying to keep Obama from winning, a game of defense, big-time.

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

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

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

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

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

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

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

BASH (on camera): McCain ends his marathon day with a midnight rally here in Prescott, Arizona, on the courthouse steps behind me. It's where Barry Goldwater launched his 1960 presidential run. And, for that reason, McCain ends all of his Senate races here. It was supposed to be symbolic and even sentimental, but it's actually going to turn into more of a campaign rally, because Barack Obama is gaining ground on McCain right here in his home state.

Dana Bash, CNN, Prescott, Arizona.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: I want to show you that live picture again in Manassas, Virginia, now, where the crowds have already gathered. You can see a big crowd. They're expecting Barack Obama to speak any time now in the next hour or so.

We are going to be on the air for the next two hours, bring you as many live events as possible. We will bring you Barack Obama speak -- speaking, as well as John McCain. Also, Sarah Palin, in our next hour, in the 11:00 hour, has a live event. We're going to bring you some of that -- also Joe Biden from earlier today on the trail.

But, again, right now, the crowd in Manassas, Virginia, waiting for Barack Obama.

Let's talk now about where the race stands, the latest polls, electoral map.

At the magic wall for us, CNN's John King.

John, what's the latest?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, a number of new battleground state polls underscore the steepness of the hill Senator McCain faces in these final hours. Dana just outlined all the states he's travel to in the final hours.

Let's go through -- through some of the late polls -- excuse me -- and look at where they are. We're going to start in Pennsylvania. That was a blue state four years ago, so perhaps no surprise that Senator McCain is trailing. But he is -- his campaign has said this is a must-win. Here's our latest poll of polls, 51 for Obama, 43 for McCain.

So, even if all the undecided were to break Senator McCain's way, he needs a little bit more than that going into the final hours in Pennsylvania. Let's move over to the state of Ohio, a Bush state four years ago and eight years ago, and look at this, 49 percent for Obama right now in our latest poll of polls, 45 percent for Senator McCain. The undecided there will be critical in the final days, as will, of course, both campaigns, gearing up heavily for turnout.

Down here to Florida, again, key to President Bush twice, and, in this state right now, about as close as you can get, 48 percent Obama, 46 percent McCain. The undecided will break there late and perhaps shape the race. But the Democratic advantage, even if it's the slightest, Anderson, tells you quite a bit about the state of the race, Barack Obama leading a little bit in another red state.

And Colorado is yet another example of that, 51 percent to 45 percent, the Democrat is leading in a state carried twice by George W. Bush, Obama organization very confident of its ground game in Colorado. And, lastly, Nevada, a state where McCain hopes to pull off a late surge, look at that, though, 49 percent to 44 percent, 7 percent undecided, still a little too close for comfort if you're Barack Obama. But, again, Anderson, of those states I just showed you -- I showed you five states -- four of them were Bush states four years ago, and Barack Obama has a slight edge -- or at least is in play -- in every one of them.

COOPER: If you're in the McCain campaign, and you're looking for how you're going to win tomorrow, what is the path for McCain to win?

KING: Well, let's go to electoral map. And it is a narrow path, at best, and a miracle, perhaps.

Here's where we are coming into the final night -- 291 electoral votes, we now project Barack Obama would win -- 270 is all it takes, of course, to win the election. The gold states are the tossup states. Anything blue is leaning or safe Obama. Anything red is leaning or safe McCain.

Let's start with this scenario. John McCain needs to win everything on this map that is a tossup. And, if he did all of that, Florida -- we will go quickly through them -- North Carolina, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, and North Dakota and Montana -- and that those are tossups this late says everything you need to know about this race -- even that would not be enough. Barack Obama would still win the presidency.

So, John McCain's number-one priority is switch Pennsylvania, take it away from Obama, and, not only do that, but turn it red. And, yet, even there, Anderson, look at that. Barack Obama would win by the narrowest of margins.

But John McCain needs something else, which is why his campaign is hoping late that he can either turn the nine electoral votes in Colorado or turn the five electoral votes in Nevada. Those are the two hopes now out in the Mountain West, near his home state of Arizona.

I can tell you, though, the Latino vote could prove the swing vote in these states. But those are the targets for McCain. Those could make the difference. It's a big if, though, because that would mean, after considerable drama, winning all the tossups, turning, Pennsylvania, and then turning either Colorado or Nevada -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, John King at the magic wall -- thanks, John.

So, who do you think is going to win? Let us know. Our live chat at AC360.com is going to be busy tonight. I'm already there talking with viewers. So is Erica. Join in the conversation at AC360.com. Also, check out Erica's live Webcasts during the breaks.

Up next tonight: Barack Obama live, tonight, campaigning in Virginia, red since 1964. We will take you there. That's the crowd there getting warmed up. Also, shortly, John McCain, also live, campaigning hard in a state, as we have been talking about, that used to be a GOP gimme, Nevada.

Also, our panel tonight, we're supersizing it: Gergen, Buchanan, Martin, Rollins, Begala, and Borger -- their analysis and their predictions, who they think is going to win and by how much. We're putting them on the spot -- tonight on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: You're looking at live pictures of the Obama rally tonight in Virginia -- our latest poll of polls in the state showing a five-point Obama edge. Obama has not yet appeared at this rally. We're going to bring some of his comments live. We're trying to bring you as many live events tonight from across the country. We have John McCain also coming up and Sarah Palin.

The excitement out there on the trail, excitement in these crowds is palpable, on the eve of this historic election. No matter who wins, it is a historic one.

Let's talk strategy now with political analyst and Obama supporter Paul Begala, political analyst and Obama supporter Roland Martin, CNN senior political analysts David Gergen Gloria Borger, CNN senior political contributor and McCain supporter Ed Rollins, and GOP strategist Bay Buchanan, who also supports John McCain.

I think I have all the bases covered.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: David, McCain's campaign manager, Rick Davis, said -- said yesterday that undecided voters could still make the difference in this thing. How do you see them breaking?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think there's a good chance that they will break a little more heavily for McCain than they will for Obama.

But, if you're -- if Obama is at 51 when you start that process, or 52, there's still no way they can catch up. So, I don't think they can rely on the undecideds as the -- as the key to this. I think they have to have a -- either a turnout operation or the polls have to be wrong.

COOPER: How is their turnout operation, Gloria?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, compared to the Obama turnout, they're -- they have a good turnout operation.

COOPER: They have always this much-vaunted 72-hour Republican turnout machine.

BORGER: Right. And that's the famous Karl Rove 72-hour turnout machine, which I think looks a little antique, when you compare it to what the Obama folks are doing.

I mean, in Pennsylvania alone, yesterday, they knocked on a million door. That's just yesterday.

GERGEN: That's the Obama people?

BORGER: That's the Obama people, yes.

And, so, I think the -- when you look at undecided voters, you have to balance that against turnout. And I think turnout this time will trump that.

COOPER: Ed, do you agree?

ED ROLLINS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: It's the most awesome organization I have ever seen.

COOPER: Obama's?

ROLLINS: I have been around a long time. I don't think our organization is up to what it was in 2004. I don't think the focus was there. I don't think they built it.

I also think, by having the primary run all the way against Hillary, it gave them a chance to build their organization, keep it tuned.

(CROSSTALK)

ROLLINS: And I think that helped them immeasurably.

COOPER: Paul, a second ethics probe has cleared Sarah Palin of any wrongdoing in this Troopergate. Does that matter at this point? Does anyone care?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No. But she does. And good for her. I didn't know that. But I will say that the Obama campaign...

COOPER: You skip over those positive stories, but Sarah Palin...

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

BEGALA: Somehow, they don't jump out at me.

(LAUGHTER)

BEGALA: For the first time in my life, I now know what Valentino is or Neiman Marcus.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: I have learned so much from her in this campaign.

(LAUGHTER)

BEGALA: But, no, good for her.

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: ... talk to me later.

(LAUGHTER)

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That was a good one. That was a good one.

BEGALA: The -- the Obama campaign never raised this, to my knowledge, as an issue. They weren't running ads. They didn't -- they, for the most part, did not fall victim to what a lot of Democrats did in the past, attacking Dan Quayle, attacking Spiro Agnew. They kept their fire on John McCain and linked him -- John McCain's running mate in this race was George W. Bush. It never really was Sarah Palin.

But good for -- good for Governor Palin. And, you know, when she's running again in 2012, we will be able to regurgitate the whole Troopergate thing.

COOPER: Bay, the McCain/Palin campaign, in the last day or two, over the weekend, even, have been focusing on a comment Barack Obama made. And I want to get it right.

He told a newspaper back in January about -- talking about his energy policy -- he said that, if someone wanted to build a coal power plant, it would bankrupt them, and he said -- quote -- "Because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all the greenhouse gases that's being emitted."

Can this make a big difference in Pennsylvania or Virginia, some of these other states that have coal plants?

BAY BUCHANAN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: It's late. It's late, Anderson.

There's no question, if we had this 10 days ago, and you run that, and run it for 10 days in southern -- in Western Pennsylvania, Ohio -- I don't say it's entirely too late. It would have been enormously help had it come in earlier.

They're doing the push calls. They're trying to get the message out. I understand. I hear the tracking poll that it is helping in Western Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is closing somewhat.

But I just don't know if it's enough to reverse -- to flip that state. I think it may take care of Ohio. I think we will deliver -- it will deliver Ohio.

COOPER: Roland, you're an Obama supporter. Do you have any concerns going into tomorrow?

MARTIN: Turnout, turnout, turnout, I mean, that's what it boils down to.

What you hope, that folks will not be deterred by long lines. We are going to see something tomorrow that we have not seen in a very, very long time. And I think, if we expect that these polls close at 7:00, and we get our usual results, I don't think so. You're going to see some areas where those folks are going to be literally in line for two, three hours after the polls close, because the turnout has been stunning in early voting.

BUCHANAN: Anderson, on this turnout point, there's no question Obama has an incredible, incredible team for this, and -- and really has put a lot of money and focus on it. And you can't take that away from him.

But this election is enormously electric. People across the country everywhere are talking about it. I think everybody is going to be turning out for this. And I think you will see the conservatives, the Republicans, independents, I think they're all...

COOPER: Going to be a big day.

BUCHANAN: They will all turn out.

COOPER: We're going to have -- we're going to have you guys throughout these next two hours that we are live. We're going to have more from our panel shortly.

We're also going to put them on the spot, get their picks for tomorrow, their predictions, no only who is going to win, but by how much.

Also coming up: Palin gets pranked.

Don't roll your eyes at me, Gloria Borger.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: Palin gets pranked by radio deejays pretending to be France's president.

Listen.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Nicolas Sarkozy speaking. How are you?

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R-AK), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Oh, so good. It's so good to hear you. Thank you for calling us.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

COOPER: It's -- it's -- it has actually happened. We are going to try to figure out how this happened -- tonight on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCAIN: It's not an accident that Senator Obama is in the far left lane of American politics. He's the most liberal senator in the United States Senate, more liberal than a guy that used to call himself a socialist. Now, that's not easy.

OBAMA: John McCain actually came here, to Veterans Memorial Arena, and repeated something he said at least 16 times on this campaign. He said -- and I quote -- "The fundamentals of our economy are strong."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: The day on the trail, the candidates today.

We're expecting to see Barack Obama tonight in Virginia shortly. That is some shots of the crowd in Manassas, Virginia. They are waiting for their candidate. John McCain is expected in Nevada. We will bring you both events live.

We're on for the next two hours, a lot of live events out there. It is a remarkable evening, just hours to go before Election Day.

Senator McCain hoping to make up ground and keep this 2004 state red, but having to overcome a wave of early voting we're talking about in Virginia (sic), largely Democratic Clark County, and what appears to be a good showing for Barack Obama in Washoe County, which usually goes Republican -- excuse me -- in Nevada.

Talking strategy tonight with Paul Begala, Roland Martin, David Gergen, Gloria Borger, Ed Rollins, and Bay Buchanan.

Bay mentioned these robocalls. I want to play some of this -- the latest robocall that has been going out from the RNC using, of all people, Hillary Clinton. Let's listen.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm calling for John McCain and the RNC.

Listen to what Hillary Clinton had to say about John McCain and Barack Obama.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: In the White House, there is no time for speeches and on-the-job training. Senator McCain will bring a lifetime of experience to the campaign. And Senator Obama will bring a speech that he gave in 2002. I think that is a significant difference.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

COOPER: Paul, does any of this kind of stuff work at this late hour?

BEGALA: No. I'm not quite sure who they're placing that call to.

I mean, Senator Clinton has done 70 -- 70 -- events for Barack Obama around the country. She has raised $10 million for him, even though she is carrying a $20 million debt of her own from her presidential campaign, which she has not paid off.

So, she's done her part for this ticket. And I think, frankly, the Obama people are very happy with how Hillary has supported them, and her husband, for that matter.

COOPER: Tomorrow, what are you going to be looking at to get -- to get an indication of where this race is going?

BEGALA: In terms of early -- states that close early, Indiana closes 6:00 p.m. Eastern time. The Obama campaign is making a huge effort there. No Democrat has -- has even competed closely there since Lyndon Johnson carried it in 1964.

So, if Obama can win a state like Indiana -- that's a reach -- it's tough, but I think he can -- then, this -- this could be a blowout.

COOPER: Do you think it's going to be, Gloria, a blowout?

BORGER: A blowout? Don't know yet. I think we have to look at early -- at early states, like -- like Virginia, for example.

I think, when we see Virginia tomorrow night, and we see -- we see if Obama wins Virginia, and if he wins it by a large margin, then we're going to have a sense of some of these other red states, some of these other battleground states.

COOPER: But John King, though, has shown -- was talked -- has talked about this the last couple nights, that in states in races in the past where there's been an African-American -- African-American candidate, the undecideds, more often than not, break toward the -- the non-African-American candidate.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: So, if all this undecideds go to McCain tomorrow, I mean, a lot of these things are within six points, aren't they?

ROLLINS: Barack Obama is a different African-American. There's never been one like him. And I think, to a certain extent, he has transcended race.

There's always going to be certain people who are going to vote against him. But I think it's -- the number is smaller than ever. And I would -- I would argue very strenuously that, if it splits, the undecided, it's maybe a 6-4 split, but it's not going to go all one way or the other. BEGALA: Even just to be prudent, though, this is what I have been doing, OK? And I'm sure this is what the Obama people are doing. Take Obama's vote in the last poll in that state, but then add to it minimum of four points that will goes cats and dogs, to the Libertarian, to the Green, to the Communist, to the Independence Party. There's always about 4 percent.

ROLLINS: For Al Gore, one of your favorites.

BEGALA: To -- no, but, now, 4 percent will go to these third parties. So, you add that. In other words, that comes out -- most of our polling is just A or B. So, the undecided is -- 7 or really 4 or 3.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: No, that makes sense, right, because, in the polls, we don't have those other cats and dogs.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: Right. And then the rest is McCain.

So, if Obama is at 49, I don't really care where McCain is. Add three or four to that for these third-party candidates, and then subtract that from 100, and you will have -- you will have the vote for McCain. But that means that McCain is not going to get that undecided in that sense.

COOPER: And we're looking at our -- on the other side of the screen, we're looking at this live Obama event. People are waiting for the candidate to show up.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: We're going to bring you some of that live -- David.

GERGEN: Well, look at the -- I mean, look at the screen of Manassas, Virginia.

ROLLINS: The first Battle of...

(CROSSTALK)

GERGEN: First Battle of Bull Run, the Second Battle of Bull Run, two Confederate victories, and the irony of an African-American candidate drawing that kind of massive crowd in that part of Virginia -- and it's a countryside place -- is...

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: Suburban voters, exurban voters.

GERGEN: Very exurban.

BORGER: Exurban, which is what the Republicans were so great at microtargeting in the last election, particularly in a state like Ohio, look at those voters in Virginia that the Democrats are targeting right now.

(CROSSTALK)

GERGEN: It underscores Ed's point.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: But we have been losing Virginia for years. I happen to be in Northern Virginia myself. And Northern Virginia is completely gone to the Democrats. We're losing Loudoun County now. And, so, this is not hugely surprising. I don't expect Virginia to be in our column tomorrow night.

However, I think the point you made earlier, I disagree with Ed. I think that we are going to get a lot of those undecided. And what Paul was saying is that so many will go to the smaller parties, the third parties. I have been there. I have been in the third party.

When you have a close -- a very, very close race, and a very, very exciting race, people want to be a player in who's going to win or lose. And I think you are going to see much smaller numbers for third-party candidates tomorrow.

MARTIN: Anderson, when you talk about how Virginia is changing, you also must look at North Carolina.

And the reality is, population shifts are also playing a part in this, people who are leaving Eastern states, moving to some of those states. I mean, and, look -- and, granted, it is not a state in play, but even state like Texas, getting 500,000 new people every year, how Democrats are doing well even on the local level.

You're seeing changes. And I think, look, over the next four to eight years, you're going to -- you look at our map, we have been focusing on red and blue. The map is going to be changed significantly because of the population shifts. And, so, this is going to be a precursor for the next two elections.

GERGEN: I want to go back to what Bay just said, though. She said, "I don't think the Republicans are going to take Virginia tomorrow night."

If Virginia goes early, it's over.

(CROSSTALK)

GERGEN: There's no imaginable way...

COOPER: That's the sign for you?

(CROSSTALK)

ROLLINS: Her point, there's 600,000 new voters who moved into Northern Virginia since the 2000 census. The dynamics of that state have changed dramatically.

COOPER: Are those ACORN voters? Are those -- like, do we know...

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: That state -- that has always been Obama key state, Virginia.

COOPER: We're going to...

MARTIN: That set the whole map up.

COOPER: We're going to have more from our panel, including their predictions for what is going to happen tomorrow. We have this live event awaiting Barack Obama. Any moment now, he's anticipated to come. We will play you some of that.

Also, John McCain, anticipating at a live event in Nevada -- a lot to -- a lot to bring you. We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, one of the many unknowns to -- well, tonight, will the weather affect voter turnout tomorrow? The Election Day forecast shows snow and rain in the Northwest, rain in two potential swing states, North Carolina and Virginia.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: I just saw Bay Buchanan smile.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: Well, we wanted to give you a guide for tomorrow night.

We talked about it a little bit with our panel. While we may not know who wins until late, by 7:00 p.m. tomorrow, we may have a good idea. Here's why.

CNN's Tom Foreman is here with the "Raw Politics" -- Tom.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, so many different ways to look at the map, but you're absolutely right. Tomorrow night, no matter where you live, what you need to do is look east and start watching the clock, because, at 7:00 p.m. Eastern, we are going to have a half-dozen polls close, a half-dozen states here. That doesn't look like that would be a big indicator, but it is, in part because you have got Virginia and Indiana there.

As the gang just mentioned a little while ago, these are states that were reliably Republican. If they end up rolling over to Obama's column, that's important.

Also, keep an eye on Georgia down here, because Saxby Chambliss down there, a Republican, should have a safe seat, or at least he did some time ago -- not so much anymore. Now, there is a real sense that he could lose it. That could be important, not to the presidential race, but to the stack-up in Congress afterwards.

Then, turn to the clock again. We look at 7:30. When the comes around, you're going to have three more states close their polls. It doesn't sound like much, but look what's included, North Carolina and Ohio, awfully big, important states here. Republicans have never won the White House without winning Ohio.

And, importantly, they are tossup states. As we have already said in this show, John McCain has a very hard time winning this race if he doesn't win all the tossup states, and then some.

So, even though we're only a half-hour into returns, we could have a clear indication of what might be shaping up by this time in the evening. And, then, at 8:00, look at what happens. The big wave comes rushing in. All these other states join, including a lot of those toss-up states and including Pennsylvania, so important, and Florida, so important to both campaigns.

By the time this comes up, unless it's very, very close, we may have a real indication what's going to happen in this race. It is possible it would be so close that we won't know. It's possible there could be such a huge turnout that just counting everything will take quite a while.

But in all likelihood, if you look east and watch the clock, within the first two hours of returns, we may have a very real indication whether or not we're going to have a route by one side or the other or a very long night of counting -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Tom. Thanks very much.

This event in Manassas, Virginia, Barack Obama has appeared. Let's go there live.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: ... commonwealth of Virginia, and I am so grateful to him and Ann, his wife, and his kids, for all their friendship and support.

In the same way I am grateful for your former Governor, soon to be one of the greatest United States senators in our history. Give it up for Mark Warner! Mark is somebody who I think is an example of looking forward, not looking back, who understands we've got to leave some of the old arguments behind, bring the country together. And he has taught me a lot, and I'm grateful for his support.

I'm also grateful for the support of congressman Bobby Scott, who has been an outstanding advocate on behalf of his district and working people all across the country, to Judy Feder, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Representative from the 10th district. We look forward to seeing Judy serving in the House. To Jerry Connolly, Democratic nominee from the 11th C.D. We look forward to seeing him in the House, as well.

But most of all, I want to thank all of you. I know that, because of some traffic getting into Dulles, we were a little bit delayed. For all of you to stay here on a school night -- and let's face it, it's not going to be that much fun getting out of here. For you to make this sacrifice on our behalf is just extraordinary. And I hope -- I hope that that same determination and grit, you take in tomorrow, because it may be raining. The lines may be long. We're going to have record turnout, but I know Virginia is ready to bring about change in America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

OBAMA: Let me -- let me start by noting, Virginia, that this is our last rally. This is the last rally of a campaign that began nearly two years ago. We've gone to every corner of this country, from here in northern Virginia, to the rocky coast of Maine; from the open plains of Texas, to the open skies of Montana.

I just want to say that, whatever happens tomorrow, I have been deeply humbled by this journey. You have welcomed Michelle and me and the girls into your homes. You have -- you shared your stories of struggle; you've spoken of your dreams.

Along the way, in talking with all of you about your own lives, you've enriched my life. You have moved me again and again. You have inspired me. Sometimes, when I'm down, you've lifted me up. You've filled me with new hope for our future. And you've reminded me about what makes America so special.

In the place I've gone and the people I've met, I've been struck again and again by the fundamental decency and generosity and dignity of men and women who work hard without complaint to meet their responsibilities every day.

I've come away with an unyielding belief that, if we only had a government that was as responsible as all of you, as compassionate as the American people, then there's no obstacle we can't overcome. There's no destiny we cannot fulfill.

So Virginia, I just have one word for you, just one word: tomorrow. Tomorrow. After decades of broken politics in Washington, eight years of failed policies from George Bush, 21 months of campaigning, we are less than one day away from bringing about change in America.

Tomorrow, you can turn the page on policies that have put greed and irresponsibility before hard work and sacrifice. Tomorrow, you can choose policies that invest in our middle class and create new jobs, grow this economy so everybody has a chance to succeed, not just the CEO but the secretary and the janitor, not just the factory owner but the men and women who work the factory floors.

And tomorrow, you can end to the politics that would divide a nation just to win an election, that pits region against region, city against town, Republican against Democrat, that asks us to fear at a time when we need to hope.

Tomorrow, at this defining moment in history, Virginia, you can give this country the change that we need. It starts here in Virginia. It starts here in Manassas. This is where change begins.

We began this journey...

COOPER: Barack Obama making his closing arguments tonight.

So is Senator McCain. We're live at his rally in Nevada ahead. And later, the members of our best political team on television have their opinion. Now, we want to know their predictions. Find out who they think will win tomorrow and let us know what you think. Join our live chat happening right now at AC360.com. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R-AK), VICE-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need John McCain. Listen what is happening right now. Friends, it is the far left wing of the Democrat Party, not mainstream Democrat values, ideals or planks in their platform preparing this, but it is the far left wing of the Democrat Party preparing to take over your entire federal government.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: On the trail, keeping up the attack, Governor Sarah Palin warning of a Democratic takeover of Washington if Barack Obama wins tomorrow.

Also breaking news tonight: the Palin campaign releasing her medical records tonight just moments ago. We'll try to get a look at those. Actually, I'm just being handed something. Well, just a statement saying that they did released them. We'll get a close look at it and tell you what it says in the next -- we're live for the next hour and 20 minutes.

Let's get some predictions about what's going to happen tomorrow from our panel, who's going to win and by how much. With us again, our strategy -- for our "Strategy Session," former presidential advisor, David Gergen; Republican strategist Ed Rollins; Bay Buchanan, CNN political analyst; Roland Martin; CNN's John King; Democratic strategist Paul Begala; Martin -- Gloria Borger, Paul Begala, Bay Buchanan, we've got everybody.

All right. Did I miss anyone? No.

All right. Paul, what's going to happen tomorrow? Who's going to win and by how much?

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Obama wins, and it won't be close. I think carries a minimum of 325 electoral votes.

COOPER: Really? BEGALA: I could see his way to 378, without being incredibly imaginative.

COOPER: Roland Martin?

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Eli Manning has a big ring on his finger. He won 18-17. Don't nobody care: 270 is the number. Everything after that is irrelevant. So I think it you're Obama, all you want is 270 to get the ring.

COOPER: You're nodding your head.

MARTIN: Well, if you get to 270 you win.

COOPER: Yes, but there's a difference between winning and having a mandate.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: But if you get to 350, Roland, you govern.

MARTIN: You want that but...

BEGALA: Three seventy-three, 400, that's what you want.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You want the majority of the popular vote. I mean...

COOPER: David, what do you think is going to happen?

GERGEN: Listen, people haven't voted. I think in fairness, we ought to hold open the possibility that McCain could still win this. I don't think he will, but I think we have to hold up the possibility. There are a lot of folks out there who may not have expressed themselves, who may have said to the pollsters, "I'm for Obama," but they're really not. So you've got to wait.

COOPER: So there is real doubt in your mind. I mean, you believe it's trending toward Obama. But if it went the other way, you would not be entirely surprised?

GERGEN: I would be surprised but not shocked. And I think there's about a 10 percent chance of the McCain forces winning. I mean, we've had five weeks in a row of polls showing Obama with a significant lead. There hasn't been one national poll in five weeks showing McCain ahead. So you would have to say it's very likely not to happen.

But I think -- you know, one of the things I found from the voters, especially reading the blog sites for CNN is -- and 360, is they don't want to be told how they're going to vote.

My own predictions, I mean, if you had to predict it is, after you look at everything, I think we're looking at somewhere around 338 or so, give or take a little bit. But it seems to me, it's -- he's easily over 270, unless the polls are completely wrong. But I think it probably rolls up the score. COOPER: Before I get Gloria -- I want to get everyone -- I just want to read just very briefly from this statement. This is from doctor of Sarah Palin. This is -- there's been much controversy about whether or not she would release her medical records. We're just now, on the eve of the election, getting it.

This is one paragraph. "Governor Palin has been seen as a patient at our clinic since 1991. I've been her family physician since 1997. In the past 17 years, Governor Palin has been in very good health. Visits have been related to routine -- routine women's health care and pregnancy. She's had four term delivers in 1989, 1990, '94, 2000 and one pre-term delivery at 35 weeks gestation in 2008."

Basically, it says she's in good health. We'll have -- we'll have people reading. We're going to have Dr. Sanjay Gupta take a look at this and see if there's anything else that we need to tell you from the details.

But Gloria, your predictions?

BORGER: I agree -- I agree with David. I would be -- I believe that it's more likely that Barack Obama is going to win when you look at everything we look at. Obviously, people have to vote. So I'm not going to sort of make a blanket prediction this is what's going to happen.

I do think what's really interesting to look at tomorrow night, though, Anderson, is whether, if Barack Obama wins the 270-plus or whatever in the Electoral College, how he does in the popular vote.

We haven't had a Democratic president in this country win more than 50 percent of the popular vote since Jimmy Carter in '76, and he won with -- he had 50.1 percent of the popular vote. So it will be interesting to take a look at that number.

COOPER: Ed Rollins?

ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I'm going to do my part. I'm going to go vote for John McCain in New York City, unfortunately. I hope all my friends across the country go out and vote for him, because I think he's a great man, should lead this country.

But I think the reality is that he's probably going to lose, and it's probably about 350 electoral votes, somewhere in that range. And I think that, if every trend look like it is, with the momentum, he'll get about 53, 54 percent of the vote.

COOPER: Bay Buchanan?

BAY BUCHANAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: My father taught me a long time ago, you never bet against yourself. There's a chance. There's always a chance. There's -- hope runs eternal in my life. And -- and I believe in divine intervention at times, too. I'm a real believer in all these things. It's going to be tough. It's uphill. There's no question about that. But I will say it's McCain-Palin in a squeaker.

COOPER: OK.

GERGEN: If you've been fighting for the Japanese war, you've been up in the caves since 1948. "Of course, we're going to win this, baby."

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: To be honest, I knew Bay Buchanan would say that. I knew of all the people, she was the only one.

MARTIN: I'll be sure to pray with you.

COOPER: We're going to -- we're going to have a lot more as our coverage continues. We're going to take a short break. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Barack Obama speaking in Manassas, Virginia. Let's just listen in for a few seconds.

OBAMA: ... electricity grid so that we can bring renewable sources of energy to population centers that need them; invest $15 billion a year in renewable sources of energy; building wind turbines and solar panels, creating the next generation of biofuels; investing in clean coal technology; making sure that we're building the new generation of fuel-efficient cars, not in Japan, not in South Korea but right here in the United States of America.

COOPER: We'll have, also, a live event from John McCain that we are waiting for at any moment in Nevada. We'll bring you some of that, as well. Want to give equal time to the time that we've shown you this Obama event throughout the evening.

More with our panel, though, right now.

I want to play this thing that happened over the weekend which is so surreal that it actually happened. It took me several listens to believe that it was actually real and not someone talking to -- someone from "Saturday Night Live." Let's listen in, a prank call, Governor Palin talking to some radio D.J.'s pretending to be Nicolas Sarkozy of France.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly. We could go try hunting by helicopter, like you did. I never did that.

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R-AK), VICE-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Well, I think we could have a lot of fun together as we're getting work done. We can kill two birds with one stone that way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just love killing those animals. Mm-hmm, taking a life, that is so fun. I'd really love to go, as long as we don't bring Vice President Cheney.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Paul, how does something like this happen? I mean, how does it happen? How can a radio D.J. get a call through to...

MARTIN: The vice president.

COOPER: ... someone who may be vice president?

BEGALA: It's a rookie mistake on her part. This could happen to anybody in a primary, when you've got six, eight, 10, 12 candidates all going at once and one kind of gets into these things.

But by this stage of the game, she is fully staffed up, and Senator McCain is fully staffed up. And there's a guy named Randy Scheunemann. He's a very senior advisor. He's a foreign policy expert. He has been periodically traveling with Governor Palin.

There is a procedure, and they clearly didn't follow it. I listened to that tape, too, and they called, like, the travel aide or something. The travel aide hands the phone to the vice-presidential candidate. That's not how it works. When somebody calls saying...

COOPER: We had people calling in all the time, pretending to be Bill Clinton. We don't, like, put them on the air, you know? We, like, call them back. It's amazing to me.

BEGALA: Astonishingly bad judgment. And it's something -- I was struck -- I think you should listen to the whole thing. There's a moment at which these D.J.'s ask her about when she's going to run for president herself. And oh, my goodness, does she light up then. She kind of laughs and giggles. She clearly likes the notion of Sarkozy asking her to run for president.

COOPER: On to more important stuff.

BEGALA: She should get caller I.D.

COOPER: When you look, David Gergen, and have both these candidates in their final nights and their final days are running. I mean, you have Barack Obama. We saw a little bit of him just there, getting down in the weeds on energy policy but kind of going big. He's been sort of making a closing argument the last week or so.

John McCain today and Sarah Palin today still hitting hard at Barack Obama on coal. That was the issue today and over the weekend. Is they -- is that a mistake to be kind of still going small and not big?

GERGEN: Well, it indicates they -- they really don't have a lot to say for a closing argument. But I think there were a couple of symbolic aspects about today.

One was John McCain with a rally in Tampa, as Ed Rollins said, the heart of Republican country in Florida. And he had about 1,000 people there. And you see this massive rally now for Barack Obama in -- in Virginia.

And then the fact that John McCain, in the last days, going to seven states, six of which George W. Bush won. So he's -- I think it really -- symbolically, it was sort of an appropriate way for the campaign to end in some ways. And you have to say...

COOPER: Appropriately because it...

GERGEN: Well, it captured -- it captured what was happening toward the end. And it's not to say that John McCain is not a good man. I think Ed Rollins is right; there's much about him that's very fine. But this is a campaign that sort of ran out of gas.

BUCHANAN: You know, in fairness, John McCain is running up until the very end. He's not stopping. He's going out there for every single vote. He's got some -- hoping that something can be turned around.

And the reason, Anderson, he keeps mentioning the coal thing, is because clearly Obama is misrepresenting his position. This year alone he said he's going to bankrupt the industry. And then you saw him tonight saying, oh, how we're going to develop this industry, clean coal and all. I think that's a key issue, if he can convince the people in Ohio and western Pennsylvania that, indeed, that coal industry is threatened by Obama, he may be able to turn around a few votes. Those are two key states.

MARTIN: Anderson, look, at this point in the game, look, we have coal today. Before, it was -- it was Ayers. It was Rashidi. There's something different every single day. They are literally trying to throw anything and hope it sticks on the wall, as opposed to - compared to a candidate who has been extremely consistent with their message. That is what is resonating.

So at -- where they are now, look, you have no choice. You just throw everything out. Maybe something will strike.

COOPER: Right. We're going to take a short break. We're going to talk to Candy Crowley, who's live at the Obama event in Manassas, Virginia, on the other side of this break.

We're also waiting for this John McCain event in Nevada. We're just told now he's running late. We'll bring it to you next -- into our next hour, the 11 p.m. hour. We're going live all the way through to midnight. And then "LARRY KING" is live. We're covering this historic eve of this election.

Be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GRAPHIC: Spending on the 2008 presidential race to date is $1.5 billion. Double the spending of the 2004 presidential race. Source: Center for Responsive Politics.

COOPER: Lot of money. Look at the record amount of cash spent in this presidential race.

In these final hours of the campaign, we're trying to show you as much as we can from the trail. There's a lot happening live tonight. Tonight, John McCain and Barack Obama showed up at halftime on "Monday Night Football." Coming up, you'll hear from both candidates in their own words.

First, Erica Hill joins us with a "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, at least ten people are dead, dozens more wounded after a half-dozen bombings in Iraq today, all but one of these attacks in Baghdad. A deputy oil minister was among the injured. U.S. officials say attacks in the Iraqi capitol have been averaging now about four a day.

DNA tests confirm two large bones found last week in the Sierra, Nevada, are the remains of Steve Fossett. His bones were recovered about half a mile from the wreckage off Fossett's plane. The millionaire adventurer vanished in September 2007.

First aid for the financial crisis is adding up, and fast. The Treasury Department saying it now plans to borrow more than a half trillion dollars this quarter to pay for its rescue program, and it will borrow another 368 billion in the first three months of 2009.

The juror who disappeared during deliberations in the corruption trial of Senator Ted Stevens today told the judge she lied about her father dying and actually flew to California to see a horse race, Anderson.

COOPER: Are you kidding? Oh, man.

HILL: Sadly, I'm not.

COOPER: Wow.

HILL: Yes.

COOPER: All right. Tonight's "Shot" is from "Saturday Night Live." Over the weekend, Senator John McCain stopped by and the skit had him pitching campaign movies on a QVC home shopping show. And he had company. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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-Feingold Act and also looks great with evening wear.

Thank you, Cindy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: OK. HILL: It's hysterical. I have to say, the whole show was great.

COOPER: Yes. A lot more to come tonight. A lot more happening. We're live throughout the next hour with live campaign appearances across the board. We're also going to update you on the candidates, still on the trail making their final pitches.

Obama also dealing with the loss of a loved one. His beloved grandmother died late Sunday. He was informed about it early this morning.

More from our panel, looking into all the robo-calls people seem to be getting. Do they actually make a difference?

And we'll be taking you to Reno, Nevada, where Senator McCain is set to arrive at his rally any moment. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)