Return to Transcripts main page

INSIDE POLITICS

Trump Ramps Up Immigration Rhetoric in Closing Stretch; New CNN House Ratings: Six Seats Move Toward Democrats; Red State Senate Dems Emphasize Independence in Closing Ads; Candidates Who are Hoping to Make History. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired November 4, 2018 - 08:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[08:00:15] JOHN KING, CNN HOST (voice-over): Rallies to the end, but the president concedes, Republicans might lose the House.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They will try to erase our gains and eradicate our progress.

KING: Plus, Democrats hope star power translates into turnout.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: The character of our country is on the ballot.

OPRAH WINFREY, CELEBRITY TV TALK SHOW HOST: Let your vote makes a difference. Let your vote counts.

KING: And the Trump paradox. Another wow jobs report, but some voters can't see past his tweets and his tone.

TRUMP: If you don't want America to be overrun by masses of illegal leans and giant caravans, you better vote Republican.

KING: INSIDE POLITICS, the biggest stories sourced by the best reporters, now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King.

To our viewers in the United States and around the world, thank for sharing this important Sunday.

Two days, now, until America votes and gives President Trump a midterm report card. His late push focuses on key Senate races. His tweets and rally speeches full of racially tinged attacks and appeals.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: It's no surprise that Joe Donnelly is holding a rally this weekend with Barack H. Obama.

(BOOS

Barack Obama.

Caravan after caravan is forming unvetted illegal aliens trying to flood into our country, on your dollar, overwhelming your schools, depleting your resources, and endangering your community.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Democrats are confident of retaking the House, but the Senate map, much more difficult.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: When we win, and we will win. And again, I say to some of the commentators who are maybe not on the ground or listening to the ground, we will win. And people have to believe that we will win and act upon that belief.

So I'm confident. I don't know how big it will be. I hope it will be a big victory so we can also win the Senate. I know we'll win governorships. It's so exciting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Now, the booming economy gives Republicans some late hope, but in this year of the woman, watch the suburbs to see if the president's tone weighs more heavily than his achievements.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This year, I will be voting straight down the Democratic line.

My speech bubble would say, "words matter." And the words that are out there, every day, are just eating at me. And the only way for me to fight that, little me, right now is to vote against what he stands for or who's standing behind him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: With us this pre-election Sunday to share their reporting their insights, CNN's Maeve Reston, Mike Shear of "The New York Times", CNN's Jeff Zeleny, and Seung Min Kim of "The Washington Post."

A midterm election primer in the hour ahead, beginning with the man who has the most at stake. President Trump has energetically embraced the obvious -- this midterm vote is most of all a referendum on him. How he has embraced that fact is telling.

The Trump brand is strength and swagger, but in this final weekend, he acknowledges a giant weakness. His party is on the verge of losing its grip on the House, meaning Democrats could soon not only have the power to block the Trump legislative agenda, but also the power for aggressive oversight and investigations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KING: It could happen. Could happen. We're doing very well. And we're doing really well in the senate. But could happen.

And you know what you do? My whole life, you know what I say? Don't worry about it. I'll just figure it out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Also telling, the president ignoring pleas from House Republican leaders and vulnerable House incumbents to tone down his immigration rhetoric and focus more on great new economic news in these final hours.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I can only go for four or five minutes with that stuff. And then the crowd says, we love you, and they start dwindling off. But what I do is talk about some of the problems that we have.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: To him, immigration is problem number one. And in making his case, the president has no problem misleading, exaggerating, and often, lying.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: At this very moment, large, well-organized caravans of migrants are marching towards our southern border. Some people call it an invasion. It's like an invasion.

They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back. I say, consider it a rifle.

Hundreds of thousands of children born to illegal immigrants are made automatic citizens of the United States every year because of this crazy, lunatic policy. If you don't want America to be overrun by masses of illegal aliens and giant caravans, you better vote Republican.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[08:05:09] KING: The question is, the White House thinks it's working. There are some Republicans and a lot of Democrats who think he's gone too far. And that in using this rhetoric, and especially wading into racist or racially tinged language, like Barack H. Obama, that the president might be energizing his people, but has he gone so far that he's also having a counter-effect, either driving moderate Republicans away or emerging Democrats, especially Latino voters.

MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: It's absolutely happening. And you saw, for example, this weekend in California, you had Gavin Newsom, who's running for governor of California, and Kamala Harris out on the trail, mocking the caravan rhetoric of Donald Trump. Gavin Newsom saying that, you know, vote against this on Tuesday. This is what we're voting against, this is what we're fighting against, talking about what a diverse state California is, and really trying to whip up turnout among those Latino voters who could be so key, in many of these House races, particularly in states like Texas and California.

So, I really think that it is driving up turnout, even in the early vote.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And look where the president did not go this weekend. He was not in Arizona. He was not in Nevada. Those are two of the big Senate races, two of the big opportunities for Democrats to win Republican-held seats.

Now, one of the concerns is, there is this rhetoric firing up Hispanic voters, who have not been all that enthused up until now. So that is the question. I've been at a lot of Trump rallies throughout the week, in Missouri on Thursday and in Montana on yesterday. No question, it is firing up his base. All he needs to do is get those Trump voters from 2016 to turn out this week.

So the question, is he firing up both sides? I think the answer is yes. That's why Tuesday night is such a jump ball here. So, I do think it's working in some respects to get his voters sort of alive and awakened to this. But is he doing the same on the other side? He may be.

MICHAEL SHEAR, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I thought it was interesting that the clip that you played of him acknowledging that they might lose the House was a sort of rare moment of the bubble being pierced around him, right? Trump usually lives inside this sort of Trump bubble, where, you know, he goes to, as Jeff said, all of these places where he's just surrounded by, you know, his sort of sycophantic fans, who just love him intensely. And I was there in West Virginia the other day.

And there's -- you know, there's no sense that they, you know, that the message isn't working, because they're not going to the places like Maeve was talking about. But that's an interesting moment where he looks like -- somebody has at least told him, look, this may not be working entirely in all of the places. It's certainly working in some of the places, but not everywhere.

SEUNG MIN KIM, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: And I do want to point out, too. It may be having a tentative effect among the base, but also potentially putting Senate Democrats on defense, because we talk about how this language, this rhetoric might be repelling these moderate voters in these suburban areas. But remember where the Senate terrain is being fought. It's in largely conservative territory.

And I was really struck by some of the comments from Senate Democrats just this past week, as this immigration rhetoric started to ramp up. You have Claire McCaskill going on Fox News and saying, I 100 percent support the president to do whatever he can to make sure the border is, quote, not overrun. You have Joe Donnelly and Joe Manchin saying in their respective debates that they would be open to amending birthright citizenship.

I mean, these are senators who voted for a comprehensive immigration bill just five years ago, and to see that push to the right, because of the electorate of their states and because of what the president is saying, is a really remarkable dynamic.

KING: And it reminds us, and we're going to go through this, throughout the hour, how complicated the map is. You can talk about how national polls mean nothing, just like in a presidential year. They tell you a little bit, but you have to put them on an individual place on the map where the race you're talking about, and it could be quite different.

The president has been everywhere. Eight rallies, he did at least four interviews. He brought up some new proposals a couple of weeks ago, it was a new tax cut. This week, more border troops, curtailing asylum, ending birthright citizenship.

He -- look, midterm elections are always a referendum on the president. Some presidents sort of go into the shadows because they're an issue. This president has the decided, if it's about me, let's make it about me, right?

ZELENY: He absolutely has done that, and from the beginning. It seemed like a couple of weeks ago, he was like, I want to do a rally every single day. We're like, how's that possible for a sitting president? Does he have a day job?

But he has done that. So, again, all he needs to do in his mind is to get Trump voters who voted for him in 2016 to the polls on Tuesday. He has the blessing of geography here, which doesn't always happen. So, that is something --

(CROSSTALK)

ZELENY: On the Senate. The House map, boy, it is silence in the White House. He has resigned, I am told, to the fact that Republicans will lose control of the House.

He thinks it could be good for him long-term. Short-term, a pain, though. No question about it.

But that's why he's so focused on the Senate.

KING: And it is essentially a split-level election, at least that's what it seems. We'll see what happens on Tuesday. Be open to surprises, what I would suggest to everybody.

Pay attention the last few years. Be open to surprises.

[08:10:01] But listen to the president. He processes everything through winning. We know that. We've known that through the campaign, throughout his presidency, and also the ups and downs. Whether it's the horrific massacre in the synagogue or the pipe bombs mailed to prominent Democrats, the president processes that through the campaign, or the caravan that he has turned into a giant issue in this campaign, even though they are weeks and weeks and weeks away from the U.S./Mexico border, this is how the president talks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: We did have two maniacs stop a momentum that was incredible, because for seven days, nobody talked about the elections. It stopped a tremendous momentum.

They want to invite caravan after caravan, and it is a little suspicious, how those caravans are starting, isn't it? Isn't it a little? And I think it's a good thing, maybe, that they did it. Did they energize our base or what?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: He connects everything to him and to winning and losing, when some things are just not connected to the election. Sorry, sir.

RESTON: And it just -- the idea that he dabbles in conspiracy theories and what we see, you know, on the dark web, I think that that's so much about -- it's so much of what many suburban voters can't stand. They don't want to hear conspiracy theories and lies from their president. They don't understand, you know, how this kind of rhetoric is happening from the top in their country.

And that is why, you see so many women, particularly college-educated women, and college-educated people in general, drifting away from the Republican Party. And that is really, potentially going to hurt a lot of house candidates on Tuesday.

KING: All right. We're going to watch this one play out. It's fascinating. And again, we'll go through this throughout the hour.

Next, 23 is the magic number as Democrats look to flip the House and confront the president.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:15:46] KING: Nancy Pelosi is full of confidence this final weekend, certain, she says, Democrats will flip enough seats to seize control of the House. Some new "Washington Post"/ABC poll numbers this morning, though, suggest a Democratic edge, but not a giant blue wave.

Look at here -- among likely voters, the new poll says 51 percent favor Democrats for Congress, 44 percent back Republicans. That's a Democratic edge. That's not a giant blue wave.

We also have some changes to our own CNN House rankings this final weekend. Six changes, all of them towards the Democrats. So, our numbers right now, advantage Democrats. Lean likely and solid, 207 seats, leaving the Democrats close. They needed 11 more to get to the majority, 197 seats lean likely or solid Republican.

So, where will the House be won or lost for the Democrats. Here, here. See all the yellow? See on the map? Thirty-one toss-up states.

Why is this advantage Democrats? Of the 31 toss-up races, 30 are now held by Republicans. Republicans are on serious defense when it comes to the House.

So what are you going to watch for on election night? Start in the Northeast? Eastern Time Zone.

Democrats believe they can pick up in New York and New England, six, seven, maybe even eight or more seats, just right here. Then what do we next from there? Move down.

Watch Virginia when results come in here. Are the Democrats just picking up this one seat in the suburbs, or can they get two or three by flipping these Republican toss-ups right here. That will tell you a lot, as we start through election night. Are the Democrats doing what they need to get to 23?

Then you move to the Midwest, where Democrats see a lot of opportunity. They see it in Iowa. They see it possibly even in Kansas, they see it in Michigan.

One race to watch out here, right here in Kentucky. This is a battleground toss-up. You look at it right here, the incumbent is Republican Andy Barr, Democratic challenger, former pilot, Amy McGrath.

Democrats say if they're winning this direction on election night, that bodes well as you go across the country. If they're winning in Kentucky 6, they think they get to 23 and more. This has been a great race along the big national dynamic.

Andy Barr says, hey, Republicans cut taxes. The economy is doing great. Amy McGrath says, the Republicans are messing with your health care.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ANDY BARR (R), KENTUCKY: We are getting results for the people of this district. This is a booming economy, people have greater confidence. There's more jobs, wages are growing, paychecks are growing.

Our communities are safer. Our communities are healthier. Our nation is stronger.

AMY MCGRATH (D), KENTUCKY CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: I believe health care is a right. Not a privilege. Not something only the wealthiest 1 percent or the wealthiest folks that can afford it should have. It is absolutely a right and we need to make sure all Americans can have access to affordable and accessible health care.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: A couple of things on the final Sunday. Number one, it is remarkable how nationalized the climate is. You can go across the country and it's very hard to find races that aren't broken down like that, especially in the House. Republicans say, hey, economy's doing great. The Democrats say, some people are still working two or three jobs in that economy you're talking about and the Republicans are trying to take away your health care.

The other thing is, should Nancy Pelosi be happy or a little nervous about her prediction, when you see only -- I'm talking one poll, but seven points in "The Washington Post"/ABC poll, seven points in the generic ballot, that's 20-28. That's right there on the edge.

ZELENY: It's completely on the edge. And a lot of people are surprised by her confidence at the end. Because, A, it can have a lot of effects. A, it could, I guess, motivate Democrats, but could also say, oh, everything's fine, make them complacent.

So she's been mocked a little bit on "SNL" and other places for making the comment. But she has her own politics at play here, too. She is already looking forward to the chance of being speaker again.

But hold on. There's an election to happen before that.

But I look at places in the middle of the country in those new Trump states. Look at Iowa, look at Michigan, look at Wisconsin. I have a couple of races I'll be watching on Tuesday are the Iowa races in the Des Moines area, going to the western part of the state and the eastern part of the state.

If they win both of those, if Democrats win both of those, it seems very difficult for Republicans to hold a majority. So -- but, you know, the idea of a pl blue wave, stop thinking about that. I don't think it's going to happen.

KING: Well, let's see. I'm just going to leave -- anything could happen.

ZELENY: It's not guaranteed.

KING: But here's the tug-of-war, the collision, call it what you will, in the electorate.

You look at Democrats. And Democrats, and Democrats -- they're very happy. They look at how we're doing in the suburbs. Look at how we're doing in the suburbs, number one. Look at how we're doing with white college graduates.

[08:20:03] They're doing better than Trump, way better than Trump in 2016. Way better than even Hillary Clinton among the women they think are key. So, the Democrats say, OK, that's targets of opportunity, especially if you look at the house maps, suburban districts, districts that Hillary Clinton won that are represented by Republicans. Here's your opportunity.

Here's what Republicans say, in the new "Washington Post"/ABC News poll, what's the economy like? 60 to 70 percent, 70 percent say excellent or good. Seven in 10 Americans say the economy is excellent or good, and the Republicans are about to lose the House, huh?

SHEAR: Well, part of that is the -- you talked about how this race is nationalized. And when you showed that clip, right, the two of those folks in the Kentucky House race were talking about -- the Republican bar was talking about the economy in highlighting that.

But the lack of discipline from the president, he did -- he has in the last day or so, when he got that jobs report, he became a little bit more disciplined, he opened up his rally in west Virginia, that day that he got that jobs report and he focused on the economy for maybe about five or six minutes. And then it was become to immigration again. And so, to the extent that the president is setting the tone, he's not capitalizing for some of these Republicans on the issues that they want.

KING: To that point, to that point, that helps in a lot of the Senate races, but this is Carlos Curbelo, moderate Republican. His district is as south as you can go in Florida. It's right at the tip. He's got a lot of Latinos. He listened to them talk and he said, Mr. President, you're going to make me lose.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. CARLOS CURBELO (R), FLORIDA: It's definitely part of a divide and conquer strategy, that a lot of politicians, including the president have used successfully in the past. I hope this doesn't work. I hope that type of strategy starts failing in our country. But that's up to the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We often talk of two Americas. There's also two campaigns playing out. And again, the Trump rhetoric -- we'll get to the Senate in a moment, but the Trump rhetoric has helped a lot of the red states. But if you're Carlos Curbelo and you're trying to hang on, it's disastrous for you.

KIM: Another place where the president actually did hurt was the Texas and Houston area, when he went to Houston a few weeks to campaign on behalf of Ted Cruz running for reelection there. But notice who wasn't there, John Culbertson, the Republican House member who represents that area, because his numbers were hurt by Trump essentially being there.

Another point to look at, too, is just kind of the volatility of all these races. We talk about how Democrats do generally have the advantage in these generic pollings, but look at kind of how just the ups and downs of each races. I mean, there are races that Republicans felt pretty confidently that they were up, could take out spending. But have had to go back in with money.

Look at Will Hurd in Texas, Curbelo who you just mentioned, and Democrats, too, as well. I mean, they felt pretty confident in the Rod Blum district, but they've also -- in Iowa, but they've also had to go back in there, as well. So, it's just a lot of ups and down, even if Democrats feel pretty good.

(CROSSTALK)

RESTON: And I think they also -- you know, in contrast with Trump, the Democrats have been quite can disciplined in this cycle in the way they have talked about the economy. And you see them over and over again, them making this argument that, yes, the economy is can doing great, but the middle class, the lower middle class, a lot of people aren't feeling that. If you don't have ownership in the stock market, you're not going to be benefiting from some of the gains that we've seen.

So I think in that way, in contrast with 2016, when they did not -- Democrats did not have a good economic message at all, they have been able to sway some voters, particularly on the tax bill, for example, by making this argument that it benefited the top 1 percent and not middle class America.

KING: All right. When we come back, up next, the path to controlling the Senate runs through Trump states this year and it takes two hands to count the dead heats this final weekend. Here's a taste from the campaign trail this weekend. Joe Biden after losing his voice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: They're trying to convince us that honesty is relative, depending on where you stand. Truth is truth. Truth is truth. Honesty is honesty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[08:28:15] TRUMP: This election is a choice between Republican results and radical resistance. It's a choice between greatness and gridlock. It's a choice between jobs and mobs. And it's a choice between an economy that is going strong and the Democrats, who are going crazy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: The president on the trail there.

And it's advantage Republicans when it comes to this map, the fight -- the midterm fight to control the Senate. The Democrats are on defense, because this 2018 map includes 10 Democratic incumbents in states president Trump carried just two years ago.

That's why, heading into the final days here, we have 49 Republican senators likely to win, 45 Democrats likely to win. The six toss-up races, you see them here, in yellow. So for the Democrats to pull this off, they have to essentially run the board.

If nothing else changes, they have to run the board. Here's another way to look at it. If nothing else changed, all the Republicans would have to do is to win Tennessee, where Marsha Blackburn is ahead right now. That's it, Mike Pence breaks the tie if Republicans can get to 50.

So, the Republicans have a much easier path to keeping their majority. And they think, actually, they can win some of these other states, too, and actually add to their majority.

Here's what Democrats would have to do. Let me show you this right here. We'll flip it right here.

Democrats would have to one the board, win Florida, win Tennessee, win Indiana, win Missouri, win Nevada, win Arizona, hold on to Montana. That's what Democrats have to do, essentially what President Trump had to do in the end of the 2016 campaign. Draw perfectly to an inside straight. The president did that with Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Democrats, a lot of Trump states, they would have to somehow pull off in the final days.

[08:30:00]

So Republicans think advantage in the senate, maybe we can even add one or two. If you listen to these blue state, the Trump state Democrats, excuse me, at the end of the campaign, they know they can't win by just getting Democrats.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BILL NELSON (D), FLORIDA: The Senate race comes down to one question. Who has the independence to put Florida first?

SEN. JOE DONNELLY (D), INDIANA: If you want someone to be with a political party 100 percent of the time, I'm not that guy. I'm not about party.

KYRSTEN SINEMA (D), ARIZONA SENATE CANDIDATE: I know Arizonians deserve a senator who just solves problems. Not in a Republican way or a Democratic way, but just solves the problems.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Again, it is fascinating. Democrats with the wind at their back when it comes to the House and the wind in their face when it comes to the Senate. Same country, two very different maps.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: No question. And Montana is a prime example of that. I was out there yesterday and I was struck by the President's language, actually.

For all the vitriol he talks about Maxine Waters, Nancy Pelosi; to Jon Tester he's a nice guy, but he's not with me on stuff. So he was clearly getting the memo that people in Montana, they like Jon Tester. But he's trying to convince them to send him a Republican Senate.

So a little bit of a softer edge there. But the reality here is, I was talking to Jon Tester about this. I said, you have to get Trump voters to support you. And he still believes and some others believe, like Joe Donnelly and others, we'll see, that there still is a need, an appetite for checks and balance. We'll see if that's true.

KING: And again thematically -- thematically it is playing out like the House races. In the Senate this is a map -- we're borrowing here from Bloomberg -- if you look at this map, you see all this green. Those are health care ads. Democrats are running on health care. The other colors are different issues -- taxes, and you know, border security and the issues.

But look at all of that green. Democrats are running, including in these states on health care. And listen here, they have some Republicans on defense when it comes to health care. Essentially, the Republican candidates are being forced to say, no, no, no, wait a minute. When Democrats say, we'll take away your pre-existing condition insurance, they're wrong.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSH HAWLEY (R), MISSOURI SENATE CANDIDATE: Earlier this year, we learned our oldest has a rare chronic disease, pre-existing condition. We know what that's like. I'm Josh Hawley. I support forcing insurance companies to cover all pre-existing conditions.

GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA SENATE CANDIDATE: I grew up in public housing, rarely saw a doctor. One of the kids had a hip disease -- that was my family growing up. I support forcing insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: When former President Obama was on the trail the other day, I think he used the word chutzpah, among other words. Because Josh Hawley, for example, is an attorney general in the state of Missouri who is suing to throw out Obamacare, including throw out the requirement that insurance companies must take people with pre- existing conditions. And then he sits there on the television and says, oh shucks, I would never do that.

SEUNG MIN KIM, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, "WASHINGTON POST": That's why you have to look at their actions, such as Josh Hawley signing on to that lawsuit. But it's remarkable how health care has united Senate Democratic candidates across the map because you do have obviously candidates running in more conservative states such as Phil Bredesen, you know, Sherrod Brown running in a state that Trump won, but has ran proudly as a progressive. But it is health care that has just across the board united these candidates.

Another example is when Mitch McConnell made those comments about potentially amending Medicare and other entitlement programs. If you look at what Senate Democrats said that week, they just jumped on those comments at debates and campaign ads. They said, look, this is why you need to vote Democratic candidates in, so we can protect these programs.

I also found interesting, Martha McSally in Arizona acknowledged that she's been getting her, quote, "butt kicked" on -- when it comes to the health care issue. So it's really put Republican candidates on defense.

MICHAEL SHEAR, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "NEW YORK TIMES": And it's just -- it is just remarkable for all of us -- Jeff was there, who were covering the Obama administration in 2009 and 2010, when he and his party were just getting their butts kicked on health care and specifically on Obamacare.

It's remarkable how this issue has turned and in some ways, this is the sort of end result of a long game that the Republicans played themselves. They vowed that they were going to repeal and replace. Remember, that was their whole mantra in 2016.

And they have tried to do it. They haven't been entirely successful, but the voters are answering the question of, is that what they wanted?

KING: And if Democrats are going to pull off what would be a miracle in the Senate, they would essentially have to be perfect. Especially Heidi Heitkamp, we expect her to lose North Dakota. She's been down consistently in the polls of late.

So the Democrats -- you saw those six toss-up states, they've got to sweep them and hold everything else. They say that the secret ingredient, if you will, is that this will not be a traditional midterm election. They are promising African-Americans, Latinos, younger voters who traditionally drop out in midterm years, Democrats are saying, no, we'll surprise you, they're going to turn out.

Let's look at these early vote numbers. Don't jump to conclusions here but if you look, this is voters under 30. The percentage of younger voters in the early voting in these states, in several of these states right here -- Arizona, Florida, Nevada, Texas -- big Senate races in those states. The percentage of younger voters in the early voting is up. It's up.

Again, don't jump to conclusions, but are we seeing the seeds that we will be -- that we could be surprised? That the polls aren't right because you're going to have a new, different electorate?

[08:34:57] MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: I do -- I do think that the caution on what we're seeing in terms of the early vote is correct. But anecdotally, every state that I have been in around this country, you have seen a surge of younger voters, showing up at these campaign headquarters, for the first time, canvassing for candidates, volunteering.

And you know, I understand that a lot of people will say, well, that's just Democratic activists, but these are first-time kids who are saying that they feel regrets about 2016, about their generation not turning out to vote in large numbers for Hillary Clinton.

And the fact that that potentially, you know, that that did contribute to Trump's victory, that they feel the need to get out there and work for candidates, particularly like Katie Hill in California's 25, who are millennials, who represent their generation. And you really just are seeing a huge surge in energy that I think will continue on Election Day.

KING: We will see. And that's one of the great things, this being the pre-election Sunday. We're going to be counting them soon. We're not talking about votes still but counting them, too.

RESTON: That's right.

KING: That's part of --

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Up next, Democrats are poised for big gains outside of Washington, hoping to make history in Florida and Georgia as part of what Democrats believe will be a big, blue bounce back in races for governor.

[08:36:11] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: The midterm vote also includes 36 races for governor and Democrats see a giant opportunity to roar back at the state house level. Republicans dominate in the current balance of power -- 33 GOP governors, 16 Democrats, and one Independent.

But Democrats' 2018 hopes include a half-dozen contests in midwestern states that currently have Republican governors and Democrats see a chance to make history in Florida and Georgia. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum wants to be Florida's first black governor. And in Georgia, Stacey Abrams has a chance to be the nation's first African- American woman governor. Abrams loving this big turnout assist in the Atlanta suburbs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: Make your voice are heard on November 6th. We have this incredible opportunity to make history. We have our inalienable right to vote, because the once place where we're all equal, where is it? It's at the polls.

This is a tight race here in Georgia. This is tight. And there are tight races all over this country that depend on all of us giving honor to our greatest Democratic right and privilege. So let your vote make a difference, let your vote count. Let your vote speak for you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: It is a remarkably tight race. Dead heat in Georgia, dead heat in Florida. Dead heats or close races in a lot of these other races for governor.

This is one thing, Democrats got wiped out in the Obama years. They lost the House. They lost these governorships. They lost state legislative seats. They think 2018 is a chance for a rebound.

Good enough chance to elect the first African-American governor -- period? And do it in the state of Georgia? African-American governor of Florida?

ZELENY: We'll find out. I mean both of these are very driven by dynamic progressive candidates that have gone a little bit more toward the middle in the general election. Democrats I talk to speak very hopeful about Florida in particular. They believe that Florida is an opportunity.

But I'm looking at also places in the Midwest. These new Trump states -- Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa. And these are places where Democrats could win back the governorship. And that's where the President was not campaigning.

He will be in Georgia later this happening, to help the Republican there. But watch Georgia, that could go to a runoff if they don't get over 50 percent.

KING: And when you watch the President, there's been a lot -- I mentioned this earlier in the show -- Barack H. Obama. He called Andrew Gillum, the Democrat candidate for governor "Stone Cold Thief". There are Trump critics -- the President says no, in a TVN interview this week, "I'm not a racist. They say that because I'm a winner. They call me a racist."

People who watch him say that he talks about certain issues and certain candidates differently. Listen to the President here talking about the African-American candidates running for governor in Florida and Georgia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She is not qualified to be the governor of Georgia. Not qualified. And Georgia is a great state.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why?

TRUMP: It's a great, great state.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why is she not qualified?

TRUMP: Take a look. Take a look at her past. Take a look at her history.

Andrew Gillum is not equipped to be your governor. Just not equipped. It's not for him. It's not for him. He knows it. He won't say it, but he knows it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RESTON: I think that shaded language is so infuriating to so many people. Again, suburban voters, college-educated voters, you know, you look at the background of someone like Stacey Abrams, it's just an absurd statement to make on its face. And so I mean I think that --

KING: He says she's too liberal, you could say she is, you know, whatever. But it's not a policy -- he's not making a policy argument.

RESTON: He's not making a policy argument. And it does just -- it just really gets under people's skin. They don't want to hear that from, you know, the top leader of the United States.

You also have this story bubbling up this week, reported in "Vanity Fair" first of about Michael Cohen talking about how Trump had made all of these statements in the past about black Americans.

And so we really have to see the way that's going to turn out, particularly in states like Florida, a place where you also have the recent shooting in Tallahassee, that could potentially boost turn out there. So it's really a wild card.

KING: And if you think -- if you're the President and you think this is grossly unfair, you need to be careful of your language then. If you know you're being watched, you need to be careful.

[08:44:59] So does the Agricultural Secretary Sonny Perdue, former governor of Georgia talking about the Florida election. He said it's, quote, "so cotton-picking important". Really? Really? They don't even try to hide it.

KIM: And you also have to look at the other ways that the President has not been helpful in these governors' races. Just by looking at who he's chosen to throw his support behind in the primaries. I mean a Republican source pointed out to me just how, if you look at how Trump and Mitch McConnell had worked hand in glove to put these electable candidates on the ballot for the general election.

There's been no similar equivalent on the governor's side, because he weighed in favor of Kris Kobach in Kansas, in favor of Ron DeSantis in Florida, and also Brian Kemp in Georgia. They all had more establishment Republican candidates who are vying in that primary. And those are all toss-up states now.

KING: And this is very important, these governors' races, though we talk about the House and the Senate because we're creatures of Washington. But think about the 2020 presidential campaign. Think about post 2020 redistricting.

Jeff made this point -- I just want to show it. Trump-to-Obama states, states President Trump carried that President Obama had carried previously with gubernatorial elections that could flip -- Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania. You look right there.

I mean this is very important, as we start to look to the 2020 calculation and the 2020 redistricting.

ZELENY: And redistricting is so important for the next generation. But the President has not been in many of those, with the exception of Florida at the end. The Republican candidates for governor in these states are not that eager to see the President, you know, which again looking forward to 2020, he's going to have to go back to those states.

KING: Will there be Democrats? Will there be Republicans? Fascinating. Again, big days ahead.

Up next, our reporters hare a page from their notebooks, including how President Trump plans to spin a midterm defeat into a big White House win.

[08:46:45] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Let's head one last time around the INSIDE POLITICS table, ask our great reporters to share a little bit from their notebooks, help you get out ahead of the big political news just around the corner.

Maeve Reston.

RESTON: So we've got a lot of exciting races in California to watch on Tuesday night but my personal favorite is Duncan Hunter's race, which is in one of the most conservative districts in California. And not only was he indicted, but he has throughout the course of this campaign gone after his opponent, claiming that he has ties to terrorism, suggesting he's a Muslim, even though he's a Christian Mexican-Palestinian-American.

And it's just a real true test of the loyalty of Trump voters, whether they will stand behind him in this district that Trump won by 15 points.

KING: And if he loses, I bet he blames his wife.

Michael.

RESTON: You got it.

SHEAR: Everybody's watching for Tuesday, I'm actually watching for Wednesday. There's a tradition that presidents always have a press conference the day after a midterm election to kind of give their take on it.

In the past, in 2006, President Bush after a very bad election for Republicans said that he had gotten a thumping. And in 2010, President Obama said that he had been shellacked by the results of the Republican victories.

So we'll see two things on Wednesday. One, will President Trump actually hold a press conference? He doesn't really go for all these traditions. And if he loses badly, what word does he use?

KING: What word does he use? We'll look for that one. Bill Clinton said he was relevant, 1994.

Jeff?

ZELENY: So by the time the President arrives in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, tomorrow night for his 41st campaign rally of the year, by my count, he's going to again, you know, be doing the same thing. But that is not going to be the end of the rallies.

I'm told that the President has become so fixated on these rallies, in the words of one adviser, this fall made him realize how much he loves rallies and how much he missed them.

So the Trump show is going to go on. It is going to go on directly into 2020 without much stop at all. The question is, where he goes. He's not going to be able to keep this same route of red state, red state, red state. But interestingly, all of these rallies yes, have been about Republican candidates. But there have been very few signs of Senate signs. I was in Montana yesterday, for example. No Matt Rosendale signs, all Trump signs. That is by design.

So the Trump show, maybe a slight hiatus, but not much of one. It's going to be back in full swing.

KING: All right. The fall season -- can't wait.

Seung Min.

KIM: I know we've joked a lot about it being infrastructure week, but if House Democrats win on Tuesday, it might actually be infrastructure week. We have seen signs that senior White House officials are actually making overtures to key Democrats, even ahead of the midterms, to try to talk about an infrastructure deal.

The legislative affairs director Shahira Knight visited a top House Democrat who would be overseeing transportation and infrastructure projects a few weeks ago. She carried a message from the President saying President Trump wants to do something real and that he acknowledges that it's going to require real money.

So if Democrats do take back the House on Tuesday, they're going to need some legislative accomplishments next year. So don't sleep on infrastructure week just yet.

KING: I hope we saved those graphics on infrastructure week.

I'll close with this, Roger Stone spent much of this weekend calling friends and longtime associates, worrying he could soon be indicted by the special counsel Robert Mueller. Now, the Trump friend and longtime GOP dirty trickster insists Mueller has it wrong.

But the questions about Stone go directly to his cooperation, perhaps with WikiLeaks and the Russia collusion debate. Stone's anxious calls though remind us of something even bigger. Once the election passes Tuesday, watch for the special counsel and other investigations to roar back into the news.

Presidential friends are worried about this. There's a ton of administration turnover just ahead. Plus, the prospect, as we've been noting this morning, of a Democratic House. Add in a post-election green light for investigators to share their progress. And as one Trump friend put it Saturday to me in an e-mail, quote, "I'm worried about a volcano".

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. Again, thanks for sharing your Sunday morning. Hope you can catch us weekdays, as well. We're here at noon eastern. A big week ahead with the elections coming.

Up next, don't go anywhere -- "STATE OF THE UNION WITH JAKE TAPPER". Among his guests, one of the big candidates this year, Georgia's gubernatorial nominee, Stacey Abrams. [08:50:03] Thanks for joining us. Have a great Sunday.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)