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tv   Meet the Press  MSNBC  November 4, 2018 10:00pm-11:00pm PST

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>> yeah, i think we're -- we're going to need -- >> hydration, vitamins. >> you'll get to watch it tuesday night. >> it's going to be fun and a whole night. this sunday, closing arguments. president trump and the republicans focusing on immigration. >> republicans want strong borders, no drugs, no gangs, and no caravans. >> you mean the people of texas want to stop the caravan? >> secure our border, build the wall. >> while democrats talk about health care. >> you're going to have a governor who will work to expand medicaid. >> health care is on the ballot this year. >> and who we are as a nation. >> maybe most of all, the character of our country is on the ballot. >> this morning, we're on the ground in four of the most important battleground states, arizona, missouri, florida and texas. plus i'll talk to stacey abrams. the democratic candidate for governor of georgia, chris van hollen, and governor bill haslam
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of tennessee, the head of the republican governors association. and one last look at where the race stands. will democrats win back the house? will republicans actually make gains in the senate? and what message will voters be sending to president trump? we'll have the results of our final midterm nbc news/"wall street journal" poll. joining me for insight and analysis are savannah guthrie, hugh hewitt, nbc news capitol hill correspondent kasie hunt, democratic pollster cornell belcher and nbc news senior correspondent tom brokaw. welcome to sunday and a special midterm edition of "meet the press." >> announcer: from nbc news, the longest running show in television history, this is a special edition of "meet the press" with chuck todd. good sunday morning from our election headquarters right here at rockefeller center in new york city where on tuesday night, we'll be reporting on the first national referendum on the trump presidency. at stake all 435 house seats, 35
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senate seats this year, 36 governors races, and of course thousands of state legislative seats are on the ballot. for the democrats a great night for them would be winning back the house convincingly, somehow even gaining a senate seat even if they don't gain control, and winning nearly a dozen governors mansions. the republican dream, hanging on to the house, solidifying their hold in the senate gaining seats and holding their losses in governors races to fewer than five. we have two days to go and we have a brand new nbc news/"wall street journal" poll completed early this morning. among likely voters, democrats have a seven-point lead, 50-43, in their pick for congress. that's a slight improvement for the republicans compared to two weeks ago when the democrats led 50-41 nationally. like so much about this midterm election, how people vote reflects how they feel about president trump. among likely voters the president's job rating is
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basically unchanged. 46% approve, 56% disapprove. in previous terms a 46% approval rating for a sitting president would mean that his party was headed for a big defeat, they would be throttled. but is it possible that president trump has changed the rules or that the geography of our political divide has changed the rules? even though election day is tuesday, some 33 million people have already voted. it's a record for the early vote for midterms. we could be on our way to our first-ever midterm with 100 million voters, a mini presidential, if you will. we have correspondents across the country covering just a few of the races we'll be watching on tuesday night. these are the big four states that we're focused on right now and we'll begin in arizona where democrats are hoping to pick up an open senate seat. vaughn hillyard is there in tempe for us. vaughn, this is very, very close and in many ways democrats think if they can't win an arizona senate seat this time, when can they. >> reporter: chuck, arizona is the place where barry goldwater gave birth to modern day
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conservatism. with the passing of john mccain and the retiring of jeff flake, it's the democrat who's trying to take that mantle as the arizona maverick. she's been on the air waves highlighting herself as a western independent. if you look at martha mcsally, the republican in this race, there's been a lack of images of arizona's past. instead she stood solidly behind president trump. having conversations on the ground here, there's been many independents and republicans who have expressed frustration with mcsally standing by the president, namely on that health care vote back in 2017 that would have weakened protections for those with pre-existing conditions. so with the absence of mccain and flake, it will be quite telling on tuesday night what the future of arizona looks like here. chuck. >> vaughn, thanks very much. one guarantee, arizona will be sending a woman to the united states senate. that we do know and that we can call with confidence. vaughn hillyard, thanks very
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much. let's turn to st. louis, missouri, where our own morgan radford is there. democratic senator claire mccaskill is in danger of losing this senate seat. the attorney general, josh hawley had agreed to be our guest but cancelled late yesterday afternoon citing his campaign schedule. morgan, don't think that it was lost on us that a couple of polls have suddenly shown a consistent hawley lead suddenly shrinking to a tie. what's going on in this race? >> reporter: chuck, that's why he's doubling down. he's decided to fire up his base and really focus on telling voters that control of the senate could come down to missouri, because every single poll shows him locked in a dead heat with claire mccaskill. interestingly, mccaskill is in the fight of her political life because her team tells us that the vote here in missouri isn't actually as much about president trump as people outside of the state are led to believe. she says her voters care about health care and they care about keeping local jobs. but if you cross the aisle, chuck, and you talk to hawley's voters, they say the number one issue is immigration. what's interesting here, chuck,
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is that it's going to come down to who can peel off those moderate voters and in which direction, because here in missouri, unlike a lot of those other states, there is no straight ticket voting. there's also no early voting, so they're going to keep us guessing until the very end, chuck. >> missouri will tell us what the late voter decided because of that lack of early vote. anyway, morgan, well done there. thanks very much. and now to the swingiest of swing states, florida. it has everything. a tight governor's race, a tight senate race. ready for this, a half a dozen competitive house races. catie beck is in south daytona for us. we had the president there last night. i have to say, catie, is this something that both ron desantis and rick scott, the two republicans at the top of the ticket, did they need this last night? did they need donald trump there in florida? >> reporter: well, donald trump certainly thinks so. he has been making florida a top priority on the campaign trail. he's made multiple stops here in recent weeks, including one just last night in pensacola, florida, where he was doing tough talk on immigration saying
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that barbed wire at the u.s. border can actually be a beautiful sight. now, as you mentioned, chuck, this state is almost evenly divided when it comes to both the senate race and the gubernatorial race, so folks here are counting on those endorsements, counting on that support from the president. we'll see more trump support headed this way today when rudy giuliani heads to campaign for governor scott. >> thanks very much. in florida it's going to be what is the composition of the electorate. how much of it is white and how much is nonwhite and that's something we won't know until election day. finally, let's go to garrett haake in austin, texas. is it a sideshow or is it a real thing? democratic congressman beto o'rourke has been a national superstar among democrats and is hoping to pull the upset of the year against republican senator ted cruz. garrett, in the last two weeks of this race, it's actually looked like a race. is it real or not? >> reporter: well, it's real, chuck, but make no mistake here, the math still favors ted cruz.
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he's led in every public poll of this state and texans haven't elected a democrat to any statewide office since 1994. but there has been real momentum around the o'rourke campaign, especially over the last couple of weeks. he's been drawing these big diverse crowds all over the state, places democrats don't normally go. he's built the get out the vote campaign from scratch. i've heard a lot of people compare this campaign to the obama cam pape in 2 -- campaign in 2008 but it reminds me more of trump campaign in 2016 in that his supporters of poll truthers. they say the numbers do not capture the enthusiasm here on the ground and his campaign is buoyed by these get out the vote numbers which have been extraordinary in texas. >> when a great comparison. all the national smarty pants people, we thought we knew what we were talking about in 2016 and we all think we know about texas, but guess what, let's wait for the vote. thank you, garrett. and thanks to all of our correspondents on the ground. joining me now is democrat chris van hollen of maryland. he's the man in charge of
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getting democrats elected to the senate. senator van hollen, welcome back to "meet the press." >> chuck, it's great to be with you. >> you were the dccc chair in the 2010 midterms when democrats lost more than 60 seats. it was the first midterm of president obama. you were the dsc chair here in the first term of president trump. compare the two atmosphere. >> i was also dccc chair in 2008, which was another very good year for democrats. but look, there are big differences between the house and senate seats in this cycle, chuck, because on the one hand, you have kind of a wave, a blue wave, although how big it will be we don't know. but then in the senate races, we've got a lot of senators who are running in states that donald trump won. for them, they have been very clear from the beginning that their number one job is to stand up for the people of their states. if that means working with donald trump on something that helps their states, they will.
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if it means opposing him and republicans, they will also do that. for example, on protecting people with pre-existing health conditions. so it's a very different sort of political battlefield in senate races than house races. >> so look, i'll let you set the bell curve for yourself here. define a good night. is a good night losing just one senate seat? >> you know, i don't want to define a good night because what we see right now is a situation that is a whole lot better than anyone would have predicted 18 months ago when republicans were saying that they might win another eight seats and have a filibuster-proof majority in the united states senate. no one is talking about that right now. we do have a narrow path to a senate democratic majority. it's a narrow path and it requires holding a lot of these very tough seats and then picking up one of the four or five republican seats where we're competing. so as you know, everything comes
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down to turnout. we've got more than seven senate races that are down to the wire, margin of error, so it's all about turnout. >> it strikes me, i'm going to pick out four senate seats, two democrats, two republicans, all in red territory. it strikes me you've got to have one to have a good night and two to talk about the majority. it's missouri, tennessee, texas and north dakota. so missouri and north dakota and then tennessee and texas where you're on offense, missouri and north dakota you're on defense. is it fair to say you can't go 0 for 4? >> well, you can't go 0 for 4 in all those states, that's right. and that's not going to happen. we're not going 0 for 4. let me just, first of all, say no one should ever count heidi heitkamp out. she was down more than ten points six years ago and came back to win. claire mccaskill also is always sticking up for missouri and she's known as a fighter for her state. and then in those two pickup
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seats, we have incredibly strong candidates who have also said that their job, number one, is to stand up for their states working with donald trump if it helps, but fighting him if that's necessary to protect the people in their state. >> you know, tennessee and texas strike me as fascinating in this respect. they're both supposedly red states and yet you have one democratic nominee who's been comfortable using the "i" word, impeachment, beto o'rourke down in texas, and he's within striking distance. and you have one democrat in phil bredesen who say if you worry about party, i'm not going to win. if you vote the person -- he's almost running as a centrist republican in the state yet they're both in the same position. what does that tell you about where the democratic messaging works best? is it better to be a base progressive like beto or better to be a centrist like bredesen. >> well, it tells you that the quality of the candidate is really important and their ability to communicate on issues that people in their states care about.
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and we have candidates in both texas and tennessee who are doing exactly that. as you say, different approaches. as you know, in texas, hillary clinton got 45% of the vote. in tennessee, she didn't get close to 45% of the vote. so, look, what you see in beto is somebody who is working to really expand an electorate which can be expanded in texas. in tennessee, the electorate can't be expanded that much, although you are seeing larger turnouts than typical midterm elections. and in phil bredesen, you've got a two-term governor who really focused on the pragmatic art of governing and he's been very clear. as i was saying, his job is to stand up for the state of tennessee. he's talked about areas where he can work with the president, but he's also talked about areas where he'll fight the president, like the issue that is top of mind for most voters around the country, which is protecting people with pre-existing health conditions.
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>> you know, phil bredesen and a few other democrats, kyrsten sinema has been trying to reject her party label a little bit saying she's not really a proud democrat. they have all made promises that they won't be just sort of blank checks for the democratic leadership. phil bredesen said he wouldn't vote for the current leadership. if he wins, do you feel as if the senate democrats have to look for new leaders because that's a promise that was made in order to get the senate majority, for instance? >> well, those members running i'm sure will fulfill their commitments, but that doesn't mean that we don't have a strong leadership team in the united states senate. look, this is an example of what i was talking about earlier, that what voters want are senators whose number one job is to stick up for their states. and sometimes that means working with their party leadership, sometimes that means working in the opposite direction. but that's very different than republican candidates who are simply rubber stamp trump
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supporters. what we see from voters, even republicans, is they want a senator who's going to hold the president accountable and also work with the president if it's good for their state. >> if a blue wave comes ashore geographically starting on the atlantic, there's one place where there appears to be a riptide and that is the coast of the new jersey shore. bob menendez, let me read what the newark star ledger said, the headline was choke it down and vote for menendez. this race is rated as a toss-up in a year when a generic democrat could win in a walk. our hope is that voters remember that trump is on the ballot and choke down their re luck dance and vote for menendez. he's no gem, but he's better than hugin, the republican nominee there. did the democrats make a mistake when they didn't encourage a challenger to bob menendez so at a minimum he could litigate this ethics problem that he's been dealing with? >> no. bob menendez has been a fighter for the people of new jersey, and the people of new jersey
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definitely do not want a trump rubber stamp in the united states senate. hugin would be a trump rubber stamp in the united states senate. the reason hugin is competitive is because he spent tons of his own money, money that he got -- >> it's not because of menendez' legal problems? >> there's no doubt that bob menendez has had that issue and he has had to litigate that throughout the campaign, which he has. but it is also the fact that bob hugin has now spent $30 million of his own money, money that he gained as the ceo of a pharmaceutical company, that really overcharged people for cancer drugs. and i don't think the people of new jersey want somebody who made his way that way. and so i'm confident that bob menendez will win. >> chris van hollen, i'll leave it there. i believe there's nobody that has done what you've done. dccc chair a decade ago, '08 and '10 and dsec chair now. nobody knows this country's election better than you other
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than my pals over at the cook report. >> thanks, chuck. >> thanks very much. and joining me now is republican governor bill haslam of tennessee. he's the person in charge of getting republicans elected to state houses across the country. governor haslam, welcome to "meet the press." >> good morning, thanks. >> well, let me start with a similar question i started with senator van hollen. what would you consider a good night for republican governors? is it limiting the number of losses? i mean i know you're defending a lot of seats, sort of like the senate democrats. how would you define a good night for the gop? >> on the governors map, it is the reverse of what it is in the senate. there's currently 36 governors' races, 26 of which republicans hold the seat. so it's easy to say this is a little bit more of an uphill battle for us than it has been historically with that many seats. that being said, we feel good about the position we're in, but we're not blind to the fact this a president's first midterm when we have this many seats up, like
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i said 26 of the 36, we knew we had our work cut out for us. that's why at rga we've worked hard, raised a record amount of money this cycle and making certain we're putting that money to good use here in the last three weeks of the campaign. >> when you look at the great lakes region in general, that part of the midwest, it seems to me that that's going to -- it's possible you'll have democratic governors in pretty much all of the states that touch a great lake if things don't go your way and particularly i'm thinking wisconsin in particular, but michigan you're behind and all of these. what do you need to do in the midwest to make it -- to make it feel like it's a better night than we think you're going to have? >> so eight years ago we had a pretty great night in terms of taking over a lot of those governors in michigan and wisconsin and illinois as well. wisconsin, scott walker, we all know what a great campaigner he is. he's one of the best retail politicians i've seen and has results to show in wisconsin.
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that's a very, very tight race but i have a lot of faith in the end that the people of wisconsin will re-elect scott. michigan is a little bit more of an uphill battle. but bill schuette is trying to get his message out. he's closed a lot stronger than people thought he would. we are by no means throwing in the towel and are actually somewhat optimistic. >> you've got a couple of republican governors in very blue states that will cruise to re-election, charlie baker in massachusetts, larry hogan in maryland in particular. at the same time, you're struggling in some of the reddest states in america, your candidates. in oklahoma and kansas. what are hogan and baker doing right and what are kris kobach and mr. stitt doing wrong? >> i think one thing to remember in all of this, while the senate races turn into red jerseys versus blue jerseys, the governors' races are different. you made a great point in new england. we right now have maine,
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vermont, new hampshire, massachusetts, we have a really good shot to winning connecticut. i think i tell people all the time that surprisingly bernie sanders governor is a republican, but i think what you're seeing is people look at the practical aspects of electing a governor who's going to create jobs here, who's going to produce the best schools and who's going to run our state's budget in a way that works. so it's a lot different decision voting for your governor than it is for your senator and definitely for your house member. >> i want to ask you about two in particular because they both feature republican secretaries of state who are republican nominees. there's some democrats who don't think the vote will be counted fairly, talking about georgia in brian kemp and kansas in kris kobach. first of all, should those gentlemen have resigned their seats? you would say -- should they have essentially recused themselves from the vote count? >> i don't think so. again, i don't know the specifics of exactly how the process works in their states, but i know how it works in our
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state and the secretary of state's role in it. while he oversees the process, there are a lot of people involved in that. again, if our secretary of state was running, i wouldn't ask him to step down because there are so many checks and balances in the process that i just don't have any fear about the integrity of the ballot. i don't know exactly in kansas and georgia how they work, but i personally don't have any concern about that. >> president trump is a huge issue in the florida governor's race. in some places, some candidates run away from him on your side. larry hogan and charlie baker, for instance. some have been running with him. is it fair to say that president trump complicates things in some places and helps in other places? if you lose florida, is it on the president? >> i don't think it's -- any race is entirely on the president win or lose. i think, again, particularly in the governor's race it comes back down to, as the senator said just prior to this, even more so in governor's races, it's about the quality of the candidate. in florida, the choice is this.
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in florida, i think my numbers are right, i think they have added 2.5 million jobs in the last eight years under rick scott. the economy is booming. it's even more critical now. the new tax plan you can no longer deduct your state and local taxes, so places like florida, tennessee, texas, have become very happy hunting grounds for folks to go up and recruit particularly out of the high states in the northeast. we've seen that. florida is on a boom. if i was florida, i would not want to turn that around. i compete with florida all the time. i have a unique perspective as the governor of tennessee. we're obviously competing with them all the time for new jobs. to me, if they turned around where they were going, the direction they have been in now, it would be a big mistake. >> let me ask you about your home state. you said this about the tennessee senate race. the democratic nominee and your predecessors as governor. he's making the argument i'm another pragmatic in the tradition of tennessee leaders. i'm going to do what's best for tennessee.
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and then you said that's always been a good argument in tennessee. is it a good enough argument for him to pull the upset? >> i don't think so. that has been governor bredesen's argument and he could point back to a good term as governor. but a couple of things. number one, marsha blackburn has run a really good race, i think they're well positioned. number two, tennessee is one of those states where the kavanaugh hearings did change things. people realized the color of the jersey you're wearing up there is really important. and i'm not -- i don't know exactly, but i think the kavanaugh hearings had a five or six-point swing in tennessee. i personally think marsha will win by at least that much. >> republican bill haslam, the chair of the republican governors association from tennessee, thanks for your time and sharing your views. appreciate it. >> thank you. when we come back, what does an unusually large turnout mean? it means a lot of pre-election predictions can turn out to be meaningless. the panel is next. as we go to break today, though, we'll look at some of the more
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memorable moments of the 2018 campaign. >> i am not going to bow down to the altar of political correctness. i'm not going to let the media smear me like they like to do with so many people. >> i'm not calling mr. desantis a racist. i'm simply saying the racists believe he's a racist. today, 97% of employers agree that skills like teamwork, attention to detail, and customer service are critical to business success. like the ones we teach here, every day.
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welcome back. we have more room in welcome back. we have more room in our election headquarters here in new york. so that means we have more panel, more cow bell. it's now an election night -- it can't be an election night without nbc news senior correspondent tom brokaw so you're right he's here. "today" show co-anchor savannah guthrie, nbc news capitol hill correspondent, kasie hunt, cory belcher and hugh hewitt. i want to show you some of the word clouds that came out of our new poll because we asked a simple message to voters. what message do you want to send with your vote if you could send
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that message. here's what folks who prefer a republican-controlled congress told us. you see immigration pops up big. do your job, work together. and now take a look at the message that those that prefer a democratic congress. get rid of trump, stand up against trump. but do your job shows up there too. and work together shows up there. >> we need a work together, do your job party. >> there you go. >> that's what i take away. this is so happy. this is a bipartisan result here. it's interesting. i mean i was listening to governor haslam talking about it's not going to be trump's fault if, for example, they lose in florida. but the problem is, is that trump in contrast to many presidents you and i have covered has actually literally almost put him on the ballot. a vote for marsha is a vote for me in tennessee and so forth. so he's -- you have to say he's a gambling man. he's all in on it. he's saying, first of all, he's working his tail off. he's had 11 stops in the last
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three days and he has said it's about me. and most presidents, even when it is a referendum on them and we all know it will never accept that. trump is all in saying, yes, it is about me, so that's what tuesday is going to be in my opinion. >> fdr is the last president to do this, tom. >> it has not just the optics but the tone of a presidential election, and that's where we are in american politics because it's now 24/7 jam packed. i must say that in the last week or so what has been very unsettling to me is to see american soldiers unspooling wire on the border with weapons nearby. this is how we're dealing with what is not yet a threat of any kind. if you had imagination in the white house, you'd go to the u.n. and you'd go to the very many private agencies in this country, international rescue community, catholic charities, and work out a deal to get them stopped on the mexican border. say to mexico if you want aid from us, you're going to have to
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get involved in this. instead it's pointing a gun. i don't just think that's what this country is about, but that's also what's elevated this to a presidential election. >> can i just say this, though, chuck. i spent the last week, four states, four days, talking to voters, and republican and democratic candidates. and while tom is right, this election to a certain extent has national tones and i certainly talk to republicans who say immigration is their top concern, i actually came away with a much different picture. i went to an event with the house speaker and scott walker who's in the race of their life and you listen to them and you'd barely know that president trump was in the white house. he was barely mentioned by name. they want to talk about jobs and the economy. every republican candidate i talked to, i spoke with david young in iowa, he said the same thing when you pushed him on these questions. they do not -- the republicans in tough races, they do not want to be on the terrain the president is on. now, they acknowledge they need excitement from their base, the president is trying to do that, but in many ways i think he's been a bigger problem than help for a lot of these guys. >> i'll go back to the point mr. brokaw was making, he's being practical.
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but look at that word cloud. for those who want republicans in control, immigration is the big thing in the word cloud. i think the president is driving this because they think -- they think midterm elections are about base turnout. they always have and democrats have done a poor job of turning out their base. so looking at the "wall street journal's" number, the vote is higher right now than it was for george bush in '06 or barack obama in 2014. so the president's job disapproval right now really means something. >> hugh, i had a republican pollster said if rick scott doesn't win, it's not rick scott's fault, it's donald trump's fault. >> when i listened to chris van hollen, a heard less than an enthusiastic guy. when i got the poll this morning, i went to the one number, are you very satisfied or somewhat unsatisfied. 74%, people think their own personal economics are good.
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that is a remarkable thing for a national thing. >> but then you put that side-by-side with the wrong track number. it's like we're not in a economic recession, we're in a political recession. >> but you're in arizona and you've got to pick martha mcsally, who did the star-spangled banner last night at the asu game, do you vote to keep the economy humming or vote against president trump? >> i've got to show you what donald trump talking about the economy, though. it was something else. take a listen to what he said about why he doesn't talk about the economy, hugh. >> he's got the greatest economy. why is he talking about the border. well, you can only say so many times that we just created 250,000 jobs last month, right? they all say speak about the economy. but sometimes it's not as exciting to talk about the economy, right? >> but the fact of the matter is, hugh is right. at the end of the day people have the best job creation economy we've had since the 1960s.
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in the industrial midwest where trump did so well in the last election, it's booming out there. the economy is humming. you cannot, you cannot overestimate the importance of the economy when people walk into that booth. >> really quickly, but here's the fundamental problem with that. these college educated women in the suburbs who are leading the charge of resistance going on, it's not about the economy for them. what's happening in washington, the disrespect, it is not -- it's disconnected from the economy for so many of these suburban women. >> this is where health care plays in. health care plays into this because it's as much an economic issue as it is a personal issue in this election. premiums are so high people are worried about bankruptcy and it's contradicting the other numbers. >> the question is if it's trump on your mind, how are you going to vote? when we come back, democrat stacey abrams, who's in that neck-in-neck race to become governor of georgia. t (door bell rings) it's open! t hey. this is amazing.
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...trump's efforts to kill the affordable care act." california news papers endorse dianne feinstein for us senate. california values senator dianne feinstein welcome back. now to one of the tightest governor's races in the country and one that we've all been following from a national perspective. that's in georgia, which has been flooded with surrogates. oprah on thursday, vice president pence who reminded he
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was kind of a big deal too was also there that day. president obama on friday and president trump who is holding a rally in macon, georgia, there this afternoon. joining me now is the democratic nominee for governor, stacey abrams. if she wins, she would be the nation's first female african-american governor. ms. abrams, welcome back to "meet the press." >> thank you for having me. >> let me be honest, did you think the sunday before the election you'd be in a coin flip race? >> we were preparing for every eventuality and i'm excited to be in a dead heat because i know that we are going to turn out voters who have never voted before. >> it feels as if the final debate about this election has really been about how to count the votes and who gets to vote. it hasn't been as much about some of the issues. how concerned are you that this is going to be a fair vote? i know the last time we were on, you expressed optimism that this was going to be a fair election, that you would trust the results. do you still feel that way?
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>> i do. we have seen unprecedented turnout in this race from people who normally do not engage and do not vote. some of that has been driven by the conversations of the voter suppression. one of the best ways to encourage people to use something is to tell them someone is trying to take it away. luckily we have had two court decisions against brian kemp. one that requires absentee ballots be counted even if the signatures aren't exactly the same and a second one that forces him to stop using the exact match system to disqualify voters who are qualified. but what is more important is that we have talked about issues. we've talked about jobs and health care and education, and that's also engaging people and turning them out in waves that we have not seen in georgia in decades. >> the president is going to be in macon, georgia, today. he said you just simply weren't qualified to be governor. he didn't say why. how did you take that assessment? >> i find his assessments to be vapid and shallow. i am the most qualified candidate. i am a business owner, i'm a tax attorney who was trained at yale law school, i am a civil leader who helped register 200,000
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georgians. i'm a very accomplished political leader who worked across the aisle to improve access to education, to transportation, and i blocked the single largest tax increase in georgia history. there is no more qualified standing for this office in georgia and i look forward to having the voters of georgia say the same. >> you know, it's interesting, when oprah winfrey came to campaign for you, she said something that may have surprised some of your supporters that were in the audience that day. take a listen. >> i am a registered independent. because i don't want any party and i don't want any kind of partisan influence telling me what decisions i get to make for myself. >> obviously you want to win over independents, so on one hand, of course having somebody as famous as oprah winfrey saying i'm an independent, come on, independents, come with me and vote with stacey abrams. but do you think that sends a
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negative message to democrats as you're trying to fire democrats up to get them to support your campaign? >> i believe oprah's presence fires people up because she has been fiercely independent her entire life. i think what she's saying is this is an election about the issues. listen to the conversations happening between the candidates. look at whose showing up, who's talking about issues, who has comprehensive plans for your life and make a decision not based on party but on record and on intention. i'm the only candidate who shows up every time who has detailed comprehensive plans for georgia and most importantly who keeps her promises and honors her commitments. i think what she is signaling to independents and everyone else is that this is the time to make a choice based on who's best for georgia and she believes i am it and so do i. >> you've called your opponent a liar and used some harsh language.
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maybe democrats make a few gains there, but you're going to be dealing with a republican legislature. you have to work across the aisle if you're going to accomplish anything. how do you repair this divide? let's be honest, it feels worse than ever. how are you going to try to do this? >> number one, i've run this campaign going to every single part of the state. i have not ignored a single community or county because i believe that my job is to speak to every single voter. number two, if you look at the issues i talk about, education, high-class education for everyone, access to health care in every community and making sure that we have good-paying jobs. this cuts across partisanship. most importantly, i can stand on my record. i was the leader of democrats in a majority republican legislature and able to work across the aisle and get good done. we can disagree on principles, but we have a common responsibility to georgians. i've always said people don't care about your party, they care about their lives. as the next governor, my goal is going to be to bring everyone together to solve the problems that we can solve together,
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leading with my values, faith, family and service, but recognizing that everyone comes to the table as a georgian and we have to work together. >> is there an idea that your opponent, brian kemp, put forward that if you would you would actually also put forward? >> absolutely. we completely agree on the need to increase teacher pay. we agree on the need for public safety. we just have a different idea on how we get there and whose responsibility it is. he has some good slogans but no comprehensive plans for what he wants to accomplish. we have not only slogans but detailed plans on where we're going to go and how we're going to pay for it. you don't have to raise taxes to raise expectations and outcomes. >> if you're running for re-election four years from now, what's the one accomplishment you have to have in order for you feel as if you deserve a re-election? >> the expansion of medicare, creating thousands of jobs and making certain that we repair our broken mental health system so every person in georgia who faces trouble, faces challenges,
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does not feel the stigma of mental health and has access to substance abuse treatment and mental health treatment. if we can get that done that's the baseline for a lot of work. >> this legislature has rejected it before. what makes you think your election will make them not reject medicaid? >> 17 states led by republican done so, 15 led by democrats. the states that expanded medicaid have seen their costs go down, outcomes improve and increases in their bottom line. i think that legislators on both side of the aisle, especially republicans who represent these rural hospitals on the brink of closure are going to be willing to do what it takes to save the lives of their constituents. >> stacey abrams, i've got to leave it there, the democratic nominee for governor of georgia. campaigning through december so i guess rest up and stay safe on the trail. thanks for coming on. >> thank you. we have invited republican brian kemp to appear as we did
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the last time that we had stacey abrams on, and once again he declined. when we come back, how to watch election night. the clues i'm going to be looking for to see which way the night is going. >> republicans can't hear you boo, but they can hear you vote. >> i need your vote for a republican house. i need your vote for a republican senate. so we can continue this incredible movement. enjoy your ride. (bicycle bell sound) ♪ ♪ (bicycle bell sound) ♪ ♪ (bicycle bell sound) ♪ ♪ explore more with a guaranteed 4pm checkout at over 1,000 fine hotels and resorts. it's another way we've got your back. ♪ ♪ the platinum card from american express. don't live life without it.
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welcome back. data download time. we've got races obviously in every time zone across the country, including all the late alaska time zones this tuesday night, so it's possible we may not know who controls the house, the senate, gubernatorial races, until the wee hours of the morning. maybe days later. in one case months later. but we actually could know how the night is going pretty early on with a few key races on the east coast. here is what i'm looking for. in the battle for the house, we have 25 republican-held seats where polls will close before 8:00 p.m. so you'll have a
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pretty good idea as you can see where the house is headed. but let's look for specific clues. in the battle for senate, indiana senate, the earliest poll closing is the state of indiana. that senate race neck in neck. we'll have a pretty good idea of which direction the senate is going on the republican side with indiana here. that said, if it's really close, we could be waiting very, very late for gary, indiana. let's go to some key bellwethers in the house. lexington, kentucky. kentucky's sixth district. whenever democrats control congress, they control this seat, that's why we're watching that one early on. then let's go to the state of virginia. they have four congressional districts, different types of republican-held districts which will tell us whether we'll see a wave or not. the easiest district to win is virginia's 10. the swingiest seat is virginia beach, the 2nd district. the next one is david bratt, virginia 7, richmond suburbs.
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here's your wave watch seat in virginia, the charlottesville district and then some, goes almost all the way to roanoke. if democrats are winning this seat, then it's tsunami watch time. when we come back, end game and the growing number of republican house seats now in the battleground. we have hit the century mark. ♪ take your razor, yup. up and down, never side to side, shaquem, you got it? come on stay focused. hard work baby, it gonna pay off.
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back now with "end game." i want to put up a simple chart which is presidential approval and number of seats lost in a midterm. first midterm. we have donald trump's rating, 46%. we don't know how many seats his party will lose. check out barack obama. his approval rating, 47%. 63 seats were lost. bill clinton, 48%, 54 seats. hugh hewitt, 46%. i have some republicans going, well, hey, that's survivable, but if you look historically, and i think one of the things we failed to do in '16 was remember history was working against clinton. third term is difficult here. history says this could be a drubbing. >> i thought six months ago it was going to be. but there was a signal event that makes this different. brett kavanaugh. i think on wednesday, everyone is going to be talking about brett kavanaugh and the lingering impact, deep, decisive across the united states in places like montana, in places
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like florida, tennessee. i think kavanaugh will be the term on wednesday that's going to be in the word cloud of pundits. >> cornell, if we're missing this election, in '16, the miss was missing a trump surge at the end. if we're missing something today that in two days we'll see, what are we missing? >> i think we missed in '16 the protest vote of young people. i think what we're missing is, i hate to say this because i'm a pollster, our polling numbers are not going to be accurate because we don't know what the heck the electorate -- >> turnout is going to be so big, right? >> i got an e-mail from atlanta and they've never seen turnout like this. democrats came 200,000 votes short the last time in the governors race there. she saw that and started working to expand the electorate. we have young voters turn out at a higher pace. i don't trust any of the horse race numbers right now, and i'm a pollster. >> neither do i. >> i know, shh. don't tell our pollsters. and i love our pollsters.
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>> i'm a little nervous, too, because of this turnout. >> the one thing i don't think we should lose sight of and it feels obvious because we've talked about it over and over, but women and the way they've responded to this president, the number of people, you know, i bumped into somebody on the street in kansas city. it was -- we call it mat on the street interviews. she was walking out of panera with her breakfast. and she had hosted a political fund-raiser for the democratic woman running in kansas city. she'd never done anything like that before in her life. she talked about how absolutely angry and upset her neighbors are. we're seeing it in the candidates in the house races. that. >> you guys, i want you to tackle this question. one of the most important swing voting groups in 2016 were people that department like either candidate and they broke for donald trump two and sometimes 3 to 1 depending on the state. right now if you don't like eerkts party, you're voting nearly 3 to 1 democratic.
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savannah? >> i think it's a geography is destiny. what hugh just talked about and kasie just talked about. hugh is telling the story in the senate where the kavanaugh hearings were a senate saver for republicans. and the suburban house districts, it's the fired up females who have had it. they don't like how the president is acting, and it doesn't matter how strong the economy may be. they want to send a protest vote. what's most fascinating, if states are little laboratories like we used to say in law school. this is an experiment on tuesday night. which smth going to work for democrats? is it to be a moderate they almost seem like a republican, like a joe donnelly in indiana or is it the beto o'rourke and stacey abrams model. we'll get an answer to that on tuesday. >> tom, put a little cold water on this. does anything actually change on wednesday morning, even if it's a democratic wave? democrats win the senate and the house. what changes in our politics?
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>> one thing that troubles me, what i think are the projected results of this election will end up without a puding without a theme. that will have -- we're going to have democrats probably in the house, on the up side. i think the senate will probably say the same. we're just going to have to muddle through for the next two years. the country is still going to be deeply, deeply divided. you're talking about women, for example. i've been listening to women throughout as well. kavanaugh had a big impact on suburban women who have sons. they didn't like what they saw. and they drifted back across. so we have a real mishmash going on here. may i just say one thing that i think is a failure in this country? we've not talked about parkland. we've not talked about las vegas. we've not talked about what happened in pittsburgh a week ago. we are a country that is slaughtering our own citizens on a regular basis. maybe not in those big numbers, but too often. >> i'll tell you, gun control messages have aparentally been working. we'll see if it happens on tuesday. a quick programming note. i'm going to be right back here tuesday night with lester holt
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and savannah guthrie. midterm coverage on nbc begins at 8:00, 7:00 central. don't miss it. that's all we've got for today. thanks for watching. we'll be back next week post midterms because, if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." midterms, because, if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." we saved hundreds on our car insurance when we switched to geico. this is how it made me feel. it was like that feeling when you're mowing the lawn on a sunny day... ...and without even trying, you end up with one last strip that's exactly the width of your mower. when you're done, it looks so good you post a picture on social media.
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