tv MSNBC Live With Stephanie Ruhle MSNBC November 6, 2020 6:00am-7:00am PST
through the morning and why i think we're going to see decision desks call this state for joe biden after, you know, 20,000, 30,000 more vote comes in, the areas that are remaining, the pittsburgh area, it's blue. and so we probably are going to be expecting not 75% going for biden, but upwards of 80%, 85%. same with allentown. bucks county. a little closer in bucks county than in some of the other areas. that's more of a 50/50 county. so maybe that is closer to 75%, 80%. we just saw in philly these 20,000. we can expect in all these areas, should we not, the bucks county, joe biden getting close to 85%, 90% of the remaining votes. >> in fact, we've already gotten yesterday some votes from bucks county. some of the mail votes from bucks county. this is the overall vote. this is everything added
together. the same day vote, the mail vote. this is everything. but just the mail vote portion in bucks county yesterday, as of yesterday, what had been counted from the mail vote in bucks county. biden was getting 67%. he's running two-thirds. he's getting two-thirds of the mail vote in a county that's very competitive overall. so again, another example. he's running 16 points above what he's getting in the overall vote just in the mail vote right there. so, yes, i can't stress enough. we were looking at some of the reddest counties in pennsylvania yesterday. places that donald trump is winning overall by 30 points or 40 points. and then we were getting these mail-in ballot reports and joe biden wasn't just winning. he was winning huge. i should say to take a step back here. this isn't a surprise because, you know, here's the thing we found in every state. every state where we've seen this. specifically when it comes to
the mail-in ballots, okay, the idea of mail-in voting, democrats this year, state after state, were far more eager and far more willing to vote by mail specifically than by republicans. okay. now in some states, you have mail-in voting and you also have early voting. you can go out and vote at a polling place early. republicans were very willing to do that. so there are states like florida, states like texas, states like north carolina where you refer to something -- you would mix up the early vote and mail-in vote and say it was all cast before election day and it looks even on paper. it looks roughly even on paper. but in pennsylvania, voters got two choices. you either vote in person on election day or you vote by mail. and the polls in pennsylvania were showing us all fall people who said they were going to vote by mail were going to vote for joe biden by margin of about 60
points. that's what the polls were showing us. and that is what happened on election day. the people who voted by mail -- in the mail, i should say, that is what happened when people went to vote. they voted overwhelmingly for biden if they used the mail. >> okay. so steve, although you make the weeds fascinating, let's pull out a little bit and just the basics now. we're waiting for 130,000 more or so votes? >> uh-huh. >> out of pennsylvania. what's the timing for 30,000 or 40,000? is there any way of knowing, given what you've gauged so far over the past 24 hours when we will get more results? >> well, okay. so that was -- that represented what we just got about eight hours of work in philadelphia. they just put out 30,000 votes. they worked overnight to get there. what's happening now around pennsylvania is the poll workers are arriving at a lot of these facilities to begin their work for the day. now, do they have a bunch of ballots they had gotten ready last night but didn't -- weren't
quite ready to release? maybe we'll get some early readouts from these places. maybe they are starting from scratch. we just don't know. what we do know is all of these county facilities around the state that have been dark overnight now they are coming to life and so, you know, yesterday we had a steady stream of reporters from various counties around the state. i think we can expect to have a steady stream of reports from various counties around the state today. at some point we'll get more from philadelphia. but, yeah, i mean, we'll continue to get -- in fact, did we just get -- oh, i'm sorry. i thought i was looking at statewide. i confused myself. we will get a steady stream of this today. >> okay. >> thank you, steve. we'll be right back to you. willie, i know it may be frustrating for some people at home who will say, well, you all know by looking at trend lines
and your data people know by looking at trend lines where pennsylvania is going to go, so why don't you just call the race? >> well, the race can't be called yet. 6.5 million people, their votes have been tallied already. joe biden holds a 5,000 or 6,000-vote lead. if you wanted to bet on who would win this state in vegas, they wouldn't take your money because i think the odds of joe biden winning vegas right now, 99.5%. i don't really know where that half percent would come from. but it's going to take at least another batch of votes coming in. and if you see that lead go from 5,000 to 20,000, maybe 25,000, and the trends continue throughout this morning, which there is absolutely no reason to believe that they would not continue this way, then joe biden will win that state. but for people that were waiting
for the desk to make the call and waiting for other networks to make the call, yes, everybody from fox news to npr to the bbc know joe biden is going to win the state of pennsylvania most likely. overwhelming odds in his favor, but they're just going to need more votes before they feel comfortable calling it that way. >> that's the bottom line. you can project out -- steve has just laid out what this looks like. the votes they couldn't even begin to count in the state of pennsylvania until election day. i know people are frustrated. i know people are inpatient. but you've waited three days. give steve kornacki and others a couple more minutes or hours or whatever it takes for these votes to come in. we'll see. but, look, i want to reiterate what steve just said. this is playing out the way we tried to prepare our audience for, for weeks and months, as a matter of fact which is that
because of rules put in place by republican legislatures across these states, the voting couldn't even count on election day. a record number of early and mail-in votes in michigan and wisconsin and pennsylvania coming in. so it was going to take some time. and i know you'd like to press a button and have all of them appear on that screen at once. but they are being counted. and we should say through all the noise and the fog and raw sewage being trumped into the system by the trump campaign, the process is working. the votes are being counted. they're being counted more slowly than a lot of people want them to be counted, but it is happening. it's happening legally. the courts are standing up to some of these lawsuits that have come in from the trump campaign. the process is working. so patience again as we've been saying for months now. >> no one agrees with that more than joe biden himself who came out yesterday to speak to the american people and urged
exactly that. he urged patience. he understands the importance of all the votes being counted, and he wants -- he urged americans to have faith in our system. and this is our system working. despite what some of the scammers in the trump campaign are trying to execute right now. and this is a man who has some credibility in calling for calm and calling for patience. this is a man whose patience has been tested politically and personally for decades. he has won elections. he has lost elections. he has run for president now three times and this probably the most important campaign of not just his lifetime, but in this country's history depending on how you look at it. so even more of a reason to wait it out. i was just trying to get steve to give me a sense of timeline because people are feeling impatient and also, i think,
joe, i think it's fair to say that it's frustrating that perhaps there wasn't a more neat process that was followed maybe like florida or other states that were more organized on election day. had some things done. learned from the past. >> but it was all calculated out this way. that's what we -- willie and you and i told our view eers on wednesday morning. this was all calculated to unfold this way. the republican legislatures and pennsylvania and michigan and wisconsin, they understood that because of covid, there was going to be a massive mail-in vote. many pleaded with them to please pass legislation that would allow them to count the votes early. let me tell you. this is not -- i mean, and those republican legislatures were
extraordinarily irresponsible. they should be ashamed of themselves. this election should have been called on tuesday night by 11:00 p.m. -- or by midnight. they chose not to do that. and this is not just a republican or democratic thing. let's talk about two republican states that have done it right, willie. you can talk about florida and you can talk about georgia. i want to talk specifically about the state of florida. florida, of course, has not been known as a model of smooth-running elections. but they made the calculations early. they made the decisions early that they were going to count the votes as quickly as possible. the republican legislature passed legislation to make that happen. ron desantis, the governor, seen as a big trump ally, encouraged that vote early. who knows. maybe he did it because he thought donald trump was going
to do well in florida and they wanted to get florida on the board for trump. doesn't matter. i can tell you, it was -- in all my 57 years, it was the most efficiently run election i have seen in my lifetime. orderly crowds for a couple of weeks voting in person. when mika and i went -- >> it was a covid success story, too. >> so easy to vote in the state of florida. on election day, only 17% of floridians voted on election day. that is so -- i think it was like 85% voted election day in 2004 when george w. bush was elected president. so these are calculations that florida got right, that georgia got right. you know, georgia, another trump loyalist, governor of georgia. that's not stopping donald trump from accusing georgia of rigging
the vote. so, willie, again, it's unfortunate these upper midwest states have made the decisions -- these republican legislatures have made the decisions that they've made because that's why, if you are frustrated, that's why this vote has dragged on for three days. >> that's right. i just looked over there. i'm keeping kornacki in my peripheral vision in case any more vote comes in here. you're right. you called it a decision and a choice. that's exactly what it is. jeb bush, you mentioned the state of florida. somebody was tweeting about how efficient the process was and how much better in florida than anywhere else. yeah, we had a terrible system. we learned from the mess of 2000. we passed laws to fix it. in this case, republican legislatures passed laws to make this count go on so that you'd have this window between election day and today. pennsylvania would hopefully wrap up its vote by friday which would give donald trump three days to foment whatever he's doing right now and we haven't played it for good reason
because it's totally baseless what he's saying. but he's putting out this idea that somehow the election is fraudulent and rigged. despite the fact what most republicans who have come out are saying, no, there's no evidence of fraud says pat toomey, the republican senator of pennsylvania. the votes are being counted. and if you say there's fraud and you say there's something rigged about this election, come forward with the evidence. bring it to a court. and the trump campaign has tried that. they've been rebuffed by a bunch of courts in different states across the country. so they are making loud claims without evidence which is perfect way to end this administration if it does, in fact, end which is loud claims that are bad for the country provided without evidence. >> and willie, your point about the president's remarks. most networks -- most networks were on the right side of history and cut away. like more than those who didn't. there were two networks that decided to stay with it. one was the obvious and one was a surprise. and that network is on the wrong side of history this morning.
so here's where we are right now. we're talking about a lot of different states but we're focused in on pennsylvania because pennsylvania right now, although it's in the category of too close to call, there are 28,000 votes right now separating the candidates. we're waiting for 130,000 more votes to be counted. and the areas where these votes are coming from are trending 75%, i think that's a safe bet. 75% toward biden. so pennsylvania looking very good for joe biden right now. if joe biden wins pennsylvania and its 20 electoral votes, that gives joe biden the presidency. >> that puts him over the top. you've been get something numbers from steve kornacki. 5,587 is the difference. he received 27,000 votes in the latest batch that came in. >> so very, very slim margin. >> it's a slim margin. it's going to expand throughout
the morning unless something radically happens with trend lines that would be like, for instance, my old district in pensacola, florida, giving joe biden 90% of the vote. wouldn't happen. never gonna happen. it's not going to happen in philly nor pittsburgh as well. we know based on voting history and what's happened this past week. >> but we wait. >> yes, so joe biden, i'd be surprised if joe biden didn't pick up 70%, 75%, 80% of the remaining votes. john heilemann, there is no doubt that the decision desks are being far more cautious because if donald trump is willing to throw the republican governor and republican secretary of state under the bus in georgia and accuse them of cheating to help joe biden get elected, he certainly would do that to any networks that called
this prematurely. >> right. and it's exactly in the same vain that mika was talking about which is, thank god human beings are learning machines and these institutions we work for are also learning machines. we have slowly, painfully come to understand how to deal with donald trump over the course of these four years. the fact the media handled that speech last night or that briefing in the press briefing room the way they did. good. that's progress. and the decision desks right now, i think, rightly, are wanting to -- have been advising patients. we've all been advising patients and the decision desks are in a position where they say we do not want to fuel donald trump's conspiracy talk going forward. so even though our statistical models 12 hours ago, maybe even more, showed -- made it very clear that on current trajectories that you would have projected joe biden would win the state of pennsylvania, even
when he was behind donald trump in the vote total at that moment. people said, no. i'm not speaking for our decision desk but collectively what i know are the thoughts of all decision desks everywhere which was, do not get ahead of things. do not give donald trump this ammunition. if we are seen to be calling this, even though it's statistically legitimate, before joe biden has a lead, donald trump is going to use that to claim that there's a conspiracy against him. let's not give him that ammunition. let's wait. keep our powder dry. hold on and then get to the point where it's absolutely vividly, indisputably clear that jobd is going to win the state of pennsylvania. we can all wait a few more hours to get to that point and deprive donald trump of the oxygen and fuel he wants to throw on this burning pyre of conspiracy. it's wise to proceed with caution here and to understand that this is a battlefield.
and this is a battlefield of the democratic process and what is right for america versus what the president is now trying to do, right? and i think we should all understand that we're still in a fight over that and this is a good, solid strong tactic to keep him from giving him additional weapons in this battle. >> that's exactly where we are at nbc news. the race in pennsylvania is too close to call, if you are just joining us. former vice president joe biden has taken the lead but only by about 5500 votes. pennsylvania still too close to call. if he adds to that total over the course of the morning, that would put humim over our projection, up to 273 electoral votes. he'd only need 270 to be elected. jonathan lemire, what are you hearing from the white house? >> silence, willie. we've reached out to the white house and the trump campaign. there's been no public comment to this point. nothing this morning since joe
biden took the lead in pennsylvania. we last heard from the president himself on twitter at 2:23 a.m. when he complained about social med media, on social media. there's been nothing from him this morning. no sign he's come down to the oval office. typically the president doesn't usually come down until much later in the morning than right now. now certainly, as of last night, there was no sense that the trump campaign was going to abandon their legal challenges, even though they've had little to no success so far. there's certainly no sign that the president was going to go quietly here, that he would concede even after perhaps networks make the call and obviously none have at this point as the votes are still coming in. we'll be staying on them all day to see what they want to do, but there will be a lot of eyes
watching the president and watching the republican party. we have talked so many times on this show when it was republicans who told richard nixon it was time to go. certainly nothing like that has happened in the trump era yet. could this be the moment in the -- especially if the president fights this in the days and weeks ahead. the pressure on the republicans to do something and the pressure on the personalities in the media to do something will only gr grow. >> mike barnicle, we've heard from jonathan lemire what the white house is saying or not saying. what are you hearing from the biden campaign? >> the biden campaign is, as always, very patient. the candidate last night spoke to the nation and urged calm and patience and every vote be counted. that's where they stand. although they are extremely confident of the final result in pennsylvania. and you know, joe, we've been
sitting here, thinking that all of us, all of us here are so privileged to be witnessing the heart beat, the pulse of our american democracy, the vote. and i was also thinking about the differences between today, as we approach a decision on who the president-elect will be and four years ago, in 2016. and the biggest difference is that the losing candidate then, hillary clinton, never denied the legitimacy of the vote. she never denied the legitimacy of the incoming president-elect. and as you and i spoke last week about teddy white's epic 1960 making of the president, i was rereading it last night. and this one sentence in there that we all have to think about going forward. the transference of power from one president, sitting president, to a president-elect.
he wrote, what results is, of course, the most awesome transfer of power in the world. the power to marshal and mobilize. the power to send men to kill or be killed. the four tax or destroy. the power to create and the responsibility to do so. the power to guide and the responsibility to heal. all committed into the hands of one man. and all we can do today, given the behavior of the sitting president, less than 24 hours ago from the podium at the white house, is pray that common sense will prevail for the united states of america. >> within the republican party, many of the republican party's leaders are being responsible. we'll hope that that continues as we move forward. what are you hearing from the biden campaign? >> so i'm talking to three different people in the biden campaign this morning.
and they want to wait for the votes to be counted. they want the projections to be official. but what they say is they've been confident in their own projections every step of the way, even some of the states that might have caused some frustration and now all of this is coming to light. >> they have been saying, gene robinson, for several days that they felt confident that they would get the numbers that they needed in pennsylvania. even when it looked like a real stretch that their data people were telling them that joe biden would catch donald trump, and maybe he would only win in georgia by 5,000, 10,000 votes, but they -- the data they were looking at showed they thought they could catch him. and you just have to look back at the biden campaign and think about how they kept things
together even when their candidate was losing the early contest and people were saying joe biden had never done better than fourth in any presidential election. they continued to put their heads down and they find themselves right now on the cusp of winning the presidency. >> yeah, they ran a good, focused, one foot in front of the other campaign, and, you know, it looks like they are on the cusp of success. so you always take your hat off to a winning presidential campaign if that is what this -- what the biden campaign is. but you have to say they did a good job and the strategic choices were sound and that they have the right candidate for the time. but i -- just one other thing, though. listen to the way that we this morning are talking about the
president of the united states. we're talking about the president of the united states as a maligned force. as a force who is destructive of american democracy. and that is just astounding. we're used to it now. we've been talking about donald trump for years, but we shouldn't get used to that. we shouldn't get used to talking about the president of the united states in these terms and i'm just saying, if indeed we are getting rid of this bad person who became president of the united states, this horrible person who became president and caused so much damage, if we are indeed getting rid of him, then it is a great day for this country. >> mika, as you bring in our next guest, steve kornacki is filling out the refresh on these philadelphia websites to get new data to come in. joe biden has taken the lead in the state of pennsylvania, but
the race is still too close to call. not calling that yet. i want to reiterate what you were saying about the biden campaign, mika. even on tuesday night when the democratic freak-out was fully under way and people were having flashbacks of 2014 as they saw florida fall and georgia and thought they had a dlans. expectations where people democrats can win texas. the biden campaign privately said, we're good. we're good. watch the upper midwest. we know how this is going to play out. we'll have to wait until later in the week when they start counting our votes. they projected confidence even on a night when a lot of democrats couldn't find it. >> uh-huh. yep. yep. but they've been confident every step of the way, i have to say. just going over all of our conversations over the past three days. the biden campaign is like, yep, we know. we didn't expect florida, we didn't expect texas. but these are the states they projected and they appear to be
spot on, and they don't expect that to change. let's bring in staff writer at "the atlantic," george packer. "face the bitter truth." in it you write, we don't yet know the outcome of the election, but its meaning is already clear. we are two countries and neither of them is going to be conquered or disappear any time soon. the outcome of the 2016 election was not an historical fluke or result of foreign subversion but a reflection of the american electorate. there is no escaping who we americans have become. this election's meaning we are stuck with one another, seeing no way out and no apparent way through. sinking deeper into a state of mutual incomprehension and loathing. the possible exits, gradual de-escalation, majority breakthrough, clean separation, civil war are either unlikely or unthinkable. we have to live and govern
ourselves together but we still don't know how. winning in the state becomes a chimera. whoever takes the prrks all americans will remain the losers. and, george, yes, it's true that we're much more divided, i think, than we ever thought. having said that, these results, think of like election night where everyone was screaming at the top of their lungs. the polls were completely wrong. they weren't that wrong. the direction that we are heading in right now appears to be at least coming in line partly into what we thought it was going to be. >> yeah, i was thinking of that dickens line, it's the best of times, it's the worst of times. i totally share eugene robinson's sense of exhilaration that we -- the american people might have finally repudiated a president who has done more damage to our democracy than any president in our history.
and that's something to savor. also the sight of all these election officials and vote counters working through the night. all the people who came out to vote. the highest turnout in decades. it was a real act of faith and democracy on the part of an american people who have really grown cynical and weary. and those things are to be celebrated. but what worries me and what gives me an almost sense of existential dread is that, first of all, we have a president and a party that are willing to sabotage and attack democracy in order to stay in power. i have not seen close to enough repudiation of trump's remarks from last night coming from republican leaders for me to think that his party has decided to begin the process of cleansing itself of the maligned influences that trump has brought to it. but looking ahead, we are so divided. the democrats in some ways had a catastrophic election at the
state level. and a really bad election at the congressional level. and what that means is, problems that have been festering for years and that are desperately in need of resolution. climate change, economic inequality. the state of working americans who fall further and further behind. environmental degradation. racial inequality. these are not going to be addressed because we are so divided that we will not have an administration and a congress that are capable, as far as i can see, of addressing them together. inste instead, we're going to go through yet another cycle of the partisan wars, the culture wars which are unwinnable. and which bring us all down. >> well, the dynamics will shift in washington for sure. before we get to our next guest, another member of the biden campaign very high up say that with 130,000 more votes yet to be reported that they are extremely confident.
the confident is joyous at this moment. and they believe they have crossed over pennsylvania and it is inevitable. joining us now, national political correspondent for "time." molly ball. her latest cover story is entitled "even if joe biden wins, he will govern in donald trump's america." as if you guys wrote these articles together. in it molly writes in part the 2020 election did not go according to plan for the democrats. it was a far cry from the sweeping repudiation of trump that the polls had forecast and liberals craved. after all the outrage and activism a projected $14 billion spent and millions more votes this time than last, trump's term is ending the way it began with an election once again teetering on a knife's edge and the nation entrenched in stalemate. torn between two realities, two orientations, two sets of facts. i'd like to start with the
realities, molly. what are the two realities? >> well, you have the alternative reality occupied by the president which appears to have persuaded many of his supporters even though as we've discussed so much, it is often not based in fact. the kinds of things that the president was saying from the white house last night, you see people acting on these ideas that we know are not true going to these places where votes are being counted. you know, continuing to contribute to these legal fights that are not based in reality and have very little chance of success. but the president has, throughout his term, created an alternate reality that is more comfortable and more persuasive to his supporters than the one where, you know, 100,000 people are being diagnosed with covid-19 every single day. and i think what we saw in the election was that while in the end it may not be particularly close, particularly in the popular vote, there is a clear
majority that has spoken and it has spoken in favor of the democrats. it has spoken in favor of joe biden. at the same time, this is a very divided country. 2016 wasn't as george was just saying, a fluke or a mistake. a lot of people wanted to believe, the liberals especially, that if america had 2016 to do over again, the result would be so dramatically different knowing what we know now about donald trump, and it wasn't all that different. >> let's bring in now nbc news chief white house correspondent hallie jackson. hallie is outside the white house. good morning. i'm just reading a new statement from the trump campaign that alleges wrongdoing in the state of pennsylvania. we'll say for the umpeenth time there's no evidence of that. has has been repeated by republican pat toomey, he was on the "today" show saying he sees no evidence of that. and if the white house has such evidence they ought to bring it forth immediately. what are you hearing from the white house? >> pretty much that statement. we've been asking ever since we
made the call that biden was pulling into the lead in pennsylvania and nbc news has not called the race in pennsylvania or the presidential election yet. and it's been really radio silence, frankly. and this statement from the campaign is the first we're hearing. they are insisting, willie, i'm quoting here, that this election is not over. now why are they saying that? because, again, their path to victory would have to run through pennsylvania. that's game over for joe biden if, in fact, he does end up maintaining this lead and the race gets called for him there. the reason they say this election is not over, according to the general counsel of the trump campaign, matt morgan, who along with justin clark has been working on the legal strategy, is because they are making these claims of, quote, irregularities. they say in states like pennsylvania, alleging fraud and other states as well, nevada, arizona, et cetera. again, willie, that is not borne out by the facts. we can't be clear enough about that at this point. listen, there is no evidence of widespread fraud. there's no reports of it. there are no reports of systemic issues with the election. the election is proceeding and
has proceeded as expected with ballots being counted legitimately. you mention the comments from senator pat toomey which i also found very interesting this morning. but this is how the trump campaign is trying to grab on to some sort of semblance of hope. i imagine in part to assuage the president. it is our reporting that he was not in a great mood when the numbers started coming in yesterday and they were not looking favorable towards him. i also have to say in pennsylvania, it's particularly interesting. you guys talked about this a couple of minutes ago. the late-arriving ballots are not being counted. ballots that arrive were sent in prior to election day but arrived after are not being included in this pool of ballots. i spoke with somebody involved in a legal strategy overnight who indicated that they felt like they had a shot at getting this case in front of the supreme court, having the justices take up that case in front of the court currently in pennsylvania, if, in fact, those late-arriving ballots were outcome determinative. were able to determine the outcome. it looks like based on the
numbers we're seeing right now that may or may not be the case. so that could be a blow to the campaign's legal strategy moving forward here. that said, don't expect -- listen. i don't have to tell you this. i would not expect any kind of conciliatory or concessionary speech from president trump if, in fact it gets to the point where, you know, pennsylvania ends up called. i spoke to somebody overnight, a source close to the president who said we're going to fight to every last second. the president is in a fighting mood. he is unwilling to concede any of this at this point. even, you know, even conceding that biden is taking the lead is a bridge too far from the trump campaign at this point. we'll continue to work out -- report out some elements here. this is fast-moving developments this morning here in this presidential race. >> as you talk about a legal strategy, it's unclear what that is exactly. in some states it's stop the vote. in other states like arizona, for example, it's continue the vote. count faster. but it seems to be a collection of assertions. in other words -- >> right.
>> in a lawsuit you have to provide evidence. when they are pressed for evidence as jacob soboroff pressed ric grenell yesterday, he had nothing to say except to accept into a van. what's the legal strategy? what's the evidence they're putting forward behind any of these claims? >> let's be clear, willie. it's not just reporters and members of the media saying there's not evidence for these claims and asking that question. it's the courts. it's actual judges who are tossing out these lawsuits in states like georgia and michigan because there's just not evidence for it. based on the reporting i've been doing, there's consternation with those, i think, in circles here in washington, republican circles about the strategy moving forward to put people like cory lewandowski, pam bondy, rudy giuliani, dave bossy and others being the charge of that legal effort. questions about who is the guy who is going to be the ted olson of this move marshalling and leading the legal effort moving
forward. at this point, i think that is still coalescing, and you're seeing that by the way that the trump campaign is not getting the legal victories. they're not racking up the legal victories they hoped to rack up. the stance this morning, very clearly defiant, willie. even in the face of some of these numbers coming in. >> and some talk that jared kushner was looking for his, quote, james baker. james baker came out yesterday and said count the votes. there's no defense for stopping the count at this point. there's been some talk if this race does tilt toward joe biden officially and it is called that there would need to be somebody around the president. and i know this may sound like a rhetorical question after four years of it. but somebody around the president who could walk in and tell him that we've got to respect this outcome. that the country, the future of our democracy, the stability of our democracy, in fact the security in the streets relies on your conceding in some way. does such a person exist? there hasn't been a person like that for 3 1/2 years you might submit.
is there someone who can make that phone call or walk into the oval office and say that to the president credibly? >> there have been instances, i think in the past, willie, rare instances, and you know this, where the president will come out and give perhaps like a subdued speech that says what he needs to say in the moment. i'm thinking in the past where the pundits have said it's a different tone from president trump. it's not, right. it's a different five seconds, but the president is who he is. and that's not changing. so i imagine that as this gets closer to potentially wrapping up, and we have not called pennsylvania, right? so the race is still out. we know that joe biden has taken the lead there as you all have been talking about. there are still vote counts coming in. but if this goes in that direction, there's going to have to be, i think, that discussion. i think -- i was in the briefing room last night when the president came out and spoke to reporters in the 17-minute fraud and -- fraud-filled false claim-filed diatribe to reporters there. and, you know, he did not have the posture of a person who
would be willing to go quietly into this good night, if that were to come. there are some -- there are some things that are tradition for presidents to do. remember four years ago, president obama invited then-president-elect donald trump to the white house the week of the election after it was clear president trump had won. we don't know if there's any indication that president trump will be inviting, if, in fact, joe biden wins the election, to the white house. a lot of things to come related to a transition that have a lot of people concerned, willie. >> hallie jackson at the white house, don't go far. i'm sure we'll be talking to you much more. mika? >> we're awaiting the results for pennsylvania. it could take an hour. hours still. 130,000 votes yet to be reported. the biden campaign is very, very confident. thought we'd take a moment to give some context to this situation and to biden's approach to this entire campaign. i want to read a piece that, joe, you wrote back in february.
biden had just gotten destroyed in the state of iowa. i remember a very awkward time with him on the set in new hampshire. he was sitting there and there was nothing to say but he was so steady and he was so optimistic and this piece covers the arc of his life and why it's really important to never, ever count him out. >> and also, everybody at this point had said that it was over for -- >> finished. >> -- for joe biden. he was being mocked and ridiculed. and people were saying repeatedly he couldn't finish better than fourth place in any presidential contest. and that he was embarrassing himself. >> so this is written in february. no matter how this race ends, i'm proud of joe biden. joe and jill biden retreated to the big bathroom upstairs in their delaware home to sort through the loss. for a proud man, long driven by a belief that god had a special plan for his life, the latest humiliation was shattering. sensing her husband's pain, jill
told joe, it's hard to smile. i know he replied, but biden characteristically did his best to look forward while speaking of better days ahead. richard ben cramer's classic work on the 1988 presidential campaign, what it takes, the way to the white house, movingly described how joe biden's departure from that contest would be followed by even more harrowing events in the coming months. in february of 1988, biden would suffer a brain aneurysm and find himself at the walter reed army medical center where his doctor told the senator that his chance of survival was less than half. even if biden lived, the doctor continued, a long list of physical and mental limitations were likely. 15 years after losing their mother and sister in a shattering car accident, biden's son beau and hunter were called to their father's bedside after a priest delivered last rites.
cramer wrote, that there was no need for the critically ill man to make things right with his boys. or to even say that he loved them. biden had made that obvious his entire life, refusing to let anyone step in to help raise them after his young wife died. joe didn't want anyone else raising his kids, cramer wrote. he was there every night. every weekend. they had stories at bedtime. games of catch on the lawn. outings, trips, places to go. the boys never saw the air out of joe's lungs, not once. he would not allow that. from his hospital bed, biden let his boys know that he didn't need to see them grow into men to know that he would be proud of them. he was proud of them already. when the surgeons cut into biden's head, the aneurysm exploded outward and was clamped
immediately. had it gushed toward his brain, biden would have been dead in an instant. but he survived and continued raising his children while passing landmark legislation in the senate and then later serving as barack obama's vice president. more than 25 years later, that awful grace of god would demand that biden bury his oldest son. fate would require that it be the father carrying the son's memory with him through the long days and nights that followed. last month, while in iowa, biden quietly wept as he told me on air how beau pushed him forward every day on the campaign trail. that made sense because it was young beau after all who pushed back against his father leaving the presidential race back in 1987. a few months later, he would be in the front seat of his dad's
ambulance driving through a fierce february snowstorm. it was beau's memory that also helped move joe biden to enter the presidential -- the 2020 presidential race. friends and longtime aides feared the former vice president wasn't up to the challenge of running yet again for president. that the pain and hardship biden had endured over his adult life left him too wearied to absorb the hits that would surely come his way. but jill biden, whom joe credited with helping him dream again after his first wife's death, supported his decision and helped him pick up the pieces of his life once more. that faith initially seemed to pay off with biden racing to the top of most democratic national polls through 2019. his losses in the first contests of 2020 held an overwhelm league white state, discount iing --
his pain can survive the body blows delivered by iowa and new hampshire. it remains to be seen but joe biden has endured much worse. like that gravely ill father comforting his sons so many years ago, millions of americans do not need to see how this political race ends to know that they are already proud of joe biden. and you can put me at the top of that list. >> you know, willie, it's hard to remember now. i wrote that piece and many people called up and said, thank you for writing it. it was painful. they considered -- >> it's hard to read. >> they considered it a political obituary for joe biden. i said it's not a political obituary. this guy is not a quitter. he's going to keep pushing through.
and south carolina straight ahead. well, jim clyburn would support him. the race would turn. and then one week's time, everything changed. and biden remained strong and confident and optimistic through it all. >> yeah, i'm thinking back. mika touched on it a few minutes ago. that day in manchester. february the 11th. the day of the primary. we sat in that restaurant where we've been so many times together doing our show there. and joe biden came in and it did feel, frankly, like a political wake. he ended up finishing in fifth place that night. his campaign staff, he, of course, just didn't -- wasn't -- were not in good spirits because of where they knew that was headed. in fact, he left town before the vote even came in and moved on to the next. but, yes, he was rescued by african-american voters in the state of south carolina. first by the endorsement from whip jim clyburn, but then by the voters.
he's not the nominee yet, though. so let's talk more about this because pennsylvania is still too close to call. to recap, if you are just joining us, joe biden has taken the lead, but just by about 5500 votes in the state of pennsylvania. he's taken the lead in pennsylvania, but he's still sitting at 253 electoral votes. if we become comfortable to make the call in the state of pennsylvania, we would add those 20 electoral votes in pennsylvania, getting him to 273, and making him the president-elect. let's bring in the director of elections here at nbc news, john lepinsky. if you could just walk our viewers through a bit about how and when you make a call in a state like pennsylvania. steve kornacki has been showing us the trend lines here that the vast majority, 75% of mail-in votes have been going joe biden's way. that's what is still out there. and he has the lead. so at what point would you and your team be comfortable making a call in pennsylvania?
>> we need to be 99.5% confident at least. and so what we're right now doing is essentially scrubbing through the vote and making sure that joe biden will get a comfortable enough lead. we're also looking at the recount threshold. he'll need about 33,000 votes, give or take there. so what we're really -- not concerned about, but what we're looking at is how many of those remaining votes, that 115,000 to 130,000 that are out there how many of them are going to be counted? a lot of people are assuming all of them will be counted. usually they count the hard votes last. there's about 25,000 votes out in philadelphia right now. but a number of them are ones they'll have to check those ballots to see if they're okay. if they're not okay, they won't be counted. same thing in allegheny. in addition to that, even though the mail ballots are breaking very heavy for biden. he's winning them plus 50. we need to also look at the
provisionals. no one is talking about the 75,000 to 100,000 provisionals that are out there, and we're taking a look to see how they are breaking to make sure -- we don't make calls on the decision day because we think it's going biden's way. we do think it's going biden's way. everything is biden's way. everything is looking good for him. but we need to know and we need to know at the 99.9% level. >> it's a scientific process. people want to see the number go to 273 but you're ably and responsibly doing your job to make sure you got it nailed down. what else do you see across the map in nevada, for example, arizona, do you feel like you'll be in the position to make calls there today or in the coming days? >> i think nevada is looking pretty good for vice president biden. we're supposed to get vote out of clark and it's almost all mail ballots. they have about 150,000 there and my guess is there's a decent chance of us putting a check mark there. depending on what we see.
it was like having a birthday party yesterday without a cake, because they had 115,000 voters and they gave us 14,000. so it was a little crazy but i think today we'll get a lot more. we'll see if we can do the check mark. again, it has to meet our standards. in arizona it is getting really, really close. i know other people called that race on election night. those are kind of crazy calls. this race could go down do to the wire. we have to see and it will depend on if president trump, you know, does as well as the earlier batches. and if that's the days, he could win this. i think i'd rather be vice president biden because he has a slight edge, but ever so slight. >> they're hoping that it becomes moot with a win in pennsylvania. thank you for taking a minute to answer the questions that our viewers have about how and when
you'll make the calls. it's a question of statistics and you're standing by that. so we appreciate that. director of elections, john lipinski. we'll get a sense of what the biden campaign is thinking right now. ali vitali is outside of the wilmington headquarters in delaware. let me add, that the mood in the campaign is reportedly quite joyous. they feel that pennsylvania is inevitable. >> reporter: there has been that feeling, mika. i'm getting texts filled with words like thrilled or feeling good in all caps. really the word of the day here has been confident in wilmington ever since election night. they have seen trends in a lot of these states, yes, in pennsylvania. but also in places like nevada and georgia where they'll see things tick in their favor and of course this morning in georgia and pennsylvania, that's really coming to fruition.
so we're hearing people say that there are people literally popping bottles, other people saying they would like to see until the networks call this. but clearly among the biden campaign aides and staffers that we're all talking to, they are feeling really good. i have to say, i'm struck when you guys are reading from richard ben cramer and reminding of the fact that joe biden has been running for president in some form or fashion since 1988, biden is waiting for the race to be called like we are. considering when he's been waiting for this moment for 32 years this person said what's another few hours? this is a campaign that has been cautious in wanting to make sure every vote is counted. they think by doing that that will put them on top and we have heard it from the way that bide has talked about this. he's said like phrases we're on track to win. once the votes are counted he will be president-elect of the united states. he's hedging on that because they feel good and the data and
the math. we're not there yet. we haven't called it. again, there are some people in the campaign who say they're so happy to see the results start coming out but until they see the networks call it they want to reserve their judgment a little bit. >> all right, ali, thank you. we really appreciate it. and yep, the networks are going to wait. we need to get more votes in from pennsylvania, even though they're all breaking joe biden's way. we have to look at the provisional ballots, which way they'll break. but mike barnicle, you and willie and mika and i were on the set in new hampshire, in manchester that morning. february 11th. and things were looking bleak politically for joe biden. and the turnaround just over the next week was extraordinary. if in fact, this race goes the way we expect it to go, based on the votes, this would be one of the great political turnarounds
in american history from a guy who actually has been through so much, but always believed that this was his purpose in life. >> yeah, you know, joe, that morning i got -- i can remember it as if it were yesterday. joe biden was clearly despon department because he endured the brutal loss in iowa. i walked out with him when we came off the stage at the restaurant. walked out with him through the narrow hallway out into the kitchen where he left and i knew he was going to south carolina from there. he wasn't sticking around in new hampshire. he was despondent but he was not defeated. and i think that's important for the country to know about this guy. because he's a very grounded human being and he's a very confident human being. and it doesn't surprise me at all what ali just reported that he's sequestered with his
friends and family probably right now, watching the results, waiting patiently for the results. they had a family party last night. sort of a surprise party for valerie biden, joe's sister, who has been with him and ran most of his campaigns through the senate and is participating heavily in this campaign, of course, and she's a great source of judgment for joe and for everyone who does know her at all. at the party there were campaign workers there as well. you know, joe was grounded and he wasn't going around worried about what was going to happen because what was going to happen was going to happen. and he's lived through a lot of things as we know and as you just pointed out and mika read that beautiful piece right after the new hampshire primary. 43 years was the distance in time between when he lost his son and daughter in 1972, when he was elected to the senate at
29 years of age. 43 years later he lost his son beau. he carried that burden of sorrow across all those years and his memory never failed him about what his family meant. it became even stronger that's what we're about to get in the president-elect of the united states. a grounded, firmly grounded human being. joseph r. biden of delaware. >> and to mike's point, joe, what you see is joe biden's patience, his empathy and also his willingness to accept even when it's hard. he's been there. so waiting -- accepting that he has to wait a few more hours, even days, that's not hard for one person, joe biden. might be hard for the rest of us. people want answers and they want some clarity and they also
they want the noise to stop. the chaos and the scamming of our democracy to stop. i think there are people who are rightfully very impatient at this point. >> willie? >> yeah. i want to go back over to steve kornacki. not a major dump here but we got some more votes in to pennsylvania, right? >> that's right. we've got reports from two more counties here and you can see the affect has been to rise joe biden's statewide lead it's now 6,737 votes. what we got here basically, the big thing here is bucks county. we're saying we expected some more, they had 10,000 additional mail-in ballots in bucks county. they released about 3,000 of those and joe biden won 2,016 of them. so biden getting about two-thirds, more than two-thirds of the new ballots that were just counted and the tally that
was released in bucks county which you can see right here. again, what that's done to the statewide lead, raise edit to 7,637. now that we've got philadelphia and that big release there, maybe a while until we get more from philadelphia. they seem to do these at wide intervals, but there are other counties throughout the state with outstanding ballots, smaller amounts of outstanding ballots, but it's daylight. it's the working hours. they are now in session processing those and along the lines to let you know, the other big piece of outstanding real estate are the 35,000 in allegheny county. there is a slice of those ballots -- this is a very complicated thing, but the bottom line is they can't -- they cannot get to all of those ballots by law or by court ruling until later today but there's about 7,000 of them that they can. and they began counting the
7,000 about an hour ago. in allegheny, based on what we have seen, allegheny was more efficient at counting their ballots than philadelphia. so you have 7,000 now in the works in allegheny. they have been in the works for an hour. >> all right. and so when can they count all 35,000, steve? >> at the end of today, the rest of them. there has been a whole issue with a mailing error involving ballots in allegheny county and the court stepped in and this is why they couldn't count any of the ballots yesterday. that's why there was an administrative day in allegheny county. actually, the deadline for most of the ballots is late today, that they can start processing them. but there's a group here of 7,000 they can get going on. so they have gotten going on them. and again, they are a more efficient counter it seems than philadelphia. >> all right, steve, thank you so much. we'll be watching you all day today. willie of course, it's been great going through this
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