Morning Joe | November 06, 2012
>> vice president joe biden and his wife, jill, cast their ballots in greenville, delaware. the vice president was asked, do you think this will be the last time you'll be voting for yourself?
>> what did he say?
>> he said, not on your life.
>> of course he did.
>>> but two small touwns got the jump. in dixville notch it was a split decision, five votes for each candidate.
>> and in hart's location, 23 votes for president obama . nine for mitt romney . new hampshire is one of a handful of critical swing states where the polls showed the president with a consistent but razor thin lead among likely voters.
>> looking ahead to tonight polls begin closing at 6:00 eastern in kentucky and indiana and we'll begin to see important results roll in after 7:00 when polls close in another half dozen states including the bat battleground of virginia with 13 electoral votes up for grabs. it's a state president obama turned blue back in 2008 by a seven-point margin.
>> the latest poll shows a statistical dead heat and the next batch of closings after 7:00, of course, happens at 7:30. among them two more key states of perhaps the most important ohio as well as north carolina . as we've heard a lot of times by now, no republican has ever won the white house without taking the buckeye state .
>> so with us on set we have the moderator of "meet the press" david gregory , chief washington correspondent of cnbc and political writer for the "new york times", john harwood , pulitzer prize winning columnist and editor of "the washington post " and msnbc political and a list, eugene robinson , and co-host of the radio show smiley west and the tavis smiley show , tavis smiley . we also have david axelrod are standing by.
>> what's he got to say? he's out of it now.
>> he's marginalized. even if he wins he's a lame duck.
>> that photo of him without the mustache.
>> go to david right now.
>> david , by the way --
>> david , you'd better win.
>> we have a picture of you without your mustache. and an artist rendering of me as freddie fender . not good looking.
>> exactly. david , how do you feel this morning?
>> i'm feeling great. first of all, happy election day . it's an exciting day. so i always get jazzed up for this, but i really feel good about it. we have work to do today to get our vote out but i believe we're going to get our vote out as we did in the early vote and we're going to have a very good day and, joe , let me just say i bought myself a new mustache comb because i know i'm going to be needing it. and -- and, joe , i bought you one, too, because i know you're going to be needing one, too. so i'm all set.
>> this ises really -- i don't know.
>> it's disturbing.
>> yeah, it is, actually.
>> are you really going to do that?
>> he has to.
>> his wife, susan , is going to shave it on the air.
>> a deal is a deal.
>> on this show.
>> a deal is a deal.
>> i want to know if joe will go through with it?
>> oh, yes, he is.
>> if the president wins florida or north carolina i have no choice.
>> guys, let me just say something here. joe and i don't agree on everything but he is a man of integrity. i know he'll keep his word.
>> he set me up.
>> the only question isn't whether he's going to have a mustache it's whether it will be a fu manchu or a razor thin kind of one. but he's going to have a mustache and i know he'll keep his word.
>> the same with you, david . the same with you. pennsylvania . pennsylvania . pennsylvania .
>> so having said that, david axelrod -- speaking of pennsylvania , a lot of people on the romney campaign are feeling pretty good this morning and they feel like they might actually pull this one through.
>> well, hope springs eternal . the reality is that we go into the day i think with a very solid lead. obviously, as i said, i don't want to discourage anyone from voting because we need every vote. but, look, i've said since they serve this had pennsylvania strategy over the weekend this was more of a prayer than a plan because they understand how much trouble they're in in the state of ohio are where derek and that became even more difficult for them because of the flap over the auto industry and the president's intervention.
>> where is the solid lead?
>> excuse me?
>> where is the solid lead? is there a poll i haven't seen? in pennsylvania ? we all have access to data. we are talking about a state with a 1.1 million democratic registration advantage. and they would have to have, you know, an extraordinary, unprecedented day in pennsylvania to win today. and there's nothing what i'm looking at that suggests that will happen. the problem they have isn't the math in pennsylvania , it's the electoral math whmt you're losing states like ohio , iowa, nevada, colorado, you know, you have to find the votes somewhere. so i think they're scrambling around trying to find a way to make up those states they're not going to win.
>> david gregory , david axelrod has said, in pennsylvania if you're a democrat in pennsylvania , you get a 1.1 million vote advantage. so just stay home today. it doesn't really matter. do you have a question for david axelrod ?
>> both sides encouraging everybody to vote as are we. david , my question about the assertion that the romney team makes, which is, look, there's no way that in 2012 with the enthusiasm and the and ttagonism toward president obama that you're not going to have a higher republican turnout, that the percentage of the white vote, white republicans won't be higher than four years ago when mccain didn't have this kind of operation, didn't have these kinds of conditions. the gop brand was in a much different place. your side has less enthusiasm among young people and minority voters. so why is it that you think the electorate is going to look so close to 2008 instead of what they're saying which is something of a republican surge?
>> well, david , obviously we'll know the answer in a very short time. but look at the early vote . the fact is that we won early voting every single state that has early vote and there's been record breaking turnout among african- americans . a strong turnout among young people , and strong turnout among sporadic voters who didn't vote in 2010 and new registrants and we registered hundreds and hundreds of thousands, more than a million new voters around this country, and particularly in those battleground states . so, you know, they have a theory, as i've said several times. our analysis is base d on cold, hard data and what we see in front of us. and if they have this great wave of enthusiasm, it has yet to surface.
>> david , it's tavist smiley. you said a moment ago record turnout in the early voting . what would happen if the president were to lose this race race? i don't think he will. what if he woke up and he in part lost because of the margin of black absence at the polls. you can only play the history card one time. how about the campaign process? you can only play the history card one time. you know those black folks who do turn out today are going to clearly vote for the president. but how concerned are you about turnout amongst his base, namely african- americans , hispanics? let's start with the african-american question.
>> well, tavis, you know i'm not going to answer a hypothetical that i don't believe will happen. and the reason i don't believe it will happen is because of what we've seen in early voting . a state like georgia which isn't within those battleground states and there hasn't been a huge campaign effort of the sort we've seen in those battleground states and you've seen record breaking turnout in the early vote among african- americans , i, as we travel the country with the president in the last four days, the energy that we've seen has been enormous. so that's a hypothetical that i don't think we're going to have to deal with. i believe the president is going to get a strong turnout. i want to urge everyone who is watching this program this morning to go out and vote and make your voices heard, but i haven't seen any lack of enthusiasm on the part of not just african-american voters but people across the spectrum who are part of the president's coalition to go out and vote today.
>> unless, of course, you're a democrat in pennsylvania . and get a 1.1 million vote advantage.
>> he's just trouble.
>> and they can still lose pennsylvania . david could lose his mustache. but they still could get around 270.
>> you really don't want to grow a mustache, do you? is.
>> i want to see susan axelrod come on --
>> i love susan but i don't want to see her do that.
>> shave his mustache and i will donate $5,000.
>> only $5,000?
>> actually, i might --
>> i'll tell you what, david -- if she only shaves one half of the mustache, i'll make it $10,000.
>> i was going to go for the $5,000. that part i don't know about.
>> a unibrow.
>> after we made that bet and she offered to shave it off on the air, she also said to me, i hope you know what you're talking about.
>> thank you so much and good luck today. we greatly appreciate you being here.
>> all right, thank you.
>> what a strange thing happening. so, gene, this is a fascinating campaign. fascinating the last couple of days because we keep hearing head versus heart. your head says the president will win. heart tells me there are a lot of people that have even been on set this morning that tell me off air there's no evidence of it but i feel like romney is moving.
>> i kind of feel like the evidence of it somewhere, you know.
>> i know. other than 30,000 people in pennsylvania , 20,000 in ohio .
>> but crowd size is such a bad -- as you know, such a bad indicator of which way an election is going to go.
>> remember how the dukakis campaign was feeling it in '88.
>> right. we were on a roll. and so i have to believe the data. the state i'm really curious about is your state actually. and that's the one that i kind of have a funny feeling about, that that's not going to be as easy a state for the republicans as is thought but, of course, you know the state better than i do. the early voting lines and wondered if florida might not make it an earlier evening for us than otherwise it might.
>> i was going to say, john, if florida is close, this race is over.
>> well, it is going to be close. i would expect romney slightly better than 50/50 chance of carrying it but it will be close regardless. i think one of the things we have to watch is what the party i.d. spread is. that's been the argument about all these polls. a fund aamental difference of analysis between the two campaigns. the democrats think it's going to be plus four, plus five democrat. republicans think it's going to be around plus two. and as david said, we'll find out in a few hours.
>> david gregory , we haven't -- what has frustrated a lot of people, mark halperin and i have talked about it for some time, the independent votes. in the national polls mitt romney ahead by double digits . the gap much closer than people expected even a month or two ago and he's still behind in the models and you scratch your head and say, well, if you had told us six months ago that one of the candidates would be up by double digits , you would say they'll win the election. not the case here.
>> well, because we've seen that president obama didn't win independent voters and still came out ahead. mitt romney is ahead in our latest poll seven points among independent voters. their campaign points to that as a real strong sign. the obama team says, look, if you look at his favorability rating it's upside-down among those who self-identify as independent voters, so how are the late breakers going to break for him? the obama team thinks a lot of the undecided folks are just not going to vote so that's ultimately how white this electorate is, how republican versus democrat it is. that's the deal.
>> that's the thing. if you have a plus five democratic electorate, the independents don't matter as much because you can sustain a loss of five, six, seven points.
>> i think this is really about offense versus defense. if president obama has better defense than romney , it's over. if he can protect the midwest, it's game over .
>> eugene, does it all come down to the economy ultimately?
>> that's cheerily the huge issue.
>> if that's the huge issue, isn't that why we're sittinging on the edge of our seats? you have numbers that are good but you have a situation when you go out there in the country that is not good. or that is spotty at best in terms of recovering and it's a new economy.
>> so if the economy were roaring we would be confident in what's going to happen. if the economy were still totally in the tank, we would be confident about what will happen. it's on the edge. it has gotten better. jobs have been added every month.
>> oh, sure. i think on paper it's gotten better.
>> and romney is winning the economy in our poll. romney is up.
>> it's up on the economy but economic confidence and people's sense of the economy has improved. it has improved in every poll.
>> so, tavis, we've heard time and again that the president's crowds -- over the past weekend, the president's crowds are smaller and less enthusiastic than four years ago. we saw nbc -- i mean, "the new york times" talk about it over the weekend. what are your feelings as the president is about to end his final campaign? what are your feelings? do you feel a bit melancholy four years later?
>> i was honored to be on nbc four years ago when the election was called for barack obama and i will never forget that night as long as i live being that we never will but african-american man, i don't even have a language to describe what that felt like four years ago. i could not have imagined that four years later this race would be as tight as it is today with all of the hope and all the enthusiasm and all of the energy that he came to the white house with. i'm just surprised quite frankly , so melancholy is an interesting word. i didn't know how i would fael waking up this morning not knowing how this would turn out. two things, one, i think there's a danger in any campaign being too overconfident. you would be making a joke about the pennsylvania thing but there's something real there. this early in the day if you're already declaring victory here, there, and everywhere, then that doesn't motivate people to get out to vote as the day goes on, number one, and that is a particularly -- of particular concern to me for a second reason. we just had so much of the president's base, gene and mika were talking about, so many are people who don't have jobs. they've lost their homes. you talk about people of color that make up such a huge part of the president's base. if that constituency, they're disaffected already. and if, in fact, they don't get out today, he's in trouble. as i said earlier to david , they don't want to lose -- they don't want to realize they lost by the margin of absence by their supporters.
>> and, by the way, gene, and we have to go but this is an important point to make. if the obama campaign was so confident about pennsylvania , they wouldn't have sent bill clinton there twit. twice.
>> trust but verify. if they're going to be in pennsylvania and you have --
>> a pretty good strong safety .
>> if you have bill clinton there and, frankly, if you're fairly confident about ohio and clearly the obama campaign has felt really good about ohio and so just on the off chance maybe they know something we don't know, send in lyclinton.
>> eugene robinson and john harwood ,