Reporter's Note: President Obama and Governor Romney are watching the election returns tonight. At least I assume they are. Perhaps they are playing Parcheesi, but I doubt it.
Dear Mr. President,
So this is it! The big night! All those months of campaigning, fundraising, focus grouping, hand shaking, speech making…it all comes down to one big hurrah tonight. Despite the fact that you’ve won before, it seems to me that you’ve got to be a bit nervous. I mean, seriously…if it does not go your way this evening, that won’t play particularly well on the old legacy chart, will it?
Of course I suppose that would be true for Mitt Romney as well. If he loses after all the money, time and effort he’s invested, he’ll be pretty unhappy too. And he would not even be able to say he was President for a term. Oh well, I can’t feel too concerned you since you each decided to get into this mess. Ha!
Here’s a funny thought: What if you could identify a single person who will decide the election tonight? I mean, theoretically there is such a soul. Somewhere out there is the state that will carry either you or Governor Romney up to the 270 electoral votes needed to win. And somewhere in that state is the county that will tip the balance one way or the other. And somewhere in that county is the person who will pull a lever, or fill in a ballot, or tap a touch screen to seal the deal.
Because of the way the Electoral College works there are plenty of places where that decisive voter simply cannot exist. He or she can’t be a resident of a hard core blue or red state. Can’t even be living in a hard core red or blue neighborhood. The deciding voter has to be a resident of tippy-town…a place where a handful of votes can really make a difference.
But that voter most assuredly exists. And tonight, he or she will arguably be the most powerful person in the country for a fraction of second…even if he or she never knows it.
Best of luck to you and the governor. Looking forward to both of your speeches, whenever they might come around. Call if you get a moment.
Senior Romney adviser Jim Talent says the GOP candidate is in Pennsylvania and Ohio on Election Day to drum up excitement at rallies. That's contrary to President Obama's plans to do satellite interviews and make calls rather than travel. "I think the enthusiasm of a rally, you know the local press coverage that you get, the way it encourages your workers, it's a powerful way of campaigning...this is the last day, so get out there and see people and encourage them to get to the polls and work to get other people to the polls," says Talent.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says Pennsylvania is secure for Obama. Anderson Cooper asked him about Mitt Romney stopping there on Election Day while President Obama made calls and interviews, but did not travel or hold any events. "I think Mitt Romney has to go to Pennsylvania because Ohio is not working the way it has...why is he doing that? The reason isn't just for one more effort. It's because the avenues for an electoral map to victory are not where they were six days ago or six weeks ago. That's why he's trying to look for an opening," says Emanuel.
David Gergen says President Obama has an edge going into Election Day because of the way he handled Superstorm Sandy. "That means he's favored, but Romney can still pull off this upset. It is so very much within his power. He's got a lot of enthusiasm on the ground," says Gergen.
On Election Day, Mitt Romney will campaign in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Anderson Cooper asked Candy Crowley why the Republican candidate would spend time trying to convince voters in a state that hasn't supported a GOP ticket since 1988. "First of all, it's right next door to Ohio so it's not like they have to go across the country to go there. Plus, more than 90% of Pennsylvanians will vote on Election Day. There's no early voting in pennsylvania," says Crowley about the campaign's strategy.
Paul Begala says it's almost impossible for Mitt Romney to get 270 electoral votes without winning Ohio. Ari Fleischer disagrees with that assessment and presents a different version of how Romney could win, prompting Begala to respond, "If my aunt had a moustache, we'd call her my uncle."
CNN's Jeffrey Toobin says both presidential campaigns have thousands of lawyers ready for potential legal battles. The first lawsuits have already been filed in Ohio over how provisional ballots will be counted, and in Florida over the deadline for early voting.
David Gergen explains why historically Democrats have an advantage because states they typically win have more electoral votes. "The last five elections, there are 19 states that have gone Democratic in five straight elections. They amount to 243 electoral votes. There are 22 states that have gone Republican, but there are only 180 electoral votes," says Gergen.
Van Jones believes if the youth vote shrinks from 18% in 2008, Pres. Obama will be in trouble. "Who votes will tell us a lot about who will win," says John King about the voter demographic, which could determine the outcome if there are slight changes from what's expected.
CNN's John King breaks down the counties in Virginia, Ohio and Colorado that will be critical on Election Day.