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Midterms 2014: Mitt Romney, Sen. Ben Cardin break down the battle for the Senate
Written by Chris Wallace / Published November 02, 2014 / Fox News Sunday
Special Guests: Mitt Romney, Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., Karl Rove, Joe Trippi
This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," November 2, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I'm Chris Wallace.
Just two days until the midterms, the battle for control of the Senate.
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: This race comes down to one question above all others -- who's on your side?
SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KY.: I think the reason this election is going to go so poorly for the Democrats is it's going to be a referendum on the president's policies.
WALLACE: From the campaign trail, we'll take a look at the hottest races.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-KY., MINORITY LEADER: Every crazy leader in the country wishes me ill. The president has been trying to beat me for years.
ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES, D-KY., SENATE CANDIDATE: You are the ones that will bring this race across the finish lines. You are the ones that will deliver the knockout to Mitch McConnell.
WALLACE: We'll hear the closing arguments from leading voices. For the GOP, Mitt Romney. For the Democrats, Senator Ben Cardin.
Then, what x-factors could sway the swing races that will determine the balance of power in Washington?
We'll check our campaign cowboys, Karl Rove and Joe Trippi.
Plus, Democrats continue to distance themselves from President Obama ahead of Tuesday's vote.
SEN. KAY HAGAN, D-N.C.: Tillis wants to make this race about the president. This race is about who is going to represent North Carolina in the U.S. Senate.
WALLACE: Our special elections Sunday group: Brit Hume, Megyn Kelly, George Will and Juan Williams weigh in.
All, right now, on "Fox News Sunday."
WALLACE: Welcome to Fox News Elections Headquarters in New York, just two days before millions of Americans go to the polls. And hello again from Fox News, where we're getting ready for election night, when the pollsters and pundits stop talking, and you tell us who you want running the government.
And the surprise is how close many of these key races are, especially the battle for the Senate.
We want to get the latest on two of those contests. First, Kentucky, where Republican Mitch McConnell is on a battle for reelection, as he hopes to become Senate majority leader.
Here's Fox News chief political correspondent Carl Cameron -- Carl.
CARL CAMERON, FOX NEWS CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Chris, no one has more riding on 2014 than Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. He stands to become the Senate majority leader if Republicans can pick up that net game of six seats. But, first, he has to win reelection.
CAMERON (voice-over): McConnell has had a narrow but steady lead in the polls, though he's unpopular as the GOP Senate leader, he has lashed the even more unpopular Democrat president to his rival Alison Lundergan Grimes as a new face of change.
MCCONNELL: A new face to do what? New face to vote for the president's agenda, a new face to make Harry Reid the majority leader of the Senate. She's the new face for the status quo.
GRIMES: I am not an empty dress, I am not a rubber stamp and I am not a cheerleader.
CAMERON: Grimes called McConnell a GOP obstruction, causing gridlock in Washington. She's tried to distance herself from the president, but may have gone too far by refusing to admit whether or not she voted for Mr. Obama in the last election.
GRIMES: There's no reluctancy. This is a matter of principles.
CAMERON: It's been nasty and personal on both sides. Grimes is mailing flyers to that promote racial division with the photo of a black family and the words "Stop Mitch McConnell, he's targeting our president and our community."
McConnell, by contrast, confident of his lead, added an lighthearted ad in the final days to soften his image.
MCCONNELL: I'm Mitch McConnell and I approve this emergency.
CAMERON: Spending in this race is expected to top $100 million. Both sides are frantically trying to get out the vote in final hours, and there's some indication that McConnell may be pulling away -- Chris.
WALLACE: Carl, thank you.
Now, let's look at Louisiana, one of a number of traditionally Republican states, where Democratic senators are struggling to hold on to their seats. Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu is under fire there for some recent comments she made.
FOX News senior national correspondent John Roberts joins us from New Orleans -- John.
JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Chris, good morning to you.
Incumbent Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu is in the fight for her political left, trying to survive for a fourth term. Recent poll numbers would suggest she doesn't yet have the of course to win outright on Tuesday and could in fact lose in a runoff a month later on December 6th. So, in the closing days of this race, she is pulling out all the stops to try to turn her fortunes around.
CLINTON: Give her three days for six more years.
ROBERTS (voice-over): Senator Landrieu brought in the big Democratic gun. Hillary Clinton to rally voters in New Orleans yesterday, at the same time she double downed on her controversial statement that the president's popularity in Louisiana is suffering in part because of the racism.
(on camera): But what do you say to people who say you insulted the state with what you said?
SEN. MARY LANDRIEU, D-LA.: It doesn't bother me, and I think the statement stands for itself.
ROBERTS (voice-over): To many Republicans, including Landrieu's opponent, Congressman Bill Cassidy, her charge was outrageous.
REP. BILL CASSIDY, R-LA.: She alleges were are sexists and racists. Now, that is wrong. She besmirches the people she seeks to represent.
ROBERTS: Cassidy himself appeared with a political rock star yesterday, Dr. Ben Carson, in the hopes of winning the Tea Party vote on Tuesday.
Carson told me Landrieu's comments about races were old fashion and inflammatory, simply meant to manipulate people.
DR. BEN CARSON: I've been to Louisiana a lot of times, and I feel nothing but love here. So, I -- I don't know what she's talking about. I really don't.
ROBERTS: So, if Landrieu really hopes to hang on to her seat this time around, she needs to turn out Africa African-American voters in numbers closer to 2008 and 2012, than a typical midterm election. An analysis of early voting shows that she's got pretty good numbers, but the question is, Chris, whether those numbers are good enough.
WALLACE: John, thank you.
With just two days until the election, we want to hear the closing arguments from both sides.
First, the Republicans and their last presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who has been campaigning for the GOP candidates in more than two dozen states across the country.
Governor, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."
MITT ROMNEY, R-FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thanks, Chris. Good to be with you.
WALLACE: As we say, two days before the election, what is the Republican closing argument? Why should voters on Tuesday vote for the GOP?
ROMNEY: Well, first, this is really the last chance for America to pass judgment on the Obama administration and on its policies.
And the president himself said he's not on the ballot, but his policies are. That includes hesitancy and weakness abroad, which has led to a certain degree to the rise of ISIS. It also includes the violation of the most fundamental promise of ObamaCare to let people keep their doctor and their insurance if they want to keep it. It's a policy also of basic amnesty for those people who come to the country illegally. I think that's what we know where the president is going to head as soon as the election is over.
And, by the way, those are policies that are not helpful for the poor in this country. Under the president, the policies that have led to greater poverty and greater income gap between the rich and the poor.
The Republican Party is saying, look, we're going to take a different direction. We're going to break the blockade in Washington by having a Republican Senate. We'll have an energy policy, which means we're going to have the Keystone pipeline.
We're going to secure the border. We're going to jump-start the economy and we're actually going to help get people out of poverty and their kids will have better schools.
WALLACE: Governor, I want to pick up on the issue of the economy, which according to the polls, is everyone's top concerns. The president this weekend made the arguments that he and Democrats have made some real progress since the recession. Take a look, sir.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Over the past 55 months, or businesses have added 10.3 million new jobs. For the first time in six years, the unemployment rate is below 6 percent. And on Thursday, we learned that over the past six months, our economy has grown at its fastest pace since 2003.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Now, the president says Democrats want to raise the minimum wage and spent more money on infrastructure job and that your party opposes all of that.
ROMNEY: Look, the question is whether or not anything will get done in Washington. Of course, the economy comes back after a recession, the president as policies delayed that recovery and made it up much more difficult for Americans to get back to work, record numbers of Americans have dropped out of the work force.
But we have such gridlock in Washington, in part because the Senate has put up a blockade that keeps any new bill that the House passes and they passed some 370 bills that don't ever get to the president's desk, because the Senate says no.
It's times for us to break that blockade, pass some legislation, actually get jobs growing in America again, put these pieces of legislation on the president's desk. We do that, you're going to see the president sign some of them.
We'll see some increase in wages. You're going to see an increase in jobs. And I think the American people recognize it's time for action as opposed to just finger-pointing and blame in Washington.
WALLACE: Governor, one way the Democrats are going after Republicans this year is the same way that President Obama went after you in 2012. In fact, people are now calling it getting Romney-ed.
Here are Democrat Michelle Nunn going after her opponent in the Georgia Senate race, as well as Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, both of them going after their businessmen opponents.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE NUNN, D-GA., SENATE CANDIDATE: He said from his own words that he spent the majority of his career outsourcing jobs. And, you know, I just question whether that's the criteria we want in the person who is running for Senate.
GOV. PAT QUINN, D-ILL.: My opponent is a job eliminator. As I said earlier, he's started firms to teach other firms how to outsource.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Governor, have you come up with a way that businessmen who are running should answer that?
ROMNEY: Well, you know, I think you're finding Democrats across the country pretty desperate at this stage, trying to distance themselves from the president, who they vote for time and time again, and even won't admit that they do.
And I think the American people have recognized these attacks on a person's character, the attacks on women, the attacks related to race, all these things are just, are getting weaker and weaker, and people are saying, look, we're tired of being manipulated by Democratic candidates who take us for granted.
I think you're going to find that these arguments have less and less sway, and people are stopping and saying, look, do you really want to see change in Washington? Do you actually have a blocking of the whole gridlock process? And do you actually want to have progress on things like the economy, schools, health care, and a strengthening of America's hand abroad?
And, by the way, one other issue, we haven't spoken about, which I think is very much on people's minds, is the -- if you will, the less than competent management of the government, anything from the IRS, to the Veterans Administration, to the Centers for Disease Control, and HHS itself on the implementation of ObamaCare. People want to see real change and recognize as long as you have all the same players, Harry Reid and Barack Obama, blockading any kind of progress, you're going to see America going in the same direction we have seen it.
WALLACE: But, Governor, let's talk about the Republicans and how much they have changed. After 2012, the Republican National Committee did what was called a post mortem on what they need to do, on how to do better, how to reach out of the more.
Here's what they had to say about Hispanics, "We must embrace comprehensive immigration reform. If we do not, our party's appeal will continue to shrink to its core constituencies only."
But, Governor, after the Senate, in a bipartisan basis passed comprehensive immigration reform, House Republicans blocked it.
ROMNEY: Well, what you're going to see is when you have Republican House and Republican Senate, you're going to have to have, of course, Democrats still vote for the bills that Republicans come up with, because you can't get something through the Senate unless you have 60 votes. And that means you got to get a lot of Democrats.
But you're going to see a provision first of all to secure the border, second of all, to deal with those who have come here illegally and, third, to make sure our immigration policies are open and transparent to many people who do want to come here illegally. That's going to happen. You're going to be a bill actually reached the desk of the president, if we finally have someone besides Harry Reid sitting in the Senate.
So, we're going to get it done. I think Republicans in the House were looking at what was coming from the Senate saying, you know what? We can do better if we pick up more seats in the Senate.
I can't tell you whether we're going to win the Senate on Tuesday, but I can tell you, we're going to pick up a lot of seats and we have a lot better prospect of having a piece of legislation, which deals with the issue in the way I described.
WALLACE: Governor, a couple weeks ago, Republican Party Chair Reince Priebus put out 11 principles, for what he says the party should stand for this year. But they were awfully general. Let me put up a couple.
On the economy, "We need to start growing America's economy instead of Washington's economy so that working Americans see better wage and more opportunity. "On health care, "We need to start over with real health care reform that puts patients and their doctors in charges not unelected bureaucrats in Washington."
While people may agree with those principles, it doesn't really put much meat on the bones. I guess the question is, have Republicans made a mistake not running on a more specific agenda of their own?
And you keep talking about breaking the gridlock -- yes, a Republican Congress, House and Senate, will pass bills, but will they pass bills that the president will sign?
ROMNEY: Well, that's, of course, the test.
And the good news is in many cases the president will sign them, which regards to, for instance, the economy, the president has asked for trade promotion authority. Harry Reid won't give him that authority. Republicans want him to have that authority. We want to see trade negotiations under way and see if we can't find more places to sell American goods. That will help the economy. The president will sign that.
With regards to health care, for instance, when Reince Priebus talks about adjusting our health care system to make ObamaCare work better. Look, we've got ObamaCare for at least the next couple years. There are a lot of Democrats in the Senate great with Republicans on. One is to keep the penalty for people who are part-time work from driving more people out of full-time jobs.
And so, these kinds of changes I think you'll actually see the president sign. I'm absolutely convinced that you're going to see with a Republican-led Senate, if we're lucky enough to get that, you're going to see bills get to the president's desk, he will sign some. Some, he won't sign. No question about that, he'll veto some, but I think at that point, we'll find out who really is the party of no.
WALLACE: Finally, as soon as this election is over on Tuesday, you know we're going to all start talking about 2016, and the presidential race. One of the big questions is whether or not you're going to run again. Your most recent comment on that is probably not, but, quote, "things could change."
On the other hand -- and let's put his up -- your wife, Ann Romney had a different answer. She seemed to slam the door. She wrote -- when asked, are you guys going to run again? "Done, completely. Not only Mitt and I are done, but the kids are done. Done, done, done."
WALLACE: That is six dones, Governor, in one answer, which brings up the big question: who speaks for the Romneys, you or Mrs. Romney?
ROMNEY: We both speak for the Romneys. We're both Romneys.
But, you know, I found anytime you say something different in answering a question than you said it in the prior time you answered it, it raises a lot of speculation as to whether things are changing. The reality is this, and I'll say it the same way I have for quite some time, which is -- I'm not running, I'm not planning on running, but I'm not going to add anything else to that story.
WALLACE: So, you're not saying you're done?
ROMNEY: What I'm saying is I'm not running, I'm not planning on running. That's all I've got for you, Chris. No more than that.
WALLACE: Finally, would the results of this election, if it's a big Republican year, if it's a big Democratic year, could that affect your decision at all as to whether or not to run?
ROMNEY: No. I can tell you this, it's going to be a big Republican year. I can't tell you whether we get the Senate or not, but we're going to pick up a lot of seats in the Senate. We're going to pick up a lot of seats in House. We're going to pick up seats in states across the country, and that's in part because as the president said, his policies are on the ballot this year, and frankly this is people in America passing judgment on the Obama administration, with which they're not very happy.
WALLACE: Governor Romney, we want to thank you. Thank you so much for joining us today. Always good to talk with you, sir.
ROMNEY: Thank, Chris. Good to be with you.
WALLACE: Up next, the Democrats who are fighting to hang on to their majority in the Senate. Senator Ben Cardin joins us with his party's closing arguments.
And, what do you think will happen Tuesday? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter @FoxNewsSunday and use the #fns -- as we cover the midterms from Fox News Election Headquarters here in New York.
WALLACE: And we're back at Fox News Election Headquarters in New York, where we will be watching as the result come in Tuesday night.
We heard from the Republican side. Now, it's the Democrats' turn to make their case.
And joining us from Baltimore, Maryland, Senator Ben Cardin.
Senator, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."
SEN. BEN CARDIN, D-MD.: Thanks, Chris. It's good to be with you.
WALLACE: Let's start with the same question I asked Governor Romney. What is the Democrats' closing argument? Why should folks vote for your party on Tuesday?
CARDIN: Well, we're feeling good about what's happening. You look at the economy. As you pointed out, 55 consecutive months of job growth, 10 million new jobs, unemployment rate the lowest it's been 2008.
The economy is usually what turns voters' directions. So, we're feeling good. The facts on the ground indicate that things are going well. I've talked to many of colleagues in tough races over the weekend, and they're feeling optimistic that we're doing well. We have a good ground game to get our vote out. We're feeling good about Tuesday.
WALLACE: You say, Senator, that things are going well, but let's drill down into some of those economic numbers, which don't look so good. For all the talk about income inequality by your party, median household income is now 8 percent lower, than it was before the recession; 5.5 million more people are living below the party line; and 46.5 million people are food stamps, that's 14.5 million more than when the president was sworn in.
And, finally, Senator, a record number of people may have jobs, but they're temporary jobs.
And so, I guess the thing is, so maybe some of the macro numbers are good, but on people's everyday existence, they're not feeling it.
CARDIN: Well, I think voters know who are fighting for them. We know that the Democrats are fighting for affordable higher education, dealing with college education cost. We're fighting to increase real wages in this country. We're fighting for gender equity, equal pay for equal work.
It's our party that's fighting for that and they've seen in the Senate --
WALLACE: But you've --
CARDIN: -- the Republicans used filibusters to block that.
WALLACE: Senator, you say that, but median household income is 8 percent lower than it was before the recession. Income equality has gotten worse under President Obama, not better.
CARDIN: Well, we're certainly not satisfied where we are, but we are on the right path. We are moving in the right direction in regards to our economy returning. And it's been the Republicans' filibuster who have blocked us on many of those opportunities to grow income for the middle class.
So, look, we're fighting to increase the minimum wage. The Republicans are fighting to block the increase in minimum wage. We're fighting to reduce college costs. They're using a filibuster to block that.
So, I think, yes, we're making progress. We need to make more progress, but it's the Democratic Party that's fighting on behalf of middle income families.
WALLACE: Let's pick on this question of the minimum wage, which is one of the big differences. Democrats have made it a big issue. They support raising the minimum wage. A lot of Republicans don't, and let's drill down into that as well, sir.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2016 as the president proposes, will cost -- raising the minimum wage -- will cost 500,000 jobs, which raises the question, sir, why raise the minimum wage for some people, when it just means that half a million of their fellow Americans are going to lose their jobs?
CARDIN: Chris, we have seen those predictions before by the same groups. Every time we've increased the minimum wage, we've seen a growth in jobs, not a loss of jobs.
WALLACE: Sir, this is a nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
CARDIN: And they were wrong before when they made those predictions when we increased the minimum wage. We saw a job growth each time.
So, our economy grows when you put more money into the economy, our economy grows. When middle income families have more money, they buy more, they spend more, our economy grows. That's been the facts on the ground. The CBO has just been wrong in the past and they're wrong this time.
My state increased the minimum wage. We saw a growth in Maryland.
WALLACE: Then there's what -- and Governor Romney brought it up -- what Republicans are calling the crisis of confidence, a series of issues that the Democrats and the president have had in recent years. Let's put some of those up on the screen.
The ObamaCare rollout obviously did not go well. The V.A. scandal where people -- veterans couldn't get into to see a doctor for months or even years. The IRS scandal, the targeting of conservatives.
Lapses at the Secret Service. The rise of ISIS. And all the mistakes by the CDC and the government in the initial days and the handling of Ebola in this country.
Senator, all this -- all this from the party of big government.
CARDIN: Well, look at each of these issues. Yes, we do believe that we have responsibilities. And on the Ebola, we are seeing that the United States is leading not only in making sure our homeland is safe, but also dealing with the core of the problems in Africa.
In each of these issues, let's talk about it. What we've been able to do is get more consensus, more strength to deal with serious problems that affect U.S. security.
On extremist groups, this -- we've been able to do through U.S. leadership, through the Democrats, through President Obama is to get the international community working together to isolate these problems. That's what you call leadership. That's what we've been able to do. And I think the American people understand that, and appreciate the fact that Americans' leadership has made a huge difference on these global issues.
WALLACE: But I guess what I'm asking without relitigating each one of these, sir, when you talk about ObamaCare, IRS, V.A., Secret Service, ISIS, Ebola, a lot of Americans and the polls show this feel anxiety, feel nobody is in charge.
Are you basically saying that we're satisfied with the way the Democrats, and the government, the Obama administration handled all those?
CARDIN: Well, as you've said, let's drill down on the issues. Let's take -- we've got to talk about each one. It's hard to deal with generalities.
When you're dealing with the health care issues, look at the costs of health care, it's gone down. Look at the number of people who now have health insurance. It's gone down. Look at the abuses of private insurance companies and preexisting conditions, eliminated.
We've had made huge progress. Do we have problems? Do we need to continue? Absolutely, to make reforms in each of these areas.
On tax issues, we desperately need to reform or tax code. There's no question about that. And Democrats have been pushing for tax reform and will continue to push for tax reform.
WALLACE: Finally, Senator, as Democrats struggle in a number of these especially Southern races, your party has turned to what some people are calling race hustling, to try to mobilize the African- American base.
I want to play for you Senator Mary Landrieu, who's in a tough race for Louisiana, and also an ad from your leader, Senator Harry Reid's Senate PAC in support of Kay Hagan in her race against her opponent in North Carolina. Take a look at both of these, sir.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
LANDRIEU: The South has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans. It's been a difficult time for the president to present himself in a very positive light as a leader.
SENATE MAJORITY PAC RADIO AD: Tillis even led the effort to pass the type of stand your ground laws that caused the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
WALLACE: Senator, aren't Democrats playing the race card and playing it from the bottom of the deck?
CARDIN: What we've seen in too many races around the country, I saw it in my own race, when there were efforts made to depress the minority vote as a tactic by Republicans, that should have no place in American politics. We're starting to see that again in some of these races.
We want everyone to vote. We want them to vote for the person they think is the best candidate. Democrats are proud of our efforts to help people with the opportunity to vote, in my own state of Maryland.
WALLACE: But wait, wait, sir, just real quick. Sir, real quickly, I've got less than a minute left.
Why does it make sense to tie Thom Tillis, who is the house speaker, the state house speaker in North Carolina, to the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida? How does it make any sense except as a playing the race card?
CARDIN: Well, I think you're isolating one particular part of the North Carolina race. I know that Kay Hagan --
WALLACE: I'm just playing an ad that was paid for by your Senate leader.
CARDIN: Well, I can tell you, that race has been run on the issues. I think Kay Hagan and the Democrats are proud of the way that race has been run. I believe Kay Hagan is going to win in North Carolina.
WALLACE: Senator Cardin, I want to thank you so much for taking the time away from the campaign trail. I know you're busy campaigning for some others, since you're not up for reelection. Thank you for coming in today to talk with us, sir.
CARDIN: My pleasure. Good talking to you.
WALLACE: Coming up, is the forecast for election night getting a little clearer? Our campaign cowboys, Karl Rove and Joe Trippi join me to round up the numbers, next.
WALLACE: Well, over the years I've called them the Space cowboys, the election gurus, even the swamis, but for this election night they are our campaign cowboys. Once again I'll have the best seat in the House as the votes come in, and today we want to take one last look inside the numbers before Tuesday and what is shaping up to be a close election. Karl Rove was the architect of George W. Bush's two presidential victories, Joe Trippi has run a number of Democratic campaigns. Gentlemen, who are partners. Howdy.
JOE TRIPPI, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: (INAUDIBLE)
WALLACE: We're going to wear this out before long.
KARL ROVE, FORMER BUSH WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: Howdy.
WALLACE: OK, well, let's start with some assumptions, and I'm going to give you a chance to challenge them. Because you are not going to like these assumptions. Let's put this up on the screen. In Montana, Republican Congressman Steve Daines will take a Democratic seat. In South Dakota former governor Mike Rounds will do the same. In West Virginia, Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, gets another Republican pickup, in Arkansas, Congressman Tom Cotton is pulling away from Democratic Senator Mark Pryor. And in Kentucky, Republican Senator Mitch McConnell seems to have finally build a solid lead if -- repeat if -- all those hold true, then, Republicans start the evening with a net pickup of four seats. Joe, any of those you want to argue with?
TRIPPI: No. I would say I still would look at Kentucky. I agree it's moving away, but anytime you have an incumbent sitting under 50, there's still a chance the Democrat -- the challenger could take it. But the others -- the other four ....
WALLACE: Arkansas done?
TRIPPI: Yeah, I mean I think every -- all people on both sides agree that that one has slipped away. Again, never say never, but I wouldn't argue with it.
WALLACE: Well, that leaves us with eight races which we're going to run through, and if the Democrats, or rather the Republicans win four of them, they take the Senate. So, let's go through those by various -- let's start with free Democratic senators in trouble. In Louisiana, Mary Landrieu trails Congressman Bill Cassidy with 43 percent of the vote. In Colorado Senator Mark Udall has 42.6 percent against Congressman Cory Gardner. And in Alaska, Democratic incumbent Mark Begich has 43.6 percent against former Republican attorney general Dan Sullivan. Karl, let me pick up on Joe's point -- you've got three Democratic senators all below 45 percent two days before the election. Does that spell trouble for them?
ROVE: It does. In the modern era, no Democrat, no Republican has gotten reelected with the numbers that Begich and ...
WALLACE: No Republican, no senator period.
ROVE: No senator period has gotten reelected with numbers that low. And you look at in Alaska, there have been 11 polls since August 1st, we've led -- the Republican has led, Sullivan has led in 10 of 11.
WALLACE: All right, so we're saying that all of those three look tough, do you disagree?
TRIPPI: No, by my reckoning, Democrats have to win two of those three. We have to win two of those three if you look at the rest of the state ....
WALLACE: And at this point the highest is Mark Begich in Alaska with 43.6 percent of the vote ...
WALLACE: Two days before as a Democratic incumbent. OK. So now let's talk about Republicans, because there are some of them who are in trouble as well. And let's talk about two states there. In Georgia, Republican David Perdue leads Michelle Nunn by just one point, and in Kansas, GOP Senator Pat Roberts has fought back. He now trails independent Greg Orman by less than a point. But he's still trailing. Karl, do Republicans lose both of those?
ROVE: I don't believe so. I think the Georgia one goes to a runoff. There's a requirement of 50 percent, the winner has to get 50 percent. And otherwise there's a ...
WALLACE: And make this point, when is the runoff?
ROVE: January 6, so we have two more months of politics. Kansas, look, Roberts is both behind in the real clear politics average by ten on October 1. He's now up by one. My -- excuse me. Down by one. Seven tenths of a percent to be precise. My sense is this has the largest number of undecided of any of the Senate races -- 15 percent, and my sense is, Kansas goes -- and gravity pulls Kansas to where it's been.
WALLACE: Yeah, but I mean look at that. 41 percent.
ROVE: Oh, yeah.
WALLACE: What, in the 45 number?
ROVE: Right. Right. Well, and I think were it not for the fact that it's an independent, not a Democrat, so he doesn't have the built-in advantage of Democrat loyalty that this race would be gone, but it is an independent versus a Republican and a state that last elected a non-Republican in 1945.
TRIPPI: This one has been gone since the day Roberts said, you know ...
WALLACE: Do you think Kansas is going to the independents?
TRIPPI: Yeah, I do. And I think -- And I think Georgia really is at this point something that we're probably going to see go to that January 6 runoff.
WALLACE: And who would the runoff favor, the Republican or the Democrat?
WALLACE: If you take out the other third-party candidate.
TRIPPI: Yeah, I know, and that kind of in election, but you'll have like probably -- 100 million -- if the Senate hangs in the balance, it'll probably be $100 million on both sides. So I mean it will just be an amazing race.
ROVE: I doubt it will be 50/49 with the outcome to be decided in Georgia. My sense is that after a Louisiana runoff, the Republicans will clearly be in control of the Senate if they aren't as of Wednesday morning, and as the result, that pylons will be blown on the Nunn (ph) bridge and the Republicans will take ...
WALLACE: OK. (INAUDIBLE). There are now three -- finally, three purple states. These are states that used to be Republican, now they've been trending Democrat, but they're kind of in the middle, purple, and they are really close. Let's take a look at them. Iowa, Republican State Senator Joni Ernst leads Congressman Bruce Braley by almost two points. Now, if you think, well, that doesn't look very good, but in fact it is, and here's the reason, a new poll for "The Des Moines Register" just out today now has her leading by seven points and yes, she is over the magic 50 percent at 51. In North Carolina, Democrat -- the Democratic Senator Kay Hagan is hanging on to a one-point lead in a top race against Republican state speaker Thom Tillis. And in New Hampshire Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen leads Scott Brown, by three and a half points, but Brown has been closing the gap. Karl, your read on those three races?
ROVE: Well, my sense is Iowa is gone for the Democrats, Joni Ernst has gotten lightning in a bottle. This Des Moines Register poll is pretty well respected. I don't think it's seven points. But it does show movement. The last "Des Moines Register" poll run with Bloomberg was one point, this is now seven points. So, there've been movement ...
WALLACE: Let me check up on that, because Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader had a conference call just in the last 48 hours in which he said, if we lose Iowa, we're going to lose the majority. One, do you agree with that? And are you going to lose Iowa?
TRIPPI: Well, one, I think this Des Moines Register poll would concern -- should concern all the Democrats. It is a breakaway. So, she could be moving away from Braley. But yeah, I agree with it. It's one of the reasons that I said we had to win two of those three states, Alaska, Colorado or Louisiana, because we win those, so you can lose Iowa, but then you have to win two of these three.
WALLACE: All right. With so many close races, a lot of folks say the difference -- and a lot of these races are still within a couple of points. It's going to be the ground game. Getting out, one (INAUDIBLE) on the other side, gets out, their supporters. Let's take a look at these numbers.
Karl, Democrats are bragging that in Georgia, North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa, more than 600,000 people who didn't vote in the last midterm have already voted. 39 percent of those 600,000 are registered Democrats, 30 percent are Republicans. Question -- are Democrats out-organizing Republicans again?
ROVE: Look, first of all, they have four states together. And they conflate them. Because if you look inside, yes, the Democrats are doing a better job of getting out low propensity voters in Georgia and in North Carolina than other Republicans. But look, both sides have been paying attention to this.
ROVE: Both sides have been.
TRIPPI: But this up.
ROVE: So, you need to do this. You need to -- this -- look deeper. In Colorado, in the early voting, which is 70 percent of the likely turnout, the Republicans have returned 110,728 more ballots than the Democrats have, and they're doing it by getting a greater percentage of the low propensity voters. The Democrats can only even it out by taking 67 percent of the independent voters.
WALLACE: And real quickly, Iowa?
ROVE: Iowa, in Iowa, the Democrats are leading in the early votes, 6,829. They got that many more votes than Republicans turn in. But four years ago at this time, they were 19,000 votes ahead and they still lost the governor's race 53/43, so context matters. Don't -- at just one smaller number, put it in a broader context.
WALLACE: Ten seconds, do the Republicans take the Senate?
WALLACE: That's really quick. You get 12 seconds.
TRIPPI: Probably, but there still is a path for these ten races being within the margin of error for the Democrats to hold the majority. There really is, and anybody who looks at these races would have to wait until Tuesday. And we may be waiting until January.
ROVE : Oh, god, let's forbid.
WALLACE: God forbid that. Gentlemen, thank you.
ROVE: We will be waiting until December.
WALLACE: Thank you both.
Here incidentally is a sign of the apocalypse. Check this fixture out -- Little Grady who came to a Halloween party in Dallas dressed as Karl Rove, even down to the whiteboard that he's holding there. Karl, I suppose that's a compliment unless he thought that it would scare people.
ROVE: That's one scary little dude, isn't it?
ROVE: What hurt my feelings is one of my friends said he's got you right down to the shoes.
WALLACE: There you go.
WALLACE: I fear for his hairline, too. Well, I can say what happened.
ROVE: I had a hairline like his when I was his age.
WALLACE: All right. Not only will I see you both on Tuesday night as we team up to look inside the numbers. We'll also be back right here 8:00 p.m. Tonight on Fox News channel for a special election preview hosted by Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly. Up next, Megyn joins our Sunday group as we continue to break down what's going to happen in these midterms. And what would you like to ask the panel? Just go to Facebook or twitter @FoxNewsSunday, and we may use your question on the air.
WALLACE: Now you can connect with "Fox News Sunday" on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out exclusive material online at Facebook and share it with other Fox fans and tweet us at "Fox News Sunday" using #FNS. Be part of the discussion and weigh in on the action every "Fox News Sunday."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCONNELL: A new Republican majority wouldn't mean we'd be able to get everything you want from Washington, but it would mean we would be able to bring the current legislative gridlock to a merciful end.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell making the case giving the GOP control of both houses of Congress will result in less gridlock, not more.
And it's time now for our Sunday group. Brit Hume, Fox News senior political analyst, Megyn Kelly, host of "The Kelly File" and co-anchor of Fox News election night coverage. Syndicated columnist George Will and Fox News political analyst Juan Williams. Megyn, let me start with you. Republicans, I think we'd all agree, go into this election or already are in this election with huge advantages. They have got an unpopular president, there are -- a lot of the races are Democrats in traditionally red states. There are a whole lot of troubles, and yet we have a bunch of races we went through with Karl and Joe that are remarkably tight. How do you explain the fact that Republicans aren't already running away in this election?
MEGYN KELLY, HOST, "THE KELLY FILE": First of all, it's very exciting to be here. And I just want to tell the audience, my number one observation, which is, look at the size of these mugs. This is out of control of you, guys. This is how they stay powered through this Sunday ...
WALLACE: We should call this part coffee mugs and part hot tubs.
KELLY: Oh my lord. OK, so I just want to -- to get that out of the way, getting down to brass tacks, I think the reason for that, Chris, is that this isn't some pro-GOP election, it's an anti-Obama election. And the sentiment against him has grown so strong in the past year couple of well, months and the past year, with, you know, if you like your plan, you can keep your plan, with ISIS growing, with I wasn't the one who wanted the troops out of Iraq, it was al Maliki, they don't believe him anymore. He sacrificed his credibility for a lot of voters. So I think the reason you are seeing still the struggles, is it's not we love the GOP, it's we don't like the guy at the top of the Democratic ticket. And John Cornyn said on Fox News just this weekend, and I quote, "It's not as though people have all of a sudden fallen in love with Republicans, it's just a loss of confidence in this administration."
WALLACE: So, it's all (INAUDIBLE) and vote. We asked you for questions for the panel. And we got this on Facebook from Tim Ferrree who asks -- do you think the failure of the GOP nationally to produce an agenda like the 1994 contract with America kept us -- he's talking about Republicans -- from attracting the critical margin of support? George, how do you answer Tim? And should Republicans have rung on more of a positive agenda of their own?
GEORGE WILL, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I think what Tim has -- is echoing is the belief that this is the Seinfeld election, an election about nothing, which is what the media says every time there's a danger that the Republicans are going to get a mandate. This is a way of preemptively denying a mandate. Actually this is a Casey Stengel election and a Mae West election.
1962, Casey Stengel's managing -- the New York Mets en route to 120 losses. He looks down the -- dug out one day at all the rejects from other teams and said -- can't anyone here play this game? It's basically about competence. Megyn is right, there's no affirmation of the Republican Party in this -- what we're seeing so far, which makes it the Mae West election. Mae West said -- when picking between two evils, I choose the one I haven't tried before. I'm not going to try the Republicans.
WALLACE: But wouldn't it have made sense for them to run on more of a platform like -- you mean you say, well, they always say it's about nothing. 1994 wasn't about nothing.
WILL: I think there isn't -- there isn't implicit agenda, an implicit contract with America, if you will right there, in this -- that is, they're going to rein in the regulatory overreach, the heaviness of government, the suppressing of economic growth.
WALLACE: Juan, I want to ask you about an issue that I raised with Senator Ben Cardin, and that is this race hustling issue. And you know, you've got this case in Louisiana, where Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu has kept as much of a distance from Barack Obama as possible. He was actually down there raising money for her, but she wouldn't campaign alongside, and yet she comes out this week, and then doubles down on at the idea well, you know, Barack Obama has got a lot of problem with white Southerners because of his race. What do you think about that? What do you -- First of all, is it effective? And what do you think about it as a tactic.
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, in general, I mean you say, before I get to that, that I am just dismayed by the persistence of race and politicians pushing the race button in American politics. They do it for short term game, but there's long- term consequences for this. We see it in Ferguson, the Trayvon Martin and the like.
You look at something like North Carolina, and the idea that you would tie the Republican to the shooting of Trayvon Martin because of his standout -- his position on stand your ground is a gross distortion. But it's, again, playing to the idea that there's voter suppression efforts by the Republicans, and so anything the Democrats do to rouse the black turnout is legitimate. I think it's wrong- headed, I think it's unfair, not right, but let me quickly add, you also have had in this election, Republicans, conservative talk radio saying things like Obama is bringing Ebola over here as payback for slavery. So, I mean it plays on both sides, and I find it just disheartening, I mean painful, if you look at it from the historical perspective.
What you've got to understand is when Landrieu is speaking, Landrieu is one of the three white women running in the South. North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana. They need the black vote aggressively. Is it true that the South is unfriendly, has a history being unfriendly to blacks? Yes. Is it true that white women have had difficulty running in the South? Yes. So I don't think that anything she said is wrong. It's that she pushed the button after, as you point out, Chris, having distanced herself from President Obama.
WALLACE: Let me bring Brit in. You and I, put this gently, have been through a bunch of midterms. What strikes you about this one?
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, this one looks a lot like other second presidential term midterms, in the sense that, particularly with the arithmetic of the states, where members of the Senate are up being more numerous for seats to defend for Democrats and so on.
Let me just respond to a little bit of what Juan said. There's a very good reason why all these Democrats are raising the race issue, and it is because for them to survive in their hold on the Senate, they need a very large turnout among the constituent groups that turned out for President Obama. The Democratic Party, for all of its supposed strengths, still depends on very high turnout among these minorities, because they're going to lose the white vote, and probably by a considerable margin. So they need these voters to show up at the polls, they need to motivate them. That's why the president keeps talking about how he's on the ballot, his issues are on the ballot, and these people are his supporters. They need to -- they need to hype that turnout, because it's their only chance, really, to hold the Senate. And that explains why all these things are happening, including these ads which are -- which so dismay Juan, and me, may I say.
WALLACE: And we've got to go to the next segment. It's complicated when on the one hand, you're trying to mobilize the African-American vote.
WALLACE: And you don't want to be caught dead with Barack Obama.
WALLACE: Panel, we have to take a break here. When we come back, with so many potential presidential candidates hitting the campaign trail, is this Tuesday just a warm-up for 2016? Our panel looks ahead, as we report from America's election headquarters in New York City.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON: Don't let anybody tell you that, you know, it's corporations and businesses that create jobs. You know, that old theory, trickle-down economics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Hillary Clinton sounding a lot like someone trying to appeal to the liberal Democratic base. That's before she had to walk back her comments as, quote, shorthand for traditional criticism of Republican policies. And we're back now with the final segment with our special election preview panel.
In a sense, it seems to me these midterms have been kind of a test run for potential 2016 candidates. Let's start, Megyn, with Hillary Clinton, between her book roll-out, when she claimed they were broke leaving the White House, and now this week, about business and corporations don't create jobs -- I'd like to know who does -- what have we learned in 2014 about Hillary Clinton's strengths and weaknesses as a potential presidential candidate?
KELLY: First of all, we have learned she's definitely running, and she learned last time around when she ran against Barack Obama that there are no guarantees. That this nomination is not secured for her, so we've seen her stumping a lot in Iowa, New Hampshire and so on, and we've also learned she's not foolproof. She's made a lot of mistake that have potentially alienated maybe not her base, but those sort of people in the middle she's trying to appeal to.
But I've heard a lot of pundits say it happened early enough, she learned from it, it was good that she did the book roll-out and got those out of the way before she really needs to be stellar.
One thing she said this week that jumped out at me when she was stumping in Iowa, she said it's not enough to be a woman, you also have to forcefully advocate for policies that help women. And when I heard that, I heard people in the middle getting permission from Hillary Clinton to reject her based on gender alone. In other words, you don't need to vote for me just because I'm a woman. I know that's not how she meant it, but I think she basically gave a lot of women permission to reject her on the basis of gender alone.
WALLACE: Well, then she'll change that.
WALLACE: Let's talk about Governor Christie, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who remained under the radar, although as head of the Republican Governors Association, he was campaigning for a lot of Republican candidates for governor, Brit, but he kind of was quiet because of Bridgegate, and then he came out in the last week, he was on Fox News Sunday last Sunday, then he gets into a fight with this nurse who had been quarantined, and then it was this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J.: When all you've been doing is flapping your mouth and not doing anything. So listen, you want to have a conversation later, I'm happy to have it, buddy. But until that time, sit down and shut up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Strong message (inaudible). Where is Chris Christie now as a presidential candidate?
HUME: The bridge scandal looks like -- if there was anything there that would identify him as directly responsible or even knowledgeable about it, we would have heard about it by now. So that may be behind him.
I think he did very well last Sunday with you on Fox News Sunday. He was candid and straightforward, all of the things you like.
This little episode here where he tells a guy to sit down and shut up, such a thing is okay, maybe even attractive in small doses and very rarely. This -- we're going to -- this particular clip will dog him for some time. It's not clear to me, for example, if you're a woman who is looking to vote for somebody new, you're going to think much of that.
WALLACE: Guys, these two have talked too long, you're going to get lest time. George, I would argue that the person who had the best 2014 as a potential presidential candidate is Senator Rand Paul. He reached out to young people. He reached out to minorities, he's trying to push the Republicans in a libertarian way. Do you agree or disagree?
WILL: I agree he's had a very good term, but I also agree that people often vote for the opposite of what's disappointed them. They have been disappointed by Obama, therefore they will not want another senator. I think they'll want a governor, hence Walker, Jindal, Perry, someone who has actually run something.
WALLACE: In 30 seconds, Juan, what does 2014 tell you about 2016?
WILLIAMS: Anti-incumbency, the birth of populism. Populism continues to grow. You talked about Rand Paul, but look beyond Hillary Clinton, there's Elizabeth Warren, so watch that stuff.
WALLACE: Panel, thank you all. Thank you two for being so quick. That was great.
Be sure to keep it on Fox News Channel for continuing election coverage. We will all see you Tuesday night, all of us, and a bunch of other people, starting at 6:00 p.m. Eastern and going into Wednesday morning, as you tell us who you want running the government. That's all for today. Have a great week, and we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
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Hillary Clinton is doing major damage control over a scathing State Department IG report about her email practices while she was Secretary of State. Sunday, we’ll speak to 2 members of Congress about the Democratic front-runner’s email problems & how it could impact her campaign -- Senator James Lankford (R-OK) and Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA). It’s a Fox News Sunday exclusive.