Races to Watch

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," October 26, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEX SINK, GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE D-FLA.: Every single newspaper that has endorsed has endorsed my candidacy because they know that I have the character and the integrity, and they also know that I have the business plan, that I'm a fiscal conservative, to carry our state forward in a manner that all Floridians can be proud of.

RICK SCOTT, GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE R-FLA.: First, thing you talked about the endorsements by the newspaper. Absolutely, most endorsed Barack Obama. You are an Obama liberal. That is exactly why they are endorsing you.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRET BAIER, HOST OF “SPECIAL REPORT”: Well this is a hot race. Seven days to go. This is the Florida governor's contest, a debate last night in Florida and an unusual event.  Take a listen to this, the Democratic candidate admitting that she was getting notes from her staff.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT: So we can get notes and have people that work from us come and give us messages?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

SCOTT: I just wanted to know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: She, Alex Sink got a message from her staff. That aide has one been fired according to the Democrat.  And this is how the race stacks up. The Real Clear Politics average of polls right now has this very, very close, with Rick Scott just barely ahead.

This is one of the races we will look at. Let's bring in our panel, Jonah Goldberg, at large editor of National Review online, A.B. Stoddard, associate editor of The Hill, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer.

Charles, let's start there.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: There was this odd incident. She did end up firing the aide who sent her the message which was illegal under the rules. But she read the message. So, where does the buck stop here? It was unfortunate that all of this happened in a debate in which she touted her character and integrity.

It is a very close race, and in races like this that could go either way, these relatively significant incidences or accidents that happen at the very end can have an effect.

What's interesting here is that Scott had been coming up from behind because he was in a tough race to win the nomination against Bill McCollum who ran tons of negative ads against him, and at the beginning of the general election Scott only had a little over half of the Republicans with him. Now he is up to about 90 percent, which is why it is neck and neck in the tossup. Whether this little incident affects or not, but it can.

If you remember in the general election in 2000 the DUI against George Bush probably had the effect to make that election end up in the Supreme Court. If that hadn't happened, we might have had a clear cut victory.

BAIER: And by the way, the message was a little tip about something they were talking about at her time as a banker.

Let's turn to a House race, Indiana -9, A.B.. Baron Hill the Democrat against Todd Young, this is seen to be very close and one that is really up in the air. It’s gone back and forth throughout this campaign.

A.B. STODDARD, EDITOR, THE HILL: This is sort of the junkies, the political junkie's favorite race. Baron Hill has been through rematch after rematch after rematch. Elected first in 1998, he lost his seat in 2004. He came back in '06 with 50 percent of the vote and back in '08 with 58 percent of the vote.

Now he's facing a veteran prosecutor, a very strong candidate, really struggling to hold on to this seat but he has been in and out of several times. And sort of the ultimate bellwether Indiana, a very difficult state for the Democrats now and it was difficult for the Republicans in the '06 cycle.

And Baron Hill if he manages to hang on really will do so because he has been in several knife fights and he has the t-shirt and he is a great campaigner. And also it will speak to the power of incumbency in an anti- incumbent year. If he doesn't hold on, a bad night for the Democrats.

BAIER: And Indiana has the potential to be a big shift in all of the races there.  Let's go to a Senate race -- Wisconsin. Senator Russ Feingold, the incumbent, down to his Republican opponent Ron Johnson. The Real Clear Politics average of this has it at six points in Johnson's favor, Jonah.  This race is really interesting in what has been traditionally a blue state.

JONAH GOLDBERG, EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE: This is historically, next to losing Ted Kennedy's seat - my last name is Goldberg, I'm a little iffy on the book of Revelations, but I think this is like the sixth sign of the apocalypse to have Russ Feingold stuck at 43 percent essentially for almost a year.

(LAUGHTER)

And to me that is a huge bell weather. And when now perhaps the most progressive senator is terrified of appearing with Barack Obama on a stage, that tells you where the national climate is in a state of Wisconsin.

BAIER: Although he did appear the last event.

GOLDBERG: He did, and because the story of him not going had become a story. But this is just a hugely important thing, and next to Barney Frank losing, I can't think of a more important bell weather for the Democratic Party's fall.

BAIER: Back to another House race, Charles, in Maryland, the first district. Andy Harris, the Republican, against Frank Kratovil, that's the incumbent. What about this race in blue Maryland?

KRAUTHAMMER: It's a very, very Democratic state. Seven of the eight members of the house are Democratic, has a Democratic governor, two Democratic senators. Probably one of the bluest states in the country.

This is a very interesting race because it's a rematch. These same two guys faced off in '08 and the Democrat won by a hair, he won by less than one percent of the vote in what was obviously a very strong Democratic year.

There were two polls out they are not that reliable but the latest ones, one of them shows a tie and the other shows the Republican up by 11. One is an outlier. I think it is the 11 because it's hard to imagine if it was almost a dead heat in '08 in a very Republican year, meaning this year, the Republican isn't going to win. It looks like a switch here to me, fairly certain.

BAIER: Anecdotally, I talked to someone there in that district, lines throughout the door for early voting already.

A.B., finally, Ohio, the president and the vice president will wrap up their campaigning in Ohio. That's I think the 19th time they will have been there. There the Senate race is opening, Republican Rob Portman with a huge lead over Democrat Lee Fisher. What does this tell you about Ohio?

STODDARD: I think congressional Democrats are doing very poorly in Ohio. It looks like a real blowout for Republicans. Obviously Portman has that Senate seat at this point. That is a runaway when you get up to 15 points.

What it tells us about the governor's race, though, is interesting because that is -- Governor Strickland has managed to keep this pretty tight with John Kasich, and now John Kasich is a little bit ahead. You just think about the Republicans going to the polls and voting for Rob Portman, it's probably not good news for Governor Strickland.

BAIER: Gentlemen, Ohio?

GOLDBERG: I think in some ways this is the corollary to the Feingold race in many ways.

BAIER: The apocalypse again?

GOLDBERG: Maybe, yes, the seventh seal. Portman was Bush's trade guy, his budget director. Bush is now more popular in Ohio than Obama is.  They’re trying to make Portman into a Bush lackey, and it is not working.  That does not have traction.

And signs basically the entire rust belt upper Midwest is turning into a graveyard for a lot of the Obama agenda. And it's very hard to see how Obama wins in 2012 if he loses all of that.

BAIER: Have you decided whom you will vote for? Log on to our homepage at FOXNews.com/Special Report. That is the question. Tell us whether you are all set or still undecided.

Up next, president Obama apparently cannot decide what to say about Republicans. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying we are going to punish our enemies and we're going to reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us, if they don't see that kind of upsurge in voting in the election, then I think it’s gonna be harder.

And that's why I think it is so important that people focus on voting on November 2nd.

We don't mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride.  They got to sit in back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: An interview on a Latino radio station and a speech to Democrats, President Obama with some pointed words for Republican. This after a National Journal interview in which he said this - "It is going to be important for Democrats to have a proper and appropriate sense of humility about what we can accomplish in the absence of Republican cooperation."

Continuing, "I think it's possible for to us be more deliberate and spend more time building consensus."

So what about the two messages as we close in on the election? We’re back with the panel. Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: I think this is how the great post partisan, post racial promise of Obama ends, not with a bang or a whimper but with a display of unbelievable presidential smallness.

He isn't only urging Hispanics to punish enemies; he is criticizing Hispanics who don't. And this is the man who told us this is what propelled him into the spotlight of the country -- we are not a blue America, not a red America, not a black America, not a Hispanic America.

And now he tells us on the eve of election we actually are a Hispanic America and Anglo America. We are not only separate but in a sense we are enemies. I don't think he uses the word enemy in describing the president of Iran or Hugo Chavez but uses that to describe Anglos who believe in the Arizona law? Good grief.

This really is something that -- people who believed in him in '08 I think believed a lot against all evidence. This really is a man who sat at the pew of Jeremiah Wright for 20 years, some of us suspected not exactly a man who would hovered above it all and would bring us all together the way he promised.

And I think this display, even though it’s pre-election, you can write it off as an extreme, I think this really is the authentic Obama and I think it’s really disappointing.

BAIER: I asked Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine about this very sentence, about "punishing enemies" in that Latino radio interview. I asked him about it in a couple of pieces we are doing called "Closing Arguments" we are doing later this week. But take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIM KAINE, CHAIRMAN OF DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: You can't before the election say, hey, thanks, guys. I'm glad that 100 percent of you were voting to block small business loans.  You have to draw that contrast. You get out of the immediate election bubble, hopefully people will go back to a little bit to, OK, campaigns are over now. Let's focus on solving problems.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: So essentially, A.B. that the National Journal article was outside of the immediate election bubble. On the stump the president is seven days from an election, I guess.

STODDARD: I think he saves some comments from interviews with the media and other comments for rallies where he’s trying to energize the base. The only people left to move are partisan Democrats who can't stand Republicans and are moved by criticisms of the other party.

They might be disappointed in the Obama agenda and they might feel that they he failed to deliver the change they hoped for, but there is still a few of them he can get out to the polls, and that is what he is doing. There will be plenty of time and we know he will turn around and offer the olive branch and work with Republicans --

BAIER: You believe that?

STODDARD: I think once they are in the majority and he’s running as a candidate for election in 2012 he will run to the center and try to be their best friend again and show the public when they don't work with him and they don’t show up to the meeting, I tried, I had a cocktail party, I did the best I could.

What's interesting though is the narrative that he is setting up. He has scolded Democrats to say if you don't show up you'll reap what you sow, and if you don't vote, Latinos, you'll never get immigration reform. And at the same time he's also set up a narrative about the outside groups and shadowy groups and the secret money.

So it has been the forming for weeks, and that is postelection message that the Democrats, the election was bought by secret money from the outside for conservative candidates, and the Democrats lost control and then those, you know, lame Democrats who decided not to vote also sunk the ship.

And I don't know how -- I don't know how he threads the needle but I expect him fully to be humble and reach across the aisle guy.

BAIER: Jonah?

GOLDBERG: I don't really buy a lot of that. I agree with you that he is ramped up because it is seven days before the election and all the rest, but not wanting to sound like an NPR executive, I think the person that needs to consult their publicist or psychiatrist is Obama.

The New York Times magazine interview which is one of these sedate, thoughtful kind of interviews, he does the same sort of stuff. I spent all of my time concentrating on getting the policies right and we didn't spend any time on public relations, when he gave literally hundreds of speeches, press conferences. He was out there all the time and they were putting Obama out there all the time.

And we know that he wasn't ever -- if he ever believed the stuff Charles was referring to about the post partisanship stuff, why did it take them 18 months to invite Mitch McConnell to have a meeting with him in the Oval Office?

BAIER: Speaking of Mitch McConnell, last word Charles, also in the National Journal McConnell is quoted as saying "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one term president." Democrats are hopping over that saying that shows you a postelection partisan bickering contingent.

KRAUTHAMMER: No, it's realism. He understands that without control of the White House Republicans are not going to change anything; they're not going to repeal Obama care. And after losing on November 2, Obama is not going accomplish anything of importance because his mandate has run out.

He either gets a renewal of the mandate in 2012 or not, and that’s why it is so important. That’s going to determine the future of our country, whether he gets a second shot at liberalism or not.

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