Obama Thriving in Key Battleground States

This is a rush transcript from "America's Election HQ," October 1, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: Inside the "Strategy Room" tonight, Barack Obama making a killing in the latest polls. Check this out. The new Quinnipiac University polls show Obama surging in the three big ones, folks. Check it out.

In Florida - he beats John McCain 51 to 43 percent, in Florida, which McCain was winning in, you know, by a nice margin until very recently. In Ohio, Obama trumping his rival 50 to 42 percent according to this Quinnipiac poll. In Pennsylvania, not as surprising but he's really expanded his lead here, 54 to 39 for Barack Obama. And some of the nationwide polls are showing a similar trend. Can Obama count on these numbers to be sustained?

Here now on the left, we have former senior campaign aide to Montana's Gov. Brian Schweitzer, David Sirota. He's the author of the book, "Hostile Takeover: How Big Money and Corruption Conquered Our Government - and How We Can Take It Back." And on the right, we have media consultant and FOXNEWS.com political columnist Andrea Tantaros.

Andrea, let me start with you. John McCain's - what happened? We look at these three states -

ANDREA TANTAROS, FOXNEWS.COM POLITICAL COLUMNIST: Well, a couple of things happened. One, I think Republicans - our messages are split. You hear conservatives on one side, you hear moderates on the other side, so it's tough for the American people to figure out what to believe.

Video: Watch Martha's interview

Also, we haven't had a real discussion of what went wrong. The crux of this issue is that not everybody in America should own a home. And liberals propagated that everybody in America, even though they couldn't afford one, should have one. But that discussion isn't being had right now.

No one is getting the truth. You heard Sen. Santorum earlier. We need more people out there hammering home. I get E-mails all day long from people reading my column saying why aren't Republicans telling the story of what happened? Democrats are on the same song sheet. They blame Bush. They blame Republicans and that's an easy message. It's easy to blame the party in power because people are looking for somebody to blame. They're mad.

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MACCALLUM: Right. Let's go see if I stayed a little bit - David, when you look at Pennsylvania, this was a very tight state for most of this race so far. I'm wondering if Joe Biden has had a positive impact on Pennsylvania for Barack Obama. He spent a lot of time there. And is he picking up some of those Hillary Clinton voters, some of the blue-collar vote that Barack Obama needed?

DAVID SIROTA, AUTHOR "HOSTILE TAKEOVER: HOW BIG MONEY AND CORRUPTION CONQUERED OUR GOVERNMENT - AND HOW WE CAN TAKE IT BACK": Probably. Probably. I have Joe Biden who represents Delaware, which is in the one of the major media markets in Pennsylvania, in the Philadelphia media market, which does have a lot of blue-collar voters who might have been swing voters. I think they're moving to Obama.

But I think really what's going on here is they're moving to Obama because the economy is the front and center issue. And the public has long trusted Democrats to handle the economy more than Republicans. And so I think Obama is benefiting from this.

I don't think that means he can rest on his laurels. I think he needs to continue hammering home the message of what this really is, I think, is a failure of the conservative deregulatory agenda. And he's getting that message through.

MACCALLUM: Let's talk a look at "The Washington Post" poll. And I would also point out, Andrea, that today's Gallup poll, interestingly, sort of flies in the face of some of what we're seeing in the battleground polls. The new Gallup poll shows that the race is narrowing. This one is 50-46 and the Gallup poll has the same four-point margin.

Two days ago, it was an eight-point spread for Obama. So is there anything that's happened in the last 24, 48 hours that would be a reflection on this polls that might be indicating that the race is tightening back up again?

TANTAROS: Well, I think this vote on the Senate floor - I think you see both sides are coming together. So maybe people are thinking, "OK. Both parties are getting together." It's been a tight - these polls, I'm very skeptical of all these polls. And I think all the American people are, too. You look at them, you read them. They use different methodologies.

You know, going back to what David said, I think Obama has been resting on his laurels for a long time. The guy's motto is


MACCALLUM: Do you think that John McCain needs to be on the floor of the Senate tonight?

TANTAROS: I think he needs to be on the floor of the Senate tonight and I think he needs to have a very clear message and explain to voters what he means. He's been a little all over the place. He's got to come out swinging.

MACCALLUM: All right. David Sirota, thank you very much. Andrea Tantaros, thank you.

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