This is a rush transcript of "Special Report With Brit Hume" from October 31, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R-AZ) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You're going to be the one that decides, and not since 1960 has someone lost this state and gained the presidency. I need Ohio and I need you on November the 4th, and I want you to work every single day. Four days left.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D-IL) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: With four days left, we can't afford to slow down or sit back or let up one day, one minute, one second in this last week, not now, not when there's so much at stake. We got to go ahead and bring it home. We've got to go ahead and win this election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRET BAIER, HOST: Well, the countdown is on. Four days left in this race.
According to some polls, it's tightening, although we'll take a look at another poll that has it widening, the spread between Barack Obama and John McCain. That's the Gallup daily tracking poll there, up three for Barack Obama today.
Then you look at the FOX poll, the latest one out. We've showed you the three-point lead for Barack Obama. And then you take a look at the average-10 national polls. And there you see 50 to 43.5 percent.
Some analytical observations about the state of the race from Fred Barnes, Executive Editor of The Weekly Standard, Mort Kondracke, Executive Editor of Roll Call, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer, FOX News contributors all.
Fred, they're in the final push, McCain in Ohio, Obama went to Iowa and Indiana. What do you take going into this final weekend?
FRED BARNES, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I think it is interesting that Obama went to Iowa. Iowa is a state, he has been ahead in that state every since he won the caucuses back in early January.
But the McCain people tell me that, all of a sudden, their tracking in Iowa shows the race is almost even. And so there must be something showing that in the Obama tracking as well, otherwise he wouldn't have gone there.
They say he was in the neighborhood and just stopped in. But that's never true. You go there because you want to lock up that state.
Look, there has been tightening. And there has been tightening in the states where McCain is emphasizing. One is Pennsylvania. I think he has to win Pennsylvania. That's a very tough state for a Republican to win. President Bush tried there so hard in 2004 and still lost it by three or four points.
But McCain really needs it because he's going to lose a few red states, probably Iowa, maybe New Mexico, Colorado, maybe Nevada. So he has got to pick up some of those lost electoral votes somewhere. And Pennsylvania is a good place.
That's the state I'm going to be watching. I would say where we are now is McCain has about a 15 to 20 percent chance of winning. That's not very good but, it's not nothing.
BAIER: Mort, any changes in the messaging in the final hours of this race for either campaign?
MORT KONDRAKE, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, ROLL CALL: I was surprised that the McCain people have suddenly come out with what amounts to an endorsement from Barack Obama of McCain, and McCain and Lieberman's global warming position.
BAIER: You've mentioned that. We have that ad queued up. Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: the truth on global warming.
OBAMA: The right approach begins with the proposal put forward by Senator Lieberman and Senator McCain. The Lieberman-McCain bill establishes limits for greenhouse gas emissions. It's a framework that is not only good for the environment, it's also good for business.
I want to thank Senator Lieberman as well as Senator McCain for the outstanding leadership that they have shown.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: So, Mort, surprised by that ad?
KONDRACKE: Yes, I was surprised. I would have thought that an attack line would work towards the end, trying to continue to raise doubts about Obama.
Having a positive ad for Obama endorsing something McCain is for is, I guess, designed to appeal to independents, although you would think that environmentalists, people who are really serious about the environment, probably would be more inclined to vote for Obama.
But after — Fred's right. McCain has got to carry Ohio and Pennsylvania. But he's got to carry a lot more than that. That only gives him 41 electoral votes of the 128 that he needs to catch up of the states that he's behind.
He has got to win Florida and North Carolina and Missouri and Indiana and Virginia and Colorado and then either New Mexico or Nevada in order to catch up to get to 270.
BAIER: Your thought, Charles?
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: That was a weird ad you showed. I think Obama comes off really well in that ad — generous, ecumenical, gentlemanly.
Look, I'm with Mort on this. You're behind. You got four days left. The election has always been a referendum on Obama. It's a Democratic year. If the challenger is acceptable, he wins.
So you've got to play on the two remaining themes and the ones that might work, that Obama is too liberal and he's unprepared.
On the liberal stuff, you got to hit him on taxes. Taxes is the one economic issue that's got traction. You can talk about the amazing shrinking limit of being middle class that Obama had said would exempt you from his taxes. It used to be $250,000 a year. Then it was 200. And now Biden has said it was 150. And tomorrow, it will be you.
BAIER: Well, just today, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson said in a radio interview 120.
KRAUTHAMMER: Here we go. That ad writes itself.
And we heard earlier in the show McCain is going to go positive. That, I think is wrong. If you don't know who McCain is after 30 years, you're not going to be in the booth on Election Day. It's all about Obama too liberal and unprepared.
I would run the 3:00 a.m. ad with Hillary in it, and say she isn't a candidate anymore. McCain is. He is the guy who stands between you and Obama on the phone call at 3:00 a.m. in the morning.
BAIER: Quickly, Fred, a little dustup today. The Obama campaign kicking off the Obama plane three reporters, The Washington Times, Dallas Morning News, and New York Post. All three papers did endorse John McCain.
BARNES: Pure Coincidence.
Look, I think we're going to find out that Obama and his people are not quite as charitable and generous toward folks that they perceive one way or another as political opponents, as he has earlier in the campaign.
By the way, that ad was the dumbest ad I have ever seen at this stage in a campaign. Finally, McCain is spending more money. He has more money in the last few days than Obama. And wasting it on that — that will not get a single vote and may lose some votes for him.
BAIER: Last word here.
Will the Democrats get a filibuster proof majority of 60 seats in the Senate? We'll talk about that with the panel when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're coming. Ghoulish liberals threaten complete control of Washington. No checks. No balances.
All they need are 60 senators to eliminate the workers' secret ballot, to slash our military, to raise taxes in a recession, and take our country sharply to the left — a liberal agenda so scary its effects will be felt for a generation.
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER, (D) NEW YORK: I think this is one of those rare, tectonic plate elections where the deep plates beneath our politics move. I think it is changing things not just for an election cycle but perhaps for a generation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: There you see a new ad out by the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee out today on Halloween about the prospect of 60 Democratic seats in the Senate. That would be a filibuster-proof Senate, essentially complete control of the body.
And you heard Chuck Schumer, the Democrat, saying he sees a big shift.
We're back with the panel. First of all, let's go down some of the key races that could get them, Democrats, to 60. Mort, let's start with you.
KONDRACKE: Well, the one that I would point to is North Carolina. Elizabeth Dole is behind by a few points. Kay Hagan is the state senator there.
And Elizabeth Dole at the end of the game here is playing probably the year's skuzziest ad. Basically it is an ad — Kay Hagan seems to have attended a fundraiser at the home of someone who is affiliated with an atheist group.
So now she is trying to make Kay Hagan out, who is a Presbyterian church elder and Sunday school teacher, to be an atheist, and it ends up with a line that sounds like Kay Hagan's voice saying there is no god.
Now, it is really the bottom. That is really hitting bottom. And Alex Castianos(ph), who is a pretty tough Republican ad writer said that this is the kind of ad you run when you haven't got a prayer.
BAIER: You think Dole's down?
KONDRACKE: I think she's is finished.
KRAUTHAMMER: I'm interested in Minnesota. It's not quite as scuzzy a campaign as Mort's, but it's very interesting. It's got Norm Coleman running for his second term. He is a moderate conservative who used to be a Democrat long ago. He is running against Al Franken, the acerbic comedian.
But there is a wildcard. You have an independent, Dean Barkley, who was a lieutenant to Jesse Ventura when he was the governor. Barclay is about 16 percent, and the other two major party candidates are hovering around 40, changing in the lead.
Coleman had been behind. He is gaining now. He had a good debate. And, interestingly, the two main papers from the state endorsed him, including the "Minneapolis Star-Tribune" which hadn't endorse a Republican in the Senate since 1988. One debate on Sunday could decide it.
BAIER: But right now?
KRAUTHAMMER: Coleman is ahead by two. I would go with him because he is a good debater and he's likely to win on Sunday, and that would carry him into Election Day.
BARNES: New Hampshire, which is a replay of 2002 when John Sununu, the Republican, beat the sitting governor Jean Shaheen. They're running again. Shaheen has been ahead, and she's still ahead. She's been ahead pretty much throughout the race, although Sununu was up, and then he was down. Obviously the financial meltdown hurt him.
What he needs John McCain to do better in New Hampshire. McCain is down, depending on the poll, eight, 10, 12. If McCain does — he doesn't have to win to help get Sununu over the top, but he has to do better than he's doing.
I think it's an important race because Sununu is one of the smartest young Republican senators. The party needs him in Washington.
BAIER: Another race people are watching, the senator minority leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky running against Democrat Bruce Lunsford. It is a lot closer than anyone thought it would be in Kentucky. And we talked about Alaska, where Senator Stevens is trying to hold on to that seat.
So let's go down the road. Do you think they make it to 60?
KRAUTHAMMER: No. I think they will get about 58. And Lieberman will probably not be included in with the Democratic majority.
KONDRACKE: Yes. I think 58, 59, probably. That would include Lieberman, though, and Bernie Sanders from Vermont.
BAIER: Both listed as independents who caucus with the Democrats.
KONDRACKE: But, look, they organized the Senate with 51. They can break a filibuster — they need 60. Usually you can get — Susan Collins, the Republican from Maine, is going to survive this time. Olympia Snowe, the other Republican from Maine, is also pretty liberal. So you can break filibusters if you have to.
BARNES: Watch Louisiana, the one hope for Republicans. John Kennedy has really been storming up the polls, which will mean the Republicans would have only lost a net of about five or six.
BAIER: Last word for the panel.
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