SPECIAL REPORT

The final hours of the 2016 presidential race

The 'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in

 

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," November 7, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

HILLARY CLINTON, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Vote for your families. Vote for your futures. Vote on the issues that matter to you, because they are on the ballot, not just my name and my opponent's name.

(APPLAUSE)

DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: You have one day to make every dream you ever dreamed for your country come true. You have one magnificent chance to beat the corrupt system and deliver justice. Do not let this opportunity slip away.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: The candidates today, as you take a look at the chandelier here in the big studio -- pretty cool looking. Here is where the candidates were today before we bring in the panel. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton crisscrossing the country. And they had multiple stops. There's the Trump campaign. And you can see all of the stops, including some stops in traditionally blue states. There you see -- let's go to the Clinton folks, not only the candidate, the nominee, but all of her surrogates. And there you see some stops in Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire, Michigan as well. And they are spending some time in North Carolina with a big event tonight.

Now, the latest FOX News polls have Hillary Clinton up nationally, as we showed you earlier, by four, and that is a shift. If you look at the independents in this, it has been a bit of a shift towards Clinton in recent days, as you see there, three points, and one point up for Donald Trump.

Just moments ago, the Real Clear Politics average of polls in Florida has changed. It now has Trump up .02 -- no 0.2. There you go. And the Real Clear Politics average has just changed in North Carolina. It has Donald Trump up one point. That is a shift.

Let's bring in our panel, Steve Hayes, senior writer for The Weekly Standard; Monica Crowley, editor and columnist for The Washington Times and Philip Bump, politics reporter for The Washington Post. OK, let's start with the presidential race. Phil, what do you think of these polls, where we're standing, and what looks like this Electoral College map as we head into tomorrow?

PHILIP BUMP, WASHINGTON POST: I think the thing people are going to want to pay attention to tomorrow is what's happening in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. All of those shifts that you just talked about there, we have known that those states are going to be close, those movements up and down percentages of points. What that reinforces is, it's an all-out push in those states. Both Florida and North Carolina have early vote numbers that I think are important to keep in mind and may affect what we see as the eventual outcome.

BAIER: But Florida, the Clinton folks say they feel comfortable with a lot of the turnout down in the south and Hispanic vote. But in North Carolina, the Trump people are touting that early vote.

BUMP: Absolutely. And part of that is because the African-American vote in North Carolina is off fairly precipitously since 2012. So watching those four states, we know that if Donald Trump wins all four of those states, he will probably win the presidency. He needs to win three of those states. And it's not clear right now -- it's simply impossible to tell based on what the polls say how he's going to do.

BAIER: Monica?

MONICA CROWLEY, THE WASHINGTON TIMES: Yes, anybody who tells you they know what's going to happen tomorrow night is lying to you. Nobody has any idea. And the reason is --

BAIER: We can try.

CROWLEY: We can try, right. The reason really nobody has a handle on this -- and this includes Donald Trump and it includes Mrs. Clinton, is what we are seeing across the western world, including in the United States, are these very significant realignments. This is likely to be a realigning election. We have all kinds of crosscurrents happening where you have Donald Trump campaigning actively in blue states, the industrial rustbelt, across the Midwest where he is doing extremely well where Republicans traditionally have not. Mrs. Clinton is spending time and resources now in these states because she is looking at her internal poling seeing it possibly slip away from her.

So nobody has a handle on this yet. I would say that perhaps Donald Trump's momentum going into this last weekend may have been arrested a little bit by the FBI's latest announcement. But I would say in the waning days and actually the last two weeks, Donald Trump has done something really smart. He has kept his closing argument very simple and consistent with the nation's core values. Talking about law and order, economic populism, a strong national defense, and defeating a corrupt, rigged system. And I think that's worked to his benefit and may end up helping him close the deal.

BAIER: And Steve, we just saw a little bit of that speech in Pennsylvania where he focused on Obamacare in his close there in Scranton.

STEVE HAYES, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Yes. I think his supporters will say this is the pivot we were waiting for the entire election to take place. Look, I think both Monica and Philip are right. Trump's supporters will point to the "Des Moines Register" poll in Iowa which is a notoriously accurate poll. It has Donald Trump plus seven, and say, look, if Donald Trump is up seven in Iowa, you can point to places like Wisconsin and Minnesota where Democrats were only one or two points behind in 2012, from behind those results and say there could be a Midwestern wave.

At the same time, if you look at the public polling among white voters in particular, the premise of Donald Trump's candidacy was that he would increase the white vote, that there were missing white voters, that he would get more of them out than Mitt Romney. Well, a FOX News poll that was out this morning at 10:00 a.m. had Donald Trump getting 54 percent of the white vote. That was 17 points better than Hillary Clinton. If you look back at 2012 Mitt Romney defeated Barack Obama among white voters 59 to 39. So Romney actually was doing better among white voters than Trump is at least according to these polls.

BAIER: One more poll from the FOX polls, and it is pretty stark. When you think about honest and trustworthy numbers and you look at these numbers and you see that Donald Trump is 37 percent not trustworthy, 60 percent, but Hillary Clinton is at 33 percent and 64 percent. Here we are ready for Election Day and this is the honest and trustworthy numbers.

BUMP: It certainly is an unusual situation for America to be voting between two presidential candidates who most of America dislikes. That's the situation we find ourselves in. I think that it's important, the thing that we have seen in "The Washington Post" polling that we do with ABC News over time is that the temperament number, however, is a huge gulf between the two candidates. The FOX News poll reinforced that today. There are a lot of people don't think Donald Trump has the temperament to be president, and that's the main reason when people say he is not qualified to be president that they say that. I think that that is probably the reason he has this apparent ceiling in the polling more so than his honesty.

BAIER: OK, we want to talk about the balance of power in Congress. And that, obviously, is a huge story line for tomorrow night. U.S. Senate hangs in the balance. Some people say the House could hang in the balance, but most will tell you that they probably will not lose control of the House and that Paul Ryan will be speaker come the next term of Congress. Races that you think are interesting or to focus on, Steve?

HAYES: Well, we have spent so much time talking about the Senate and governor's races I thought I would pick a couple House races. One is the race in Wisconsin.

BAIER: You picked a race in Wisconsin?

HAYES: It's hard to imagine. I could have picked Johnson-Feingold. But Wisconsin eight where Reid Ribble is retiring. He was a never-Trumper representative stepping down from Congress. Mike Gallagher, a former retired marine captain and Ph.D. candidate in international relations at Georgetown, very smart and very sophisticated, he should win that race on tomorrow night. Mitt Romney won the district 51-48 in 2012. But if Mike Gallagher is in trouble, it's a sign that Hillary Clinton is probably having a good night.

The other race I picked was Liz Cheney likely to win in Wyoming in the at large statewide district. And I think the reason those are interesting both as gauges of what might happen tomorrow night but also if there is a new Republican majority in Congress or a continued Republican majority in the House, I think you would look to those two as potential leaders of a national security wing of that freshman class.

BAIER: OK, Monica, your choice.

CROWLEY: First my analysis of the House, Republicans keep control of the House but there might be a net loss for Republicans between eight and 15 seats.

But the race that I'm really going to watch tomorrow night is the Pennsylvania Senate race. The Republican incumbent Pat Toomey running against the Democratic challenger Katie McGinty. The most recent polling has them essentially tied. And this is even as Donald Trump runs about two to four points behind Mrs. Clinton on the presidential level. I am watching this race because Pennsylvania, obviously critical for the presidential race. It has the electoral votes Donald Trump needs in order to win. If Toomey is doing well, that could be because Donald Trump is creating some significant gusts for him. The other reason this is important is Pat Toomey is a critical leader for the conservative movement so his reelection is important to the future of that movement, and also because the GOP majority in the Senate is peril, so his reelection is vital to retaining that control.

BAIER: Philip, your choice has a sound bite setup, and because in North Carolina there has been one issue that's really been interesting in that race, and that is this bathroom bill.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we lost the NBA all-star game, the NCAA, and the ACC championships, it hurt North Carolina's economy and our national reputation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does the desire to be politically correct outweigh our children's privacy and safety? Not on my watch.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

BAIER: It looks like it's pretty tight there that North Carolina governor's race.

BUMP: Right. So incumbent Governor Pat McCrory is behind a little bit in the Real Clear Politics polling average. The reason I think this is important race to watch is because the Dems have gotten absolutely obliterated at the state level for the past few cycles. And this really is a test of this is a governor who a lot of Democrats feel about strongly about nationally because of the bill you just saw and also because of restrictions on early voting which have had an effect on the presidential race to some extent. This is a presidential election year. The Democrats should do well. They should get all their folks out there. And yet McCrory is only down by two points. This is a race the Democrats should win if they're putting all their resources into it, and right now it still looks like a toss-up.

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