updated 11/2/2004 10:47:27 AM ET 2004-11-02T15:47:27

Guest: Ron Silver, Frank Luntz, Dee Dee Myers, Ben Ginsberg, Mike Barnicle

RON REAGAN, HOST:  Welcome back to the second even funner hour of AFTER HOURS “Decision 2004,” coming to you live from Democracy Plaza, in the very heart of Manhattan.  It‘s just past midnight, and that means Election Day is finally here.  Let‘s take a look back at some moments that shaped this battle for the White House. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I‘m John Kerry, and I‘m reporting for duty. 

(APPLAUSE)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Fellow citizens, I am honored by your support, and I accept your nomination for president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

KERRY:  Your mismanagement of the war has, in fact, made Iraq and America less safe and less secure than they could have been and that they should have been today. 

BUSH:  I believe that god wants everybody to be free, that‘s what I believe. 

KERRY:  It‘s the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

BUSH:  My opponent has no plan, no vision, just a long list of complaints. 

KERRY:  Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda were cornered in the mountains of Tora Bora, it was wrong to outsource the job of capturing them to Afghan warlords. 

BUSH:  Let me make this very clear.  Americans will not be intimidated or influenced by an enemy of our country. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

REAGAN:  I‘m Ron Reagan.  Will it be a photo finish or landslide?  We‘ll be debating that and so much more on AFTER HOURS, “Decision 2004.” Let‘s get straight to our all-star political panel on this election eve.  We‘ve got pollster, Frank Luntz back with us; actor, Ron Silver; former Clinton press secretary, Dee Dee Myers, and Ben Ginsberg, former counsel to Bush-Cheney ‘04. 

We‘ve been talking about the polls before, we‘ve made the point that if it‘s within two, three, four points, and there‘s that margin of error, that people understand, it‘s a tie, so it‘s a tie.  That‘s the way it looks, doesn‘t it? 

FRANK LUNTZ, POLLSTER:  But it‘s really not a tie, I mean there‘s this fallacy that margin of error, so if a poll is (UNINTELLIGIBLE) by margin of error and one candidate has a six point lead, then it really is a tie.  It really is.

REAGAN:  Well, no six point lead at this point, but it—if he has got a one point lead... 

LUNTZ:  No, a four point margin of error means that either number could be four points up or four points down...

REAGAN:  Or four points down

LUNTZ:  Therefore it would in eight points would be beyond margin.  I mean yes, it is a tie.  But those pollsters that end up being off by four or five points will still have to explain why, when they are sampling 800 or 1,000 people, why they got it wrong.  But, in the end, it may not be the pollsters.  Look who‘s going to have the tenacity to stand in line for two or three hours?  That‘s the big question.  When you arrive at the polls at 7:00 in the morning, are you going to stay there until 10:00, if that is what it takes?  You can‘t measure that in a survey.

REAGAN:  What‘s the weather going to be like?  Not to be banal about this, but in—Ohio is supposed to be hit by thunderstorms, I was hearing. 

RON SILVER, ACTOR:  What?  Are you asking the weather girl? 

(CROSSTALK)

REAGAN:  Former Clinton press secretary and weather girl, Dee Dee Myers.  No, I was hearing—and where does the rain fall in Ohio?  If we are talking about this big of a margin of error, margin between the candidates, one, two percent could swing a whole state.

DEE DEE MYERS, FMR.  CLINTON PRESS SECRETARY:  Well, what‘s much more important is which campaign really executes its “get out the vote” efforts on the ground.  The ground game, as we‘re calling it.  Both campaigns have put a lot of energy into this, and both campaigns are claiming that they‘ve got a great ground organization, and if is really this close, it depends on who gets their voters to the poll, rain or shine, long lines or short lines, has the resources to keep them there, to bring them back if that‘s what it takes.  And I think the campaign with the best ground game, particularly in states like Ohio and Florida, is going to end up winning this campaign. 

REAGAN:  Ron, how would you feel, after the election, say, that one side or the other, and I won‘t characterize one side or the other.

(CROSSTALK)

REAGAN:  Had say, been calling voters, in oh, African-American neighborhoods and saying, “You know what, the election has been canceled and put off until next Tuesday, don‘t bother to show up at the polls, and if you do and you have traffic warrant out for you, we‘re going to take children away from you.”

SILVER:  I would feel terrible and would hope that I could consult one of my 30,000, 40,000, 50,000 lawyers I brought with me to the polling place to make sure, or something like that.  To me the tie is three, three in the 9th.  That‘s a tie.  That‘s a tie I understand. 

(LAUGHTER)

REAGAN:  Ben, you‘re a lawyer and you know something about this. 

BEN GINSBERG, FMR.  BUSH-CHENEY ‘04 COUNSEL:  Yeah, I‘m afraid to admit that just now. 

REAGAN:  Yeah.  Well, but—and there are lawyers all over this country now just waiting.  How—what‘s going to happen, in your view, as a lawyer, if this is even remotely close, and I mean, there‘s some states are close—Ohio is close, Florida is close, and Electoral College vote is within reach, if those states swing either way, which it probably will be.  What‘s going to happen? 

Well, it depends what time of the day you‘re talking about.  I think what will happen is when the polls open tomorrow in a jurisdiction there will be lawyers from both sides.  They will be over caffeinated.  There will be volunteers who are working polling places, as there always are.  Things happen when polling places open in the morning.  It‘s just the natural progression.  And I think the lawyers in their over caffeinated state may do a lot of pawing at the ground and snorting of breath. 

That‘s different from what will happen at this time tomorrow night, when results start coming in, and you‘ll see whether states are really close.  We‘ll be trying to find out the number of provisional ballots that are being cast.  As of now, there is no running tally uniformly of the number of provisional ballots that‘ll be in any state, so the campaigns and the media will be trying to figure out the margins of error that works.  That‘s when it sort of gets to be money time for the lawyers. 

LUNTZ:  I do want to raise here an issue which is Ohio and to me—I‘m shocked by it.  And Ben and I were talking about it off air.  There are four counties in Ohio where there are actually more people registered to vote than there are people who live in that county.  That‘s crazy, that‘s insane.  We have registered people, and the opportunity for fraud in situations like that are huge.  Now, who did that?  The 527‘s.  And I understand people wanting to register.  But when you create that situation where more people are registered, then you have a real problem. 

MYERS:  But are you sure those aren‘t people that have, that the counties have failed to process off the ballots, who‘ve moved away or who passed away and...

GINSBERG:  The point is, the point is that the democrats uniformly objected to cleaning up the rolls to deal with that situation that does occur.  And because that situation...

MYERS:  But people who don‘t live there anymore won‘t show up. 

REAGAN:  Are you suggesting that dead people are going to vote, though?

GINSBERG:  But you don‘t know that. 

(CROSSTALK)

LUNTZ:  No, but not only will dead people vote, but they‘re going to vote two or three times. 

REAGAN:  How?  How?  How does that happen? 

LUNTZ:  Because someone can still come in, and make the claim they‘re an individual.  The way you have to show I.D.  now is considered to be offensive and so they‘ve limited that.  They have created rules in the country that not only make it easier to vote, they make it easier to cheat. 

REAGAN:  So, both sides could do that then.  Why are you—why are you assuming that all the dead people are democrats? 

LUNTZ:  Because dead people vote democrat 98-2. 

REAGAN:  Ah. 

LUNTZ:  I‘m mean it‘s—just ask people...

SILVER:  Hold it, Frank has polled. 

MYERS:  Polled all the dead people.

(CROSSTALK)

REAGAN:  Did you do a focus group for the dead people? 

LUNTZ:  Yes.  That‘s why we...

               

REAGAN:  What do they—how do they feel about the wolf ad?

LUNTZ:  You know what they like?  They like the death tax.  They want to get rid of the death tax., so...

REAGAN:  Is that fair, though?  I mean, if there‘s that much dirty stuff going on, is that sort of like the nasty little secret of American politics, that no election is fair? 

GINSBERG:  Well, no election is perfect, is the dirty little secret. 

REAGAN:  All right, perfect, but this is like unfair. 

GINSBERG:  But, the truth is, the reason you have people in polling places from both parties is to police the situation that goes on.  The democrats in Ohio, for example, have filed a suit to be sure nobody from any party gets inside a polling place.  Now, what that means is that after the election, if it‘s a tight election, and you‘ve got examples of up to 50,000 fraudulent registrations in Ohio there‘s going to be a human cry about the fairness and accuracy of the results after the election.  That‘s bad election administration.

(CROSSTALK)

REAGAN:  So, litigation no matter what? 

GINSBERG:  No.

REAGAN:  No? 

LUNTZ:  What are democrats so afraid of, that‘s what I want to know?  What‘s wrong with accountability?

MYERS:  It‘s intimidating voters away from the polls. 

LUNTZ:  It‘s not intimidating voters...

MYERS:  Yes it does. 

REAGAN:  Oh, like that hasn‘t happened.

LUNTZ:  If you have the right to vote, if you are registered in that area, if you live in that community.  I‘m going to go one step further, if you don‘t know where you are supposed to vote, that‘s your fault, that‘s not the government‘s fault.  It is such a small requirement in life to know exactly where you‘re supposed to participate. 

MYERS:  Except there are Reasons why people don‘t know and I think that when you read in the newspaper that there‘s going to be 3,600 republican poll watchers in Ohio, and I don‘t know how many, 1,500 democrats, I think that‘s intimidating to people to think that somebody‘s going to be there and they‘re going to pull out ballot and say, “You didn‘t check this box (UNINTELLIGIBLE) invalid.”

(CROSSTALK)

REAGAN:  Hang on just a second.  Because, because, we are going to go to President Bush in Dallas, Texas.  He‘s had a long day and we‘ve just crossed into over Election Day, he‘s finally made it to his home state—that swing state of Texas.  Let‘s listen in. 

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH:  The president must lead based on principle and conviction and conscience. 

(APPLAUSE)

During these four years, I have learned that whatever your strengths are, your going to need them.  And whatever your shortcomings are, people are going to notice them.  Sometimes I‘m a little too blunt.  I get that from my mother. 

(APPLAUSE)

Sometimes I mangle the English language. 

(APPLAUSE)

I get that from my father.

(APPLAUSE)

But all times, whether you agree with me or not, you know where I stand, what I believe, and where I am going to lead. 

(APPLAUSE)

I have been letting the people know what I intend to do for the next four years.  I am running to make sure this economy stays strong, by keeping our taxes low and doing something about these lawsuits that making it hard on our small business owners. 

(APPLAUSE)

I‘m runny to make sure every child can learn and can keep—keep the high standards in our public schools.  So no child is left behind in America.

(APPLAUSE)

REAGAN:  Well, there he was in Texas, Frank, as you said, that swing state of Texas.  I guess there is nothing else for him to do.  He might as well go home at this point, right?  I mean...

LUNTZ:  No, you know, it‘s funny.  We‘re sitting here and the streets of New York, just behind us, and I was with Rudy Giuliani in 1997.  This guy campaigned for 100 straight hours, and at 1:00 in the morning, I guess at 12 -- 12 midnight he was still out somewhere.  But he wants to wrap it up at home.

REAGAN:  Sure.

LUNTZ:  He wants to wrap it up with his people.  And I would say that the last... 

REAGAN:  His peeps. 

LUNTZ:  His last...

REAGAN:  He‘s with the peeps.

MYERS:  Yeah.

LUNTZ:  I don‘t think he uses that phrase. 

REAGAN:  You don‘t?

LUNTZ:  Nah, his last 48 hours, have been pretty strong, he‘s been focused, he‘s been on message, but so has John Kerry.  And the two are ending strong, they are ending focused.  And I got to tell you something, we‘re talking about what‘s going to happen tomorrow.  I want to know what‘s going to happen Thursday and Friday and next week and next month, because we are divided. 

SILVER:  Frank, Frank, let‘s pick up on that point.  If John Kerry wins tomorrow night at decent hour, and we‘ll all know by tomorrow night, what is his mandate other than he will not be George Bush?  Whatever that means.  What does John Kerry do differently? 

REAGAN:  Maintenance, maybe?

SILVER:  No. No, that‘s not an adequate answer.  What does he do...

REAGAN:  OK.

SILVER:  What does he do policy-wise, Ron?  Is he going to send 40,000 more troops, if Abizaid says send troops...

REAGAN:  I think...

SILVER:  Is he going to hunt down terrorists?  Is he going to get tough with Iran?  What‘s...

REAGAN:  Is George Bush going to hunt down Osama bin Laden finally? 

SILVER:  Well, democracy is a presumption, not that majority of voters are going to make the right choice, but real choice is going to be put before them.  And if I don‘t know what‘s going to be different with John Kerry, if I am to believe that he means what he says—what he said.  Although, the other side, the civil war side, faction of his party, Michael Moore and Howard Dean will be very, very...

REAGAN:  The one you used to belong to, you mean? 

SILVER:  The on that I belonged to as a child, before I matured.  And what they are going to expect of him is, wrong war, wrong time, wrong place.  Now, how does John Kerry ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake, if General Abizaid says send me more troops?  I don‘t know his policy is going to be.  Can you explain it to me? 

REAGAN:  You know, I—the thing about dying for mistake.  I was listening to George Bush talking about that and accusing John... 

SILVER:  That was John Kerry‘s testimony. 

REAGAN:  No, no, I understand that, but to play off of that, you know, George Bush saying that John Kerry is saying that the men over in Iraq now, men and women in Iraq are dying for a mistake, and it occurred to me that, you know, he ought to know better then that and I‘m sure John Kerry does, that the people dying in Iraq right now, and they‘re dying in large numbers, rather large numbers, they‘re dying because they‘re brave; they‘re dying because they are patriots; they‘re dying because they are doing their duty, and most of all, as John Kerry, I am sure knows, because was a combat veteran, they‘re dying for the soldiers who are standing shoulder to shoulder with them.  They‘re not dying for a mistake.  But this president‘s mistakes. 

(CROSSTALK)

REAGAN:  But this president‘s mistakes are killing them.

SILVER:  How can you ask a man to be the last man to die for mistake? 

LUNTZ:  And yet the poll—in the polling it does say—before you cut me off. 

REAGAN:  I wouldn‘t do that, Frank. 

LUNTZ:  In whose hands do you feel safer? 

REAGAN:  John Kerry‘s. 

LUNTZ:  That‘s a fundamental question. 

REAGAN:  John Kerry‘s.

LUNTZ:  The American people would say George Bush by a 10 point margin...

REAGAN:  Well, they‘re wrong.

LUNTZ:  They feel safer in his hands. 

REAGAN:  We‘ll see tomorrow. 

LUNTZ:  We‘ll see.

REAGAN:  We‘ll see today, actually, because we‘re there.  Frank Luntz, that‘s for joining us tonight.  The rest of the panel‘s going to stick around because we‘ve so much more AFTER HOURS ahead on this Election Day.  And of course, we‘re live from NBC‘s election headquarters, Democracy Plaza. 

As we get a break, take a look at some of what it has to offer.  It‘s a tour of the Oval Office, and Air Force One, and much, much more.  And if you‘re in New York, come on down and visit.  For more information, go to democracy.msnbc.com.  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REAGAN:  Well, here we are, back at AFTER HOURS in Democracy Plaza, and the very first results are in.  Yes, Dicksville Notch, New Hampshire, residents, they already voted at midnight tonight, and it came out—a tie.  Fifteen votes for Bush, 15 votes for Kerry and Ralph Nader got one.  That‘s right, it‘s a tie. 

MIKE BARNICLE, “NEW YORK DAILY NEWS”:  Oh, it‘s a bad sign. 

REAGAN:  Are there any lawyers? 

(CROSSTALK)

GINSBERG:  I‘ll give you my card. 

BARNICLE:  I mean, imagine the 31 people in Dicksville Notch, trying to figure out which was the Nader guy. 

MYERS:  Yeah.

REAGAN:  Yeah really.

BARNICLE:  I bet they know. 

REAGAN:  Yeah, I bet they will know. 

MEYERS:  Yeah, they do know.  They do.

REAGAN:  Is this portent of things to come? 

SILVER:  I hope not.  Well, actually I hope so. 

BARNICLE:  No, no, no.

REAGAN:  Nader throwing the thing? 

SILVER:  Yeah.  Actually, it‘d be great.

MYERS:  It‘s the beer.

REAGAN:  Are you surprised, Dee Dee, veteran of many a good campaigns? 

MYERS:  It‘s too perfect it‘s—you know, it‘s exactly what the results have been trending toward for weeks. 

REAGAN:  Yeah.

MYERS:  But you know, hopefully, yes, as race expands out a little bit beyond Dicksville Notch, we‘ll get a little more clarity.  One can only hope. 

(CROSSTALK)

SILVER:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) understand, since I hear a question a lot—my friends saying to many, to me, you know, whichever way it goes, I hope it‘s definitive and I hope we don‘t get into a—and I said that‘s not true.  You know that.  You‘d rather have tie up, in litigation, as long as your guy wins.  Be honest. 

(CROSSTALK)

GINSBERG:  See how they vote the next hour.

REAGAN:  That‘s right.  Now, in the past seven months John Kerry visited Florida 28 times, the president was there 18 times, and it may still be too close to call.  All eyes are on Florida this election because of the 27 electoral votes, and, yes, because of the changes implemented after the “problems,” as we like to call them, in 2000.  MSNBC‘s David Shuster is in Miami—David. 

DAVID SHUSTER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well Ron, we‘ve been investigating some of the problems in a South Beach restaurant tonight and we‘ll get to that in just a minute.  But First of all, good evening, Ron, Dee Dee, Ron, Mike, and Ben.  Good to be with you. 

We spent the day, today, going to some of these precincts where they had the early voting and in addition to the pictures that you‘ve seen of people waiting in lines three or four hours, we found some pretty amazing characters, as far as the people who were waiting outside on the sidewalk, shaking their fists at traffic and trying to get people to honk their horns if they are going to voted for John—if they‘re going to vote for John Kerry or George W. Bush.  Perhaps the most interesting person we found—and there you see the long lines in Bowered County, that particular line was three-and-a-half hours. 

The most interesting woman we met today was a woman by the name of Edna Justice, and, yes, Justice is her real name.  She‘s 76 years old, she walks with a walker.  She has spent the last four days in a row on a Palm Beach sidewalk, screaming at cars.  Well here, take a look for yourself. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EDNA JUSTICE:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Bomb‘s away.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Bomb‘s away.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  There she is with her sign with her walker, Edna Justice, originally from Richmond, Indiana. 

There‘s been a number of fights over the absentee ballots a little closer into the—to the polling places, than those pictures that you see there.  There have been a number of lawyers at some of these early voting places, and they‘ve been fighting not only about over some of the absentee ballots, but we even saw a fight today out in the parking lot.  In West Palm Beach, Florida, they had actually set up a drop site where you could drop off your absentee ballots in a bin, about 100 feet away from the building.  At a certain point, some of the lawyers came out and had a problem with this, because apparently the people outside were not properly deputized, in order to receive the absentee ballots.  There are some of the lawyers there, inside.  They were arguing inside over some of the challenges, they were also outside. 

There was another problem tonight, and that was in Broward County.  One of the local stations had said that the early voting sites were going to be open until 8:00.  They were actually only open until 6:00.  At the sites we were at, this caused one person to show up about 15 minutes later.  He was told, no, you can‘t vote, it‘s after 6:00, he became belligerent and very angry.  The police were called, but by the police showed up, this man had sprinted to the front of the line and people lost track of him.  So, score one for that voter, zero for the police. 

And then finally, in addition to three-hour wait, there were more than a few kids that were in tow with a lot of these families, so you can expect 15, 16 years from now, a lot of kids who were traumatized, and damaged by this experienced who will not be voting. 

There are lots of rumors that out there tonight, from lawyers from both sides, about what tomorrow will bring.  A democratic lawyer told me tonight that he had heard the republican lawyers in Broward County were going to be issuing challenges over anybody who was disabled, because there are certain restrictions on what sort of access you can get, what sort of help you can get as far as being carried into a polling site, so, we‘ll wait and see what happens with that.  But, I know the thing you‘re waiting for the most, Ron, and that is, the review of the South Beach—South Beach restaurant called Prime 112.  We saw more beautiful people at this restaurant then we‘ve seen in the entire presidential campaign, every woman, looked like she was right out of the Victoria‘s Secret mod—she was out of the Victoria‘s Secret catalog.  It was unbelievable. 

REAGAN:  Well, now we know what you have been up to, David.  Scoping out the babes in Palm Beach.  David Shuster, thank you. 

Now let‘s go back to our panel.  Mike Barnicle. 

BARNICLE:  David seem excited.

(CROSSTALK)

BARNICLE:  I wonder if there‘s any truth to the rumor that John Kerry has been in Florida so often, that he now eats dinner at 4:00 p.m. 

(LAUGHTER)

REAGAN:  You know, we were talking about challenges of the polls, and the—you know, dirty tricks on both sides.  Doesn‘t some of this make a case for—you know, it‘s the 21st century, we‘re the richest country on earth, why can‘t we have a uniform system of voting, where everybody votes the same way, whether it‘s electronic or paper, or whatever it might be, but everybody knows what it‘s going to be when you go in there and I know there has to be absentee ballots, but you know, a lot of early voting and... 

BARNICLE:  Isn‘t it part of the rich pageant of democracy.  I mean, really.  It‘s—you know fun, it‘s frustrating, and it‘s exciting.  I find it exciting to see the pictures of all of these people standing in line to vote. 

REAGAN:  Oh yeah, not that, but I mean, couldn‘t they all be voting the same way, using the same technology, for instance, to vote? 

BARNICLE:  That‘d be wonderful, but the various states, I mean in some states...

REAGAN:  It should be.  Any thoughts about this? 

MYERS:  It‘s—yeah, I think it‘s complicated and expensive to try to have some federalized election system.  And I think barring any huge debacle in this election cycle, we are not going to see it.  We‘ve been muddling along pretty well the last 200 years, with exception maybe of four years ago. 

REAGAN:  But it just doesn‘t seem to make intuitive sense...

MYERS:  No, I totally agree, I just—I don‘t see it.

(CROSSTALK)

GINSBERG:  There are historical reasons for it. 

REAGAN:  I am sure there are. 

GINSBERG:  We may not notice it on the coasts of the United States, but the truth is, elections are usually a county function.  And there are county clerks who are responsible and consider it their little purview for how elections are conducted.  All the voting machine salesmen come and talk to them.  It‘s the county clerks who get to make the decision. 

REAGAN:  Absolutely.

GINSBERG:  It‘s power base of local officials.  That‘s a meaningful thing and really hard to change.  And it‘s all...

REAGAN:  Yeah, well I believe that. 

BARNICLE:  One of the principal reasons it‘s not going to change is that the vote for president occurs every four years. 

MYERS:  Right.

BARNICLE: And it‘s a big deal, but county commissioners, they get the chance every two to four years to bag the sheriff‘s race through paper ballots. 

(LAUGHTER)

BARNICLE:  They don‘t want change. 

REAGAN:  See, Ron, you were about to agree with me on something and then... 

SILVER:  Can‘t we have elections like Afghanistan?  Where...

(CROSSTALK)

SILVER: That seemed to work fairly well. 

REAGAN:  Yeah.  It was encouraging, though, to see those long lines in Florida.  I mean, the huge turnout.  That‘s—that‘s got to make republicans and democrats—well, maybe more—well, I won‘t even go there.  It‘s got to make everybody feeling good. 

MYERS:  I am feeling good. 

REAGAN:  Yeah.  But, we may have 120, even 130 million people. 

(CROSSTALK)

BARNICLE:  John Kerry...

MYERS:  You know, and that‘s huge.  Exactly.

(CROSSTALK)

REAGAN:  You want to argue about that? 

GINSBERG:  Well now, I mean, I think what matters is the turnout in the battleground states, if you can have California and Texas and New York turn out in massive numbers, it will drive up the total. 

MYERS:  Well the logic of that falls apart though, Ben, you‘re not going to have huge increases in turnout in California, where there‘s no contest, and not have them in Ohio.  If there‘s huge increase in turnout, say 10 percent national increase, it‘s going to portend very, very well for John Kerry.  It‘ll be very difficult for President Bush. 

GINSBERG:  I disagree with that point too.  I think one of the great understated phenomenon you‘re going to see tomorrow is the republican “get out the vote” machinery, that‘s been really calibrated for this election.  And you are going to see whether a volunteer system like the republican system or the paid system that the democrats kind of outsourced to their 527‘s, is the most effective model for the future. 

REAGAN:  All right.  Well, coming up, we‘re going to look at some predictions of who will be president at the end of the day.  Now, you‘ve heard the Dicksville Notch results.  Now, let‘s look at our unscientific poll. 

We asked you:  Regardless of who you have or will vote for, who do you think will be the next president of the United States?  Sixty-nine percent of you feel it will be John Kerry; 31 percent of you feel it will be President Bush.  You too can weigh in, just log on to joe.msnbc.com.  More AFTER HOURS when we return live from MSNB—from NBC‘s election headquarters, Democracy Plaza.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Give me a prediction for November 2? 

DICK CHENEY ®, UNITED STATES VICE PRESIDENT:  Fifty-two-47 Bush. 

TIM RUSSERT, HOST, “MEET THE PRESS”:  The Electoral College, Bill, Bush gets how many and Kerry gets how many? 

BILL:  I hope, I believe that Bush I hope will be in around 278 to 284. 

TUCKER CARLSON, CNN:  I think there‘s going to be a definitive win by two points.  I have to say I think it‘s going to be Kerry. 

RUSSERT:  Peter Hart. 

PETER HART:  I‘m sorry that they are both wrong.  But I‘ll go with 277 for—no, wrong side. 

(LAUGHTER)

HART:  Thank you very much. 

RUSSERT:  Two seventy-seven. 

HART: That‘s for Kerry. 

GEORGE W. BUSH ®, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Pennsylvania, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, these are all states I did not win last time that I believe I am going to carry this time. 

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

RON REAGAN, JR., HOST:  Some predictions for the outcome of tomorrow‘s election.  We‘re live from Democracy Plaza on this Election Day. 

Well, everyone, this could be the earliest we‘ve ever had to make a correction. 

(LAUGHTER)

REAGAN:  We told you Dicksville Notch, New Hampshire residents voted, and it ended in a tie.  That was actually in Hart‘s Location, New Hampshire.  Dicksville Notch came in minutes later.  But in that contest, Bush got 19 votes and Kerry only 7, probably no votes for Nader. 

Now, let‘s get the predictions of the panel: Mike Barnicle, Dee Dee Myers, Ron Silver, Ben Ginsberg. 

Ron, so are you...

RON SILVER, ACTOR:  Probably no votes for Nader? 

REAGAN:  Probably no votes in Dicksville now after all.  But in the other, Hart‘s Location, which I don‘t think I‘ve ever—do you know where Hart‘s Location, New Hampshire is?  Dicksville Notch I‘ve heard of. 

BEN GINSBERG, FMR. COUNSEL, BUSH-CHENEY ‘04:  It‘s up north. 

SILVER:  It‘s in Canada.  It‘s actually in Canada. 

REAGAN:  It‘s a Jewish neighborhood in Canada. 

(LAUGHTER)

REAGAN:  Which is an in-joke that anybody who wasn‘t watching an hour and a half ago will completely miss and will think we are insane. 

We are talking about the voting methods and stuff a little earlier, and this early voting business.  Now, OK.  I am not a political professional or anything.  I just sort of hang around them.  But it seems to me that if you vote two weeks before the election, actually happen... 

SILVER:  A guy could die.  Your candidate can die. 

REAGAN: A guy could die, as Ron Silver points out.  What happens—or something really momentous could happen to change your vote. 

MIKE BARNICLE, “THE BOSTON HERALD”:  You vote them again. 

(LAUGHTER)

GINSBERG:  That‘s one of the reasons...

BARNICLE:  You know, if it‘s Cook County, you vote them again. 

GINSBERG:  Well, yes.  But that‘s one of the reasons Republicans want to be able to be sure that the voting rolls are clean, because you can vote early, and then go in and vote on Election Day also, Ron.  That‘s one of the examples from before. 

REAGAN:  Is it a good—I mean I know people like to vote.  I voted early, absentee.  A lot of people probably did.  But really, two weeks, three weeks ahead of time, a lot can happen in two or three weeks.  You could change your mind. 

GINSBERG:  Absolutely.  Campaigns...

REAGAN:  You don‘t get a do-over, do you? 

SILVER:  Make a tape. 

REAGAN:  You could make a tape.  And there you go.  And then you have to...

BARNICLE:  What is the root of that, anyway?  Because I am not familiar with it.  I mean I‘ve been around politics a long time... 

GINSBERG:  The root of that, actually, I believe, Texas was the first state to start it in a big way.  And the reasoning was it increases the franchise to give people more opportunities.  They won‘t get diverted from voting by random event that occurs on one day.  So it‘s giving more people a chance to vote in a more spread-out fashion. 

SILVER:  But people are working with different information.  I mean if people are voting two weeks ahead of time, a week ahead of time, whatever, they are all dealing with different information. 

GINSBERG:  But what‘s wrong with that?  

DEE DEE MYERS, FMR. CLINTON PRESS SECRETARY:  It seems like masses of people are changing their minds right now, by the way.  I mean people are pretty much dug in.  If they vote early...

SILVER:  In this particular election, but in many elections they do. 

MYERS:  Yes.  I think that‘s generally—I mean obviously people could change their mind.  But that‘s something you have to factor in.  If you can‘t vote on Election Day and you find it more convenient to vote ahead of time, or you want to make sure you don‘t miss it, then you know, you are taking a chance.  The same with absentee balloting, which a lot of people take advantage of. 

SILVER:  How about late voting? 

MYERS:  I‘m for that...

SILVER:  Like two weeks after the election... 

(LAUGHTER)

MYERS:  Yes.  Yes.  I‘m for that, right. 

SILVER:  ... you get a ballot. 

BARNICLE:  You‘d be with the winner. 

(LAUGHTER)

GINSBERG:  It‘s like Dicksville Notch does, kind of. 

REAGAN:  Yes.  That sort of thing. 

SILVER:  The way we report it. 

REAGAN:  Ben, during the break, you wanted to say—we were talking about what we should talk about during this segment.  You wanted to talk about how high John Kerry‘s negatives are. 

GINSBERG: Indeed.  Let me...

REAGAN:  That surprised me; I have to tell you if you want to do that. 

GINSBERG:  Well, the MSNBC poll has his favorable/unfavorable ratings is strikingly low in the battleground states that came out.  Forty-two favorable/42 unfavorable in Florida.  In Ohio, 41-41. 

MYERS:  And what are Bush‘s in that poll? 

GINSBERG:  Forty-eight-41 in Ohio, 51-39 in Florida.  The president is at 49-39 favorable/unfavorable in Iowa.  Kerry is at 39 favorable, 43 unfavorable. 

MYERS:  But that‘s different then...

GINSBERG:  The list goes on. 

GINSBERG:  That‘s different than the preponderance of other polls out there.  I‘m not saying Kerry‘s negatives aren‘t fairly high. 

GINSBERG:  But this is MSNBC poll. 

MYERS:  Well, therefore, ergo. 

REAGAN:  Well, there you go. 

MYERS:  Well, make no mistake; we‘re talking the truth and wisdom. 

REAGAN:  Yes. 

MYERS:  But I don‘t think either of these candidates is enjoying particularly high favorable ratings historically.  Or particularly low unfavorability.  And I do think, as you started to say, Ben, it makes it more difficult for either of them to govern after tomorrow. 

GINSBERG:  Well, I think one of the striking things...

REAGAN:  To your question, Ron Silver‘s.  Yes. 

GINSBERG:  One of the striking things about the rhetoric in the campaign is that there is a lot of anti-Bush rhetoric.  It takes...

MYERS:  And the Republican are playing softball? 

REAGAN:  Kerry is getting a free ride. 

GINSBERG:  No.  No.  No.  No.  No.  No.  But when Kerry folks make the argument why John Kerry should be voted for, there‘s a lot more anti-George Bush before you get to the pro-John Kerry.  That‘s in the intensity of the vote.  How Republicans are more intensely in favor of the president, than Democrats are of John Kerry.  It doesn‘t necessarily portend the results.  It goes to kind of an interesting phenomenon of how John Kerry governs, if he‘s is elected. 

SILVER:  Or for what—that‘s a good question. 

REAGAN:  Do your lenses have a red tint in them?  Oh, no.  Never mind. 

GINSBERG:  It was the pink babies in my left. 

SILVER:  What does John Kerry do besides Iraq?  What does John Kerry do with Iran?  They‘ve already decided to resume their uranium enrichment. 

REAGAN:  What does George Bush do with them? 

SILVER:  What does he do with his own party, with health care and the deficit hawks?  What does he do just within his own party? 

BARNICLE:  I‘ll you one thing he does, before he goes to war, he talks to more than four or five people. 

MYERS:  That‘s for sure. 

BARNICLE:  Yes. 

SILVER:  Really?  You think so, huh? 

REAGAN:  Touche.  Boy. 

MYERS:  Yes.  And it...

SILVER:   I think Bush went to the U.N., got 15-0 resolution.  I think Bush also got 77-23 votes in the United States Congress.  Right? 

MYERS:  Ron, you are not suggesting that the whole world is with us on this are you? 

SILVER:   Clearly, clearly not. 

MYERS:  Good. 

SILVER:  But I am not that concerned about the whole world when it comes to our national interest right now. 

MYERS:  Well, then neither is John Kerry.  And then...

SILVER:  I really don‘t want to go to Syria or Sudan, and the feckless U.N., to determine how I am going to protect myself and my children. 

REAGAN:  You know, there was an interesting poll by, if I may as...

MYERS:  And you think that John Kerry is going to go to Sudan to determine how national interest should be controlled? 

SILVER:  Well, you know what?  I am not exactly sure.  Because John Kerry... 

MYERS:  You have heard him say that he is going to go to Sudan? 

SILVER:  In 1991, I don‘t understand that vote.  And maybe you can explain it for me against the Gulf War. 

REAGAN:  No.  No.  We are not going to do that again. 

MYERS:  First of all—yes...

REAGAN:  No.  We‘re not going back to 1991.  We have more things to worry about here. 

SILVER:  We‘ve got a lot of things to go back to. 

REAGAN:  No.  I know you like to go back. 

SILVER:   Twelve fifteen, Hart‘s Location, Dicksville Notch. 

REAGAN:  I know it was a good year for you.  But...

MYERS:  You want to talk about the past?  Or you want to talk about the future, Ron? 

SILVER:  I want to talk about the future.  How—well, either one is going to have a problem...

REAGAN:  When we—actually, I want to talk about the future too.  But we are going to have to go to a little break here too. 

MYERS:  In the future we‘ll talk about the future. 

REAGAN:  You can help us tell the story of this election.  Just log on to joe.msnbc.com to find out how to be a citizen journalist. 

AFTER HOURS, will return in a minute live with NBC‘s election headquarters, Democracy Plaza.  Stay right there. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN “THE WEST WING” CLIP)

ROB LOWE, ACTOR:  This is Bruno Giannelli (ph), the general chairman, committee to re-elect. 

LILLY TOMLIN, ACTRESS:  Hello. 

SILVER:  Hi.  The D.C. District Court is ruling today on the debate case.  Do you know anything about it? 

LOWE:  Yes.  I think it‘s Sullivan v. Commission on Presidential Debates, ABC, CBS, NBC News, et al. 

SILVER:  This is the third party rule, 15%? 

LOWE:  Happens every four years. 

SILVER:  All right. 

(END “THE WEST WING” CLIP)

REAGAN: That was our own Ron Silver.  How about that? 

SILVER:  There you are.  Yes. 

REAGAN:  Welcome back to “AFTER HOURS.”  We are here with our panel, Mike Barnicle, Ben Ginsberg, Dee Dee Myers... 

SILVER:  Who was the one Democrat...

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

REAGAN:  Ron Silver. 

Mike, you were just saying, something kind of interesting.  And I noticed that you didn‘t want to go into it too much, don‘t want to get personal with people.  But you were talking about George Bush and John Kerry and how they look and seemed. 

BARNICLE:  Yes.  The clip that we showed of the president speaking in Dallas just a short while ago, and it‘s noticeable how much he has aged in the last couple of years.  And it‘s also noticeable to my eye, having known Kerry for three decades, how much he‘s changed just in the last five or six weeks on the campaign trail.  And what—and what campaigns do to the candidates.  I mean...

MYERS:  How do you think Kerry has changed? 

BARNICLE:  I think Kerry has changed—I think the country—his interaction with people in campaign rallies, day after day after day, three and four stops a day, has humanized him in a way that he hasn‘t been humanized before.  I think he has been genuinely affected by the outpouring of emotion for him, the outpouring of support for him.  I think he feels it viscerally in a way that he hasn‘t felt it in any statewide campaigns in his past political life. 

And you can‘t help, when you look at Bush, to feel the weight of the presidency, and the weight of this war on this man.  When you see him in clips of two years ago—I was struck tonight and I understand it‘s the end of a long day.  The day before we vote in this country, but boy, he has aged quite a bit. 

REAGAN:  Happens to almost everybody, though, in office.  I can‘t think of a president that you haven‘t seen that happen to.  A year or two goes by, it‘s OK.  But after couple of years, and particularly if there‘s a war, just boy, you see it on the face, the hair gets grayer all of a sudden.  Bill Clinton, same thing.  You know? 

MYERS:  And he went white so fast that there was a story, I believe it was in “The Wall Street Journal,” speculating about whether he was dying because he looked serious and older. 

REAGAN:  Yes. 

MYERS:  Because part of the early, you know, rap against him was the young team and the young president. 

REAGAN:  Yes. 

BARNICLE:  That‘s why—and when you see the president this way, or when we saw him this way tonight, you can‘t help no matter what your preference is politically, to be angry toward the people who are so contemptuous of him.  And who have filled the atmosphere this year with so much invective and poison towards this guy.  It‘s been much, much more heavy toward Bush than it has against John Kerry, I think. 

SILVER:  Yes.  I think that‘s very true. 

BARNICLE:   Not good. 

REAGAN:  Yes.  Well, now, somebody, of course, tomorrow, or within a few weeks after tomorrow is going to lose.  And some party is going to lose the White House.  What happens to the Democrats, let‘s say, if John Kerry loses and we get another four years of George W. Bush?  What happens to the Democratic Party? 

SILVER:  Bloodletting.  Oh, I mean there will be a lot of bloodletting. 

REAGAN:  Yes? 

BARNICLE:  They immediately spin themselves into a spin dry cycle over Hillary Clinton.  Immediately. 

MYERS:  By Wednesday evening.  She is the front-runner for the Democratic nomination in 2008.  And they, you know, will get into traditional fight that Democrats get into it.  We didn‘t appeal hard enough to base.  We needed an anti-war candidate versus we didn‘t move enough to the middle.  John Kerry was too much of a liberal.  And there will be an equivalent debate in the Republic... 

SILVER:  I think a civil war, the type you‘ve seen, like after McGovern and all like that.  What is the party about?  There will be fits of introspection.  All the factions will be trying to figure out how to realign themselves.  How did they blow it with a president that‘s had as bad a year as this president just had?  On the news front, how did they—I mean the whole party is really going to go through quite a... 

BARNICLE:  One thing that might come out of it, if Democrats do lose, that could be positive for the Democratic Party four years from now and certainly in the future.  Is if they realize that at a national level, they cannot give the impression to people who live outside of the West Side of Manhattan, Cambridge, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., that people can‘t be made to feel that they are being made fun of by politicians in power in Washington.  You know? 

REAGAN:  Yes. 

BARNICLE:  That if you express any hesitancy at all about the issue of gay marriage, based not on you don‘t care whether a guy marries a guy, but just alteration of the word “marriage” in this culture of ours, a lot of Democrats, too many Democrats, oh well, you are homophobic. 

SILVER:  Well, I think you are right.  But that also goes to heart of also the kind of the Hollywood participation, the elitist culture...

GINSBERG:  Yes. 

SILVER:  And even more so to the question of faith.  When you travel in the circles that you are talking about, faith is not really a topic of serious conversation, or of a belief system.  And if anything, there‘s a bit of skepticism about it.  And we miss a big part of the heartland when you don‘t talk about faith and don‘t understand it. 

BARNICLE:  Well, you have Democrats in the national stage, when they mention the word “evangelicals,” they might as well be saying, you know, Martians. 

SILVER:  Right.  Exactly. 

BARNICLE:  You know what I mean?  That‘s the tone that they have. 

MYERS:  That‘s true.  I mean Democrats, among other things, definitely have to find a way of appealing in a language in a way of being that doesn‘t alienate people of faith.  Because you know, by huge margins, people who attend church every week tend to vote Republican.  And people who never attend church tend to vote more Democratic. 

And that‘s not to say there are not a lot of really dedicated Christians and Jews that are voting Democratic.  But we have to find the way to open party to people of faith. 

SILVER:  But you know the flip side of that is what if the Republican loose, what kind of introspection, if anything?

REAGAN:  Well, I wanted Ben‘s perspective.  We‘ve got to got to a break, but can you quickly just sort of sum up how you feel about that? 

GINSBERG:  I think that the Republican base has been unified in the positions.  There has been little unhappiness from the base about the way the president has articulated the issues.  So I don‘t think the bloodletting takes place.  And I think you really have a clash of personalities for the 2008 election. 

SILVER:  I disagree with that actually.  I think what‘s going to happen on that side is the old-line conservatives that are not into nation building...

REAGAN:  Sort of Rockefeller Republican? 

SILVER:  ... that don‘t like deficits...

REAGAN:  Right. 

SILVER:  ... that don‘t like the expansion of government with prescription drugs.  I think you get a whole faction of the Republican Party that‘s going to... 

GINSBERG:  Who are those people, Ron? 

SILVER:  There are plenty of people.  George Will represents them... 

REAGAN:  Ron has been hanging out with them now. 

SILVER:  ... Bill Buckley represents them. 

MYERS:  Well, isn‘t there another faction, the more internationalist function—faction... 

REAGAN:  We‘ve—we‘ve—I‘m sorry.  I don‘t mean to cut you off... 

MYERS:  Oh, sure. 

(LAUGHTER)

REAGAN:  ... but we have got to do a little thing. 

We‘ve got more with our panel when AFTER HOURS returns live from NBC‘s headquarters Democracy Plaza.  Stick around. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REAGAN:  Welcome back to AFTER HOURS live from election headquarters, Democracy Plaza, Manhattan.  It‘s finally Election Day, folks.  Let‘s get final thoughts from our panel. 

This is really the last time we‘ll be together before it‘s more or less all over. 

Mike, final summation from you? 

BARNICLE:  I have been surprised at the intensity in the last two or three days of this election.  I think it might benefit John Kerry more than the president.  I have been thrilled by the participation of so many young people in the last three or four weeks of this election. 

And I still think, I still maintain that the ultimate issue is the war in Iraq and that tomorrow for the first time people of this country are getting a chance to vote on that war.  And that‘s going to be the driving force, and no matter what happens, one way or another. 

REAGAN:  Mm-hmm.  Dee. 

MYERS:  I agree with everything, as I always do, Mike. 

(LAUGHTER)

MYERS:  But I would just add, I am just sorry—I mean it‘s been great that all this energy has derived from this.  I am just sorry that it had to be such a negative and partisan race.  I mean I hope that‘s not the price of high participation. 

SILVER:   I‘ve actually prepared for this, Ron.  You‘ll be surprised to hear. 

REAGAN:  My God!  He...

SILVER:  Isaiah Chapter 41:Verse 24...

(LAUGHTER)

SILVER:  ... “Behold, ye are of nothing.  And your work of naught, an abomination is he that chooseth you.” 

REAGAN:  Is that the Canadian... 

SILVER:   I know if that‘s a provisional ballot or a yes vote from Him. 

(LAUGHTER)

GINSBERG: That‘s the great pageantry. 

SILVER:  That‘s the great pageantry of democracy. 

MYERS:  We need a little lawyering here, Ben.  Lawyer that for us. 

GINSBERG:  Amoa mas ami (ph).   That‘s the great pageantry of American politics that Ron was talking about.  The participation has been marvelous.  The vitriol and the attacks has been not so marvelous.  Ultimately, it‘s about leadership, which is why I think that drives the election and the president to victory. 

REAGAN:  All right.  You got the last word. 

Mike, Dee Dee, Ben and Ron, pleasure as always.  Thanks for joining me. 

Keep it tuned to MSNBC all throughout the day today and for all your election news. 

And make sure you catch Imus later this morning, when he chats with former New York matie—Mayor Rudy Giuliani. 

And most importantly, vote.  Get out there and vote.  Good night, have a great Election Day.  Vote, vote. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END   

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