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'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for Nov. 2

Read the transcript to the 11 p.m. ET show

Guest: Ron Silver,

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  OK.  Here they are, the big calls, of course, starting with the biggest state, California.  We‘re going to have that result in just a second.  Here it is.  California, John Kerry is the projected winner, for the largest state in the union.  There it is, with all those 50-some electoral votes.  A big win, not unexpected, but a big win for John Kerry.  That will move him up in the numbers, and show the real competition going on here.

Washington State, also John Kerry, a projected winner by NBC there.  So that‘s two wins on the West Coast.  This is becoming something about bi-coastal race.  Here of course in Idaho, President Bush in conservative Idaho clearly the winner there in a reliably Republican state. 

We are looking right now at too early to call Oregon, it has been on the list of—a longer list of the battleground states.  Oregon, too early to call in that case.  We just don‘t have enough numbers to make a call.  Too early to call as well in Hawaii, where the vice president went out there this weekend, and talked a lot about the dangers of second Pearl Harbor, a rather dramatic statement out there. 

Too close to call, again, Florida, that‘s going to be haunting us throughout the night perhaps.  Too close to call in Florida.  Too close to call in Ohio, two of the other big three we have been watching all night.  Ohio, too close to call.

Colorado, too close to call.  Another state, hard to figure sometimes in presidential campaigns.  It‘s gone from liberal in the ‘70s, to conservative, with Focus on the Family and the conservative cultural groups moving in there, and then with the Hispanic vote gaining power, too close to call in Colorado.  It keeps changing, that state.

Iowa, too close to call, another key battleground state where the president had been doing very well out there.  Nevada, too close to call.  One of the states that Bill Clinton, the former president, went out and campaigned in in the last week of the campaign.  New Mexico, the other Bill Clinton state, he visited. Another one that‘s too close to call. 

You will notice these are no longer too early to call, they‘re getting to be all too close to call.  Here‘s one, having said that, too early to call, in Michigan, not enough numbers there to even make projection as to whether it‘s close or not.  It‘s simply too early to tell in Michigan.  In Minnesota, too early to call.  That‘s what it means.  Too early.  We don‘t know yet.  And Then Wisconsin, another state, too early to call.  Not enough numbers there to give us sense of who to project. 

Too early to call in New Hampshire, again, no indication of when it‘s going to be close or not, it‘s simply too early to call, and it‘s late.  Too early to call in Montana.  That is usually a Republican state.  I wouldn‘t go by that as indicative of a close contest. 

Let‘s look right now at the Electoral College votes.  Whoa, there it is close now because of California‘s big 50-plus electoral votes, 199 electoral votes for challenger John Kerry.  Two hundred and seven for the president of the United States, 207-199.  Nobody has won a state from the other party. 

Look at that map.  Let‘s hold it up there.  See all those reds, they were red last time.  See all those blues, they were blue last time.  Nothing has changed.  Look at the grays, that‘s where the battleground is, that‘s where the advertising money, has been spent on TV, that‘s where the candidates have traveled over and over and over again.  States like Iowa, as small as they are, 7 electoral votes, in and out of there all the time.

The only one of the states I would have to say that‘s among battleground states is Pennsylvania, which was blue last time, heavily contested by the president this time, blue again this time, but look at those numbers.  You can‘t make it much closer than that.  It‘s 11:00 at night, and it‘s 199-207.

Let‘s go to Keith Olbermann for more results right now—Keith.

Oh, more—we have got more Senate races right now.  Barbara Boxer has done it again.  Her third election to United States Senate.  She just keeps doing it.  Barbara Boxer.  Bill Jones, a major opponent this time.

Patty Murray, another woman in the United States Senate, from Washington State.  She has won, according to our projections re-election. 

Ron Wyden in Oregon, re-elected by our projections.  Ron Wyden, Barbara Boxer, Patty Murray all re-elected by our projections so far. 

Mike Crapo, who is Republican from Idaho, again following pattern of ideology in the West.  Senators from the West express the ideology of constituents there. 

Daniel Inouye, World War II hero, lost his arm in the war, a very popular fellow.  He has been re-elected once again.  What a career he has had, Daniel Inouye from Hawaii.

South Dakota, too close to call.  This is going to be too close to call.  Those numbers, 43 percent of the precincts reporting, are high.  There are not that many people who live in South Dakota.  Those numbers are going to be fought for one at a time, a real retail state where a huge percentage in that state knows Tom Daschle personally, and also are getting to know John Thune.  So this is like running for Congress rather than running for the United States Senate.  It‘s a very small state and a very small population.  Everybody knows everybody. 

Too early to call in Colorado.  And that‘s a big name, obviously everybody knows Pete Coors by name because of the beer. 

Let‘s take a look at Kentucky, you know what, this is interesting.  Hold on this one.  NBC, I don‘t know what anybody else is saying, but NBC says this call is too close to make right now.  It‘s too close to say who has won that race, even with 99 percent of the vote counted.  Jim Bunning has not been declared the winner by NBC.  He has been declared the winner by Jim Bunning, which is an interesting thing.  Having a bit of sport with him earlier tonight.  We will see whether there‘s anything clinical involved there, but I am not so sure.

Let‘s take a look at Pennsylvania, too close to call.  Arlen Specter going for his fifth term.  Joe Hoeffel, an underfunded Congressman who many thought was doing this as a run for the next time, he was hoping that maybe run close with Senator Specter and maybe take on Santorum the next time, clearly making run of it this time.  With two-thirds of the precincts in, and reporting, look how close this is.  And this was not a battle of money.  Arlen Specter spent a lot more than Joe Hoeffel, and he had the support of the unions of Pennsylvania, unusual for Republican in a general election. 

Boy, there‘s a lot of surprises tonight.  This is amazing.  Florida, Mel Martinez, the HUD secretary the president personally recruited for this campaign, with 92 percent of the precincts in, look at this race, this country is divided not just as a whole, it‘s divided in every portion of the country for any race.  It is amazing.  When you want to fill an open seat, you‘ve got a competitor.

Look at this one, too close to call in North Carolina, the Tarheel state, Erskine Bowles, he was chief of staff to President Clinton and who ran two years ago against Elizabeth Dole and got beaten rather handily, almost by 10 percent last time.  Look at him, with two-thirds of the precincts reporting, there he is, look at this, too close to call.

Very interesting races all across the country, the United States Senate.  In Louisiana, it takes a 50 percent victory down there to win without a runoff.  Too early to call.  We have got David Vitter, the Republican, up against Chris John, and he‘s one of the two Democrats running in that.  Very interesting way they do things down there.

Now to my colleague Keith Olbermann for the rest of the results coming up right this moment.

KEITH OLBERMANN, MSNBC ANCHOR:  All right, Chris, with all that in the Senate and even with perhaps the Bunning and Specter re-elections still up for grabs, with all that has actually happened, there has only been two changes, or three changes, a net gain of one by the Republicans, because DeMint takes the South Carolina Democratic seat away from them.  And Isakson in Georgia takes the Democratic seat away from them.  Whereas Barack Obama wins for Democrats in Illinois.

So it‘s plus one on the Republicans, and minus one on the Democrats.  Let‘s do some of the House for you.  In Florida, Representative Katherine Harris, who was big news four years ago, as we all remember, is now projected as the winner in district 13, even though she had trouble with her own absentee ballot, she‘s a winner over the Democrat Jan Schneider. 

Into the Texas redistricting saga, or as it‘s also known, the chainsaw massacre.  One of them, Max Sandlin, redistributed incumbent, is projected as the loser in district 1 to Louis Gohmert, the former appeals court judge.  In district 19, where we had with two incumbents fighting each other, Randy Neugebauer, the Republican, is going to, according to our NBC News projection, defeat Charlie Stenholm, the Democrat, that‘s in district 19, by a handy margin if that holds up.  And in district 32, Pete Sessions and Martin Frost, one of the most publicized Congressional races of the year, is going to again go to—oh, it has to go to the incumbent, and in this case it is Mr. Sessions, in district 32.  Once again, the Texans who were redistricted, the Democrats, 0-3 so far.

In Louisiana, the first Indian-American in Congress, Bobby Jindal, is projected as the winner in huge field of no less than six candidates in Louisiana, with 90 percent of the vote in, in district 1. 

And in a district 2 Connecticut vote, which we present to you because the Democrats thought they had a shot at this seat, taking it away from incumbent Rob Simmons, and that was part of the keystone of their hopes of getting the balance of power back, or at least closer in the House, they didn‘t get it.  Rob Simmons projected by NBC News as the winner there.

Some gubernatorial races, it‘s too early to call the bid to replace Gary Locke in Washington with the Democrat Gregoire and the Republican Rossi neck and neck very early on in the counting. 

In Missouri, it is still—though half the vote is in, still too early to call, with a 23,000-vote difference between State Auditor McCaskill and Secretary of State Blunt.  It is too early to call still in Vermont, even though polls closed four hours and seven minutes ago, where Jim Douglas is seeking to fend off the challenge of the mayor of Burlington, Peter Clavelle.  And it is still too early to call in New Hampshire, where it is the Republican incumbent, Craig Benson, hoping to stave off the John Lynch challenge, and Lynch with a marginal lead, even though 60 percent of the vote in, way too early to call.  Which I guess is the mantra, we could all say it together, Chris, in all the races so far, way too early to call.  Back to you.

MATTHEWS:  Way too early, Keith, that‘s correct.  In all the races—but where we have seen a decisive victory by the Republican Party in the Lone Star State of Texas, where Tom DeLay, the Republican leader of the House, the majority leader of the House, has done what he wanted to do.  What did he do today?

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST:  What he did, he redistricted—there was a big battle over it, redistricting Texas.  You have three incumbents, this never happens.  I always joke that the turnover rate in the United States House is less than it used to be in the old Soviet Politburo, except it‘s not a joke.  It‘s the truth. 

But tonight we saw three veterans, three Democratic veterans: Charlie Stenholm, a conservative Democrat who has been there for well over a decade; Martin Frost, who used to run the DCCC, another Democrat down to defeat; Max Sandlin, another Texas Democrat, that has been in the House I think for six, eight years.  I think he came in when I did.  I mean, Tom DeLay has been successful and has done what hardly anybody is able to do, he has knocked off three incumbents. 

RON REAGAN, MSNBC HOST:  With incumbents, they lost to incumbents.

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  And Charlie Stenholm was actually one of the original Boll Weevils, when Ronald Reagan was putting together his original budget deal, that‘s how long he has been.




SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, yes.  Very important on those budget issues.

DEE DEE MYERS, FMR. WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECY.:  And what we‘re seeing is this continuing trend of moderates being replaced by ideologues on both sides of the party.  So instead of having sort of moderate Democrats, centrist Democrats, we are now going to have conservative Republicans, which is going to just trend toward a more divided Congress in the next session.

MATTHEWS:  Another way of putting it less delicately is to say it‘s the end of the conservative southern Democrat.  Because Charlie Stenholm used to lead them in the House.

SCARBOROUGH:  He did.  But let me tell you what, and this is very destructive for democracy, I‘m not talking about Tom DeLay or Republicans or Democrats.

MYERS:  I will talk about him.

SCARBOROUGH:  You can talk about him.  But let me say, this is what is so destructive about democracy right now in America.  They have the computer models.  They figure out how to gerrymander districts.  If you are Democrat, I am going to give you all my Democrats, you are going to give me all of your Republicans.  I am going to be able to be as extreme of a Republican as I want, you‘re going to be as extreme as Democrat as you want.  We are untouchables, virtually untouchable, because of the way the gerrymandering goes. 

Now what DeLay did.

MYERS:  And it feeds the bitterness and it feeds the partisanship and it feeds the gridlock.

SCARBOROUGH:  Exactly.  And that‘s why the House of Representatives is so dysfunctional, because both sides are doing it.  And I‘ll tell you what, African-Americans have been hurt over the past decade because what they will do is—what Republicans will do is they‘ll go to one African-American candidate and say, I will tell you what, we are going to file all the African-Americans, going to make your district look like a snake.

MITCHELL:  Like North Carolina was a classic case.

SCARBOROUGH:  Exactly.  They do it in Florida, they do it all across the South.  We‘re going to give you your seat for life.  You give us this.  And so they‘ll trade four Republican seats for their one safe seat.  And it‘s having—I‘m telling you, I‘m a conservative, but there needs to be some national commission to look at what‘s happening in the House of Representatives and the gerrymandering, it‘s sickening with the computer models and it‘s feeding extremism.  And it is bad for democracy.

MATTHEWS:  What‘s the re-election rate right now, Joe, 90 (ph) percent?

SCARBOROUGH:  I would guess it‘s 96, 97 percent.  That‘s why these three losses in Texas are so shocking. 

MATTHEWS:  But they were beaten by incumbents.

SCARBOROUGH:  They were beaten by incumbents.  I mean, listen, it is next to impossible as an incumbent to lose there. 

MITCHELL:  But the courts have upheld it. 


SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m sorry.

MATTHEWS:  I just want to get into some breaking news, because we are looking at these three states all night.  And I want to observant of what people out there like me are wanting to know right now is, who is going to win this election?  Let‘s go right now to Chip Reid who is in Cleveland. 

Chip, what is going on out there with that big turnout?

CHIP REID, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, actually, I am in the Making Your Vote Count Center here in New York, but I am going to be talking about Ohio, Chris.  Let‘s take a look at what‘s happening in Ohio now, 5.8 million people are estimated to have voted this year in Ohio.  Some are still standing in line.  Now that‘s compared to 4.8 million last year in 2000, an absolutely enormous increase. 

And let me take a look at the two counties, get back in here, where they are really having problems now.  Franklin County and Knox County.  In Knox County people have been standing in line for nine hours.  In Franklin County, three to four hours, five, six hours.  We have heard a variety of reports.

What happened is the Democratic lawyers went to court and said, this is not fair, there ought to be alternative way for these people to vote.  So the judge said, OK, we will allow them to vote on paper ballot or some other alternative way that you can come up with. 

A lot of people thought the court of appeals would say, no, that‘s just too creative.  We are not going to allow it.  The court of appeals has now affirmed that decision.  And they are now expecting in Knox or Franklin, maybe both, they will actually allow people to vote on these creative ballots, whatever the election officials can come up with.  Alternative voting, they are calling it.  So they are going to extremes in Ohio to make sure that everybody gets to vote—Chris.

MATTHEWS:  Chip, do you know how long it‘s going to take them to count those paper ballots?  Do they even have the people trained to do it?

REID:  Well, they are just going to improvise as they go, and I don‘t think anybody is expecting the counting to go real quick.  Don‘t forget down in Florida, Glenda Hood, the secretary of state, is saying she thinks it‘s going to take until Thursday to count their absentee ballots.  So there is the possibility there is going to be some counting going on in Ohio and Florida for some time to come.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Thank you, Chip Reid, who is here, he‘s not out in Cleveland, but he‘s following Cleveland.

Let‘s go right now to a not unexpected result, that‘s the Illinois Senate race.  And Alan Keyes, and Keyes is giving his concession speech. 

ALAN KEYES ®, ILLINOIS SENATE CANDIDATE:  I knew when I got into this race that it was going to be a hard slog.  There was no doubt about it.  But you know what you have to do when you want to build a house and you want to build it strong and tall, the lord has told us clear that you must find a place where you can lay the foundation in solid rock. 

Well, in Illinois, we have gathered from every corner of the state the solid rock of people who act on behalf of the common good, who act on behalf of their faith, who act on behalf of an idea that is not corrupted by their own selfish interest. 

And on that rock, we shall build a house of integrity in politics for the people of Illinois.

So let the word go out to all of those who hung back and equivocated, to all of those who lied and did not deliver on their promises in the Republican Party, to all of those who heard the truth and could not bear the ring of it, let them know that Alan Keyes has said tonight, on behalf of every heart that supported him in this state and around the country, we have just begun to fight.

MATTHEWS:  Alan Keyes, a very smart guy, running in what looked to be and has turned out to be a hopeless case.  Let me ask you, you are romantic, Joe, why did he go in that race?

SCARBOROUGH:  I am not that much of a romantic.

MATTHEWS:  Why did he take that risk?

SCARBOROUGH:  I have absolutely no idea.  Maybe he liked the attention.  I personally—though, if I were Alan Keyes and had criticized Hillary Clinton for being a Chicago resident, running for Senate in New York, I don‘t think I would have been a Maryland resident jumping over to Illinois.  It seemed a bit hypocritical from the very beginning.

MYERS:  Attention.  It was an opportunity for him to have a platform to talk about the issues that he cares about.  And you know, hypocrisy be damned. 

REAGAN:  There was something deeply cynical about the whole thing, too, let‘s find an African-American who is well-known and parachute him into...

MYERS:  Well, they went through.


MITCHELL:  They tried to find that.


MYERS:  . lists of every conservative that they could.  They just ran out of options.

MITCHELL:  But Barack Obama automatically becomes one of the few Democratic stars we have seen tonight already elected to the Senate.  He is clearly—from keynote address in Boston...

MATTHEWS:  You know what I predict?  If Fitzgibbons (ph) will.


MATTHEWS:  The guy who is in there now.  What is his name, the incumbent?  Peter Fitz.

MITCHELL:  Fitzpatrick (ph).

MATTHEWS:  Fitzpatrick is going to give up the seat early, so he will get some seniority in the United States Senate.  That‘s always a nice thing to do for the home state guy.  We will see that.  Anyway, we are going to go to break right now and come back with lots more about returns coming in tonight, as we watch this battle. 

But we‘re looking right now—let‘s take a look at this undecided map now, and how treacherous it is for both parties.  Too close and too early, or both.  Let‘s look at these green states.  We have a new color now to look at, green states.  And they are going to decide who is the next president.  It‘s that close.  It‘s that exciting.  So many close contests tonight, especially the big one for president. 


MATTHEWS:  We‘re looking at the states now that have been called.  Look at them, there is a lot of country that has declared itself according to our projections.  Look at all that red, look at the blue up there in the Northeast especially.  It‘s beginning to take shape very much like the 2000 election, of course, for those who paid attention last time, and recall this map. 

But of course, we have these other states out there, Oregon and Nevada, they‘re just working our way eastward.  Of course Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Ohio, Florida, so many states.  Let‘s take a look, though, to put ourselves in a more positive frame of mind.  Let‘s look at the deciding states right now.

Well, here‘s one too close to call, Florida, still to decide, will they get the numbers right, too close to call, Florida, no surprise, really close.  Ohio, too close to call.  Too close to call.  Colorado, surprisingly one that‘s too close to call, but Kerry is challenging there.  Another state that‘s too close to call across the country, right now, and it‘s over 11:00 on the East Coast.  Iowa, too close to call. 

These are the battleground states, ladies and gentlemen.  We have been looking at for weeks.  Nevada, too close to call.  New Mexico, another battleground, another state that Bill Clinton visited last week, too close to call.  Michigan, too early to call.  We don‘t have the numbers there to even begin to estimate whether it‘s close or not.  Minnesota, same deal, too early to call.  Too early to call in Wisconsin.  Too early to call in New Hampshire.  And too early to call out in Oregon.  And too early to call in Hawaii.  And there you have it.  Look how close it is, 199-207.  We‘ve got a crowd outside that applauds even close calls.  They like it close so far.  That‘s part of the excitement of watching election night, rooting for your candidate, and hoping that if there‘s a doubt, that he will benefit from it.  What did you think?  What do you think?  You are the pro here. 

MITCHELL:  I have talked to Republicans and Democrats for the last couple of days as we have talked about how divided this country is.  And even partisans have said, you know, I just hope we are not in a protracted situation like four years ago.  Let‘s have a result.  That‘s clearly what the markets would like to see, the investors would like to see. 

Also, we have power to project to the world, and the fact that this country could be, if you do have more than a million absentee ballots potentially in Florida that won‘t be counted for a couple of days, Ohio, it looks like, won‘t be counted, some areas, key areas in Ohio; we could be in a situation where we don‘t know who is elected.  And as Dee Dee pointed out earlier, the one lesson from four years ago that the Democrats have learned is they are not going to concede anything.  There will not be any grace period because they feel that they really gave up whatever strategic advantage—or I should say tactical advantage they had four years ago.  And even though the president had the real estate and the incumbency and the authority of office, they are really going to drag this out.

MATTHEWS:  What do you think the world is going to—you know, our enemies are going to hear this news report, they‘re going to read Reuters, they‘re going to read Agence France-Presse, they‘re going to read Al Jazeera, and they‘re going to see that the United States is caught in a bind.  We can‘t really decide whether to re-elect our president or not.  It‘s that close, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s like five, six, seven, eight hours after we started voting.  We have got hundreds of millions of people in this country.

MATTHEWS:  But a billion -- 3 billion people will be reading the papers tomorrow morning around the world, saying, we haven‘t figured it out yet.

SCARBOROUGH:  And you know what they are thinking, thank God—or what I am thinking is, thank God this is how we decided.  It‘s not like the Sudan, where if tomorrow, my guy loses, my family doesn‘t get shot and drug out.  This is no crisis.  This is democracy.  This is what happened in 1960.  I remember in 1968, it was my first memory of politics, I was watching with my dad at 5:00 in the morning as he was putting on his tie, getting ready to go to work, trying to figure out whether it was Nixon or Humphrey.  This is the beauty of democracy.

MYERS:  And even four years ago, when it was drug out for five weeks, there was no violence, and when the new president was finally appointed or whatever it was, nobody protested.  Everybody accepted the result more or less and moved on.  And the country functioned.  And I think that‘s what the world sees. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, we have a president who is a lightning rod around the world because of the war in Iraq, and the people around the world are watching, rooting probably in many cases against him, and seizing opportunities.  I am asking a rather drastic question.  Will enemies see this as an opportunity, if this goes on three or four days?



MITCHELL:  This is not the Cold War.  And we don‘t have enemies.  We don‘t have.

SCARBOROUGH:  Because if you check your Constitution, Al Haig is actually in charge.


MYERS:  It‘s not like anything stops functioning, either.  I mean, every aspect of the government is still in place, the military, the Homeland Security Department, the president.

REAGAN:  We‘ve got 20 million voters, it takes a few days—it takes two or three days.


REAGAN:  It‘s not so bad.

MITCHELL:  But it also tells us that we don‘t have the technology down.  It‘s sort of amazing in this day and age that we haven‘t figured out better way...

REAGAN:  That is a good point.

MATTHEWS:  I‘m going to go right now to our offstage panelists, they‘re on stage where they are.  Let‘s go to John Fund, are you out there, John?

RON SILVER, ACTOR:  No, John isn‘t here.  John left.

MATTHEWS:  Let me go to Ron Silver, because you clearly are, Ron.

SILVER:  Thanks.

MATTHEWS:  I raised a question, which I think was debunked before I could even finish the sentence, which says this—not stalemate, but this close contest in all these states, which looks like it may go more than a day, in enough of these states to stop a decision from being made, cause a concern in the world?

SILVER:  No, I don‘t think so.  I happen to agree with Joe.  This is something we should celebrate.  It ended, four or five hours ago.  Some polls closed an hour or two ago.  Think of it as a very nuanced election.  We have early balloting, we have absentee balloting , we‘ve had provisional ballots, and now we find in some counties in Ohio, are going to have improvised ballots.  We are in litigation situation here in Ohio, if not elsewhere, but I think this speaks well of us, actually.

MATTHEWS:  Pat Buchanan.

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC ANALYST:  Yes, Chris, look, California is a state that has about, what, 35 million, 40 million people, an economy that‘s as large as five or six countries.  The polls have been closed for an hour, and I don‘t think people around the world are going to get what is going on in America, if it takes us a few hours to figure out how this is all sorted out.  You‘ve got 110 million or something like that folks voting.

So I think we ought to be proud of what we are doing.  We have got nothing here I have seen to apologize for.  But Chris, there‘s an interesting scenario developing.  Assume the president wins Ohio and Florida.  If he then loses Nevada, and New Hampshire, you‘ve got 269-269 tie.  That just assumes the other red and blue states go the way you expect.  So Kerry, even if he is a little bit down and about Ohio, they have a mild possible insurance policy themselves.

SILVER:  But, you know, Chris, one other thing, it‘s clear tonight that no man who prevails tonight is going to have a mandate, and whoever does become the president I hope to God that they recognize they don‘t have a mandate, that we have a very divided country here, and they rule appropriately.

MATTHEWS:  Well said.  We want to get back and talk about that.  Because this is the first re-election situation.  Going back way into history, where you had re-election which was so close that you really couldn‘t say that the president was being dumped or the president wasn‘t being re-anointed.  It was very close to almost deny the kind of mandate you are talking about.  And it does suggest maybe we will have to have a new kind of coalition perhaps ruling the country. 

Let‘s go right now to Mark Potter down in Florida, in what‘s called I-4, that track of highway down there that defines the politics of Florida. 

Mark Potter, what‘s happening down there?  Who is winning?

MARK POTTER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, as you know, Chris, political analysts have long said if you want to win Florida, you have to win the I-4 corridor, that stretch of 14 counties in central Florida going from Tampa through Orlando, to Daytona Beach.  And as it stands right now, we have been looking at the numbers, and it seems that there was a very clear trend here in favor of the Republicans.  Not all the votes are in yet.  Most of them.  But not all.

But it seems that only two counties, of the 14, are solidly Democratic.  They are Orange, where we find Orlando and Volusia, home to Daytona Beach.  There‘s a close call in Pinellas County, home to St.  Petersburg, but the Republicans have that just by a little bit, again completing that trend.

The rest of the counties along the I-4 corridor right now are coming down clearly in favor of President Bush. Both candidates recognize the importance of this area.  They have visited here many times.  And their campaign staffs are clearly watching these election results right now. 

And by the way, behind me, here in Hillsborough County in the Tampa area, they are continuing to count the votes.  They‘re almost done.  And right now, the trend continues here in the Tampa area, with George Bush receiving 53 percent of the vote and John Kerry in this county 46 percent.  Back to you. 

MATTHEWS:  Mark, is this vote for the president—has it been enhanced in any way by the very popular way in which his brother dealt with the recovery from the hurricanes?

POTTER:  There‘s a lot of feeling that that‘s the case.  Jeb Bush stayed here, as you know, through the convention.  He‘s here now.  He was very active.  The president visited this area many times.  That couldn‘t hurt. 

MATTHEWS:  OK, thank you very much.  Mark Potter, down in I-4.  Talk about Florida, help us out with political geography down there? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, again, you‘ve got three states.  You‘ve got north Florida, where I‘m from, some call it the red neck Riviera, very conservative culturally.  You‘ve got the I-4 corridor, which again, very—it‘s the swing region of the area.  And then you‘ve got south Florida, which again trends more heavily Democratic.

The I-4 corridor, usually as the I-4 corridor goes, so goes the state. 

Hillsborough County, that Mark was reporting from, very important.  Hillsborough County, where you see Tampa right there, that‘s Hillsborough County.  Last election in 2000, George W. Bush only won by, I believe, 10,000 votes there.  He is winning much more comfortably this year.  He‘s winning much more comfortably across the entire I-4 corridor.  So again, it‘s certainly a harbinger.  That‘s one of the reasons why, again, I think most Kerry insiders are concerned right now and do not believe they‘re going to win the state of Florida. 

MATTHEWS:  You know, I was wondering why there was so much euphoria in the last several hours, given that fact.  I—can you think of anything that helps the Democrats more than it would have helped them four years ago?  Has anything changed in their direction?

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me tell you this.  And again, I‘m not cynical.  I‘m just giving you experience, real life experience.  And I‘ve  been saying this for some time also.  There is a reason why local politicians, state politicians, and national politicians like hurricanes in  the state of Florida.  It‘s because you can go and roll your sleeves up.  You can help people get their power turned back on.  You can help people get their air conditioning turned back on.  You can help them with basic needs.

One of the most impressive figures in the Clinton administration was a guy named James Lee Witt, who saw our region through three hurricanes.  Bill Clinton was smart enough to understand that he wasn‘t going to make the same mistake that George Bush senior made in 1992 during Andrew.  And he appointed Judge Witt, who was absolutely extraordinary.  I just - I loved the guy.  I hugged him.  And...

MATTHEWS:  Was he out of FEMA? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Out of FEMA.  Yes, he‘s the FEMA director.  So again, you have four hurricanes.  And again, there is nothing—Ron, you were there. 

REAGAN:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  My God, it was like a war zone. 


SCARBOROUGH:  And when the government - and there‘s so...

REAGAN:  Your neighborhood. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And my neighborhood.  And they had been so extraordinarily efficient.  I‘m not just saying the Bush administration.  I‘m saying the Bush administration, Jeb, the power companies. 

MITCHELL:  First of all, Jeb Bush has more than 80 percent popularity.  And George Bush came delivering goodies, delivering federal aid.  Plus the fact that people in Florida were not able to and wouldn‘t want to focus on the political campaign, on what a challenger needs.  It‘s attention, because they were dealing with putting their lives back to order. 

MYERS:  One step further back, is why did Democrats think they could win Florida?  It was a couple of reasons.  One was the  residual anger from four years ago, which they thought would drive up turnout, particularly among minorities and traditional Democrats. 

And the second was they thought they saw an increase in non Cuban Hispanics, particularly along the I-4 corridor, that they thought were going to trend more Democratic.  And that would be enough to put him over the hump. 

SCARBOROUGH:  The big problem, though, for them - yes, real quickly, I just wanted to say, one of the biggest problems for the Democrats has been Jeb Bush‘s popularity this year.  In 2000, he was loathed.  He was loathed because of affirmative action.  He was loathed because of—Florida by African-Americans.  That‘s totally changed now. 

REAGAN:  What about the Jewish vote?  What does the war in Iraq and terrorism do to the Jewish vote in Florida that the Democrats count on?

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s made a huge difference.  I mean, you know, during this war, obviously, when I first came on MSNBC, I was obviously very supportive of the war in Iraq.  I thought it was the right thing to do.  All of a sudden, I would find my commentaries over “Jewish World Review” and all of these pro-Israel sites that I had never even heard of before.  And I‘ve got to believe that, again, in south Florida, in Broward County, in Palm Beach County, in Miami-Dade, you know, George Bush did not win the Jewish vote, but he certainly cut into the Jewish vote down there. 

MITCHELL:  I think actually more the president‘s position on the Israeli-Palestinian issue.


MITCHELL:  More profoundly influential in that community. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, yes, well you‘re right.  I mean, certainly.  But I‘m talking the entire approach toward the Middle East, which is we‘re going to call the good guys, the good guys, the bad  guys, the bad guys. 

MITCHELL:  I tell you what.  George Bush wins Florida, then Ohio becomes absolutely critically important.  Kerry can do it, without Ohio, but he‘s got to then win the upper Midwest states. 

MATTHEWS:  You know what‘s interesting?  We‘ve been suggesting, I think it‘s always implicit when you have political discussion that a bigger turnout helps the Democrats.  And yet in Florida, we‘re seeing a vastly higher vote than we saw four years ago.  And yet, the pattern holds. 

MYERS:  It seems it‘s excruciating long lines, not just in big Democratic urban areas, but in small communities in north Florida. 

MATTHEWS:  So we‘re looking at this.  It‘s 800,000 votes already more than were cast last time.  And we‘re not done yet. 

REAGAN:  Yes, there are only 94,000 absentee ballots.  There was just no way you‘re going to make up for that 321,000. 

MYERS:  This 94,000 in one county.  There are more... 

REAGAN:  All in one county?

MYERS:  There‘s a million absentees out, right?  A million. 

REAGAN:  All right.  Oh, OK.

MATTHEWS:  Beginning to act like the decision room here.


MATTHEWS:  Sounds like we‘re the decision room.  We got - let‘s go to David Shuster.

David, let‘s pick up on this. 

DAVID SHUSTER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, Chris, one of the reasons that the Democrats in Florida are so grim right now is because we‘ve just looked at the precincts that are still left.  For example here in Miami-Dade, which Al Gore carried this part of Florida by about 40,000 votes, the precincts that are left in Miami-Dade, John Kerry may be able to close the gap a little bit by a few thousand votes, but there are also some Republican precincts.  So he squeezed about as much out of Miami-Dade, Florida, as he can.

The greatest Democratic stronghold in South Florida is Broward.  Most of those precincts are now in.  Again, Kerry may pick up a few more thousand there, with what is left in Broward.

And then you look at Palm Beach, there‘s still more precincts that Kerry could squeeze a few more thousand, but it‘s just not enough when you look at the precincts, the votes, what is left.  And Democrats starting to acknowledge that unless something really strange happens, they‘re not quite sure how Kerry can piece this together and close the raw vote total that you‘re seeing there, more than 300,000 votes. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, it‘s interesting, David, because the professionals working at NBC, and I think on the other networks, though I haven‘t checked with them, are still hesitant to call that for Florida.  What do you think that‘s about?  I mean, you know, I have looked at numbers throughout the day, like everyone has.  And I guess it‘s just close.  Despite what we‘re saying right now, there must be some Democratic pockets that haven‘t come in yet to justify this hesitance to call that state.  The absentee ballots, for example. 

SHUSTER:  Well, Chris, there are some pockets.  There are the absentee ballots.  There were so many that were cast ahead of time.

One of the problems that I think a lot of people are having is that the reporting in Florida is all over the map, in the sense that the secretary of state, the numbers that she is putting out, those are far behind what the Associated Press is reporting.

So for example, if you go to the secretary of state‘s Web site, there are no votes that are included from Miami-Dade or Broward or Palm Beach.  And those are the three Democratic strongholds. 

When you look at the numbers that we‘re relying on, the  Associated Press, those are being reported precinct by precinct.  And when you look at, for example, the county Web sites, we just checked Miami-Dade, the precincts that are left are just not enough to give Kerry much of a boost in south Florida, as Miami-Dade.

So part of the problem may be that it‘s just confusing as far as people trying to keep track of what votes are still out there.  You get one answer from the secretary of state.  You get an entirely different answer from each of the counties.  And that confusion may be contributing to why people are being so cautious. 

MATTHEWS:  OK, when we come back, we‘re going to do what the CIA calls pulse the system.  We‘re going to pulse the system through Florida, up to Ohio, up to the Midwestern states, and see if we can figure out which way this thing‘s heading now, because it‘s clearly not exactly within reach for either candidate for president.  We‘re looking at the numbers right now.  Nobody has anywhere near 270.  Look at all those Christmas trees out there that nobody has possession of yet, and would love to grab before the night‘s over.  We‘ll be back to try to figure out what‘s happening in Florida and those other too close to call states.


MATTHEWS:  We‘re back at Democracy Plaza, counting the votes with everyone else in the country.  Let‘s go right now to Keith Olbermann, my colleague in the count—Keith?

OLBERMANN:  All right, Chris, the Senate balance has not significantly changed tonight, but we‘ve had the swapping of two Democratic seats for one Republican seat, as changes occurred in Illinois, where the outgoing senator has been replaced by Barack  Obama, who defeats Alan Keyes, by a significant margin.  The projection is in already in Illinois.  Barack Obama, thus making Alan Keyes and former MSNBC  host, 0 for 1 on the senatorial votes for tonight.

But as we‘ve said, that is the only Democratic pickup of  a Republican seat thus far.  And there are two that have gone the other way.  In Georgia, Representative Johnny Isakson has beaten Denise Majette to get to what was Zell Miller‘s Democratic—theoretically Democratic stronghold.

And the other victory for the Republicans, grabbing a formerly Democratic seat, the one belonging to Fritz Hollings who is retiring, goes to the Congressman Jim DeMint, who will beat Inez Tenenbaum, according to NBC News projections.

Let‘s give you some of the key House of Representatives right now.  There was a virtual toss-up, believed to be existing in district four, in Connecticut, where the veteran Republican Chris Shays was challenged by a select woman from Westport, Connecticut, Diane Farrell.  And our projection there is that Representative Shays has withheld that position against the challenge.

In district 8, in Indiana, this is relevant because John Hostettler has staved off Jon Jennings, who among other things, was - got  money, was raised for him by Larry Bird, the former Boston Celtics star and Indiana Pacers executive.

In Vermont, in the gubernatorial races that are so in play, we‘ve now called Jim Douglas, the incumbent in a—what looks like a significant victory on the way over the mayor of Burlington, Peter Clavelle.  50 percent rule.  Looks like you‘re going to clear it.

Missouri, though, is still to close to call with 55 percent of the vote in, against the woman who knocked off the incumbent, Governor Bob Holden, state auditor Claire McCaskill against Secretary of State Matt Blunt.  Too close to call.

Too close to call in Montana, where Secretary of State Bob Brown and Brian Schweitzer, who ran for the Senate in 2000 are locked up in a too-close to call race for the governor‘s race there. 

And continuing our run through of the 11 gubernatorial spots open, the incumbent Craig Benson in New Hampshire is leading or  trailing slightly John Lynch, but that one is still too early to call.

And one more, with Gary Locke, the Democrat leaving in Washington.  It is a - again, just an extraordinarily close race early on between the Democratic candidate Gregoire, the state attorney general, and former state senator Dino Rossi.

So that‘s some of the other races.  Chris, back to you at Democracy Plaza. 

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s go—thank you, Keith.  Let‘s go to Norah O‘Donnell at the White House.

Norah, what‘s the latest on these Florida calls from the White House perspective, and also Ohio?

NORAH O‘DONNELL, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, they‘re feeling very good.  Karl Rove, of course, the president‘s top political strategist, peeking his head into the White House briefing room, and flashing a “V” for victory.  They are trying to project confidence here at the White House.  Karl Rove has been briefing all of the top members of the staff, the strategists, as well as the president, giving him very frequent updates about the status of the race.  It is noteworthy, sort of this emotional roller coaster that has gone on here at the White House, and certainly at the president‘s campaign.  One top adviser to the president saying they had a near death experience this afternoon, when they looked at some of those exit poll numbers which suggested a very strong lead for Senator Kerry.  They now say that those exit poll numbers were dead wrong, that according to the Bush-Cheney campaign.

But they‘re looking at Florida, which they feel very, very good in.  Of course, Kerry has captured Pennsylvania.  Now Ohio is down to that.  And their internal numbers, what they‘re showing, is that they are outperforming in the counties that they wanted to.

And this is so important, Chris, as we dissect sort of this race about how each of these campaigns wage this race.  Very noteworthy that Karl Rove went into this campaign with a very untraditional, unprecedented way of waging this campaign.  Their goal was to go to areas, Republican areas that they had won in 2000, but that they underperformed, where perhaps they didn‘t get as many people turning out to the polls as they thought.  They looked at those areas and they said we do well there.  Those people like us, but they just don‘t turn out to the polls.

That‘s where the president spent a majority of his time hitting over and over and over again on the campaign trail.  That‘s where they wanted to increase their yield.  That‘s the Rovian strategy that they‘ve been trying to execute.

They say tonight that‘s why they‘re doing well.  And again, still feeling confident about Florida and Ohio.  But clearly, think it‘s all going to come down to Ohio in the final calculus.  They recognize that.

And then just finally, of course, I did run into 41, former President Bush, who also sort of reflected this change of mood here at the White House, who said to me, I am feeling good now.  Chris? 

MATTHEWS:  All right.  Thank you, Norah O‘Donnell.

Let me ask everybody here.  I want to start with Joe, because you‘ve got the background to know this.  And maybe we‘ll go elsewhere to Pat Buchanan next.

Where are the blue states?  Norah gave a good description of  how they‘re going to hold what they had.  But you know, the president spent a lot of time the last four years going to Pennsylvania.  More than 40 trips up there.  He spent a lot of time going to Wisconsin.  I‘m not sure the Rove strategy is quite so brilliant, when you come down to states they‘re trying to pick up, as it has been in holding what they had the last time. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Karl Rove‘s interested in doing one thing, making sure that Bush 43 doesn‘t follow Bush 41‘s pathway.  And I think he understood that we did have a divided country.  I mean, they weren‘t going to win Illinois.  They weren‘t going to win...

MATTHEWS:  Sure, but what are the targets of opportunity for the president to pick up another state, besides the red states last time?

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, we still have them out.  Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Iowa.  I mean, all the states we‘re talking about. 

MYERS:  Nevada. 


MYERS : Well, he won that four years ago. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, yes, yes.  Nevada.  But again, exactly what we‘ve been talking about.  I think what the Democrats, if—if the Democrats end up losing tonight, and it is so early, but let‘s just say the White House is right.  Now Karl Rove has a reason to flash the “V” sign, what they‘ve got to figure out what to do is how to get that candidate like Bill Clinton that can win in Arkansas, that can win in Missouri, that can win going up the Mississippi River.

And I just don‘t know at this point whether John Kerry was that candidate that could take it from Louisiana all the way up to Minnesota, upper Mississippi.


SCARBOROUGH:  Bill Clinton split the country in half.  And he did something else.  He excited the African-American base.  We‘ll have to wait and see if... 

MATTHEWS:  Well, you‘ve also touched on a nerve, which is the Democrats only seem to win the presidency when they run a southerner. 


MATTHEWS:  And that isn‘t complicated.  It‘s very hard for someone with a northern accent, a northern background, unless they have that sort of fighting GI spirit that Jack Kennedy had.  It was very moderate on civil rights when he ran for president.  At the time, people forget that.  And was so acceptable as a veteran, actually back then in the Cold War.

Name a Democrat from the north who could do any better than John Kerry has done tonight?  Dee Dee? 

MYERS:  Nobody got into the primary campaign.  So I mean, I don‘t think there is an obvious person. 

MATTHEWS:  Could Joe Biden have done better down south if he had run?

MYERS : It‘s all - I don‘t think so.  I mean...

MATTHEWS:  It‘s not speculation.  Somebody‘s got to have a southern piece to know.  Something southern. 

MYERS:  Joe Biden, clearly not that person.  I mean, he‘s not southern. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, there‘s Dick Gephardt.

MYERS:  But you know what‘s interesting?  The Republicans figured something out in this election cycle.  They started it in 2002, and they‘ve done a great job of it here, which is their ground game is all of a sudden falling apart.  Democrats can no longer take for granted that they‘re going to outperform Republicans on the ground on election day.

And what Karl Rove has done has said, we don‘t have to win any more states.  We‘re just going to drive up turnout in the states that we won four years ago.  And they—as long as it was a year ago, they had already said, we‘re going to have precinct captain in every single targeted precinct.  And by six or eight months ago, they were there. 

MITCHELL:  And the difference this time was the Democrats were not relying only on the traditional union grassroots folks.

MYERS:  Right.

MITCHELL:  They were relying on these new groups, the 527s, who had just absolutely spread their people all throughout. 

MYERS : And there‘s a lot of energy, but no coordination in typical Democratic fashion. 

MITCHELL:  And the advantage of incumbency is that the White House was able to coordinate. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, let me get back to my point.  We have a country, that if we were in Africa, for example, it would look like a tribally divided country, where it is a contiguous mass of voters to  vote for one side predictively, and a contiguous mass of voters on the other side who vote the other way.

Give me a southern state that Kerry has a chance to carry tonight. 

REAGAN:  None. 

MATTHEWS:  None.  The northern state... 

SCARBOROUGH:  But that doesn‘t have to do with Republican and Democrat. 

MATTHEWS:  What is it?

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, it has to do with John Kerry versus Bill  Clinton.  It has the difference between - I mean, you‘ve got to get somebody that understands the culture of the southeast or the culture of the Midwest.  Yes, exactly.  And again, this isn‘t - this is not saying that a Democrat cannot win in the southeast any more than it‘s... 

MATTHEWS:  Can a northern Democrat win in the south?

SCARBOROUGH:  It depends on who that... 

MATTHEWS:  Name one. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I don‘t know.  But I want to tell you what.  Even though I‘m Red Sox fan, I wouldn‘t be happening to wear a  -- if I were his political director, I wouldn‘t be having to wear... 

MATTHEWS:  But try to imagine - I‘ll give you a couple of minutes, because everybody should do this.  Think of a northern Democrat, who could do well in the red states.  It‘s hard. 

MYERS:  You could come up with a Midwestern Democrat. 

MATTHEWS:  I think we should all think of it.  We‘re going to go to a commercial and come back.  And think of some names, because I think this is a redundant fact of American life that we‘re divided north and south, like we were in the Civil War.  We‘ll be back to talk about a  not surprising map, that we‘re looking at again tonight.  North and south divided.  Back in a moment at Democracy Plaza.


MATTHEWS:  We‘re back.  Let‘s see where we are going in the campaign, in the election night right now.  Go to Keith Olbermann. 

OLBERMANN:  Hey, Chris, we‘ll look first at the House of Representatives.  The Democrats at a slim and perhaps a not too realistic chance of trying to get back in control in the continuing race for the balance of power.  At the beginning of the night, with all seats obviously eligible for election, 227 to 205, a 22-point Republican margin.  So the hope was that the Dems would get - for the Dems hope anyway, they‘d get 12 or 13 seats and regain control of the House.  This does not look likely now after one, two, three, four, five, swings or five toss-ups to the Republicans.

And now we have two for the Democrats, eating slightly into that total, but nothing extraordinary.  Let‘s give you the two.  The one in Georgia, first off, out of District 12, where John Barrow has taken the seats for the Democrats away from incumbent Republican Max  Burns.  Barrow, the Athens Clarke County commissioner, gaining a  victory for the Democrats in Georgia.

And in Illinois, Melissa Bean, local businesswoman, is projected as the winner against the incumbent Republican, Philip Crane, who has represented District 8 in Illinois in the House of Representatives since 1969.  He first entered Congress to replace Donald Rumsfeld, but now he is going out in a most unexpected outcome in Illinois.  Quick look at the House.

Chris, back to you. 

MATTHEWS:  Crane, Phil Crane, his brother lost a seat because of an embarrassment several years ago.  Why did Phil Crane lose?

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Denny Hastert said that he was going to lose, just like he said Tom Coburn was going to lose.  It‘s not really good when you‘ve got the speaker of the house saying that you don‘t spend enough time in your district.  That‘s what Denny Hastert said.

You know, I guess the voters just wanted somebody younger.  Obviously, Phil Crane, 1980, I believe he was - he ran. 

MATTHEWS:  For president. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, 1980.

MATTHEWS:  He‘s a big shot. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And was always looked up to by a lot of young conservatives.

MATTHEWS:  I know, I know.

SCARBOROUGH:  And so yes, it‘s shocking tonight that he lost.  But again, I think, again, when you have the speaker of the house and your own party saying that you don‘t spend enough time in your district, you may not want to put that on your brochure. 

MATTHEWS:  Remember that great line?  What have you done for me lately?

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, exactly.

MATTHEWS:  OK, let‘s go right now to the other panelists, not far from here.  Let‘s go to Pat Buchanan and to Ron Silver.

I want to talk to Ron - let‘s talk to Pat, because you‘re a man of the south in many ways.  You always wave that flag whenever you‘re stirred to it.

What is it about our country that allows the old geography to keep coming back and mattering so much?  We‘re seeing it tonight. 

BUCHANAN:  Well, one thing is, Chris, the Democratic party‘s nominating process winnows out the kinds of candidates who could do well in the south.  You go through the Democratic primaries, and you‘ve got to be for partial birth abortion.  You‘ve got to be for Supreme Court justices who uphold Roe vs.  Wade.  You‘ve got to be for controlling everybody‘s guns.  You‘ve got to be sympathetic to civil unions and gay marriage.

So you take all these stands to get the nomination.  Then you got the nomination.  And folks like Karl Rove beat you to death with it.  Not only in every southern state, but in border states like Missouri and Kentucky and West Virginia and states like that.  That‘s what happens.

But Chris, in the last analysis tonight, John Kerry has not lost  this race at all yet in my judgment.  We‘ve got a ways to go here.  The president‘s got to win Ohio.  And I think there‘s - I mean, some of these other states, if Kerry picks up two small states, I mean, you are in virtually in a dead heat.

So I would - I think the president‘s running a lot stronger than these exit polls.  And I think there‘s been too much hype of this youth vote.  But this thing is not over by a long, long shot. 

MATTHEWS:  What struck me, Pat, we‘re going to go right now to Carl.  But before we do, what struck me is how easily the president picked up West Virginia and Missouri.  And if you don‘t contest those states, so that it takes a couple of hours at least to decide who‘s going to win them, you‘ve got big problems, because you‘re not losing the confederacy, you‘re losing the border states.

What‘s left?  I mean, you have to run the table as you‘ve said and others have said across the north through the Midwest.

Let‘s go right now to Carl Quintanilla, because I think he‘s going to reflect our thinking about the difficulty facing John Kerry at this moment.  What‘s the mood up there in Boston, Carl??

CARL QUINTANILLA, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, Chris, I mean, as we‘ve pointed out in the past hour or so, it‘s relatively quiet for a rally that was supposed to really get going at this point in the evening.  John Edwards has been across the street at the Westin Hotel for the better part of an hour.  John Kerry is still at his apartment.  And there‘s little to no indication that he‘s going to be leaving there for Copley Square anytime soon. 

We‘ve posed this question to the campaign.  We‘ve said, look, you‘ve got the White House flashing victory signs, Karl Rove claiming huge enthusiasm over there.  What about the Kerry camp?  And their  response is simply that they‘ve been on TV today.  John Kerry did speak after voting at the statehouse here in Boston earlier.  They say that‘s not traditionally done.  And they say they continue to feel good about Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa.  And in the words of one aide, and Florida remains very close.

So the rhetoric continues.  They do have Mike McCurry out talking to reporters.  Joe Lockhart‘s been on the air, obviously.  But from a strictly visual standpoint, the fact that we‘re not seeing John Kerry so far tonight is telling in the minds of some Democrats, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  Is there a sense, Carl, that John Edwards has not played his part in bringing along some of these border states, some of the more conservative cultural states?

QUINTANILLA:  We haven‘t heard that, to be honest.  I mean, I  think the general impression of what Edwards has done is that he‘s actually worked a fair amount.  I mean, he‘s done a lot of second-tier venues that you don‘t hear a lot about, same thing with Elizabeth Edwards.

I‘m not sure that there was ever the calculation that he really could deliver some of those states for Kerry.  The fact that the south fell, you might say, quote, unquote, so early tonight really didn‘t strike to many in the Kerry camp by surprise.  They‘re still counting on those key upper Midwestern states to help them over that hump tonight. 

MATTHEWS:  OK, Carl Quintanilla, thank you.  We‘ll be back to you again and again tonight.

Let‘s go right now to a call we have to make in the state—keystone

state of Pennsylvania.  There it is.  Arlen Specter, a  professional if

there ever was one, with union, big labor support, has been declared the

re-elected veteran senator of Pennsylvania.  Joe Hoeffel fighting a very

heroic campaign, staying in the run - any  percent of the vote in.  He‘s got 44 percent.

Very impressive fight by Joe Hoeffel, but not successful.  Arlen Specter, as always, certainly in the last quarter century has won again.

Let me go right now to Lester Holt, who‘s going to give a sense hopefully of why it‘s taking so long in some of these states.  Lester?



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