TODAY | November 06, 2012
>> is moderator of "meet the press" and steve schmitt is a former senior adviser to former candidate john mccain 's campaign and taffies smiley joins us from pbs and dede myers, president clinton 's former white house press secretary . good morning. happy election day . show of hands right now. raise your hand if when this matchup became clear this months ago that it would be president obama and governor romney , you thought we'd be sitting on election day with a dead heat on your hands. raise your hand if you thought that was the case.
>> you did.
>> you really thought it would be this close?
>> i think the country is simply too polarized for it not to be.
>> dede why do you think we got to the dead heat , sitting here today with this too close to call?
>> i think david is right. the country is extremely polarized, and we always knew it would be a close race. first time in a long time we've been sitting here on election day really not knowing what's going to happen. i think both candidates have strengths and both have weaknesses. you have a tough economy. you have a candidate in mitt romney who didn't define himself early enough and allowed president obama and his team to define him. strengths and weaknesses on both side but on election day i'd rather be arguing the metrics of turnout than the idea of momentum which the romney people are doing, even though we have no idea what's going to happen today.
>> just quickly, you two didn't raise your hands . you thought this was going to be a route.
>> i think there's two types of elections, change elections and stay the course, and i thought that it would have broken one way or the other before we got to today.
>> i thought it would be close but not too close to call. both guys at one point had enthusiasm gaps on their phalanx. the president had an enthusiasm gap on his left flank and mr. romney with enthusiasm gap on the right flank. i knew the race would tighten up but didn't think it would be this close.
>> steve , i'm giving you a charge. you're in charge of the transportation operation for the romney campaign. who are you sending cars for this morning? who is the most important group to get out to vote for governor romney today?
>> mitt romney needs to close the gap he has with white voters in ohio, and he needs to make sure that there's not a gender gap of 12, 13 points with women in places like virginia , ohio, new hampshire.
>> taffies, you're in charge of the carpool for the obama campaign , who must you pick up and get to the polls.
>> i would hate tomorrow morning for the president to wake up and found that he lost the election by the margin of black absence at the polls. when the race is this tight the base has to turn out. the african- americans who do go to vote, will vote for him. will that turnout be what it was off the charts four years ago.
>> to add to that, it's not just african- americans , it's younger voters and latinos . the president has said if i get a second term, it will likely be because republicans didn't pay enough attention to latinos . mitt romney has said if they don't improve standing among latinos we are doomed, his words, and the margins are huge right now for obama's advantage over romney among latinos .
>> dee dee , talk to me about the role women will play in deciding this race.
>> right. most undecided voters at this point are women, and women are breaking strongly for the president as they traditionally have. more importantly, 10 million more women will vote than men today so that is where the presidents is. i would look at single women in particular. they tend to be more undecided and tend to break heavily for president obama , and i think that's where this race in many ways will be decided.
>> steve , oftentimes the day after an elects pundits sit around and the losing party they look at and say they have to start from scratch and rethink everything. which party stands to suffer the most long-term damage if they lose today.
>> well, if the republicans lose, there's going to be a civil war that breaks out in the republican party . think about this. the last republican candidate who got over 60% of the white vote, george herbert walker bush , over 400 electoral votes . mitt romney is going to get 60% of the white vote, that same margin. he's either going to win narrowly or lose the election. the country has changed fundamentally. we were at over 40% of the hispanic bush with george w. bush in 2004 , and we're not able to get to 30% in this election and that's startling.
>> the gop is toast in the most multi-cultural, multiracial and multi-ethnic america. they may win tomorrow but not long term.
>> i started it with a show of hands . raise your hand if you think we will know who wins this race by the time we go to bed, and when i say go to bed, i don't mean the time you go to bed, 10:00 , tonight when americans go to bed tonight, will we know who wins this race. if so, raise your hand .
>> i don't think so.
>> dee dee , you said yes.
>> i think it all comes down to virginia . if the president wins virginia it's pretty much all over. there's no realistic path for romney without virginia .
>> all right. as i mentioned, you guys will be going to bed at about 10:00 tomorrow morning . good luck.
>> all right.
>> thank you.
>> going to be a big day . david gregory , steve schmitt, tavis smiley and dee dee