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MTP Daily, Transcript 11/1/2016

Guests: Abbe Lowell, Carl Hulse, George Mitchell, Cornell Belcher, Hampton Pearson, Chris Cillizza, Gregory Lee

Show: MTP DAILY Date: November 1, 2016 Guest: Abbe Lowell, Carl Hulse, George Mitchell, Cornell Belcher, Hampton Pearson, Chris Cillizza, Gregory Lee

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, I`m Chuck Todd in Washington. And welcome to a big MTP DAILY.

(voice over)

Tonight, gridlock alert. Why Election Day might only be the beginning not the end. The erosion of trust in our democracy makes the likelihood of gridlock getting worse.

Plus, actions speak louder than poll numbers. New advice from the Clinton campaign could signal a surprising shift in the battleground map.

And where there`s smoke, there could be a new push to changing federal marijuana laws after Election Day.

This is MTP DAILY and it starts right now.

One more week. I`m Chuck Todd here in Washington and welcome to MTP DAILY. The election, the shifting battleground, wow, we`ve got a lot to dive into. And we`ll do that in moments in a brand-new map that I will unveil.

But, believe it or not, there`s an even bigger story in American politics and who wins one week from today. Folks, American democracy has been badly damaged by this election. And the results next Tuesday are probably going to make things worse.

It`s a scary proposition, but let`s be blunt about it. There is seemingly very little that can stop the slow erosion of trust in our democracy. This isn`t fear mongering. This is what`s keeping American political leaders up at night left and right.

Here`s why. FBI director James Comey`s decision to publicly revive his investigation of Clinton`s e-mails has thrown gasoline at a fire of rigged election talk we thought was only burning in one party. But now, there`s a high probability that both parties may not recognize the full legitimacy of the results of this election.

Here`s one very plausible scenario and its fallout. Let`s say Clinton wins the presidency and Republicans hold the Senate. In that case, a lot of Republicans are going to argue that the media or the polls or voter fraud conspiracies rigged the presidency for Clinton.

And a lot of Democrats are likely to argue that Comey basically rigged the Senate for Republicans by dampening enthusiasm for down-ballot Democrats with this announcement.

This is what November ninth could look like. No post-election honeymoon, just defiance and anger from all sides. And ask yourself, how can American democracy function if large chunks of the electorate question the legitimacy of two of the three branches of government?

Even if the outcome next Tuesday is slightly different, the dysfunctional result will probably be the same. The Republican base is not going to tolerate Republican support for any parts of Clinton`s agenda. And the same could be said for the Democratic base if Trump wins.

But the national nightmare doesn`t end there because the third branch of government cannot function in this mess either. Congressional obstructions has already impaired the Supreme Court and it`s looking increasingly likely that Republicans, politically, are going to feel as if they have no choice, thanks to their own base, but to block any Clinton nominee, possibly for years, if she wins.

In fact, here`s what Republican Senator Richard Burr, who himself is up for reelection, privately told Republican volunteers this weekend in audio that was obtained by CNN.


SEN. RICHARD BURR (R), NORTH CAROLINA: If Hillary Clinton becomes president, I am going to do everything I can do to make sure four years from now, we`ve still got an opening on the Supreme Court.


TODD: This is Richard Burr. This isn`t somebody that is associated with sort of the fire and brimstone of the right. Look, we`ve heard this type of argument across the conservative spectrum from moderates like Burr to hard right conservatives like Ted Cruz to gray beards like John McCain.

Folks, the next two years could see a permanent war being waged on our America Democratic institutions. We could have an incomplete Supreme Court, an untrusted FBI, an executive branch mired in investigation, an election result called illegitimate by members of both parties, and four wings of the American electorate, progressive Democrats, establishment Democrats, Tea Party Republicans and establishment Republicans feuding with over on what to do about it, who to blame and how to rebuild it.

Let`s focus, though, on the e-mail question now. I`m joined by a Clinton supporter, a confidant and super lawyer here in Washington, Abbe Lowell, who was counsel to House Democrats during Bill Clinton`s impeachment proceedings. Mr. Lowell, welcome.

ABBE LOWELL, ATTORNEY: Good to see you again.

TODD: Is there any discomfort you have in -- there is a, certainly, a Clinton messaging, a campaign messaging, that is going hard after director Comey. And they may feel legitimate about it. But there is an unintended (ph) consequence that goes with that in the same way Republicans were furious with director Comey after July. And we know, in this case, if you`re getting beaten up by both sides, it`s not -- it doesn`t mean you`re doing your job.

LOWELL: Well, that`s right. And here`s the problem. It`s self-inflicted. I mean, I the FBI director brought this on himself in two ways. The first way was sort of backwards, right? It`s not ready, aim, fire. It`s fire, aim, ready.

[17:05:00] First, I`m going to talk to you. Next, I`m going to update you in Congress and then I`m going to do an investigation and tell you if there was anything there.

TODD: Yes.

LOWELL: That brings on criticism and it never happened before. In fact, there is lots of people, as former attorneys general pointed out, the director violated decades of Justice Department policy in two ways. The first way is to tell you about an ongoing investigation. The second is taking action.

TODD: That`s not a law.

LOWELL: No, no, no.

TODD: Not a law. He did not break any laws.

LOWELL: I totally understand.

TODD: It`s a policy of recommendation over the years, for what it`s worth. I don`t want people to --

LOWELL: No, no. But that`s right, it`s not a law. But let`s also be clear that there`s two DOJ policies. One is that you don`t talk about investigations. Two is you don`t take action in the shadow of an election that can influence it.

But the irony, Chuck, is that he violated two policies of his department investigating secretary Clinton over e-mail servers which doesn`t violate the policies of this Department of state. Isn`t that weird?

TODD: I -- you know, there is plenty of people on that front. But let me ask you this, if you are him and this -- and it comes out that there were more e-mails to investigate and the public didn`t know about this, Capitol Hill Republicans are going to think that this was -- this was information withheld from the electorate unfairly. What do you say to that?

LOWELL: Well, first, I say, two wrongs don`t make a right. He shouldn`t have announced in July anything about his personal opinion and I will keep you up to date, Congress.

And second of all, having committed that wrong, he is in a very important job that he volunteered to have. It`s a tough job. It`s a job where you take criticism. And especially in law enforcement, it`s such a powerful tool that, law enforcement officials especially, need to know that like good children, they should be silent at the table.

TODD: It is sort of unnerving here to watch and we see it just recently. We`ve had investigations impact elections that eventually lead to no conviction. Ted Stevens would have not lost his Senate seat if he had been found innocent before it happened. And Ted Stevens would`ve won that. That influenced an election.

You could argue Terry McAuliffe is governor because of the -- of the investigation into the previous governor of Virginia which had an impact on how Republicans felt.

How -- do we have to have laws in place that changes this because of how easily the idea that investigation becomes you`re guilty until proven innocent, particularly in today`s culture?

LOWELL: Well, I think -- I don`t know if you need a law but you need a couple of things. First of all, you need Americans to remember that an investigation means nothing more than an individual, an FBI agent, opening up a file on her or his desk. And it doesn`t necessarily lead anywhere.


TODD: When I hear FBI investigation, I`m like, oh, wow, what did they do?

LOWELL: Well, that`s right.

TODD: I`m sorry, it`s a natural (INAUDIBLE.) That`s your initial instinct.

LOWELL: That`s an unfortunate erosion of the presumption of innocence that I wished didn`t happen. But let`s say we`re reality and that`s what people think.

TODD: Yes.

LOWELL: It`s make it even more incumbent that law enforcement officials go out of their way and do pretzels twists not to do something that could influence an election which is why that policy is (INAUDIBLE.)

And so, let`s also point out, and this is something that`s gotten -- two things have gotten lost. One is, there was no legitimate law enforcement purpose for what the director did. It doesn`t advance the law enforcement ball at all. But, more importantly, what has really gotten lost is what he`s looking at is more e-mails on Huma Abedin`s computer.

TODD: Yes.

LOWELL: And it wouldn`t change what he had already announced in July. These are two people, Huma and secretary Clinton, who are allowed to talk to each other, about classified information. And it doesn`t violate the law.

TODD: They both had security clearance. The only thing is if they -- if there is proof that classified material were removed, correct?

LOWELL: Removed. So, yes. So, that`s the other thing. The only other time that any case has been made when there`s the physical removal of something that is clearly marked classified from the secure location to another, like in the Sandy Berger case or the John Deutch case or other cases.

TODD: Well, these were insecure servers though.

LOWELL: Well, insecure servers doesn`t the same -- look, --


LOWELL: -- I`m not saying that -- and believe I`ve read. Secretary Clinton couldn`t be a harsher critic herself for how she handled this. But it doesn`t make for a violation of law and it doesn`t even necessarily make for a violation of policy.

TODD: As a lawyer, would you recommend to the campaign if they could get their hands on it -- and maybe it doesn`t exist because there`s been some question about Huma Abedin is not even sure what e-mails they`re referring to. That if they knew what it was, that they should pre-release. Would you recommend that, as a lawyer that -- if they were your -- you know what?

LOWELL: Not sight unseen.

TODD: If you can get it, --

LOWELL: I mean, because what -- I don`t have --

TODD: -- release it all.

LOWELL: Well, what`s the all? I hear that there are thousands and thousands.

TODD: Right.

LOWELL: So, first, you have to call out which are the officials ones. And then, you have to see if there`s anything that is still something that is sensitive for some other reason.

I don`t think -- believe me, I don`t think that the Clinton campaign, I don`t know, is actually interested in anything being withheld. But you just can`t say, I`m going to dump out everything which could anything from the way, and we don`t want to see this, Anthony Wiener talks to anybody.

TODD: Right.

LOWELL: -- to what might be official e-mails.

TODD: All right. Abbe Lowell, I will keep it there. Abbe Lowell here on behalf of the Clinton campaign. Thanks very much.

[17:10:00] For more on the bigger picture here and the idea that maybe damage has been done to our democracy. I`m joined by George Mitchell who`s the co-founder of the Bipartisan Policy Center. He was Senate majority leader under President Bill Clinton. And Carl Hulse is a "New York Times" Chief Washington Correspondent and the unofficial mayor of Capitol Hill.

You know, Karl, because I don`t want this to sound partisan, so, Senator Mitchell, I`m not going to start with you. I want to start with Carl Hulse here. Carl, explain what you think is about to happen on Capitol Hill on November ninth.

CARL HULSE, CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, "NEW YORK TIMES": Well, I`ve been telling people that if they If they think this election is going to clear the air and there is going to be a big Washington reset and dysfunction is going to go away, they`re going to be disappointed.

I mean, what Senator Burr said and what Senator Cruz said in Texas, you know, that they`re going to block any Democratic Supreme Court nominee, that`s an extraordinary thing to say and a real escalation of the gridlock that`s been going on there.

So, we`ll see what happens with that. There are some Republicans who`ve told me that they`d never stand for that. I think Chuck Grassley has even said, at some point, well, we`re going to have to move ahead.

But, you know, it`s going to be -- if the Republicans win the Senate, they would, theoretically, be able to block this indefinitely. If the Democrats win, if there is a blockade, --

TODD: Right.

HULSE: -- I think they`ll move to do the nuclear option, right?

TODD: Well, but that -- OK. And that`s where I want to move to Senator Mitchell. And, Senator, I want to caveat your audience. We look for a lot of Republicans to appear on with you on this topic. Some of them wanted to, weren`t available, we couldn`t find anybody available to do that. And, by the way, the Trump campaign had nobody to provide today. So, I want to clear that up.

So, Senator Mitchell, going the nuclear option which means no opportunity for a filibuster at all for the other side on a Supreme Court justice. Republicans are going to say, hey, Harry Reid started this when he invoked the nuclear option for lower courts. Explain the damage you think that could do to the institution.

SEN. GEORGE MITCHELL (D), FORMER SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I think it would be severe damage. I refrained from any such actions when I was Senate majority leader. But the circumstances were then different. The numbers of filibusters and the willingness to use obstructionist tactics have increased exponentially in recent years.

You can argue day and night as to who started it, but the real question is, how do you finish it? And I believe that there are steps that whoever is elected president can and should take immediately to try to diffuse the hostility in partisanship and to try to get the government, including executive and legislative branches, on the right track toward bipartisan action. And I`ll be happy to describe those to you if you were --

TODD: Well, I was just going to say, you were a special envoy to try to solve the Israeli and Palestinian ongoing crisis. I think this might be harder.

HULSE: Yes, that`s nothing compared to this.

TODD: Yes. So, Senator Mitchell, let me go on there.


TODD: If you`re a president-elect Hillary Clinton and you`re dealing with a Senator majority leader, Mitch McConnell, still, not just in the lame duck but you are dealing with him, --


TODD: -- what do you -- what could she do, in your opinion, to diffuse things? And then, what do you -- what pressure do you think -- what obligation does Mitch McConnell have to diffuse things? Because the basis of both parties, they don`t want to diffuse.


TODD: They don`t want to diffuse.

MITCHELL: Right. First, before taking office, I would announce the highest possible ethical standards to govern the administration`s actions. I think whoever is elected should enter the Oval Office on the high road and make sure that everyone in his or her administration stays there. Because the American people don`t trust politics and politicians and they don`t trust either of the candidates --

TODD: Can you give an example?

MITCHELL: -- that are now seeking the presidency.

TODD: What is an ethical -- new ethical standard that we`ve not had before that you think could actually start to rebuild trust?

MITCHELL: President Obama has had the highest ethical standards in history. And I think even they can be improved, perhaps particularly in the area of the revolving door between people entering and leaving government and engaging in other activities. But there are many areas in which this can be improved. Everything human beings can do can be can be improved.

Secondly, I would appoint one or two members of the opposition party to the cabinet. I think bipartisan cabinets serve the useful purpose, both symbolically and realistically, in getting contrary views.

TODD: A real cab -- an A-level post or a B-level post?



TODD: I mean, I -- we`ve never seen it on an A level.

MITCHELL: Perhaps one of each. Perhaps one of each.

TODD: Yes.

MITCHELL: Certainly not just minor cabinet positions, a real meaningful level. My Senate colleague, Bill Cohen, a Republican who served as secretary of defense under President Clinton. He did an outstanding job. It`s possible it can be done in the future.

Third, I would seek out the opposition in developing my budget and my administration`s initial proposals to find areas where there can be common ground. There are many. An infrastructure program, both parties say they want it.

[17:15:00] TODD: Yes.

MITCHELL: Let`s try to do it. Returning, repatriating large sums of money --

TODD: Right.

MITCHELL: -- from overseas, using that infrastructure. Both parties say they want to do it. Let`s give them the chance to do it.

Thirdly, do something, in terms of a proposal about this horrific campaign spending problem that we have in our country. One of the reasons both Mr. Trump and Senator Sanders did well in the nominating process is that they focused on the completeness trust that Americans have over excessive amounts of money in politics and the declining transparency in that area.

TODD: All right. Go ahead with the last part.

MITCHELL: Well, I`ve got others. But I think that a real --

TODD: Yes.

MITCHELL: -- effort can be made. And it`s like your kids. They know when you are serious and the public will know whether the incoming president --

TODD: Well --

MITCHELL: -- is serious about seeking bipartisan assistance.

TODD: All right, Carl Hulse, let`s do a little reality check here. No offense, Senator Mitchell, but the center has --

HULSE: I commend Senator Mitchell`s optimism.

TODD: I -- the center has been hollowed out of the United States Senate, Carl. You know this. I know this. Even though -- even centrists don`t act like centrists anymore because of the way the two bases work.

One of the proposals that Senator Mitchell is putting out there, the progressive wing of the Democratic Party will never allow which is to find some common ground on some of these budget proposals. So, what`s the reality here?

HULSE: I think they would be -- I think they would be upset, too, if, you know, there is some even centrist Republicans appointed to the cabinet though. I do think that`s a -- could be a nice overture.

You know, in 2013, when they did change the rules on the judges, there were Democrats who wanted to go ahead and eliminate the filibuster and get Supreme Court nominees. Some of the older Democrats --

TODD: Yes.

HULSE: -- didn`t want to do that. They worried about whether, you know, they would be able to block a bad Republican nominee. But those folks are gone and a lot of this sense of a partisan -- bipartisanship is fading.

I do think Senator Clinton, you know, has a reputation for being to -- able to work with Republicans and could try and reach across --

TODD: Yes.

HULSE: -- the aisle. But after this election, you know, these Republicans are seeing what their constituents really want and that`s give no ground to --

TODD: That`s right.

HULSE: -- the Democrats.

TODD: That`s right.

HULSE: I just think it`s going to be really tough. You know, the House Republicans --

TODD: Yes.

HULSE: -- are talking more about investigating secretary Clinton rather than sitting down and talking to her. I mean, I think it`s going to be, unfortunately, more of the same.

TODD: All right.

MITCHELL: Can I just make this one --

TODD: On that up -- on that upbeat note. Go ahead, last word then I`ve got to go. I have to pay some bills.

MITCHELL: Yes. The public takes its que from the political leaders.

TODD: Yes.

MITCHELL: Minds can be changed. Until now, until this last year, for 50 years, Republicans have favored trade agreements and encouraged more trade agreements. One candidate capitalized on sentiment and changed the position of the Republican Party. Why could not a president change minds by taking the bully pulpit and using it for positive purposes as opposed to negative purposes?

TODD: Well, there you go. Senator George Mitchell, you`re a statesman for a reason. Good to see you, sir. Thanks for coming on.

MITCHELL: Thank you.

TODD: Carl Hulse, the unofficial mayor of the Capitol Hill press corp. Always a pleasure.

HULSE: Thank you.

TODD: Coming up, the battleground map might be getting a shake-up. We`ll break down what could be Clinton`s new roadblocks to 270. And does Trump now have a couple of realistic paths? I`ll show you. We`ll be right back.



TODD: Welcome back to MTP DAILY. We`ve got new numbers showing just how many folks are voting early this election, according to our NBC News analysis based on data from Target Smart. As of today, over 26 million votes have been cast nationwide already. That`s nearly twice as many as the last presidential election.

At this point in 2012, 13.5 million votes had been cast early. And the 12 battleground states we`re tracking, close to 4.4 million more votes have been cast early, compared with a week out from Election Day in 2012. It should be noted, there are some states that now have just allowed more early voting, including Colorado which is all by mail.

But the biggest growth in early vote numbers since 2012 is happening in these critical states, Florida, Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina, Arizona and Colorado. And specifically in Michigan, Virginia and Colorado, the early vote turnout is favoring Democrats. This year, Democratic affiliated early voters are outpacing Republicans by three points in Colorado and Michigan and by 13 points in Virginia.

Now, those numbers might come as some relief to the Clinton campaign because their path to 270 looks like it could be narrowing. It`s still there. There are still more paths for her than him. But just today, they made a move that`s raising alarm bells for nervous Democrats. I`ll explain when MTP DAILY returns in 60 second.


TODD: OK. So, a week ago, we were talking about a potential Democrat wave that Clinton`s victory margin could up flip (ph) control of the Senate and maybe even put the House in play. But now, with the FBI looking at newly discovered e-mails that could be related to this -- to the investigations of Clinton`s e-mail servicer, is it possible her path to 270 is narrowing?

Let`s look at the battleground map before Comey. This is where it stood. We had -- the stuff in gray is where the toss ups were, including one electoral vote, each in Maine and Nebraska. And you see here, we had her well over 270. We had her with a pad. Trump sitting at 157.

Well, let`s go ahead and look at a new battleground map. Thanks to early voting, we now know that Nevada appears to be getting out of reach for Trump. That the early vote is going in such a way. OK, that`s good news - - that`s good news there for Clinton.

But, today, she`s making new ad buys in Colorado and polling seems to support the idea that Colorado has gotten close. Wisconsin, we know the Senate race has gotten very close. She`s also gone up in Michigan, not a lot of evidence to say that the race is below five points yet, as well as Virginia. But let`s just go ahead and to that.

Then, you start saying, OK, Republican enthusiasm is up. So, what does that mean? It probably means that an Arizona is more likely to go back to its norm there. Let`s give Georgia back to its norm there.

So, then, you`re, like, OK, she`s still sitting at 274 except we now know that New Hampshire -- we got the Maine situation there. We`ll just get that back here a little bit and get it out. Goodbye, Maine. Go here to New Hampshire and get that back. So, now, she`s sitting at 270. And North Carolina has gone back in the toss-up.

So, now, all of a sudden, she`s under her number. He`s sitting at 184. So, what happens? Does he have a path to 270? Well, right now, let`s go ahead and assume Florida, North Carolina, give it to him. Give him Ohio. I`m not ready to move Pennsylvania. None of are. It feels like it`s still pretty lean blue.

We got Utah sitting in there. I think it`s still -- the Ed McMullen thing is -- it`s still something he`s got to deal with. Go ahead and give him Iowa. So, now, we`re sitting at Trump at 258, Clinton at 255. Colorado, at the end of the day, feels like it`s structurally still an advantage towards a Democrat.

[17:25:00] But now, you see what`s going on here. This is the worst-case scenario, based on what we think we know right now. And look at that. It would suddenly put Wisconsin and these little votes here into play, potentially. Especially if New Hampshire end up going to red and you throw Maine. Maine, too, feels like it`s more likely to go red. He`s sitting at 206 (ph), so everything could end up coming down to Wisconsin.

Now, if that`s the -- if that`s the deal, Democrats feel pretty good because they think they`ve got a ground game there and the Republicans don`t. But don`t forget, the chairman of the Republican National Committee is from where? Wisconsin.

Let me bring in the panel to talk to -- about this map. Chris Cillizza is the founder of the "Fix." Cohort (ph) and MSNBC Contributor Sara Fagen. Former Bush political director, contributor for our friends over at CBC, Cornell Belcher. A pollster from the Obama days of both 2008 and 2012. Welcome to you all.

All right, Cornell, I painted a bleak picture there how this map could suddenly look competitive. Do you buy it?

CORNELL BELCHER, POLLSTER: I think we have to take it seriously that things are going to get close. Look, we are not a country where we`re going to have a five, six-point race. In the end -- I think, in the end, you`re going to have a two or three-point race.

Although, you know, to say that North Carolina -- that he`s going to sort of not get (ph) North Carolina and Florida go Republican is really tough. And we`ve won Florida now back in -- back times in the last two elections.

And the demographic change that we`re talking about going on in America that`s making, you know, Democrats more competitive in these places, its ground, you know, central is Florida right now with the Hispanic vote there.

And I think -- I think a lot of my friends in the Clinton campaign would argue that when you look at the (INAUDIBLE) early vote in Florida, they like their chances to repeat in Florida.

TODD: You know, Sarah, what`s interesting, no matter how I do this map, --


TODD: -- ultimately, Trump has to break through the big blue wall of the Midwest, right? One of the three, --

BELCHER: That`s right.

TODD: -- Wisconsin, Michigan or Pennsylvania, that ultimately no matter what you do.

FAGEN: Right.

TODD: Give them the southern swing states, especially in Virginia and Colorado, off the board. He`s got to break through the big, blue wall. Pennsylvania looks hard. Michigan looks hard. Wisconsin probably is hard, too. But I guess, of the three, maybe it`s the easiest.

FAGEN: Well, demographically, certainly it`s much more in line with his current vote share.

TODD: Yes.

FAGEN: And so, you could make the argument that, at the end of the day, the fundamentals work best in Wisconsin for Trump. It`s also the state where Republicans have come the closest to winning, you know, in previous presidential campaigns, at least recent presidential campaigns.

TODD: No Republicans won it since 1988 but Bush 43 in 2004.

BELCHER: Marginalize.

TODD: Yes.

FAGEN: And even 2000 it wasn`t terribly far apart. So, I think -- I think there is a real opportunity for him to make those competitive. I don`t know that he wins any of them at the end of the day.

BELCHER: More so than Ohio, though. Because when you look at it demographically, Ohio seems to look a lot like what old America, right, on the paths more than it does the future. If I were a Republican, I would sort of argue that Ohio was.

TODD: But this puts Ohio --

BELCHER: He needs that.


TODD: Look at this map. I go back to this. Because what`s amazing here is that he can win Florida, North Carolina and Ohio and still be short. Again, it comes back to the big blue wall of the industrial Midwest.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: It needs to -- and Trump will get a lot of blame if he loses because he`s a very easy scapegoat, OK?

But the truth is, let`s sub Ted Cruz in right now. You know, cross out Trump and put Cruz there. Where on there do you see a state in that group, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania? I would argue that, given where Trump has gone message wise, he is running better than Ted Cruz would run in a lot of those places. So, I just think --

FAGEN: Yes, yes.

CILLIZZA: -- that the Republicans ceiling -- the thing you have to remember, the Republican ceiling is 290s? I mean 300 would be everything going right. And that`s just the reality of the map now.

TODD: Yes.


CILLIZZA: Where it`s like the Democratic floor --

TODD: Right.

CILLIZZA: -- is, like, 250ish.

TODD: Yes.

CILLIZZA: I mean, that`s, you know --

TODD: That`s not Trump`s. Look at John Kerry`s number.


TODD: We know what the floor is. It was 244, I think.

CILLIZZA: Right, 243. And, remember, Romney got -- Romney gets 206 and he wins North Carolina. He wins some of these states that we`re talking about. He`s barely gets 200.

BELCHER: Unless they can -- unless they can -- unless then can compete more strongly with Hispanic voters, --

TODD: Yes.

BELCHER: -- that is the floor (ph).

FAGEN: I thought the move in New Mexico for Trump has been very curious to me. You have a state --

TODD: Yes.

FAGEN: -- that is 45 percent plus Hispanic and yet (INAUDIBLE) based on the fact that both Trump and Pence are spending time there. They believe that that`s a --


TODD: This is what they all believe. They all believe the following about both New Mexico and Colorado, and to a lesser extent Arizona, that Gary Johnson is overperforming.


TODD: In those three states.

CILLIZZA: It lowers his win number.

TODD: It lowers the win number and it -- so it is made -- I think the Colorado niche numbers are an inflated Gary Johnson number. And I think that`s will -- she may win it by a bigger number than we think. Because -- we`ll see. It`s the very Gary Johnson --


TODD: -- it is the Gary Johnson factor that has them (INAUDIBLE.)



CILLIZZA: I just -- one quick Wisconsin point because I think you are right. Out of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Sara makes this point. Wisconsin, Scott Walker, right? Ron Johnson is the center from there. He is running pretty competitive. The issue there and this has been true since the recall, I think it is like Charlie Brown losing a football. It looms if you`re a republican because you can get to 47.

TODD: Yeah.

CILLIZZA: The problem is at a federal level, at a federal level, the problem is can you get to 48, 49?

FAGEN: You have to see Jill Stein over-performing.


FAGEN: You know it maybe half a point or something, but it could make a big difference.

BELCHER: That`s a real big issue particularly for the younger voters who are still protest voting. And in the end, do you think that third parties get 10 or 12 percent in election day? Because if they do.


TODD: Very quickly. Word is Clinton campaign is very nervous about black turnout particularly what they`ve seen in North Carolina.

BELCHER: They should be very worried about African-American turnout. I mean, this is something that we`ve been talking about for a while now right? But, you know, I talked to my good friend at the campaign. When you look at early vote in Florida, you know, by the way, it was a crazy number, because you told me five months ago that they would have more early votes in Florida than we had in 2012. I laughed at you right?

Because of enthusiasm, but they would argue that they have more black votes right now in Florida than we did in the Obama campaign in 2012. North Carolina is more of a mixed bag and what republicans have done there to sort of in get in the way of blocking some of it in North Carolina has actually began to sort of work although they had a big weekend in North Carolina this past week.

TODD: It would be very interesting. I do -- it`s funny there is true dispute on both sides about how to read both Florida and North Carolina. I have equal pollsters. I have talked to you that. Oh, no, Florida looks this way or this way, you know. There is just simple confusion.

BELCHER: HB2 is helping democrats in North Carolina.

TODD: That`s for sure, the question is by how much?


TODD: That`s what we`ll find out. Stick around. Still ahead, both red and blue states are voting on green next Tuesday. Could marijuana use soon be legal in a state near you? Stay tuned.


TODD: We have a lot more "MTP Daily." In fact, maybe we are going up in smoke. But, first, here`s Hampton Pearson with the CNBC Market Wrap.

HAMPTON PEARSON, REPORTER, CNBC: Closing lower today, the Dow falling a 105 points, the S&P up by 14, the Nasdaq losing 35 points. Investors keeping a close eye on the FED, the central bank`s two-day meeting started today. Interest rates are expected to stay the same, but analyst say a December rate hike is likely.

Pfizer reporting weaker than expected results. The biggest U.S.-based drug maker`s quarterly profit plunging 38 percent. Sales were dragged down by higher spending and news the company has abandoned the development of an experimental cholesterol-lowering drug. That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide.


TODD: Welcome back. Today`s race of the day is not just one race. It`s nine. Marijuana is on the ballot this year in nine states. Five states, California, Nevada, Arizona, Massachusetts and Maine will decide whether to legalize recreational use of marijuana. Medical use is already local in all of those states.

Four more, Montana, North Dakota, Arkansas, and Florida will vote on the idea of medicinal marijuana, legalizing that. Montana approved in `04 but the law has been severely restricted since then. Right now, 25 states in the district of Columbia have legal medical marijuana on the books. Recreational use is allowed in five of those places.

If all of the ballot measures pass and it`s very possible considering where marijuana has shifted in this country, 28 states and D.C. will have some sort of legalized ability to use marijuana. So that means if all nine states in Nevada vote to legalize cannabis in various ways, 61.5% of the American population or roughly 200 million people will live in states where you can legally access marijuana either recreationally or with a prescription. What does it mean for the federal government?

Gregory Lee is a retired supervisor agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration and he joins me now. Sir, I want to begin with -- it`s sort of -- I guess -- how should and I know you are not in favor of seeing this massive move towards legalization, but what does the federal government need to do to respond to the fact that we are gonna have a majority of the country living in jurisdictions where a drug that the federal government said is schedule one illegal, not just any illegal level. How do these two things sort of it each other?

GREGORY LEE, RETIRED SUPERVISOR AGENT FOR THE DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION: Thanks for having me on, Chuck. First of all, you have to realize that despite whatever state does concerning marijuana possession and use for recreation or otherwise, it`s still against federal law.

And the reason mainly is that years ago, the federal U.S. government signed into treaty agreements with other nations through the united nations to make marijuana universally illegal. So to legalize it nationally would be a violation of the treaty agreement unless they are willing to renegotiate it.

And also you bring up a good point because with the next presidential election depending on who gets elected and what kind of attorney general we will get, somebody who is really going to enforce the law for a change, all bets are off on this legalization of marijuana. It will have all kinds of repercussions to not only the individual reselling it and the customers that they have to the states themselves.

TODD: Right now, both presidential candidates have said they would let the states make this decision. They would essentially continue the Obama administration policy on this. That seems to me puts us in legal limbo about this and we certainly had issues with Colorado. How do financial institutions interact with stores that sell marijuana?

LEE: That`s right. You will find -- I don`t see why you want to add to the misery and add to the social problems that already exist. As an example, Washington state had a doubling in traffic-related fatalities of drivers under the influence of marijuana. The Colorado has experienced organized crime groups going to their state from not only other states, but international groups as well.

We`re gonna find that in any tax revenue that they generate as a result of legalizing marijuana is all going to be consumed in taking care of the treatment programs and all the other social problems that will result as.

TODD: I understand and I want to sort of get away from the moral argument here because what you said about marijuana, there are plenty of people will make the same case about alcohol, but sort of society made a decision on alcohol and society may be making a decision on marijuana. In that sense, does the federal government then have to change some laws in order to allow the states to operate?

LEE: Significantly, yes. Because so long as it`s a federal offense and you have an attorney general under the Obama administration about not enforcing the federal marijuana laws in those states which had medicinal laws, if that should go away, then they are all again once again going to be subject to being indicted and arrested for the marijuana trade.

TODD: Do you think marijuana should be rescheduled regardless of the legalization issue? Do you think it should be rescheduled or it should be on par with heroin?

LEE: Well, the scheduling is determined by the medicinal use of it. And is that particular drug subject to abuse? Certainly, we check category. That`s why it`s a schedule one drug and I think it should stay right there. There is no scientific evidence whatsoever to prove that marijuana has done anything in the medical arena. It is obviously subject to abuse. So I think it is exactly where it needs to be.

TODD: All right. Gregory Lee, a former DEA agent. I appreciate you coming on and helped us clarify the sort of funky relationship between the federal government on this issue and what`s going on in so many states. Appreciate it.

All right. Some polls you haven`t heard about yet and then what might be Donald Trump`s best speech of the campaign. Stay tuned.


TODD: Welcome back. As you probably assume, I`m obsessed with polls. Good polls, statistically significant polls, and polls with sound methodology. Far fewer this year than ever before. Apparently, it seems I`m not the only one out there obsessed with polls. No matter how unscientific they may be. For the four straight election cycles, 7-11 is asking people to vote by choosing their coffee cup.

Well, 31 percent went democratic, 29 percent went republican, and 39 percent chose to speak up cup which basically apparently is a bit right in option. Four years ago, 7-11 says President Obama out-cupped Mitt Romney 59-41, which was a much bigger margin than Obama`s eventual four-point win.

Then there is the nationwide student scholastic vote from kids from kindergarten through 12th grade. Clinton took this one to 52-35. The so- called pollster say the kids had only been wrong twice. They went for Thomas Dewey over Harry Truman in 1948.

Chicago Daily Tribune blew that one as well. And then they picked Nixon over Kennedy. That was a nail biter. Tinder got into the mix, partnering last week with 57 percent matched or hooked up with Clinton right on the issues, 43 percent hooked up with Trump.

Finally, we have the spirit of Halloween. Harris poll on which candidate costumes people preferred, Donald Trump took this one going away. Why not? Who wants to wear that? That mask is easy, 55-45. Good news except that many people said they plan to dress up as Trump to be funny or mock him. More "MTP Daily" and some of actual decent polls right after this.



DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PARTY NOMINEE FOR PRESIDENT OF U.S.: I will ask congress to convene a special session, so we can repeal and replace. And it will be such an honor for me, for you, and for everybody in this country. Because Obamacare has to be replaced. And we will do it and we will do it very, very quickly. It is a catastrophe.


Time for "The Lid." Panel is back. That was Donald Trump in what was a semi-policy speech, although Mike Pence gave most of the details there. Cillizza, Fagen, and Belcher are back here.

So, Chris, look I thought it was smart strategy of them, right when there at a moment when people might be paying attention to what they`re doing, he went policy, it was smart. But by having Pence do the work, is that -- was that a -- what was that about? Was that designed to appeal to republicans who don`t like Trump to say, hey, we`ve got a real republican here?

CILLIZZA: Well, Chris Nicholas, who we both know in Pennsylvania, made a point to me on Twitter that I hadn`t thought of or hadn`t noticed. He said, Trump is often better -- and I thought he was quite good today, is often better when Mike Pence is around. That Pence is like around, literally.

TODD: Pence`s personal morality and all that.

CILLIZZA: Pence is a calming presence. Because that event, from beginning to end, and I watched it all the way from John Barrasso from Wyoming speaking until Trump finished it, was one of the better produced Trump events. It was a smart location in Pennsylvania, a smart day, the day that the 2017 open enrollment begins.

He gave a speech that, no, was not larded with policy, but was enough and talked about, what, trade. Talked about, I`m different, I`m an outsider. And was blessedly, relatively short. He didn`t sort of freelance all over the place.

TODD: There is no freelancing.

CILLIZZA: It was interesting. I thought he was quite good.

FAGEN: A couple points here. One, when Donald Trump talks about policy, Donald Trump does better in the polls. The other thing is, don`t underestimate the impact of all of these Obamacare announcements and these premium hike announcements have had on this polling. It`s not just the e- mail scandal. People are still livid about this. And it shows up in the polling, it`s been showing up in the polling long before these premium hikes were announced.

BELCHER: Well, I don`t -- I don`t know if people are -- I don`t know if I would use the word livid but I want to go back.

FAGEN: They`re livid when their hikes -- their opinions go up.

BELCHER: ... to the polling question about -- quite frankly, everyone wants to be a pollster now because it`s glamorous and we`re sexy.


TODD: You want to win a sexiest pollster contest? You, Fred Yang, Bill McInturff.


BELCHER: Look, I think it is smart for them on the Obamacare stuff because it does sort of gin up their base. I don`t know how many middle of the road voters that you`re winning still on Obamacare because it is not a new narrative.

And, look, it`s interesting that the DNC is actually putting out advertising right now that literally says, you know, 20 some million more Americans insured because of Obamacare. You did that with your vote. I think to both sides, you can get out of Obamacare what you want.

TODD: It`s a base play for both.

FAGEN: It certainly is a base play, but it`s a play for independents and swing voters, too. Many of whom are folks that are living on the bubble of this economy, and are exposed to either Obamacare not working, because there`s only one insurer in the state, or very expensive premiums, premiums that are much higher than they were two or three years ago. And that is having an impact to whole.

TODD: It guess to the whole -- this is where I always thought it was a disaster for -- premiums always go up. Now it`s always the government -- now the government owns premiums.


FAGEN: But they haven`t been going up that high.

BELCHER: But the cost curve has actually been sort of the cost of health care overall has been.

TODD: Yeah, that bend is starting.

BELCHER: . began to bend. We need more young people in it.

TODD: The bend stops.

BELCHER: We do need more young people in it. However, look, we had this conversation in 2012, with those independent voters, and I think Obama was very successful in that. I don`t think this is.

TODD: He doesn`t know how -- you can argue she doesn`t know how to defend it as well as Obama does.

CILLIZZA: I do think -- look at the gains he has made. The gains he has made are among republicans. It goes back to the point Cornell made at the start which is we are still Trump and Clinton are such big personalities, we forget about it. We are still a very divided country. If he unites republicans, he`s at 46.5, 47 percent, right?

TODD: And that brings us down, I feel like, 2012 is starting to look awfully familiar. All right. Fun panel. Battleground map. Sexy pollsters. Good stuff! All right, we`ve got the pollster calendar coming up. After the break, some political football. Stay tuned.


TODD: Well, if you`re like me, you`ve heard a lot about the so-called Redskins Rule recently. But in case you missed it, it`s dead. According to the old Redskins rule, if Washington`s NFL team wins its final home game before the election, the party in power holds the White House. That held true in every presidential election from 1940 to 2000. But guess what? It did not work in two of the last three races.

The Redskins lost in `04 and 2012, but the incumbent party held the White House both times. Might I add, they lost to the Green Bay Packers in 2004. That`s a nice nugget there. This year would have been tricky to try to apply the Redskins Rule. They had a bye this week.

They tied last week and for its worth, Washington beat the Philadelphia Eagles in their last D.C. area game before Tuesday`s election. I would like to say the Redskins are like the rest of America, they want off on election week, so they did the tie and the bye.

But we now can turn to another football-related election handicapping method. It`s Alabama versus LSU. You know that since 1984, the republican candidate won the White House every time LSU won and the democratic candidate came out on top every year the crimson tide was ruled. Well, guess what? The two teams face off Saturday in Baton Rouge. I bet of course number one team in the country.