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Trump and Biden representatives on final campaign strategies

President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are making their final pitches to voters in the presidential campaign’s closing hours. We check in with representatives for each: Erin Perrine, communications director for Trump’s reelection campaign, and Symone Sanders, a senior adviser to Biden. They join Judy Woodruff to discuss strategies and messages for the lead-up to Election Day.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    As President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden make their final pitch to voters in the closing hours before Election Day, let's check in with both campaigns.

    First up, Erin Perrine. She is the communications director for President Trump's reelection campaign. She has been on the trail with him for days. And she joins us now from Grand Rapids, Michigan.

    Erin Perrine, thank you very much for joining us.

    We know this is an uphill challenge for the president. One of the challenges he faces is, he's lost support, according to the polls, among suburban women and among senior citizens. How do you make up for that?

  • Erin Perrine:

    Well, at this point, polls are pretty useless.

    And we're looking at voter data modeling, the data infrastructure that we have built, in conjunction with the Republican National Committee, that's really been the cornerstone of our ground game.

    At this point, we are looking at voter turnout, propensity and ballots left to be cast. And when we look at that in the key battleground states, we are showing, state after state, that President Trump is well on his way to victory.

    Let's take Wisconsin, for example. We look at that. When they started their early voting, they were over 12.5 — with 12.5 percent on the voter modeling with Democrat lead. We have cut that down now to about 5.5 percent, again, modeling on a Democrat lead there. On Election Day 2016, they had a 9.5 lead. And with the votes that are being — left to be cast, our contacts, our phone calls and our door-knocks, we're seeing that our modeling is saying we're going to win Wisconsin by 100,000 votes.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Let me ask you about another state that the president won in 2016, Arizona.

    A few days ago, the head of the Senate Republican Campaign Committee told reporters who were asking about the Senate race in that state and why Martha McSally is behind, the Republican, he said — quote — "The president is losing Arizona. And we think that he and Martha McSally are tied together," in other words, acknowledging that the president is dragging down Senator McSally.

    How do you explain this?

  • Erin Perrine:

    Polls don't matter at this point. It's about ballots cast and what remains out there.

    Again, in Arizona, we have cut substantially into a Democrat voting lead. And our modeling is showing about 100,000-vote advantage for President Trump come Election Day. At this point, polls — polls are moot. It doesn't matter anymore at this point what a poll or poll doesn't say.

    What we see is our ground game, our advantage. The door-knocks, the phone calls, and the grassroots army for President Trump is what's going to help put us over the top. We have the candidate and the message.


    Now it's about getting voters out.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Excuse me.

    I just want to quote Ben Ginsberg, longtime Republican activist lawyer involved in Republican campaigns going back many seasons.

    He said in a column over the weekend: "My party is destroying itself on the altar of Trump. Republican elected officials, party leaders and voters must recognize how harmful this is to the party's long-term prospects."

    This is from someone who's devoted his life to the Republican Party.

  • Erin Perrine:

    I have devoted my life to the Republican Party. I'm a proud woman for Trump. I'm proud to be part of this army for the president. I'm proud of the work this president has done.

    He has changed the Republican Party in a way no modern political candidate ever did. You will see record-breaking numbers in terms of Black turnout for President Trump, a Republican, in terms of Latino turnout for President Trump, a Republican.

    The president changed the Republican Party for the better. And I'm sorry that other folks who maybe aren't part of this part of the Republican Party feel left behind by a president who has made us a bigger and better party than ever before.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Last quick question.

    The president is suggesting on the stump that, unless that results to the election are known, are declared on Tuesday night, they may not be legitimate.

    Does he know that a number of elections have not been called until the succeeding days? Certainly, in 2000, it took 37 days for the election to be clear.

    How aware is he of history with regard to elections?

  • Erin Perrine:

    I would point to the history in 2016 of President Trump's first election, when he won in the wee hours of the following morning, when he got to come out and make that acceptance speech as becoming the next president of the United States.

    What Democrats want to do is sow chaos into this election and call it a red mirage and a smokescreen. Democrats are already trying to sow disinformation into the results of the election to tell the American people they cannot believe what they will see with their own eyes.

    We know the data. We know where the voters are. We will get them out. It's Democrats who are trying to not accept the election results that will come tomorrow, when President Trump wins again.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    We're going to leave it there.

    Erin Perrine, who is communications director for the Trump campaign, thank you.

  • Erin Perrine:

    Thank you.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And for the Biden campaign's perspective, we're joined now by Symone sanders. She is one of the former vice president's senior advisers.

    Symone Sanders, thank you very much for being with us again.

    I don't know if you were able to hear that, but the Trump campaign saying they are very confident, despite the polls, that their voters are there. They're doing what they call voter data modeling, looking at voter turnout propensity, and they feel very good about it.

  • Symone Sanders:

    Well, news to me.

    Look, there is, in fact, a path, Judy. But I will note that our campaign manager, Jen O'Malley Dillon, and our election and legal expert, Bob Bauer, did a briefing in this very room today where they talked about our path, and noted how much ground President Trump and his campaign would need to make up if, in fact, they are to be victorious in this election cycle.

    Now, again, there is still a path there, not to say — we do not have this in the bag. That is why, today, Vice President Biden, Senator Harris, Doug Emhoff, and Dr. Biden were barnstorming all across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and will be out campaigning tomorrow, because we are fighting to earn every single vote.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Pennsylvania, is that a state that Joe Biden has to have in order to win this election?

  • Symone Sanders:

    Well, Judy, look, it's a state where we believe we are very competitive.

    Now, I know that the polls say in a number of places across the country that we are up very far.

    And I am here to tell voters and folks watching at home that this race is a lot tighter than the pundits may make it seem. I'm no longer a pundit, Judy, so I can talk about it.

    But we believe that we have put together a very good campaign operation, and we are meeting the voters where they are, and that we have hit our early vote goals. And we're looking forward to seeing our — those returns come in tomorrow, Judy, because we think we will win because we have done the work.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Symone Sanders, I hear even Democrats saying they are concerned when they look at President Trump's travel itinerary. He's hitting five, six states a day on many days.

    And they look and they see Joe Biden's schedule. He's not going to as many places, not having as many rallies. They worry he's not showing as much energy as President Trump. What do you say to those who point this out?

  • Symone Sanders:

    Well, first, I would say, Judy, that what the president is doing is irresponsible. It is dangerous. He is holding super-spreader events, deadly events.

    As we know, this virus is very real. The president, chief among them, should know. He had COVID-19, a positive result. And every time he gathers his supporters together at these packed rallies, where there's no social distancing and very little mask-wearing, he is endangering those folks, not just at the rally, but people in the surrounding city and those surrounding areas.

    What Vice President Biden and our entire campaign is doing is campaigning safely. We are reaching voters. We have made — we have — I'm just very excited about the work that our campaign has done. Over the course of this weekend, folks were phone banking and texting.

    And our principals were out physically campaigning. We have held in person and virtual events. And I think the voters are resonating with what we are doing.

    Look, I know that the president would like folks to believe that just because he touches down in a city and holds a rally with a couple hundred folks, that is indicative of some type of super strategy.

    And I am here to say, Judy, that, again, coronavirus is still very real. That is the thing that folks are dealing with all across this country. And we're confident in our strategy.

  • Judy Woodruff:


  • Symone Sanders:

    I remember not a couple weeks or maybe months ago, when folks suggested that we should — quote, unquote — "get out of the basement."

    Our strategy has worked, Judy. We are talking directly to the American people. And we look forward to continuing to do that through tomorrow.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Well, we know, at some of these President — President Trump's rallies, thousands are showing up, in terms of numbers. And that's why I ask you that question.

    Symone Sanders….

  • Symone Sanders:

    Any way you cut it, Judy, it's not safe.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Symone Sanders, with the Joe Biden campaign, thank you very much.

  • Symone Sanders:

    Thank you.

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