This is a rush transcript from “Fox News Sunday” October 25 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

 

 CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I’m Chris Wallace.

With just over one week until Election Day, the candidates hit the battleground states and make their closing arguments.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I’m relying on you to deliver a historic vote in the most important election in the history of our country.

WALLACE: President Trump trying to make up ground in the Midwest and targeting his rival son.

TRUMP: It’s corrupt as hell. The Bidens got rich while America got robbed.

WALLACE: We’ll discuss the Trump strategy and the home stretch with Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel.

Then —  

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We’re so much better than this. We can bring back this economy. It starts with my plan to deal with this pandemic responsibly.

WALLACE: Joe Biden hammers the president’s handling of the pandemic. We’ll discuss his push to the finish with Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a national co-chair of the Biden campaign.

Plus, the battle for control of the Senate. We’ll ask our Sunday panel about the prospects for a blue wave.

And our Power player of the week, rapper Ice Cube facing a stiff backlash for advising the Trump campaign. Has Cube mellowed over the years?

All, right now, on “FOX News Sunday”.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALLACE: And hello again from FOX News in Washington.

With just over a week to Election Day, early voting is now underway in all 50 states, with more than 57 million votes already cast.

President Trump and Joe Biden have shared a stage for the last time. Now, both candidates are in a final race to the finish, and both campaigns are preparing for the possibility the outcome won’t be known on election night nine days from now.

We begin with FOX team coverage. Jacqui Heinrich is tracking Joe Biden’s campaign, but let’s start with David Spunt in Manchester, New Hampshire, where the president holds a rally today — David.

DAVID SPUNT, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Chris, New Hampshire has four electoral votes. President Trump lost this state in 2016. He’s currently down here in the polls, but he’s been doing a lot of traveling. Yesterday, he held rallies in three different states.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TRUMP: Thank you very much.

SPUNT: President Trump spent part of his evening Saturday in Wisconsin after stops in North Carolina and Ohio. He woke up Saturday morning at his Palm Beach estate in must win Florida and went to the local library to vote.

TRUMP: I voted for a guy named Trump.

(LAUGHTER)

SPUNT: Although tens of millions of Americans have already voted, the Trump campaign is counting on a large in-person turnout on Election Day.

The president hoping a silent majority delivers.

TRUMP: These polls are much better than four years ago by the way. In fact, now, they’re getting awfully close, now you know because they can’t be embarrassed the second time.

SPUNT: The president’s strategy focused on law and order and the economy pre-COVID. Over the weekend, infection rates, with the new daily record of 85,000 cases.

TRUMP: Nobody tests like us. Cases — everybody uses the word cases, mortality way down.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SPUNT: And, Chris, we’ve learned that Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short tested positive for coronavirus. Despite being in close contact with Mr. Short, the vice president is maintaining a rigorous schedule and will travel. He has a rally tonight in North Carolina — Chris.

WALLACE: David Spunt traveling with the president in New Hampshire — David, thank you.

Now, let’s bring in Jacqui Heinrich who’s covering the Biden campaign in Wilmington, Delaware — Jacqui.

Chris with nine days to go Joe Biden is buttoning up policy questions in must-win battlegrounds as the Democrats biggest weapon, former President Barack Obama, drums up energy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HEINRICH: A double take in Pennsylvania.

BIDEN: I will not ban fracking, period.

I’m not banning fracking in Pennsylvania or anywhere else.

HEINRICH: Joe Biden working hard to ensure his debate night pledge to transition away from fossil fuels doesn’t cost him. That same night, he clarified —  

BIDEN: We’re not getting rid of fossil fuels for a long time. It would not be gone from probably 2050.

But it’s a minor derailment from the broader strategy of making the election a referendum on President Trump and his handling of coronavirus.

Former President Barack Obama picked up that message in another must-win swing state Florida.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: It won’t be so exhausting, just having a normal president. You’ll be able to go about your lives knowing that the president’s not going to suggest injecting bleach.

HEINRICH: His second stop on the campaign trail as hot a roast as his first, pushing the back to Earth message about the Trump alternative.

OBAMA: We won’t have a president who threatens people with jail for just criticizing him. That’s not normal behavior Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HEINRICH: With Joe Biden focusing on the heart must win battlegrounds, his surrogates and running mate are focusing on the harder to win states. You’ve got Kamala Harris yesterday. She was in Ohio. She was in Georgia on Friday and that is where Dr. Jill Biden makes an appearance tomorrow — Chris.

Joining us now, the chair of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel.

On Friday, Chairman, the U.S. set a new single day record for COVID cases in the country — more than 85,000. That same day, here’s what the president had to say. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We’re not entering a dark winter. We’re entering the final turn and approaching the light at the end of the tunnel. That’s the way I look at it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: The single worst day of the pandemic and the president says we’re entering or we can see the light of the end of the tunnel. What is he talking about?

RONNA MCDANIEL, CHAIR, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Well, Chris, as you know, we have a vaccine on the horizon. There are many, many trials that are in phase three. We’re getting closer and closer to that vaccine. Obviously, the testing has ramped up, the therapeutics are working well, mortality rates are down.

So, we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel, especially when we get this vaccine at the end of this year or early next year.

WALLACE: But the top experts say we’re not going to see a vaccine until the end of the year. The president’s own health experts say that it’s not going to be readily available to the public until this summer.

Again, let’s look at the actual numbers of what we’re going through right now — 85,085 new cases on Friday, hospitalizations increased in 38 states over the past week, more than 170 counties in 36 states designated as hotspots, deaths averaging over 1,000 a day.

Meanwhile, the president is holding rallies, thousands of people packed together, most of them not wearing masks.

And again, here’s what the president said yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: You turn on the television, COVID, COVID. COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID. A plane goes down, 500 people dead. They don’t talk about it.

COVID, COVID, COVID. COVID, COVID. By the way, on November 4th, you won’t hear about it anymore.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Again, what is the president talking about?

MCDANIEL: Well, let’s look at the timeline, Chris. The president saved lives by shutting down travel to China which Joe Biden obviously disagreed with. He shut down the economy that was booming, 30 days, to slow the spread, so that we could get the PPE, we could get the ventilators, and we can make sure the hospitals were not overwhelmed.

Now, we’re seeing in record time —  

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: Chairman McDaniel, you’re talking about things —  

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: You’re talking about things that happened last January and last March.

MCDANIEL: But it’s an important timeline, Chris, because this is less than a year —  

WALLACE: He’s making it sound — but he’s making it sound as if this a media invention, after November 4th that we’re not going to hear about COVID anymore. We have 85,000 cases on Friday.

MCDANIEL: If you can let me finish.

The point is, if what has happened in less than a year, now we have a testing. We’ve tested more than any other country. We’re on track to a vaccine because of Operation Warp Speed and the president using the military will be able to distribute that vaccine quickly.

We’re seeing mortality rates go down. We see that we have enough ventilators. We have enough PPE. The hospitals are not being overwhelmed.

This is a very contagious virus that has hit the world. This is a global pandemic. Rates are up across the world, and we’ve never seen anything like this.

And in less than a year, it is remarkable that we are on track to a vaccine. These are positive steps.

Of course, this is something we’ve never seen before. Of course, the president has harnessed every part of the private sector, of the government, to make sure that we’re making these strides, and Joe Biden continues to scare the American people and say dark days are ahead, and the president chooses to be positive and say, there’s a bright future ahead and we are on track to a vaccine to combat a virus like the world has never seen before.

These are positive things and it’s happened under the leadership of President Trump.

WALLACE: I want to move on. I want to move on. I want to move but I just have to point out, in fact, we are running out of hospital beds in a number of states, and as I pointed out, hospitalizations are up in 38 states right now.

Let’s move on to another subject.

Since the debate, the president has been hitting Joe Biden for comments he made about energy, that he will transition from the oil industry.

Now, Biden has been trying to clean that up. He says, as we saw in Jacqui Heinrich’s piece, he’s not going to ban fracking, that he’s talking about oil subsidy — federal subsidies for the oil industry.

Don’t you believe him?

MCDANIEL: Listen, Joe Biden is saying whatever it takes, and he’s lying to the American people.

You saw it, Chris. It wouldn’t answer about packing the Supreme Court. We still don’t have a definitive answer on whether he’s going to upend the third branch of government.

When he’s in Pennsylvania, he’s for fracking. When he’s outside of Pennsylvania, he’s against fracking.

He says he’s not going to race taxes on people making less than 400,000 a year. That is just factually incorrect. Any organization that’s looked at his $4 trillion tax hikes is saying it will raise taxes on 82 percent of American families.

Everything that Joe Biden is running on is how do I be not transparent to the American people, how do I hide in my basement, how do I prevent the people of this country from actually knowing how I’m going to govern?

What we do know, it will be the most progressive, radical takeover of our country if Joe Biden and Kamala Harris get in, especially, especially if they fundamentally transform that third branch of government and remove our check and balances and stack the Supreme Court with political appointees that have no accountability to the American people. It is a game changer and again, he continues to not be forced to answer that question definitively.

WALLACE: All right. I want to ask you about another question. I’m going to ask Gretchen Whitmer, the governor of Michigan on the next segment about the Hunter Biden email story, but I want to ask you one question, do you have any proof, because he’s denied, do you have any proof that Joe Biden ever took one penny from either a foreign country or a foreign company?

MCDANIEL: I think that’s incumbent upon the press to start investigating. I think what’s frightening is we should have a free and fair press that should be looking at a laptop that has not been disputed by the Biden campaign to be authentic. These emails are deeply troubling as it looks like Hunter Biden is negotiating with the Chinese energy company to profit no just for himself but for his father, but it warrants an investigation.

That’s not my job. That’s the press’s job. That’s the FBI, those who have this laptop to look into it.

But what’s amazing, Chris, and I know you agree —  

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: The FBI, the FBI had the hard drive — if I may —  

MCDANIEL: Yeah, but why are these stories being censored?

WALLACE: I don’t mean to interrupt.

But let me ask you, the FBI has had the hard drive since December, why haven’t they come up with any evidence?

MCDANIEL: I don’t know, I’m not in the internal aspects of that investigation.

But what’s even more disturbing, Chris, is Twitter is censoring these stories. The press is saying this has been debunked without even investigating it.

Why are they doing that and why are they covering for this story? If this were the Trump family and this laptop had emerged, it would be all over the news 24/7.

It is frightening as we are looking at a candidate —  

WALLACE: OK.

MCDANIEL: — who’s going to take us closer to socialism that we have a press that is showing itself —  

WALLACE: All right.

MCDANIEL: — not to be free and fair. And I’m glad you’re asking this question and I’m glad you asked Gretchen Whitmer. If the vice president United States was monetizing his position —  

WALLACE: OK, let me ask you —  

MCDANIEL: — to benefit his family, that’s deeply concerning.

WALLACE: Let me — Chairman, let me ask you a couple of more questions. You’re not the chair of the Trump re-election year campaign. You’re the chair of the Republican Party.

So let me ask you about the Senate races. I want to put some of those races up on the screen. Real Clear Politics list one GOP senator in a race that’s leaning Democratic at this point, Gardner in Colorado, and it says that seven Republican incumbents are in toss-ups — McSally in Arizona, Ernst in Iowa, Perdue in Georgia, Collins in Maine, Danes in Montana, Tillis in North Carolina, and Graham in South Carolina.

The president reportedly told donors this week it will be real tough to hold on to where Republican Senate.

MCDANIEL: You know, the president has done more for the senators with what he’s done with helping with WinRed platform, a small dollar online fundraising, with the ground game the RNC has put in place in all of these states, we want to keep the Senate.

Like I talked, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are not — are not hiding the fact that they want to get rid of the filibuster and they want to fundamentally change the —  

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: But is it going to be real tough? Is it going to be real tough?

MCDANIEL: This is a tight race, we know this, but the trend lines are good in these states. You’re seeing McSally gain momentum. You also didn’t mention candidates like John James and Jason Lewis who are competitive races against Democrat incumbents.

So we are going to keep the Senate, we’re working hard to do that.

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: I’m going to get to those.

But let me ask you one question because it raises quite issues about whether or not the president is a help or a hindrance. You saw several Republican senators up for re-election this week distancing themselves from President Trump. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BEN SASSE (R-NE): I’m not at all apologetic for having fought for my values against his in places where I think his are deficient, not just for a Republican but for an American.

INTERVIEWER: Are you proud of your support for President Trump?

SEN. MARTHA MCSALLY (R-AZ): I’m proud to be fighting for Arizona every single day.

INTERVIEWER: Is that a yes or no for President Trump?

MCSALLY: Sending legislation on President Trump’s desk.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Any problem with Republicans running for the Senate distancing themselves, running away from the president if that will help them get reelected?

MCDANIEL: You know, I don’t see these senators distancing themselves from the president. I mean, Ben Sasse is an exception obviously. But these senators recognize —  

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: Wait a minute, Martha McSally — wait, wait, wait, Martha McSally was asked twice, are you proud of your support for president?

(CROSSTALK)

MCDANIEL: And she’s going to rallies with him and she’s all over the state with him.

And Martha McSally supports the president. She certainly supports lowering regulation, the largest tax cut in history, rule of law justices, building up our military — the things this president has done prior to the pandemic and now coming out of it with 11.4 million jobs added, we’ve added 1.3 million jobs in the past three months.

WALLACE: OK.

MCDANIEL: We’re under 8 percent unemployment. I mean, listen, Joe Biden is saying dark days are ahead. President Trump is saying the best is yet to come.

There are two very contrasting visions for this country. Joe Biden saying, I’m going to raise taxes right out of the gate. The president’s saying, I’m going to continue to grow this economy, which we’re already seeing coming out of this pandemic.

WALLACE: Chairman McDaniel, we’re going to have to leave it there. Thank you. I think you have made clear what you think the contrast between these two candidates is. Thank you. Thanks for your time this weekend.

MCDANIEL: Thanks for having me.

WALLACE: Up next, a look at the Biden campaign strategy in these last nine days. We’ll talk with Gretchen Whitmer, the governor of Michigan, who’s been campaigning for Biden on a bus tour across her state this weekend.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE: While President Trump is in an all-out sprint to the finish, so far, at least, Joe Biden’s schedule in this final week is much lighter.

Joining us now, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, national co-chair of the Biden campaign.

Governor, I want to start by putting up the numbers from the RealClearPolitics average of recent polls in Michigan. Take a look. Biden leads the president by just shy of eight points and is polling at more than 50 percent. That’s his best showing in any of the key swing states.

Governor, is Joe Biden going to win Michigan next week?

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): Well, I think so, Chris. But we’re not taking anything for granted. We know Michigan, it always is closer than any poll will tell you that it is.

And it’s — I think because Michigan is a state full of hardworking, good people who expect their government to be as hardworking and as good as they are. Often times deciding how they’re going to vote closer to the election maybe than other states, and so we take nothing for granted.

We are ensuring people now they can vote today. If you’re in Michigan, you are able to vote everyday between now and — November 3rd is Election Day, so pick a day. Anytime between now and then and get that vote in.

WALLACE: Now, the schedules for these two candidates could not be more different. Just take a look at the maps.

Yesterday the president was racing across the country. Four swing states, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Meanwhile, the vice president made several stops across the border from Delaware in Eastern Pennsylvania. And he has no public appearances — one virtual, but no public appearances today.

Question, while Donald Trump is racing across the country, can Joe Biden stroll to victory?

WHITMER: I don’t think it’s strolling to victory. I think it’s being smart. We are still in the midst of a global pandemic.

The Trump administration has failed to address the global pandemic. We’re eight months in and there’s still not a national strategy.

Joe Biden and his whole campaign have taken this pandemic seriously. When they do have events like the ones that Barack Obama had in the last few days and the ones that Kamala Harris and I are doing today, it is safe. We are wearing masks. We are spread out. We are having people in their cars, so they can be safe because we respect the health and the safety of the people that we’re hopeful that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be representing soon.

No matter if you’re a Democrat or a Republican, everyone of us has a vested interest in an administration that has a plan to get COVID under control and get our economy back revving up where we all want to be successful.

But right now, that — there is no plan in the Trump administration. Right now, people are in food lines who never imagined they’d be in food lines.

WALLACE: Well —

WHITMER: Tens of millions unemployed and 225,000 dead.

WALLACE: Governor? Governor, let me ask you about another issue.

This was widely considered to be Joe Biden’s worse moment in this week’s debate. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Would you close down the oil industry?

(CROSSTALK)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: By the way, I would transition from the oil industry, yes.

TRUMP: Oh that’s a big statement (ph).

BIDEN: I would transition.

(CROSSTALK)

KRISTEN WELKER, PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE MODERATOR: There’s one final —

TRUMP: Basically what he’s saying is he is going to destroy —

WELKER: Mr. President —

TRUMP: — the oil industry. Will you remember that Texas? Will you remember —

WELKER: OK.

TRUMP: — that Pennsylvania?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Biden has been trying to do clean-up afterwards saying, well, he was talking about ending federal subsidies for the oil industry. And, frankly, he’s been all over the map on energy. In at least one of the Democratic primary debates he talked about eliminating fracking.

The question, I guess, is, for people who depend on oil and gas jobs, including the auto workers in Michigan, why should they trust Joe Biden on energy?

WHITMER: Well, Joe Biden pays attention to science, we know that, whether it’s COVID-19 or climate change. Joe Biden is eager to eliminate subsidies, is really what his policy is.

We shouldn’t be subsidizing an industry that is continuing to contribute to climate change. He’s not going to end fossil fuels. He’s not going to end a lot of these industries from day one.

But we should have a real conversation around ending subsidies and putting investment into green jobs, investment into electric vehicles, investment into things that are really sustainable, that pay, have good paying jobs, and don’t compromise —

WALLACE: What about fracking where — Governor, what about fracking where he was against it before he was for it?

WHITMER: Well, Chris, you’ve covered lots of campaigns, and you know that sound bites can make a candidate look as though they’re not being consistent.

However, the fact of the matter is, Joe Biden’s always been consistent about following the science and believing that we should stake a path out that protects American jobs. And that’s what Joe Biden’s whole plan is, about building back better.

WALLACE: I want to talk to you about another issue. The president in the debate, in the campaign, also went about — went after Joe Biden for his family’s business dealings with foreign countries, foreign companies. Again, take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The horrible e-mails of the kind of money that you were raking in, you and your family, and, Joe, you were vice president when some of this was happening, and it should have never happened. And I think you owe an explanation to the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: New information is coming out about the Biden family’s business dealings with China. Really, two questions.

One, does Biden owe more of an explanation to the American people? And was it a mistake for the vice president to allow all of this to go on, some of it while he was vice president?

WHITMER: Well, Chris, you just asked Ronna Romney if there was any — a scintilla of evidence that there was wrongdoing by Joe Biden, and she was able to produce none because none exists.

The fact of the matter is, right now, we need to be talking about what isn’t happening in this country, and that is we’re not combating COVID. We’ve got COVID numbers increasing all across the country —

WALLACE: Governor —

WHITMER: And I think that’s —

WALLACE: — respectfully, I do need to ask — Governor, I do need to ask you this though. There is evidence – maybe that Biden didn’t take money, but, clearly, his brother, his son, were involved in business dealings. There was talk about the Biden name.

 One, wasn’t that inappropriate for that to be going on while he was vice president? Sure sounds like influence peddling. And doesn’t he owe a fuller accounting?

WHITMER: You know what, Chris? I think that Joe has sat for questions, he has answered these questions. The American people aren’t going to be distracted from the fact that this election is about the dinner table issues and the dinner table issue of 2020 is a Trump administration that has never been able to have a national strategy on COVID.

The dinner table issue is the tens of millions who are unemployed because of the lack of a national strategy around COVID. The dinner table issue is the fact that so many people are in line at food pantries across this country because of a lack of national strategy around COVID.

That’s what we need to be focusing on because that is life and death for the people of this country. And having a president who gets it, who has a plan, who will get us back to work and keep us safe, that’s what Joe Biden offers.

WALLACE: Finally, I want to talk about a difficult subject, which, frankly, could have been life or death for you. You were the target of a kidnapping plot. Fourteen men arrested for allegedly wanting to kidnap you and put you on trial for your lockdown orders.

President Trump brought you up again at this week’s debate. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Take a look at what’s happening with your friend in Michigan where her husband’s the only one allowed to do anything. It’s been like a prison.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: You had criticized the president asking him to tone down the rhetoric, take down the heat discussing this. What did you think when he brought you up again in a debate watched by tens of millions of people?

WHITMER: Well, we’re just days since the plot to kidnap and try and kill me was revealed. Fourteen people have been arrested.

First, I want to acknowledge the incredible work of the FBI and the Michigan State Police. But I also want to acknowledge that rhetoric like this contributes to bringing up the heat.

I have asked the White House since April to bring the heat down. That’s when the death threats started. We now know that my good friend Mike DeWine, Republican Governor of Ohio, has been receiving threats. We know that people on both sides of the aisle who are just trying to do their jobs and save lives, like Dr. Fauci, have received threats.

This kind of rhetoric is anti-American. It seeks to undermine the foundational principles that this country was found on. In combination with ridiculing your profession, undermining our military, misusing them. All of these are efforts that will create such division and political and regime cleavage. It’s going to be hard for us, as a nation, to come back together. But if anyone can do it, I know it’s Joe Biden.

WALLACE: Gov. Whitmer, thank you. Thanks for joining us. Always good to talk with you.

WHITMER: Thank you, Chris. Stay safe.

WALLACE: Up next, we’ll bring in our Sunday group to discuss what to look for from the issues, to ad buys, to early voting in this final week of campaign 2020.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE: Coming up, the GOP could face big losses in this election, but President Trump is confident.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The great red wave hasn’t hit yet. That hits in a few days. It’s going to be a great red wave like you’ve never seen before.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: We’ll ask our Sunday panel if the election will shift the balance of power in Washington.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Why didn’t you get it done? You had eight years to get it done. Now you’re saying you’re going to get it done because you’re all talk and no action.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Anyone whose responsible for that many deaths should not remain as President of the United States of America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Joe Biden and Donald Trump hitting what both think are their best lines of attack in the final days of this campaign.

And it’s time now for our Sunday group.

Jonathan Swan from “Axios,” Kimberley Strassel of “The Wall Street Journal,” and Mo Elleithee of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service.

Jonathan, from talking to your sources, both at the White House and from the Trump campaign, what’s your sense of what they’re really thinking about the state of the race at this point? Do they see a realistic, clear path to 270 electoral votes?

JONATHAN SWAN, AXIOS NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, they do. The — the way the Trump campaign’s thinking about it is, they need to hold, you know, we’ve gone through the states, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Iowa, Ohio, Georgia. And then, for them, it — it — they need to win one in the upper Midwest. And from their point of view at the moment, from what I can gather from talking to people in the White House and the campaign, the two states that they’re zeroing in on are Pennsylvania and Michigan. They’ve — they won’t say this publically, but they’re basically giving up on Wisconsin, and that’s reflected in their advertising spending there, which is minuscule. They’re playing a little bit in Minnesota, but, frankly, it’s not really real. They’re putting a lot of their heft into Michigan and Pennsylvania.

But what they see as their biggest advantage here is President Trump’s travel schedule. He is doing multiple events a day and that’s creating millions of dollars’ worth of earned media and they need that because, frankly, Biden has outraised Trump substantially in the last few months and is — is blitzing him on television ads. So they need to make up for that on the ground.

WALLACE: Yes, let me pick up with that, Kim. One thing we didn’t expect is a big cash advantage for Joe Biden in the final week of this campaign. Take a — take a look at these numbers. The Trump campaign canceled $24.6 million in television ad buys in ten states while the Biden campaign added $16.3 million of television ad buys in 13 states.

Kim, what do you make of that, and also what Jonathan also referred to, which is the president’s hectic campaign schedule and, meanwhile, Joe Biden’s much more leisurely stroll through these final days?

KIMBERLEY STRASSEL, “THE WALL STREET JOURNAL” EDITORIAL BOARD: Yes, well, there’s no question that Joe Biden and the fundraising has given them a real advantage. And you saw that in particular in the first two weeks of October and those ad buys you said they — they outspent the Trump campaign on TV two to one.

Now, as you go forward these last ten days, things are evening up because the Trump campaign. They had a very good day on that last debate and raised a lot of money that shored them up a little bit. And you see, for instance, about even amount of TV placement ad buys in places like Arizona and North Carolina and Pennsylvania. And then you see the campaign’s kind of putting money into the places where they feel they need to make a little bit of extra effort. So for Joe Biden, that’s Florida, for instance.

WALLACE: Right.

STRASSEL: In the Trump campaign you see them putting more into Michigan and Minnesota. But I think this is evening out a little bit in the end.

WALLACE: One of the other metrics that we’re following is this explosion of early voting. Let’s put these numbers up on the screen. With more than a week to go, 57 million Americans have already voted, 39.5 million have mailed in their ballots, 17.8 million have voted in person.

Mo, I guess the big question is, is this just time-shifting, people voting early who would have voted anyway, or do we see any signs that this is new voting, either first time voters or people that were less likely to turn out and — and now we’re going to see a boost in turnout?

MO ELLEITHEE, GEORGETOWN INSTITUTE OF POLITICS AND PUBLIC SERVICE, FORMER DNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: The reality, I think, is probably a little bit of both, Chris. I think, yes, a lot of people are voting early this time because of their concerns about in person voting on Election Day during COVID. But I do think there’s — there’s sort of a little bit of increased energy, at least on the Democratic side we’re seeing it, with skyrocketing numbers across the board. One number I was looking very closely at this morning where young voters in Florida where there’s already a number of young people who have voted that exceeds the number that voted early in 2016 altogether.

WALLACE: Right.

ELLEITHEE: So I think you’re going to see a little bit of both, but we won’t know until it all shakes out.

WALLACE: So in the time that we have left in this segment, I want to split it evenly between you, Kim, and you, Mo. So this is our little mini debate. We’ve only got about a minute, a minute and a half for each of you.

Kim, you wrote this week about the — what you consider the serious problems with the Biden family’s business dealings overseas. Why do you think this is a big deal?

STRASSEL: Well, I think it’s a big deal because of what you just brought up with Governor Whitmer is, there’s a lot of people that are trying to make this solely about whether or not you can prove Joe Biden cashed in and got money. But the real issue here is influence peddling. And what we know now — look, I think it’s really important, is that when — now that Hunter Biden’s partner — former partner has come out, this is real and he’s provided documentation. A lot of people are under (ph) saying this is not Russian information, this is a real story. And what it makes exceptionally clear is that Hunter Biden was using the family name to drum up a lot of dollars. And it also calls into question Joe Biden’s truthfulness with the American people. He has said repeatedly, I have not discussed my son’s business. But if these documents are to be believed, he indeed met with Hunter’s former partner. There is a potential possibility given this equity document we saw that Hunter was going to hold a stake in Joe Biden’s name.

WALLACE: Right.

STRASSEL: And I think he does have to answer some questions about this.

WALLACE: Right.

Mo, you get equal time. Why isn’t it a big deal?

ELLEITHEE: Well, I think, you know, what you saw at the debate crystallizes why this is so complicated for the Trump campaign politically to try to push this narrative particularly here at the end. I think the president has been signaling —

WALLACE: Yes, but I’m — I’m not ask — I’m not asking you that. I’m asking you — I — I — Mo, I’m not asking you about Trump, I’m asking you about Biden. Why do you say that the — all of these e-mails about the business dealings don’t speak to Joe Biden’s character and truthfulness?

ELLEITHEE: Well, because it has nothing to do with Joe Biden. When you look at anything that’s been out there, there’s no proof, and you brought this up and — with both of your previous guests, there’s nothing connecting Joe Biden to anything untoward and that’s been investigated and that’s been put out there. So I think this is really just one of the reasons — and I think people get that, which is one of the reasons why despite hammering this issue for months and months and months, it’s not giving the president’s campaign the traction they had hoped it would give them here at the end of the campaign.

WALLACE: we’ve got about 30 seconds left.

Jonathan, you’ve got some pretty smart Republicans this week, like Governor Mike Huckabee, like Marc Thiessen (ph) saying, the president needs to focus on pocketbook issues, not Hunter Biden.

Do you think you will?

SWAN: I would — I’d hesitate to make that prediction. It’s funny, I actually watched the debate with Senator Ted Cruz and he made the same point to me. He said that he doesn’t think the Hunter Biden issue moves any votes. SO there are some people pushing that to the president, but there are others in the president’s circle who believe that this does actually cut through and that, you know, this theme will be effective. There’s no empirical data to prove that so far.

WALLACE: All right, panel, we have to take a break here, but when we come back, the battle for control of the U.S. Senate. Will Republicans hold onto their majority or will Democrats sweep into power on a blue wave? That’s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN HICKENLOOPER, COLORADO SENATE CANDIDATE: I think President Trump’s negligence in addressing COVID-19, his — his complete incompetence and that of his team in — in — in responding once they finally recognized the threat, is a disgrace.

SEN. CORY GARDNER (R-CO): The difference between John Hickenlooper and I is I believe this is about the people of Colorado. It’s not about him and that’s what he thinks it is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: A debate in Colorado between incumbent Republican Senator Cory Gardner and former Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper, where President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus was a big topic.

And we’re back now with our panel.

So, folks, let’s go back over all of the close Senate races, including some that I didn’t mention with Chair McDaniel. As I discussed with her, one GOP senator is in a race that’s now leaning Democratic, and that’s Cory Gardner, who we just saw. There are seven Republican incumbents in what Real Clear Politics deems to be toss-ups, McSally, Ernst, Perdue, Collins, Daines, Tillis and Graham. Two Democratic senators are running in what are now deemed toss-ups, Peters of Michigan and Smith in Minnesota. And one Democratic incumbent is in a race that’s likely GOP, likely to go to Republicans, and that’s Doug Jones in Alabama.

Jonathan, given all of that, what do you think are the chances of a blue wave sweeping Democrats into control of the Senate on November 3rd?

SWAN: Well, I think you laid it out pretty efficiently. The seats that Republicans strategists who are working on Senate races are most concerned about, McSally, Tillis, Collins in Maine, are all — and Gardner are all in really, really bad shape. They’re worried about Joni Ernst in Iowa, whose running behind the president there. So you lose all of those, you’ve lost the Senate.

But, you know, the — things can change and a lot of these races are very close. Tom Tillis in North Carolina has been helped by the sex scandal involving his opponent, although that doesn’t seem to have cut through in the polls as much as some of the Tillis folks were hoping. So, look, that’s the situation.

The big — one of the biggest problems is all of these Republicans, almost without exception, are getting outraised dramatically by their opponents. Some — in some cases by just huge, Huge magnitudes. And this is a big problem. This is a problem across the board, not just because of ad spending, but because it’s also potentially — not in all cases become sometimes it’s out of state money — but in some cases it’s a proxy for voter enthusiasm.

WALLACE: Kim, let’s take a look at the balance of power now in the Senate so we can understand what Democrats have to do to take back control of the Senate. As you can see there, Republicans now have a 53-47 vote majority to take control. Democrats need a net pickup of four seats or a net pickup of three seats plus Kamala Harris to break ties as vice president.

Kim, what do you think are the chances of that happening, Democrats regaining control of the Senate?

STRASSEL: Well, look at those numbers you just put up there. Assuming that Republicans do get that Doug Jones seat, you get to 54. But then Jonathan just laid out the — the real problem here, which is Colorado, Maine, Arizona. If you were to lose those three, and they’re all looking tough, you’re right back to 51, and that means every one of those other races is on a knife edge.

Now, in terms of the chances, one of the things that’s been interesting in modern politics is that Senate candidates tend to rise and fall increasingly on their presidential candidate. So watch that space. You know, if President Donald Trump starts to do better in Arizona, you’ve seen polls showing that, or in North Carolina, you see polls showing that, that is a potential help to a McSally or to a Tillis. And so these — these fates are somewhat intertwined.

WALLACE: Mo, Democratic Senate in 2021?

ELLEITHEE: I think it’s possible. I — you know, look, I’m not going to start making any predictions at this point. But — but I do think — and I agree with — with Kim’s last point. In a lot of these states, they are — the Senate candidates are going to rise and fall based on the presidential tie. And Donald Trump is not making the job easier for a lot of these Republican Senate candidates.

Look, he gave — he gave Democrats two big gifts in the last week, when he went on another network in a town hall and said, there’s not much you would have done differently on COVID, and when he released early the “60 Minutes” interview that showed him saying, I really hope that the Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care Act.

Democrats across the country, and Democratic Senate candidates across the country, said, you know, we’re setting thank you baskets, gift baskets to the Trump campaign for those two things. He — these candidates, these Republican Senate candidates, are worried about the drag the president is bringing to their — to the ticket and there — and I’ve been there before as a former operative. When your hands are tied and — and — and you — you see a wave coming, there’s nothing you can do. They’ve got to be really concerned over there in these — in these Republican Senate headquarters.

WALLACE: Meanwhile, the Senate, who will be doing some important business tomorrow, in all likelihood they are going to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the vacancy of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Kim, there are a lot of big thinkers in the Republican Party who say, forget the economy, forget the war on terror, that this, the judicial makeover, not just of the Supreme Court, of the entire judiciary, is going to be Donald Trump’s central legacy from this first term.

STRASSEL: Well, and never forget that that list that he put out on Supreme Court nominees in 2016, a lot of people think that that’s what cemented the election for him because this is something that really motivates Republican and conservative voters because it puts the judicial branch up in addition to the executive branch. And so to the extent that this is a closing issue for Republicans, it’s a strong one and potentially a big motivator to get people out and vote.

WALLACE: Jonathan, let me pick up on that. If the confirmation wasn’t going to happen until after the election it would be one thing, but let’s assume, as we have every reason to expect, that Barrett is confirmed tomorrow, before the election, how does that affect what happens on November 3rd and people voting early? Until then, does that further energize the base or does it create more of a backlash from Democrats?

SWAN: Well, there’s evidence that it’s doing both. So the Trump campaign is — is doing lots of events around this. They’ve been doing, you know, Catholics for Trump and, obviously, Amy Coney Barrett is beloved by Republican — the Republican base, social conservative activists, so there’s a lot of energizing there. But you saw record fundraising on the left after Ruth Bader Ginsburg died through Acts Blue (ph), their online platform. So this is — there is empirical evidence that this has had a huge effect in energizing the left.

Historically, it’s been Republicans who have been more focused and passionate about the courts, but I think the evidence is that after the Merrick Garland saga followed by Brett Kavanaugh, there’s been an awakening on the left and, obviously, now there’s a conversation about packing the court. So I think it could end up being a wash and — and that you’ve got two bases, which are already extremely motivated to vote and you’ve just sort of given them a little extra shot of steroids.

WALLACE: And do you think — and you got 20 seconds here — that the — the fate of the Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, is also an energizer for Democrats?

SWAN: Oh, yes, no question. The — I mean that was — health care was probably the — the single top driving issue in 2018 and it will be again here, I think.

WALLACE: Thank you, panel, see you next Sunday. Just two days before the election.

Up next, our “Power Player of the Week,” rapper Ice Cube, who’s been taking on the system in his music for decades, now he’s playing an inside game in Washington.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE: It’s a long way from the inner city streets of Compton, California, to the corridors of power in Washington, not to mention the journey from the tough talk of rap to serious proposals for America’s future. Here’s our “Power Player of the Week.”

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ICE CUBE, RAP ARTIST: We make up 13 percent of the country and we’re only getting 0.5 percent of the wealth in the country.

WALLACE (voice over): For more than three decades, rapper Ice Cube has been calling out the system in his music.

ICE CUBE (rapping): Where’s your empathy? Where is your sympathy?

WALLACE: But now he’s turned to political action. Over the summer, Cube released a contract with Black America, calling for reforms to close the opportunity gap in this country.

ICE CUBE: Descendants of — of slaves, the ones who built this country, are being kind of forgotten in the fray.

WALLACE: Cube brought his contract to the two presidential campaigns. The Biden camp said they wanted to sit down after the election. But President Trump’s son-in-law, and top advisor, Jared Kushner, met with him for three hours.

ICE CUBE: They listen. They heard what I had to say. And I pumped up their plan and presented it to the people on September, I believe, 24th.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We call it the Platinum Plan.

WALLACE: Two weeks ago, Cube praised the president ‘s Platinum Plan, to invest $500 billion in black communities.

ICE CUBE: Democrats, they, you know, they got every black celebrity (EXPLETIVE DELETED) black celebrity (EXPLETIVE DELETED): on their team so they just figure, you know, tell Cube shut the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) up and vote.

WALLACE: That is when the backlash started.

WALLACE (on camera): Some people called you a sellout. Some people said you were working with a dark side.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But to sit down with that man, who only uses black people for caricatures, only for backdrops, only for photo-ops, it is insulting.

ICE CUBE: I told everybody that, you know, I’m not playing politics with this. I’m willing to meet with anybody who could bring this to — to life and make it a reality.

WALLACE (voice over): Cube shot to fame in the 1980s as part of the group NWA, writing and rapping on albums like “Straight Outta Compton.”

ICE CUBE: We didn’t call it gangsta rap back then, it was called reality wrap. People were attracted to the real, the raw, the passion, the truth in it.

WALLACE: He says he doesn’t know whether he’ll vote for Trump or Biden, but he does have a plan.

WALLACE (on camera): Has Cube mellowed over the years?

ICE CUBE: I still think it’s a bunch of stupid people that keep this system in place, but for the most part I understand why it’s there.

WALLACE: Whether Donald Trump is re-elected or Joe Biden wins and becomes the new president, what are you going to be doing to try to push the system over the next four years?

ICE CUBE: I may find pressure points. That’s the only way you can push. You know, my daddy told me a long time ago, no matter who’s the president, you got to get up and go to work in the morning and always remember that. So, no matter who’s the president, I’m going to get up and go to work in the morning.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALLACE: And that’s it for today. Have a great week and we’ll see you next FOX NEWS SUNDAY.

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