Nov 4, 2020
Biden Campaign Election Protection Briefing Transcript November 4
Jen O’Malley Dillon and Bob Bauer of the Biden campaign held a briefing on November 4 to address election protection. Read the transcript of the updates here.
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Jen O’Malley Dillon: (01:48)
Good morning, everyone. Thanks so much for joining us after this long night. This is Jen O’Malley Dillon. I’m here with Bob Bauer and we wanted to take a few minutes to go over with you what we’re seeing across the key States that are left outstanding. Most importantly, I want to share with all of you that Joe Biden is on track to win this election and he will be the next president of the United States. So, we believe we are on a clear path to victory.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (02:19)
By this afternoon, we expect that the vice-president will have leads in states that put him over 270 electoral votes. Today the vice-president will garner more votes than any presidential candidate in history and we’re still counting. Over 135 million votes have been counted so far and the vice-president has received 69 million votes so far. He has won over 50% of the popular vote. We are on track to win in Michigan by more than Donald Trump did in 2016, to win in Wisconsin by more than Trump did in 2016, to win in Pennsylvania by more than Trump did in 2016. And we flipped one of his States, Arizona, and congressional districts, Nebraska too, last night to add on top of that.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (03:08)
So now I want to walk through the outstanding states that we are seeing and give you an update on how we see our path to victory. Let’s start with Wisconsin. We expect and we believe that we have already won Wisconsin. Joe Biden is winning by roughly 21,000 votes and there are only a few votes outstanding. We’re only seeing two counties, Pierce and Richland, and they have just a few numbers of precincts outstanding there which account for around 5,000 votes. So, Trump would need four times that to overtake our lead. We believe that this state can be called this morning for the vice-president.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (03:50)
In Nevada we expect to win this race. We are already in the lead. The vice-president is winning by roughly 8,000 votes and we do not see any of the outstanding ballots that are still outstanding that give us any reason to believe we won’t continue to add to our margin. The ballots that are outstanding are vote by mail and as was reported early this morning the votes will not be counted until tomorrow. But we expect that tomorrow when those results come in we will continue to be in the lead in Nevada.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (04:26)
Michigan, so we expect to win Michigan. The ballots that are outstanding are mostly in democratic heavy areas as well as absentee ballots and Joe Biden is winning by roughly 12,000 votes. Kalamazoo and Wayne County are both outstanding which we expect to be about 200,000 votes. So, still more votes coming in today, we expect the final results to be today and we expect that we will win this state.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (04:55)
Pennsylvania, I know a state that we all are talking a great deal about. We expect to win Pennsylvania. We see 1.4 million outstanding ballots that will be counted over the coming days, most of them projected to be from democratic heavy areas and mail in votes. We expect that these ballots will more than overcome Trump’s 600,000 vote margin that he’s carrying right now. And we expect that we will know, the total counts will be through probably by tomorrow afternoon, evening, from what we understand from the state and the counting order and the number of votes that they can count over the course of today and tomorrow.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (05:46)
So, as we went through those states we believe we’re going to win all of those. We believe we are winning all of those. And along with Arizona which obviously already been called for us we just need any three or four of those states above to get us to 270. So we think that this is already a foregone conclusion.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (06:07)
But there are still a couple of states that are still in play that are a little bit closer but we think it is possible could push us even further beyond 270. The first is Georgia. This race is currently a tossup. Many of the outstanding ballots are in the Atlanta area which favors the vice-president and we expect that these ballots are going to be reported today. We think counting is underway this morning so we should know pretty soon where we net out in Georgia.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (06:38)
North Carolina is a state that as we have thought all along is really tight. We think it is probably leaning towards Trump right now but we also think that it’s going to go down to the wire and that we may have to wait several days to know the outcome of this race depending on how quickly the state counts the remaining ballots. So, we’ve already crossed 270 with the four states we just talked through but these are still in play, Georgia and North Carolina. We’re watching them closely, especially Georgia.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (07:12)
And because of all that I just shared, last night the president of the United States falsely claimed that he had won this race and then demanded that votes stopped being counted. The American people get to pick their president. The president does not get to pick the people whose votes get counted. But let’s be extremely clear about something. If Donald Trump got his wish and we stopped counting ballots right now vice-president, Joe Biden would be the next president of the United States. The vice-president will fight for every vote to be counted. Some of the outstanding votes will be for the vice-president, some of them are going to be for Donald Trump, but the vice-president believes they all should be counted. And when all of the votes are tallied as they have been in every election since our country has been founded we are confident that Vice-President Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States. So I’d now like to hand this presentation over to Bob Bauer to talk about the legal elements that are the focus of today and coming days around the race.
Bob Bauer: (08:16)
Thank you Jen. I’d like to walk you through the background of the Republican attacks on the voting process which culminated in the president’s extraordinary statements last night at 2:00 or 2:30 in the morning. He’d apparently huddled with his advisors and analysts and he realized that what Jen said was true and hustled out to say that he needed the vote count to stop because he knew where it was going to lead. Now, what he said yesterday was extraordinary but I think entirely consistent with Republican attacks on the voting process. And I’d like to take you through a few points about where the Republicans have been, where they’re going and why they’re going to fail but let me begin with a few basic foundational points.
Bob Bauer: (09:01)
Americans should have faith in the voting process. They should have a constitutional right to lawfully cast their ballots and to have those ballots counted and that proposition couldn’t be more central to our democracy. Election administrators have worked extremely hard around the country to deliver, as we said just a couple of days ago, the right to vote to citizens who are entitled to exercise that right. And they are working hard and worked hard yesterday and long into the night to process the counting of ballots as quickly as possible. And as everybody knows who’s ever followed an election in the United States it is far from abnormal and certainly not inconsistent with law and indeed required by the constitution that the count continue until all of the votes are counted. Nothing could be more fundamental than this basic proposition that President Trump attacked last night.
Bob Bauer: (09:52)
Now it is interesting to note that the count could have started earlier and we could have had results earlier but for the attempts to Republican legislatures in Michigan and in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to refuse to permit an earlier ballot count. So they were looking to log jam that process and they did that with the precise effort to set up the claim that the president was making yesterday that somehow there was some large number of ballots that were suspiciously uncounted. That count could have proceeded more rapidly had Republican legislatures in a clear and cynical strategic move not acted to block it. But that effort for various reasons that I will outline for you will fail.
Bob Bauer: (10:40)
Let me also in making that point just note, just in recent days before President Trump appeared yesterday to make his extraordinary statement an example of some of what we’ve seen the Republicans try to do to undermine this election in various states. Take for example this last Monday, when a Republican clerk stepped in to the courts to try to stop the counting of ballots arguing that the secretary of state had given inadequate guidance on ballot counting. That guidance by the way had been issued in February of this year, months ago. But in the 11th hour of the Republicans claimed there was some flaw in the ballot counting process. And as we knew from the moment we reviewed the papers that effort completely failed, the court tossed it out.
Bob Bauer: (11:25)
Then, also on Monday a right-wing organization allied with President Trump tried to stop the count in Michigan. Once again on the assertion, completely groundless, that there was something improper in the polling observation or the vote observation process. Each political party had numerous observers present. The law was fully complied with. The court knew that and tossed this lawsuit out as well.
Bob Bauer: (11:50)
And in Nevada, and I’m about to turn to Pennsylvania, the Republicans tried to stop all counting in Clark County making unsupported completely meritless, transparently meritless claims of irregularity. And once again, a court stepped in and threw the claim out. Now I’m turning to Pennsylvania just because there’s been a lot of discussion of what the Republicans have been attempting to do there and threatening to do there. Time and again they have tried to cast doubt on the election and to seek to disqualify ballots but let me give you a few examples.
Bob Bauer: (12:24)
Let’s start with ballot drop boxes. The Republicans have attempted to claim in both federal and state court that drop boxes were prohibited and likely to give rise to fraud. These claims once again brought before a judge failed completely. In person absentee voting, Republicans brought lawsuits in two of the Pennsylvania’s largest cities and tried to shut down absentee voting on a specious claim that they had not been afforded access, access provided by law to witness the voting. Again, brought before a court the suits were rejected/ and even this last Tuesday, or excuse me on Tuesday, October 27th, shortly before the election the Republicans ran into court to attempt to disqualify ballots cast by voters who had had to stand in long lines. This was on the last day of in-person voting. And once again, a court dismissed these claims.
Bob Bauer: (13:25)
So time and again, the Republicans enter into the judicial process and have from the very beginning to slow the count, to disqualify ballots and to undermine the process. And the president’s statement last night was the last in that venture. Let me just if I could quote Donald Trump precisely as he spoke last night. He said as I’m sure many of you remember or read about this morning quote, “So we’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop. We don’t want them to find any ballots at four o’clock in the morning and add them to the list.”
Bob Bauer: (14:03)
Well, let me tell you this. If you go to the Supreme Court today, drive around the building, you will not see Donald Trump and you will not see his lawyers. He’s not going to the Supreme Court of the United States to get the voting to stop. And if at some point filing once again these specious claims rejected by court after court, if at some point he arrives before the Supreme court with a novel proposition that ballots that were lawfully cast by eligible voters but not yet counted by the time Donald Trump wanted them counted that somehow they don’t count anymore he will be in for one of the most embarrassing defeats the president ever suffered before the highest court of the land. So, I leave you with this thought. We’re going to defend this vote, the vote by which Joe Biden has been elected to the presidency and this attempt as has been shown throughout all of their efforts around the country on their part to defeat the voter’s intent to undermine the democracy is absolutely certain to fail.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (15:06)
All right. Thanks Bob and thanks everyone. We are happy to take questions.
Speaker 3: (15:10)
I think we’ll go to Mike [inaudible 00:15:29] first.
Oh, hey there. Thanks for doing this guys. First to Bob, given what you just said about the Supreme Court I was going to ask you where you believe the Trump campaign’s likeliest legal challenge would be and how are you preparing at this point to counter that? And to Jen, two questions. One, can you tell us what the vice-president is spending his time doing right now? Is he making calls to other Democrats? Is he also speaking to world leaders at this point? And whatever the final numbers it’s clear that the final results in these battleground states will be closer than a lot of Democrats expected and I’m wondering what your best explanation for that is at this point.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (16:13)
Go ahead Bob.
Bob Bauer: (16:16)
So, as we’ve said on many occasions we are prepared for any effort the Republicans make in any court, in any of these states to advance the absurd theory that the president espoused last night. As you know they’ve made no secret, that’s why I walked you through this presentation and it’s an abbreviated presentation. We could go on a great length about vote suppressive efforts that have gone on for an extended period of time. They’ve made no secret of it so we’ve had ample evidence, ample notice if you will, that this is a tactic they will try. Everybody knows what’s up here. Election officials know what’s going on and courts know what’s going on. And so yes, we’re fully prepared for it because it’s almost as if they handed their strategic playbook to us and read it to us out loud. So we’re well-prepared for it and wherever they go and however they go about it we have lawyers ready to go, papers ready to go, within an hour of hearing of any step that they take.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (17:16)
Yeah and Mike to your questions for me. So, the vice-president has been making calls yesterday, today reaching out to the leaders, reaching out to Democrats that have won, checking in on what’s happening in the states and just really staying engaged as he’ll continue to do throughout the day. When it comes to where the race is I feel like we had been abundantly clear that we thought that this could be a very close race in most of our states. We worked hard to be very transparent about the fact that we did not believe that the race was in that wide margin that we were seeing as the national polling numbers and that in many of these states, especially the swing states that we were in the margin of error and that they’re swing states for a reason. And so, our goal from the beginning was to create as many pathways to victory as possible.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (18:11)
We definitely saw a number of states become more in play than we had even anticipated. Obviously some of those went to Trump but those are swing states and so we’re not surprised. We also expected this to be a long night. We said from the beginning our easiest pathway to victory was through the Midwest plus Pennsylvania. We were able to flip Arizona which I feel like everyone continues to joke about how bullish we’ve been about it. But obviously that was a significant win for us, Nebraska too as well. So, we knew that this was going to be very close. We knew that we had to maintain a wide playing field in order to maximize flexibility. We saw that the vice-president has an astounding number of popular support. He will have a historic number of people voting for him percentage ways, and raw vote as well, greater than any other president in history. And I think that’s a testament to the vice-president and the coalition he’s built and the strength of the support that we have which continues to pick up as we carry forward with the counting throughout the morning.
Speaker 3: (19:49)
We have [inaudible 00:19:50] next.
Speaker 5: (19:51)
Hi guys, thank you so much for doing this. Hopefully you got a couple of hours of sleep last night. A couple of quick questions. The first is the Trump campaign on their call is saying that Wisconsin is in recount territory because there’s a less than one percent margin. I’m curious how worried you are about that possibility and if you agree with that. Also on Latinos support, of course in Arizona the VP outperformed Donald Trump with Latino voters there but had in some places a double digit deficit in terms of where Hillary Clinton was with those voters in 2016, places like Florida, Ohio, Georgia. I’m curious what you would do differently in terms of your Latino voter outreach strategy given those numbers. And then has the VP reached out to President Trump or his team or have y’all heard from them at all?
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (20:35)
So I’ll start and then Bob jump in. So on Wisconsin there is no automatic recount there but if the vote is within 1% which it is then the loser can request a recount and I think they probably have to fund it or something is added to it. So, it’s certainly possible. We are going to win Wisconsin recount or no recount. We are ahead. We have a very clear sense of the votes that are there, the votes that are in, what’s left outstanding as we talked about and we’re very confident that Wisconsin is ours and we will continue to stay ahead there.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (21:11)
When it comes to Latino vote in this country it is a very diverse population across many of our states. The vice-president received support from tens of millions of Latinos last night. And as you mentioned, states like Arizona that have been called, Nevada where we are ahead really, strong support. Obviously in Florida, Donald Trump over-performed his numbers with Cuban American voters. The vice-president did not underperform. We just saw Donald Trump increase his support with the Cuban American vote. I feel like we had an incredibly strong, robust, really in-depth customized program across our core states led by just such an amazing team of leaders on our campaign, building content and engaging with Latino voters in-person, online, on TV, on the phone in every way possible. And I think that our support and the work of our team showed bright with the millions of Latinos that supported us and in particular helped us take a historic victory in a place like Arizona.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (22:29)
Oh, and you had one more question. Oh, it was about… Sorry I didn’t actually get any sleep so I forgot that third one. We have not been in contact formally with the Trump campaign. They’ve not reached out and we’re going to continue to do our business today and stay focused on being clear about where we stand and making sure that we get all these votes counted.
Speaker 3: (23:03)
We have Jen Epstein next.
Jen Epstein: (23:05)
Hey guys. Jen you said that you believe that you’re on a clear path to victory by this afternoon. Does that mean that we should expect to hear from Vice-President Biden this afternoon or soon thereafter? Is the intention as of now for him to declare victory then? And a corollary to that, there’s obviously been a lot of talk about the president falsely claiming victory. Are you concerned that even if you have stronger numbers to back yourselves up that you might be diminishing some trust in the process to move quickly to declare victory?
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (23:46)
So we expect that at some point later today that the vice-president will address the American people. We’ve been very transparent from the beginning about what we were seeing in our data and shared that with everyone both publicly and across the networks in order to just have as much transparency as possible about what we were seeing. And because we knew this would be a longer count, it would take more time, and we wanted to make sure that everyone was ready for that. And obviously we saw that take place over the course of the night into the morning.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (24:24)
We are talking about what is already in in Wisconsin for instance and it is clear based on that data that we have a lead and a lead we will continue and we think that that race can be called right now. So we are speaking not falsely as Trump did last night, we’re speaking clearly based on the data in the states. We expect as I said to see over the course of today as more of Michigan comes in, as more Georgia comes in, these races in these states be finalized.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (24:53)
We think most of them will close to be being able to be called. Though we do know as I said with Pennsylvania that could take time into tomorrow. But if we carry the states that we’re leading today that we talked about we would get to 270 without Pennsylvania. So, we feel very comfortable that our job here and our goal here is to communicate what we’re seeing, to do that clearly, to make sure our supporters understand what we’re seeing. But it’s also matching the data that’s coming in from the states and that’s what we’re basing this on as every other analyst and media outlet is looking at this as well. So, I think we have time for one last question.
Speaker 3: (25:39)
We have Trevor Honeycutt next.
Trevor Honeycutt: (25:42)
Hey, thanks for doing this. So on the legal side, I just wanted to clarify whether it’s currently your expectation that there would be a challenge that would end up in the Supreme Court and also if there are any new legal challenges that you’re considering pursuing at this point or that you think are appropriate to deal with any voter suppression. And then for Jen, just a question on whether you think the lack of in-person canvassing hurt you in terms of persuasion this time.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (26:15)
So I’ll go first and then I’ll let Bob close it. We canvassed in person to tens of millions of voters in the last weeks of the election alone. And we canvassed in person, we engaged in person since September but we did it in a safe way. We made sure that we were not putting our volunteers or any voters at risk. We ensured we had appropriate PPE and training and that we were incredibly thoughtful about that process. And we also are going to be the next president of the United States so I feel very good about what we did and the results bear that out.
Bob Bauer: (26:56)
Thank you. Let me answer your question in two parts. The first is can President Trump get to the Supreme Court? Well, of course a lawsuit could be filed on whatever theory he concocts and we’ve had a taste of what that might be and he’ll lose and that will be appealed. And then at the appellate level he’ll lose again and he’ll appeal and try to get the Supreme Court to hear his case. I don’t know what that case is going to be. As I’ve told you, it’s impossible to imagine it will have any merit. In fact, it’s I’d have to say laughably without merit. But if they want to push something up to the Supreme Court one way or the other presumably they can do that. We’re not worried about it.
Bob Bauer: (27:36)
As far as our own planning, we’re winning the election, we’ve won the election and we’re going to defend that election. So, we don’t have to do anything but protect the rights of voters and to stand up for the democratic process. If it’s attacked, as the president suggests it will be attacked, we’re going to successfully repel that attack. So, that’s our mission. His mission is to attack the democratic process and our commitment is to successfully defend it.
Jen O’Malley Dillon: (28:05)
All right. Thanks Bob. Thanks everyone. I appreciate you joining us today.