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November 5th, 2012
06:13 AM ET

State special ballot measures for gay marriage, marijuana, 'Obamacare' on Election Day – Zoraida Sambolin reports

One day to go before Election Day, CNN is covering the issues voters care about across the country. Special measures are on the ballot in several states. CNN’s Zoraida Sambolin has the details.

Voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington will decide whether or not to legalize same sex marriage. Meanwhile, voters in Washington, Oregon and Colorado will decide whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Also extremely controversial, a measure to allow physician-assisted suicide is on the ballot in Massachusetts.

Controversial for different reasons, Obama’s health care law is on the ballot in Florida, Alabama, Montana and Wyoming. Measures which could prevent individuals and businesses from being compelled to participate in a health care system will be contested by voters in those states. And in California, voters will consider abolishing the state’s death penalty. Sambolin breaks down the significance of these measures on the nation.

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November 2nd, 2012
11:36 AM ET

Jobs top issue for undecided Las Vegas voters in presidential election – Miguel Marquez reports

CNN’s Miguel Marquez has been hitting the battleground states all month long, visiting voters who are undecided about which candidate is right for them.

Marquez joins “Early Start” from a place he says suffered the worst of the recession: Las Vegas and Clark County, NV. Comedian Louie Anderson is one of the frequent entertainers in Vegas. He does four shows a week at the Palace Station and knows how much this city has struggled to recover. “Like voters everywhere, he is tired of campaigning,” Marquez says.

Anderson puts it simple. “If we're gonna have the great country we did once, this is not going to be a democrat or republican thing,” Anderson says. “This is going to be an every single American thing.”

See more from the report in the video above.

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November 2nd, 2012
11:19 AM ET

ICYMI: Rep. Burgess (R-TX): Obama's bipartisanship is lacking, voters in a 'defensive crouch' waiting for the election

NOTE: This interview was conducted before the Oct. jobs report release.

With just four days left in the presidential race, the candidates are hitting the campaign trail with full force. This as the final jobs report before Election Day comes out this morning.

Republican Congressman from Texas, Michael Burgess, is the Chairman of the Congressional Health Care Caucus and a vocal Romney supporter. Rep. Burgess previews the report and his take on the race live from Fort Worth, Texas.

Rep. Burgess discusses whether the coming jobs report may affect the race, if as economists are predicting, the changes are small.

“You could argue that last month’s employment numbers were probably more important than this month’s,” Rep Burgess says. “A lot of people have taken advantage of early voting and the die has already been cast in their minds.” Rep Burgess doesn’t “expect these numbers to change a lot from last month’s”.

Rep. Burgess thinks voters in the country are “in a defensive crouch waiting for the election…waiting to see whether change is really going to come to America.”

Filed under: 2012 election • Jobs • Politics
November 2nd, 2012
10:23 AM ET

ICYMI: How could October jobs report affect election? Redstate.com's Erick Erickson & GlobalGrind.com's Michael Skolnik weigh in

Redstate.com's Erick Erickson & GlobalGrind.com's Michael Skolnik on how the Oct. jobs report could affect the election.

Filed under: 2012 election • Jobs
November 2nd, 2012
07:46 AM ET

Romney, Obama make final push for votes – Paul Steinhauser on what the latest polls show

Paul Steinhauser looks at the final push by Mitt Romney and President Obama for votes before Election Day.

Filed under: 2012 election • Politics
November 2nd, 2012
07:19 AM ET

VIDEO: How swing state jobless voters could shape election – Christine Romans explains

Christine Romans on what the Oct. jobs report could mean for the election and the U.S. economy.

Filed under: 2012 election • Jobs • Minding Your Business
November 1st, 2012
06:27 AM ET

A budding Christie, Obama 'bromance'? Richard Socarides & Ana Navarro on bipartisanship after Sandy and what it means for the election

President Obama and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie shared a rare display of bipartisanship yesterday when the two surveyed Sandy’s damage together in the state. Christie praised the president’s personal and prompt response to the destruction.

Today, Obama returns to the campaign trail. With only five days until Americans hit the voting booths, the president will be making stops in Colorado, Wisconsin and Nevada. Mitt Romney resumed campaigning yesterday and makes an appearance in Virginia.

Former Senior Clinton Adviser and NewYorker.com writer Richard Socarides and CNN Contributor and Republican Strategist Ana Navarro weigh in on the race from here on out.

“Early Start” anchor Zoraida Sambolin poses the question of whether the cooperation over Sandy between Republican Governor Christie and Democratic President Obama will affect the outcome of the election. Navarro answers that it is simply a refreshing sight to see.

“Every now and then the right thing to do is also the smart thing to do politically,” she says. “"Frankly, this bromance between Chris Christie and President Obama is a sight to be seen and something to be heard. But I think it's also very refreshing. I don't know who it helps, I don't know who it hurt, but I think it helps the people of New Jersey."

She adds, "I think it’s good for the people of the ‘United States to see that we unite in a moment of crisis and that we put helping people in suffering conditions above party or politics, even five days before an election.”

Socarides agrees. “It showed a lot of respect,” Socarides says about the bipartisanship, “and really well done both by Governor Christie and the president.”

Chris Christie, a key Romney surrogate, has also bluntly distanced himself from presidential politics since taking responsibility of Sandy’s aftermath. Sambolin asks whether this could hurt Romney. Navarro feels that Christie’s response is out of sincerity and typical of him. “It’s a new world after Sandy for New Jersey,” Navarro says, and she thinks Christie refuses to be bothered about politics now because his priority is to take care of the people in harms way in his state.

Socarides feels this is simply Obama’s time to be president, and Romney has no choice but to stand by and cooperate. “For the president, good government is good politics right now,” Socarides says. “Unfortunately for Governor Romney, all he can do now is kind of stay out of the way.”

October 31st, 2012
10:06 AM ET

Sandy could alter race before presidential election – Richard Socarides and Will Cain weigh in

The presidential candidates resume campaigning in the calm after the storm this week.

Mitt Romney makes three stops in Florida today while President Obama resumes campaigning tomorrow with a stop in Wisconsin. It’s unclear what Sandy’s political implications may be and how much it will affect the outcome of the election.

Former Senior Adviser to President Clinton Richard Socarides and CNN Contributor Will Cain join Zoraida Sambolin and John Berman on “Early Start” to break down the race.

Cain doesn’t think the storm will have any major impact on the election. He thinks the candidates’ distance from campaigning due to Sandy, however, may have done some good.

“I think it’s a little bit of healthy hiatus,” Cain says. “To stop the constant cycle of ‘did you hear this gaffe?’ and ‘oh my gosh’ from the campaign trail allows you to step back for a moment and remember real life, and ask yourself ‘what’s really important?’ regarding this vote you’re gonna make a week from now.”

Socarides agrees. “I think the rhetoric is gonna be slightly less sharp,” Socarides says. “I think the candidates will have to adjust.”

Returning to the campaign trail, the swing states are still as important as ever. President Obama leads in Ohio, Florida and Virginia in a the latest Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS poll, but the race is still tight.

“Whatever happens there,” Cain says, “whatever happens in Ohio will have huge ramifications. We all know Ohio is the most important state in how this presidential election turns out.” Even though Obama holds a slight edge, as is expected from an incumbent president, “it’s gonna be a very close election by all signs,” Socarides says.

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October 31st, 2012
10:02 AM ET

Presidential race a 'dead heat' with 6 days to Election Day – Paul Steinhauser reports

With less than one week left until Election Day, the race is extremely sensitive. And with Superstorm Sandy in the mix, this is a very different race.

The storm stopped the race in its tracks and may very well have become the “October Surprise” to change the course of the race in its critical final days. But now the candidates return to the campaign trail after a brief break from politics. Mitt Romney makes three stops in Florida today while President Obama resumes campaigning tomorrow with a stop in Wisconsin.

This morning on "Early Start," CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser explains the dead heat in the presidential race.

Nationally, there have been eight polls, live operator and non-partisan polls, since the last presidential debate. CNN's Poll of Polls averaged them all together and Steinhauser says, “Basically, it is a dead heat.”

The poll places Mitt Romney at 48% and President Obama at 48% among likely voters. But Steinhauser points out what’s really important. “The battle for the White House is a battle for the states and their electoral votes.” The latest QuinnipiacUniversity/New York Times/CBS poll out this morning shows the president in the lead in Ohio, Florida and Virginia. But the race is still tight.

The topic of political discussion now is what Mitt Romney would do with FEMA if he were elected. “Democrats in the Obama campaign are pointing back to some comments that Mitt Romney made way back in June of 2011 in a CNN debate, a Republican presidential debate, in New Hampshire moderated by our John King.” But Romney avoided answering questions about what he would do with FEMA when reporters asked him numerous times at a disaster relief event yesterday in Ohio.

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October 31st, 2012
06:41 AM ET

Nevada voters pin hopes on next President – CNN's Miguel Marquez reports

The United States is only six days away from electing the next president. It’s a particularly difficult decision to make in Northwest Nevada, one of the final battlegrounds where the unemployment rate is highest in the nation. CNN’s Miguel Marquez visits Washoe County, Nevada on the “Deciders Tour” to meet with voters who may very well decide this election.

Nevada’s unemployment rate is nearly 12%, yet polls show that Obama is consistently up by a point or two over Romney. While some believe Obama has made things better, others think recovery would be faster under Romney. And many are undecided. Marquez rides a horse in Maplewood Stables and speaks to fellow rider Julie WinkeI. She expresses the feeling in the state. “I hope the next president can turn things around so we can get back to where we were four years ago or even eight years ago even,” she says.

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