tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN November 2, 2021 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
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also, we're standing by for the first exit polls on this election night in america. and watching the extremely close and consequential governors race in virginia. and we're also expecting a vote at any moment now that could move 28 million american children just one step away from being eligible for a covid-19 vaccine, possibly as soon as tomorrow. welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer and you're in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news. we're live in scotland where world leaders have wrapped up their portion of the united nations climate summit. and president biden in his final remarks just a little while ago making breaking news saying for the first time he believes holdout democratic senator joe manchin will back his massive spending plan.
our chief white house correspondent kaitlan collins is with me here in scotland. the president said and i'm quoting, i believe joe will be there. you heard it. i heard it. >> this is notable because this is the first time we've heard from president biden weighing in since senator manchin came out and announced he was not ready yet to throw his support behund this bill saying that he has a lot of questions about how the package is going to be paid for and the timeline of how quickly they are moving. but president biden telling reporters today that in the end he is confident about what senator manchin will do and how he will vote. >> i'm not going to talk about the specifics of my conversations. he will vote for this. we have in this proposal what he has anticipated and that is looking at the fine print of the detail, what comes out of the house in terms of the actual legislative initiative. i believe that joe will be there. >> wolf, of course that's notable given what the president said just a few days ago.
he thinks these bills could be passed this week. senator manchin seemed to throw cold water on the timing of that when it comes to the sweeping spending bill that has hundreds of billions of dollars when it comes to climate change. something the president was pushing here at this climate summit. we were told earlier today the president had not yet spoken directly with manchin since he made those comments yesterday though senior white house staff had. we'll see if the president speaks to him on his way back to washington tonight. >> on the climate summit, the president was taking a leadership role here but there are a lot of serious problems, a lot of people are worried about some of the no-shows. >> of course china. one of the world's biggest polluters did not show up to this conference. you were hearing from world leaders, the u.s. president, british prime macinister making these pledges about what their nation is going to do for climate change. yet as president biden was noting, incredibly critical that china was not here saying it was a big mistake for them not to
show up and telling phil mattingly he thinks their presence reveals something. >> what is your general assessment of where things stand, and are you concerned that the potential for armed conflict has grown over the course of your first ten months in office? >> we showed up. and by showing up we've had a profound impact on the way i think the rest of the world is looking at the united states and its leadership role. i think it's been a big mistake, quite frankly, for china and -- leads back to china not showing up. the rest of the world are going to look to china and say what value add are they providing? >> so you heard, wolf, what he told phil there talking about china, saying they want to be a leader in the world but not actually showing up. and i think that's something the white house said they were hoping to take advantage of with china not being here. it does factor into the end game which is what you heard from so many climate activists who have been here on the ground in scotland as this conference is getting kicked off.
you're hearing from the leaders of these wealthy nations talk a lot, have a lot of rhetoric around climate change. when it comes to the delivery and results they want to know who is going to hold whom accountable and the president saying china does want to assert this leadership role on the world stage and they need to be able to show up and make commitments when it comes to climate change. that's what he was telling phil. we should note the president is expected to meet with the chinese leader in december before the end of the year, though he did note they do not have a date set yet. >> virtually, not face-to-face. >> the reason we're not seeing the chinese leader here, he's not left china in 21 months, since the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic. white house aides believe that's largely the reason he's not here in glasgow. >> the president is getting ready to board air force one for the flight back to joint base andrews outside of washington, d.c. once he gets there, climate is certainly going to be important and it's related to the reconciliation bill, but he's got a lot of issues he's going to have to deal with. >> he does.
it's interesting how you're seeing he's pretty much in the same situation he was when he left washington to come to the g20 in rome and then glasgow for the climate summit. when it comes to his domestic agenda and getting that passed. while you are seeing democrats say they're confident they'll move on that hard infrastructure bill this week potentially, there are also questions about what this social spending bill is going to look like in its final form. they are trying to push ahead with that despite those comments from senator manchin and immediately the president noting what he'll likely be dealing with when he gets on the ground w which is this virginia governors race. he's confident terry mcauliffe will be able to pull it off. a lot of people said this race could be a bellwether for the midterms, whether or not democrats will be successful or republicans will retake their majorities. but it remains to be seen. >> looks like there will be a major win for the president and for congress for that matter in the coming days, maybe as early as tomorrow. later this week on the traditional infrastructure.
$1.2 trillion infrastructure package. congress hasn't passed major infrastructure legislation about 30 years. this is a huge, huge package. could have passed a couple of months ago, but the democratic progressives wanted to link it to the broader reconciliation bill. it looks like that infrastructure bill is going to pass the house. it's already passed the senate with 69 votes and will immediately go to the president for his signature. >> it's notable that would happen before the other bill because that has been a demand from progressives all along. they have said we want to see this bill passed in tandem with the other one and now you heard after manchin came out yesterday and threw some cold water on that idea, seemed to waver getting behind this $1.75 trillion spending plan just yet you saw progressives say we're not going to change our demands because of that. we're still moving ahead. they've said they'll put the support behind that hard infrastructure plan. some moderate democrats wish that had gotten passed before
the president came to this summit, certainly before voters went to the polls in virginia. they believe it would have boosted the democratic can candidate. the president disagreed with that and he said he's hopeful they'll get this passed as soon as this week and he does think in the end senator manchin will be there and will be a yes vote for his agenda. >> you're getting ready to fly back to washington. i'm getting ready. thank you for all the terrific work in italy and here. excellent work. >> thank you, wolf. always great to work with you. >> see you back in washington. thank you very much. the breaking news continues next here in "the situation room." we're getting the first exit poll results from the closely watched virginia governor's race which could have huge implications for both democrats and republicans. plus, my one on one interview with one of the first leaders to sound the alarm on climate change. we're talking about the former vice president of the united states, al gore. he joins me to talk about the u.n. climate summit and more.
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we're back live in scotland where president biden has just wrapped up his participation in the u.n. climate summit. and in his final remarks he said for the first time that he believes the holdout democratic senator joe manchin will support his spending plan. let's get more on all of this with democratic senator chris coons of delaware. thank you for joining us. we'll get to the climate summit in a moment. first you heard the president saying senator joe manchin and the president's words will be there on his economic plan, but how do you get there because manchin is raising serious
issues with medicare expansion. he's waiting for the congressional budget office score as they call it. it doesn't sound like he's backing this plan any time soon. >> wolf, the good news from this week was that the congressional progressive caucus in the house has decided to move forward, both with the infrastructure bill and with the build back better bill saying they trust president biden will be able to deliver 50 votes here in the senate. and i share that confidence. i have heard, as have all of us from senator manchin, that he wants to see final text. he wants to know the details of the deal but that's not unusual, wolf, for a senator to say before i'm finally going to vote for something, where i agree with the overall plan i need to see the final details. there was, i think, a breakthrough agreement this afternoon on adding a prescription drug negotiation provision. a provision that would lower out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs for american
seniors, which i frankly think in terms of getting 50 votes in the senate strengthens the bill moving forward. >> frustration, though, was clearly mounting over senator manchin's -- what his critics are calling stalling. one democratic senator told cnn, there's a ton of loose ends and no clear way out. is the feeling that one senator, senator manchin specifically, is dictating president biden's success or failure on this critically important issue? >> wolf, we've got 50 senators. any one of us, because we only have a 50-vote majority, could throw up a red flag and disagree and slow the progress of the build back better bill. it is not an infinite number of concerns. it's a very defined and narrow number of concerns that senator manchin has raised in recent days, and the white house is working through resolving all of them with him and i am optimistic that we will get there. when the house takes up and passes this bill, there will be
a week that it goes through a review, a scrub here in the senate to make sure that it follows with this arcane process called reconciliation that we're following, and then we'll be ready to vote for it. once president biden returns and has a chance to be directly engaged, constructively as he has been, i'm confident that we will, in the end, get 50 democrats to vote for this bill. >> this is going to be his major priority once he lands outside of washington at joint base andrews. turning to the cop26 climate summit, here in scotland, president biden blasted china and russia for that matter for not engaging, not sending their leaders here, calling it a big mistake. how does he put pressure on some of the world's biggest polluters to act? and i know you'll be leading a congressional delegation to glasgow coming up. >> that's right, wolf. president biden had very strong words for some of the world's largest polluters. china and russia.
but also engaged in positive bilateral meetings with heads of state from other countries that are also significant contributors. not at the scale of china. and i think he made two big announcements today. a number of leaders of cop26 made two big announcements today about a global methane pledge. methain is a far more significant polluter, contributor to global warming than carbon dioxide. it stays in the atmosphere a shorter period of time but it's a much heavier molecule in terms of its impact and the united states is making a significant commitment and catalyzing a global commitment to combat methane emissions. also a new commitment to end deforestation. i chair the subcommittee that funds all of our foreign assistance as you know, wolf, and i'm committed to working closely with president biden to make sure that we meet the bold commitments he's made at cop26 for climate finance, particularly to help developing countries that want to work with us to reduce their emissions.
>> before i let you go, senator, you heard president biden say he thinks democrats are going to win the virginia governor's race. what will it say, so, if these wrong? >> well, look, there's a lot of elections across the country tonight. there's governors who are up for election in both virginia and new jersey. i'll be looking at the exit polls for lessons that we might learn going forward, but the 2024 election is a long way off. the '22 election is a year off. i don't think we should read too much into these polls. youngkin and mcauliffe are both running hard right up to the end. it's going to be a close election. what i think it will mean is that there's a lot of folks around the country who are looking for a path forward out of this pandemic. i like terry mcauliffe's chances as the former governor who had a strong record when he was governor of virginia. i'll be looking forward to seeing the results on cnn later tonight. >> we all will be anxious to see what goes on there. senator chris coons, thank you for joining us. >> thank you.
and there's breaking news coming in to "the situation room" right now. that closely watched, extremely tight virginia governors race. i want to bring in cnn political director david chalian. i understand you are getting a look at the first exit polls out of virginia. what are you learning? >> that's right, wolf. remember, these are early numbers. these numbers will change throughout the night as more and more respondents to the exit polls come in. but these preliminary numbers give us a sense of what the el elength rat in virginia looks like. look at the gender split. 53% of virginia voters in this race are female. that's a slight uptick from 51% that we saw in the presidential election last year. 47% male. take a look at race. this is a whiter electorate than we saw in the presidential race last year or in the 2017 c
gubernatorial race. they can change throughout the night. but right now what we're seeing, 73% of virginia voters in this gubernatorial race are white. that was 67% of the electorate just last year when joe biden won the state by ten points. 17% of this electorate is black. just a tick down from where it was last year. 5% latino. 3% other racial and ethnic groups. 2% asian. that's the racial demographic split. take a look at the breakdown by age. we're also finding that the voters today in the virginia governors race, according to the early numbers, it's an older electorate. take a look here. 27% of voters are 65 or older. senior citizens. if you compare that to just a year ago, that number was 18%. okay? and then, of course, young voters are 9% of the electorate and that's about where they were
last year or actually sorry, significantly down from where they were last year in terms of the youth vote. it's an older, whiter electorate. that probably is giving some hope to the youngkin campaign in these early numbers. and look at the education divide. this is one of the big dividing lines in american politics. 53% of virginia voters are college graduates. 47% do not have a college degree. i just want to note, this is a more educated electorate. it was about 43% college graduates just last year in the presidential race. so this is just the first look and we'll see as more numbers come in, wolf. >> we'll watch it together with you, david chalian. thank you very much. we're less than an hour away from cnn's special coverage of election night in america. tune in to see who wins the high-stakes virginia governors race. plus, the battles in new jersey and new york city and other races across the country. our special live coverage starts right at the top of the hour.
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pandemic news right now. a panel of cdc advisers has just voted unanimously to recommend covid-19 vaccines for american children aged 5 to 11. let's get some more on the breaking news. the former acting director of the cdc, dr. richard besser is joining us. dr. besser, thanks for joining us. if the cdc director joins vaccine advisers and signs off on this, as she's expected to do very, very soon, 28 million children could become eligible to get vaccinated as soon as tomorrow. this is a huge development, isn't it? >> yeah, wolf, i am really excited about this. as a pediatrician, as a parent, as someone who has worked in public health their whole life, this is really big. i think that having safe, effective vaccines for children is an important piece of the puzzle to get us to the end of the pandemic. and the idea that parents will have the ability to protect
their children against covid is a big deal. even though the infection is less severe in children, we have lost nearly 100 children in this age group. we've had thousands of children who have been hospitalized and thousands more who have developed long-term inflammatory syndrome. so this is really big news for children's health. >> it certainly is. you're a pediatrician, also a parent. what's your message to other parents out there who still hav reached the unanimous conclugss that these vaccines are safe, they're effective, that they could save lives. and they could help protect those children and those people around children.
and so i feel very comfortable in recommending this vaccine to my patients, but it's very important that parents get their questions answered. and i recognize there's a big group of parents who want their kids to be right in the front of the line to be vaccinated. there's another group who want to wait and see and there's a group right now who say, no way. they don't want this. i expect that over time, the group of parents who are in the no way will come around and say, wow, the children who have been vaccinated, they don't have to worry about this anymore. they can get back to their regular activities, their families have that peace of mind. and i think that we're going to see as parents get their questions answered, more will want to get the vaccine. >> are there groups of children, dr. besser, who should get vaectd, let's say, first. perhaps those with specific underlying health conditions or children who live with adults who are at higher risk, for example, of coronavirus complications? >> yeah, the good news this time
around, wolf, there's 28 million children who will become eligible. there's enough vaccine for every one of those children. so at the beginning of the vaccine distribution, early this year, we really wanted to put a priority on those who were at the greatest risk of severe disease. this time, any parent who wants to get their child vaccinated should have the opportunity to do so. it's very important that the government ensures access, especially in communities hit the hardest. many parents don't have time off work to get their kids vaccinated. you want to have vaccines available on the evening, weekends, in schools, pharmacies. and the efforts of the administration are all directed at doing that which gives me a lot of hope. >> major news coming in. thanks very much, dr. richard besser joining us. appreciate it as usual. just ahead, a special interview here in "the situation room." the former vice president of the united states and climate leader al gore joins me to discuss what
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call today to learn more. we're live in scotland where the leaders portion has just wrapped up. now it's up to these world leaders, including president biden, to deliver on the massive promises they made to address the devastating effects of climate change. today i caught up with the former vice president al gore, the founder and chair of the climate reality project about just how much is at stake right now. mr. vice president, thank you so much for joining us. you famously raised the alarm about climate change with your documentary "an inconvenient truth" and you were awarded the nobel prize for that effort. since then, global temperatures have risen on a steep curve. how critical is it for world leaders to deliver results at
this cop26 summit before it's too late? >> first of all, thank you for having me on, wolf. it's very critical. i think most everybody understands that by this time. we're using the thin shell of atmosphere surrounding our planet as if it's an open sewer putting all of this heat-trapping pollution there. we've seen the consequences that the sciences predicted would occur all these heavy downpours and floods and droughts and hurricanes and sea level rise and all the rest. and so there is a widespread consensus now in the u.s. and throughout the world that these leaders really have to come to agreements that lead to much more substantive action more quickly. >> president biden says the goals of the paris climate accord are still within reach. but a u.n. report issued just last week estimates that emissions would need to be cut seven times faster than current commitments to meet that goal.
is that still possible? >> yes, the goal of limiting the temperature increase to no more than 1.5 degrees celsius, that's 2.7 degrees fahrenheit, that goal is still within reach. countries have to move faster, but let me say this. i think president biden had an extremely successful visit here. two days that -- well, really three, cram packed with speeches and meetings and actions that really did make a difference. he gave a terrific speech in the big meeting of leaders. he followed that up today with a terrific initiative on forests and then on methane which needs more attention. i think he made a huge difference with his time here. >> mr. vice president, how do you reach that goal when leaders of some of the world's bigget polluters -- russia, china, saudi arabia, aren't even attending the summit and aren't really stepping up with
commitments? >> well, it's regrettable that president xi jinping did not come to this event. i will agree with that point of view. but remember this, that this meeting is more than just what takes place in the meeting rooms. in advance of this meeting, in preparation for this meeting, the president of china made a very significant commitment to end all of china's financing of overseas coal plants and they were building 72% of them. so that's a major commitment. and then in advance of this summit, he also made a commitment almost a year ago, to reach net zero, a little bit longer time frame than i would like, but still the direction of travel is clear, and he made a commitment to peak their emissions before the end of this decade. and with a country that big, that's not nothing.
so they are moving. they're building more windmills and solar panels than the rest of the world put together. it's a huge country in a growth phase. so they need to do more. our country needs to do more as well. every country needs to do more. >> the biden administration, as you know, just announced these comprehensive new rules aimed at cutting methane emissions across the oil and gas industry. how far will this go in addressing the problem? >> well, that's a very significant, very important initiative that president biden announced. the climate scientists will tell you that methane is almost 60% of the causation factor that is represented by co2. it has a shorter lifetime in the atmosphere but it's very important because each molecule of methane is 84 times as powerful as a molecule of co2. again, over a shorter time frame but the best way we can get
quick results is by cutting methane, and we can do it because it has economic value. they should close up these leaks, stop the flaring of it and really, we ought to stop building any new gas or oil pipelines. that's where a lot of these leaks come from. >> president biden is still pushing to get his own climate legislation passed through congress. but it no longer includes a key program that would have rewarded utilities from moving to clean energy and penalized those who didn't make the transition. can president biden still get the u.s. on track for net zero emissions by 2050 with this scaled back plan? >> yes, i think he can. and not only that, i think he can still have a 50% reduction by 2030, which most people think is the more important goal. it's a way station toward net zero in 2050. when he could not get that clean electricity standard, he
reground. gina mccarthy and john kerry are here. i've talked to them about it. the new provisions, of course, they haven't passed in the congress yet, but i still have some hope that they will pass. senator manchin who held it up has said he needs more time to study it. i hope that we'll end up getting most of that package and that the u.s. will be able to continue on the pathway to meeting those commitments. >> president biden actually apologized at this summit for former president trump's decision to pull out of the paris climate accord. can world leaders really count on the united states knowing another president could undue president biden's efforts? >> well, you hear some talk of that sort, for sure. but it's important to realize that a majority of republicans now, along with an even bigger majority of democrats, are in favor of taking bold actions to solve the climate crisis. so i am hopeful that public opinion will make a difference,
whichever party is in power. of course, i'm a democrat and i hope democrats keep the congress next year, but i'm even more hopeful that this surge of public support for actions to solve the climate crisis will have an impact on both political parties. >> we'll see what happens because the stakes clearly, mr. vice president, are critical. thanks so much for joining us. thanks for all your important work. >> thank you, wolf. coming up -- it's down to the wire in the race for the virginia governor. cnn is live at both campaign headquarters. that's next here in "the situation room." we're live from scotland. in 5go delivers exceptional customer support, and 5g included in every plan, so you get it all.
we're reporting live from scotland where president biden just wrapped up his international trip with a news conference at the united nations climate conference. we're also following the neck and neck governor's race in virginia. terry mcauliffe and glenn youngkin are battling it out in what is seen as a bellwether for the midterm elections. let's get the latest update right now. jeff zeleny is on the scene in virginia. jeff, you're at mcauliffe headquarters. what's the campaign telling you? what are you seeing? >> wolf, the mcauliffe campaign is still trying to get their voters to the polls. there's a little over an hour left of voting across the commonwealth of virginia. we know that more than 1.1 million people voted before election day, but the vast majority of the voters will take place today. so both sides are expecting a
record-setting turnout. perhaps going around 3 million votes or so. that would be compared to 2.6 million in the 2017 governors race. wolf, you said this is a referendum. no question. the virginia and new jersey governors race always come the year after a presidential race. so it's the first time voters have a chance to weigh in on how they think things in washington are going. many other issues are driving this race as well. but glenn youngkin, the republican businessman, is closing this campaign very strongly. and much stronger position than terry mcauliffe ever thought he would. and that is making democrats in washington, outside washington and across the commonwealth incredibly nervous tonight. at the prospect of republicans winning this governor seat for the first time in 12 years. but again, still votes to be cast. votes to be counted throughout the evening here. but there's a sense of nervousness and a sense of weariness among democrats we've been talking to all day long, wolf. >> you know, jeff, a year ago, as all of us remember, president
biden carried virginia by ten points. ten points. and now it's neck and neck. what has gone on over there? why is glenn youngkin doing as well against terry mcauliffe as he apparently is? >> a variety of reasons. glenn youngkin has particularly caught on in the final month of this campaign. he's an outsider. he's never run for public office before. he spent his life in private equity. he was born in virginia. worked in washington, but really came across as someone, you know, who simply is not beholden to either party. but the key voters here are those voters in the middle. virginia does not register voters by party affiliation. so that adds a bit of mystery going into this evening. no registered republicans or registered democrats. glenn youngkin is going after some of those voters in the middle who are simply fed up with the direction of their local governments, state governments and perhaps even their federal governments. so, of course, terry mcauliffe has been governor before. he has a record. he served for four years in 2014
to 2018. and it simply has been an uphill climb for democrats. democrats have shown a lack of enthusiasm throughout the final stages of this campaign, and we've seen the democratic divide in washington. there's been no action on infrastructure. no action on the broader build back better agenda yet. so this is all of these things are really leading into what could be a really tough night for democrats, because high turnout for northern virginia and other states as well. so democrats are feeling confident, but it is too close to call, and this could go down for quite a while into the evening. >> and quickly before i let you go, jeff, how has youngkin handled the backing he has received from trump? >> wolf, that has been so interest, and terry mcauliffe and all democrats are trying to tie glenn youngkin to trump and he has walked the trump
tightrope skillfully until now, and trying to fire ul p the tru base, and trying not to alienate those who did not vote for trump last year, and he is trying to navigate it carefully, and how he does is a roadmap for other republican candidates going into the midterm election year next year that is one of the many things that we have our eye on as well, and what his voters say about how they view terry mcauliffe tying into trump and if they bituy it or not, wolf. >> thank you, very much. and once again, it is election night in america, and tune in to see who wins the high-stakes virginia race, and the battle for governors in new jersey and other states. and also, at 6:00 p.m., the special live coverage coming up in a few minutes. any moment, donald trump is
looking to respond to investigators get their hands on call logs and other information around january 6th, and what is the former president going to say now. stay with us, and you are in the "situation room," and we are live from scotland. to make progress, we must keep taking steps forward. we believe the future of energy is lower carbon. and to get there, the world needs to reduce global emissions. at chevron, we're taking action. tying our executives' pay to lowering the carbon emissions intensity
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that is investigating the insurrection of january 6th. so paula reed, what do we expect for president trump to say in the official response? >> well, the legal team has three minutes to file the brief of the latest to block the trump administration to block the correspondent to be turned over. this really does raise interesting questions about executive privilege. the house committee had asked the house archives to turn over the documents and the president tried to assert privilege, but president biden is the one to defend privilege and protect documents from other administrations, and he declined to do that and he said it would not be in the interest of the united states, so former president sued. it is unclear what his lawyers are going to argue in this filing, but we know a few days
ago, the national archives filed the arguments, and wolf, it is explosive, because they laid out specific detail exactly what it is that trump does not want investigators to see. >> you know, the former vice president mike pence, paula, he has given new insight into why he decided to defy trump on january 6th and certify the 2020 presidential election, and tell the viewers what he said. >> such an interesting moment, wolf. he was asked who prompted him to defy trump's efforts to undermine biden's victory, and he had such an interesting answer. let's take a listen. >> what is the name of the person who told you the buck president trump's plan and certify the votes? >> james madison. the solemn oath says to keep the oath even when it hurts. you must open and count the
solemn oath of the states, so you have to be willing to do your duty. >> so he was facing such pressure from trump administration and he was in the capital on january 6th when some were chanting "hang mike pence" and he was expected to be a gop candidate in 2024, and he says that he stands on his decision in the 2020 election. >> he made the right decision, and he is is defending it very, very strong, and strong words, and i wonder what the reaction is going to b and trump has three minutes to deliver the statement, and so you will update as usual. and thank you very, very much, paula reed. i'm wolf blitzer here in scotland and ""election night i america" starts right now.
it is the final hour of voting in virginia in a high-stakes election that could jolt american politics and shape the all-important battle of control of congress next year. welcome to cnn's coverage of "election night in america." i'm jake tapper and we are counting down the election of less than a hour when voting ends in virginia. it is pitting former governor terry mcauliffe against first-time candidate glenn youngkin, and it could go either way. mcauliffe has campaigned with biden and harris and obama and faced an unexpectedly tough fight in blue-leaning virginia, and youngkin has had support from trump, but he has