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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
CNN Projects: GOP Wins in New Jersey and Virginia; Maine Same- Sex Marriage Vote; Candidate Obama vs. President Obama; Record Spending to be Mayor
Aired November 3, 2009 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, we are right in the thick of what is shaping up as a big night for Republicans in Virginia; a GOP blowout, Bob McDonnell taking the governor's mansion. In New Jersey, incumbent Democratic Governor Jon Corzine losing his re-election bid to Republican Chris Christie; in both races, independents breaking heavily for the GOP.
Wolf Blitzer is bringing us all the late calls and some closes races. John King is at the magic wall tonight, with the big picture and some of the key numbers behind it. Randi Kaye is covering a closely watched ballot initiative in Maine, voters there deciding whether to repeal legislation allowing same-sex marriage. And Jason Carroll is following the money the wealthy candidates are spending to get themselves elected or reelected as the case from the mayor's race here in New York, Mike Bloomberg.
First up, in this hour, some late calls in the big races: for that, let's go to Wolf Blitzer -- Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR, "SITUATION ROOM": All right. Let me update our viewers, Anderson, on what we know so far.
In New Jersey, the challenger Chris Christie we project will win -- 96 percent of the vote is now in -- Chris Christie will the beat -- will defeat the incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine.
In Virginia, as you noted Bob McDonnell, the attorney general, he wins the election against Creigh Deeds, the Democrat -- 99 percent of the vote is in -- but an impressive win for Bob McDonnell. He'll become the next Governor of Virginia; both Republicans.
Let's take a look at New York. In the mayoral race, in New York City, it's a lot closer than a lot of people thought. But Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire, Republican turned independent now will be re-elected for a third term -- 97 percent of the vote is now in, in New York -- Bloomberg wins.
We still don't know what's going to happen in the Congressional District in upstate New York -- the special election, New York's 23rd District. Right now the Democrat Bill Owens slightly ahead of the conservative Doug Hoffman. The Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava, she had dropped out of the race saying she wanted to vote for Bill Owens, the Democrat. But she's still getting about five percent of the vote. Some people voting for her even though she dropped out. Those 5,367 votes so far.
Potentially we don't know, but potentially it could make a difference because Bill Owens is ahead by 3,900 votes over Doug Hoffman. There hasn't been a Democrat elected in this district, Anderson, in more than 100 years.
COOPER: All right, Wolf, let's zoom out and drill down, let's just run the numbers -- whatever you want to call it over the magic wall. John King is there with all the "Raw Politics" -- John.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the major headlines tonight is these two states New Jersey and Virginia. They were blue for Barack Obama in 2008; they are red tonight for the Republicans. Two governors elected in states that have had Democratic governors for quite some time. So the Republicans are feeling good tonight.
A couple of quick things to look at here, look at this -- this is the Republican victory in Virginia. Look up here in northern Virginia out here. Look out here in the middle part of the state. Look down here in the corner as well. While I circle those places, I want to go back in time now, remember all that red inside the line we're going to back to President Obama in 2008, a lot of blues, down here, especially up here in the suburbs.
In the closer to Washington suburbs and in the ex-urban areas, a little further out Barack Obama won big. I want also to go back to look at the Democratic race for governor last time. The Democrats did very well up here and those areas, too. Republicans are ascendant in the suburbs tonight and especially with independent voters.
Let's move back to New Jersey, this is way, way back. Let's look at the gubernatorial race. Look at all this blue, this is when Jon Corzine first won the governorship of New Jersey. Look at all that blue.
Now we're going to come forward to the presidential race. Again, Barack Obama all that blue. But this is what happened tonight again in the suburbs and among independent voters. Chris Christie the Republican running much better and stronger here tonight. He has won this race.
So, Anderson, one night does not a movement make. But those states were both. No Republican won statewide in New Jersey since 1997. The Democrats have won five of the last gubernatorial races in Virginia. The Republicans win tonight.
They say it is in part a message that independent voters and others are unhappy with all the spending in Washington. The Democrats see it otherwise. But Republicans do have bragging rights in the big governors' races tonight.
COOPER: John, if you can bring us up-to-date on New York 23 and also Maine, the referendum on gay marriage.
KING: Let's take a quick look at New York 23 -- we bring that right up here and pull it out. We've got to come over to the house race here. This is the district; it's right up here up along the Canadian border.
And let's get to the result here, let's tap in. You see it right now it's a close race but the Democrat, no Democrat has won this district in more than 100 years; 49 percent for the Democrat Bill Owens. Doug Hoffman, who is the conservative party candidate, he would caucus with the Republicans if he went to Washington but he's on the ballot as a conservative; 45 percent.
The Republican who dropped out but her name is still on the ballot. She was a Republican nominee getting six percent. And that could, Anderson, if these numbers hold make the difference.
Now, let's move on to the State of Maine. We don't have any live feed out of the State of Maine. There is a same-sex marriage initiative on the ballot. If you vote yes, you are voting to repeal state law allowing same-sex marriage. If you vote no, you're voting to leave that law in place and allow same-sex couples to marry; about 23 percent of the vote in right now Anderson. You can you do the math.
We're going to have to watch this one for a while. It's 50/50 right now in Maine.
COOPER: And there is high voter turnout, correct?
KING: The turnout so far has been encouraging, especially for an off- year election. Again, that's about -- that was 23 percent of the vote, 50/50. I can't tell you exactly where that vote is coming from. So it's hard to project it out but that's -- you don't have to be a rocket scientist, that's a close line.
COOPER: I know there have been anecdotal reports of, in some areas I think in Portland actually printing out new ballots because turn out was so high. But again, we don't know what areas are -- have been reporting, but still 50/50.
COOPER: You can't get much closer than that.
Let's "Dig Deeper" now into all of what's going on tonight. Some insights we're getting from tonight's races. Our political panel: senior political analyst, David Gergen; former Bush White House Press Secretary, Ari Fleischer; also political analyst Roland Martin; and Pamela Gentry, senior political analyst at BET.
Roland, I guess everyone is going to try to spin tonight differently. The White House is going to say well, this doesn't reflect on us. This is local races.
Republicans are going to say this is actually a referendum on President Obama and where the future of the Republican Party should be. How do you see it?
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You know earlier you were asking about whether (INAUDIBLE) there is no problem on for the president, he has a problem on and that is he has a serious issue. And that is his coalition is not as strong in terms of being able to carry across state races in terms of local races as well.
You look at young voters, you look at minority voters, you look at independents. They were backing him. There was talk about the president leading the 21st century Reagan revolution called the Obama revolution.
We're not saying that. They are going to have to figure out how do you keep his folks engaged and then taking that kind of power across the board? That's where they are.
Look, this whole health care debate this summer. His people were not at town hall meetings, they are not being engaged. His White House has been so focused frankly on 2012, maybe 2010. They'd better get a focus on 2009, 2010 and 2011. Because you might not have a second term if you have Democrats who are not enthusiastic about their candidates.
COOPER: Because regardless -- what they have know is that, the narrative shaped by tonight will have an impact.
ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, here is what you can look forward to in the future. The first year of any presidential election or midterm right after presidential party in power, almost always suffers big losses. That's what you can anticipate if history is any guide.
Let's look at the -- here is the killer statistic if I'm a Democrat. In Virginia, in 2008 when Barack Obama took Virginia, people under 30 were 21 percent of the electorate. Today, they were 10 percent. The black vote was 20 percent of all Virginia votes last year. Today it was 15 percent. The very coalition that put Barack Obama over the top is not showing up.
COOPER: And is that a failure of the White House to mobilize?
FLEISCHER: No, I think it's actually a reflection of how unusual the 2008 campaign was and how special people perceived Barack Obama to be back then. And that he's special is really fading for a lot of Democrats. That's the problem they're going to have.
And, again with the historical trends, first midterm election is almost always a big setback. Let me add one more piece to it. Senior citizens, the health care bill is driving the senior citizens even more towards Republicans. And that was the one group that Republicans actually kept in the 2008 election.
If independents don't go to Democrats, they go Republicans and the seniors are breaking to Republicans and if the black and the young votes don't come out, big problem for Democrats.
COOPER: We've got to take a quick break. We're going to have more with this conversation right on the other side of this break.
Let us know what you think. Join the live chat at AC360.com.
Coming up, some heavy turnout in Maine: big bucks from around the country as Maine's votes on same-sex marriage -- we'll talk about.
And he made a lot of promises on the campaign trail. The question tonight, is he keeping them? We're talking about President Obama. We're "Keeping them Honest."
COOPER: We're continuing our discussion with David Gergen, Roland Martin, Ari Fleischer and Pamela Gentry from BET. David, what happened to the Obama machine in terms of getting folks out to the polls?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, his name wasn't on the ballot. And he didn't organize these campaigns. I think you have to say that up front.
And a lot of our viewers have been writing in, Anderson and saying, "Look, there are lot of local factors. I live in Virginia. I live in New Jersey. Don't over-interpret this." I think that's true.
COOPER: There's always a danger in this off year elections about over-interpreting...
COOPER: ... what went on.
GERGEN: And there -- they don't have a lot of predictive value for what's going to happen a year later in the Congressional elections. Especially they don't have much predicted value about what's going to happen when Barack Obama runs for re-election.
But they do shape the political conversation among the folks in Washington and people who are activist in politics. And there are interpretations and narratives that got developed as a result of these kind of elections. And the narrative here is going to be the Republicans may finally be on the comeback trail.
Yes, they've got the civil war over NY 23. But the ground is changing under the feet of the Democrats. And Democrats to Roland's point have, I think yes, it's a question getting organized and energized because they were not energized; they didn't turn out tonight.
But I also think it's a question of how people are responding to the direction the country is going in and they associate that with the president. I think tonight much more than in the past Barack Obama owns the economy, for example. And he's now being held responsible for the jobs question.
COOPER: Even though TARP and stuff began under former President Bush?
MARTIN: He can longer say that. He can, look, the White House can try all day to say this is what we inherited; it's now yours. At the end of the day, it's now yours. He must deal with it.
And so we're talking about the whole energy. Our CNN Opinion Research Poll, 46 percent of Republicans say they are energized looking forward to 2010. Thirty-nine percent of Democrats and I think that this summer that four or five-month period where Democrats pretty much weren't doing anything, were not sending people to health-care town halls. They were not getting the people constantly involved.
When I go back -- go back to the civil rights movement, Dr. Kings concern always was not how many folks showed up for the march, but who showed up on Monday. And that's where the real work begins.
What the White House has to do is to make it clear to people, look, you have to be actively engaged in changes and it's going to be slow. It's not going to happen overnight. And so if you voted for it last year, November, you must continue to be involved. But you can't have 11 percent turnout in Houston and 20 percent turnout in Memphis, low turnout in Virginia and then somehow think that somehow you're going to win. I mean, you have to keep them going.
GERGEN: I agree with Roland but the White House is not about conducting a permanent campaign or at least it shouldn't be, it's about governance.
MARTIN: Well, that's what the Democrat National Committee is for and they control that.
GERGEN: Well, that's part of it -- but the part of -- what the president has to do is produce results in people's lives. That's what he ought to be most concerned about. Getting jobs moving. I think that they...
COOPER: And to James Carville's point earlier tonight, if the health care bill does get passed, whenever it does get passed -- although, according to Harry Reid, it's not going to happen this year -- that will be significant, obviously.
GERGEN: Harry Reid's office did issue a bit of a clarification but still, the signal is out there that has made now moving to next year.
Yes, I think James Carville was absolutely right. If they passed health care, it's probably going to help him and help Democrats. But if they don't pass health care, it will totally demoralize...
COOPER: Ari, do you buy this, the narrative that -- everyone says it's a local election when your candidate didn't win. The White House will say these were probably local elections about local issues. Do you buy that?
FLEISCHER: No and I said at the beginning, I think 2009 should be seen for what it is. It is a 2009 election cycle. It has implications for 2010. COOPER: It's a snapshot.
FLEISCHER: Anything can happen in one year. Look how popular Barack Obama was on January 20th and look what's happened in this past year. But the trend has been broken of Democrat victories and this really has changed.
If Republicans have lost Virginia and New Jersey tonight, you have four elections in a row. This will be really a march to Democratic ideology and pro Obama. That didn't happen. That's significant. The winds have shifted.
COOPER: We're going to take a quick break. Ari Fleischer, Roland Martin, Pamela Gentry and David Gergen, just stick around.
We've been focusing on a few big races. But you can go to AC360.com to see a whole a lot more. CNN has the breakdown of the most important races and what they mean again at AC360.com.
Coming up in our extended special election tonight coverage -- We're going all the way to midnight and a live edition of Larry King after that. Late results from Maine, where voters are deciding whether or not repeal same-sex marriage.
A lot more happening tonight, including a grim new discovery at the home of an alleged serial killer. We'll be right back.
COOPER: And welcome back to the continuing coverage.
You're seeing Chris Christie, the Republican candidate, the winner of the governor's race in New Jersey beating Democrat Governor Jon Corzine who was seeking re-election in that state.
Still ahead tonight, our live election coverage continues from Maine where key vote on same-sex marriage is being watched across the nation; 50/50 divided right now. That was the last figure we had according to John King.
First, Erica Hill right now, joins us with a "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, Cleveland police today found four more bodies and a skull at the home of a convicted rapist. They have now found a total of ten bodies on that property since last week. Fifty-year-old Anthony Sowell is charged with five counts of aggravated murder, rape, felonious assault and kidnapping. He will be arraigned tomorrow.
Lawyers for convicted Beltway sniper John Allan Mohammed (ph) filed an appeal today asking the Supreme Court to block next week's scheduled execution. A clemency request had already been filed with the Virginian governor's office. No word on when the justices might rule.
Nearly half of American children and 90 percent of black youngsters will be on food stamps at some point during childhood. And researchers say the current recession could push those numbers even higher. That's according to a new study in the archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
And a Colorado man who claimed he was attacked and stabbed by three people he described as Hispanic males or skinheads has now confessed that actually he stabbed himself and made up the story because he didn't want to go to work. No word on whether he still has a job at the Blockbuster where he works.
COOPER: I would anticipate not.
All right, coming up, the latest on a heated battle playing out in Maine; will voters there become the first in the nation to uphold a law legalizing same-sex marriage? What will it mean in a broader sense if they do? We'll look at that.
Plus, is President Obama keeping the promises to the country? We're going to compare his campaign rhetoric to White House reality. "Keeping them Honest" tonight on 360.
COOPER: Another vote we're watching closely tonight is in Maine where voters are deciding whether a new law permitting same-sex marriage should stand. The referendum that was passed in May has yet to take effect.
Right now the results are 50/50; Voters evenly split. That's with 37 percent of the precincts reporting. We don't have real time results in the race. So the numbers are lagging a bit and maybe changing as we speak. And then, if today's referendum sounds like the same battle that was playing out in California last November, it basically is.
Californians voted to reject same-sex marriage. And although Maine's population is a tiny fraction of California's, today's vote is being seen as a bellwether battle, coming at a crucial point in the same-sex marriage move.
Randi Kaye joins me now -- Randi.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, I have to tell you, that in May, the legislature in Maine passed the law legalizing same-sex marriage. And it's been on hold, as you mentioned, until now. But if the law in the books is upheld in tonight's vote, this would mark the first time voters approve same-sex marriage and decide at the ballot box to redefine marriage as not just between a man and a woman.
Up to now, voters in about 30 states have banned the same-sex marriage. Maine is the first test since California's Proposition 8 last year where voters approved a ban on same-sex marriage.
Now in Maine, voters could make history and set the trend really for the rest of the country, Washington State already voting tonight on expanding domestic partner benefits. And New York and New Jersey, Anderson, are also making moves to legalize same-sex marriage. So there's really plenty of action under way already. Now, if it passes, it could really energize gay rights activists nationwide; Maine would be the sixth state where same-sex marriage is legal and the fifth state actually in New England. If it loses, this will be a major setback for the gay rights movement and it would give opponents really the chance to say from coast to coast because of California, same-sex marriage has been shot down.
COOPER: People have also lined up and spent some pretty some significant money both for and against the law. How much are way talking about and how much of it is coming from out of state? Do we know -- where is the money coming from?
KAYE: Well, Stand for Marriage, the group trying to reverse the law raised $2.6 million. While Protect Maine Equality, which is actually defending the law, has raised much more just over $4 million; overall, a lot less money of course, than we saw with Proposition 8 in California, but very significant for the State of Maine.
Now, much of the cash, Anderson, is coming from out of state. Stand for Marriage told us they got at least half its donations from out of state; a big chunk from the National Organization for Marriage, a conservative Christian group based in New Jersey. It donated $1.8 million to Stand for Marriage to help ban same-sex marriage.
That's just what it put toward Prop 8, it told us. The translation here, Stand for Marriage got more money, Anderson, from donors in New Jersey for an election in Maine than it did from its own residents in Maine.
Now Protect Maine Equality which supports same-sex marriage had about 20,000 donors in all; one of its biggest out of state donors, the Human Rights Campaign which gave about $220,000.
And the out of state effort really goes beyond money. In California today, the group Equality California was hosting phone banks and calling voters across the country in Maine to get them to vote to protect the rights of same-sex couples.
COOPER: Have you talked to people who donated money coast to coast and asked them why they're giving to a cause in a state that they don't even live in?
KAYE: We do, we called some people on the list today; we talked to a few including one woman from California who donated $600 to Protect Maine Equality and support same-sex marriage. She told us, she's hoping to marry her partner in Maine next summer if the law stands. She's donating from California because she was so disappointed she said, after same-sex marriage was banned in her state. She told us a little money from California, Anderson, goes a long way in Maine.
COOPER: All right. And again, the race at this point with 37 percent of the precincts that last count that we had, 50/50 right now. Too close to call in Maine.
We're "Digging Deeper" tonight; with us again, David Gergen and Ari Fleischer and Roland Martin and Pamela Gentry. Pamela, there are plenty of Obama supporters disgruntled about promises unfulfilled from the president to lesbian and gay Americans.
Would same-sex marriage pass in Maine, do you think, put more pressure on the president to act on related issues? Really, he had no involvement in this Maine decision one way or the other. He really did nothing for it in the last couple of weeks at all.
PAMELA GENTRY, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, BET: I don't know if this issue was going to be the one. But he's definitely going to be under some pressure still to do something about "don't ask, don't tell." Because I think the gay rights activist groups still feel that is something on his list that he really hasn't moved to the top.
But he's said on several occasions that it's not something that he's ignoring but that it's something that didn't raised -- didn't rise to the top soon enough.
But one of the other things I wanted to mention here is that, one of the things that I think that we have kind of overlooked in some of these-- these discussions about how much Obama is going to be blamed for what went on in maybe in Virginia and in New Jersey is that there were two bad things going on.
Corzine was in bad trouble before this election even got started and the president, I think, did as much as he could to help him. But Deeds ran an awful campaign in the State of Virginia and I don't think that even people who probably supported him turned out tonight.
COOPER: What about that? I mean, is it the candidate's fault? Or is it the economy? How do you see it?
GERGEN: I think Pamela is right. Of course, the local -- Deeds did run a lousy campaign. But that doesn't explain when the Democratic candidate for governor runs a lousy campaign; it does not explain why Republicans not only win the governorship but the lieutenant governorship and the attorney general's office. They won statewide.
GERGEN: They won big time and they won decisively.
MARTIN: Following a Democratic Governor.
FLEISCHER: There is something more going on here.
GERGEN: Yes, exactly so there is I think Roland keeps on coming back to this. There is no question that the intensity level has favored the Democrats in the last two or three elections.
COOPER: So if you're in the White House tonight, how do you move forward from here? FLEISCHER: Well Anderson, it's not only the intensity level, it's the ideological level. There is a tax rebellion under way in this country. There is a spending rebellion under way in this country.
It was started with Republicans who objected to President Bush's bailout last October. Then it accelerated with the stimulus, with the bailout of automakers, et cetera. And now we have $1.4 trillion deficit. That's the issue I think that's going to drive the elections going forward at 2010. I think it's why it's also to give conservative Democrats pause about the health care bill. There is just too much spending going on.
COOPER: What happens to health care now?
FLEISCHER: Well, I think the Blue Dogs are really going to have to scratch their heads and say am I next? Am I going to lose if I support this? And the problem that Democrats have, it's a vice.
James Carville is right. If they don't pass it, it's a disaster because the base gets even more disillusioned. But the conservative Democrats are really caught because if they're for it, they could see what happened in Virginia and what happened in New Jersey; it could happen to them, too.
COOPER: And why the timing of it is so important right now is that if it gets pushed into next year, then you are already into next year's campaign cycle.
GERGEN: Yes. And you get once -- the closer you get to the election, the more cautious those moderate Democrats are going to be.
There is another bill, I think, that also is going to be affected by this. And that's what is -- the so-called cap and trade bill; the energy environmental bill. Moderate conservative Democrats have already been expressing a lot of caution on that. I think this is going to intensify their concerns.
COOPER: It also takes away power from President Obama to be able to force Democrats to go forward on the cap and trade and also on health care.
MARTIN: Again, it's all about leverage. And, look, if you -- if health care rolls over to 2010, now all of a sudden you're recalibrating the whole fight.
The White House needs this bill by the end of this year because you want to start the year off with a different focus. You can't say, well, my first year we dealt with health care. Now we're going to my second year. I'm still dealing with health care. And your entire agenda is frankly subservient to the whole health care issue.
Progressives are all -- liberals are also going to be more aggressive after tonight. Forget the conservatives, they're going to be saying, you know what? You need it even more so now. You need to get moving on this as opposed to allowing them to control the debate.
GERGEN: It -- there appears, Anderson, to be, on health care itself, either they're having trouble in the Congressional Budget Office trying to get numbers that they can live with, that they can take to the voter. Or they're having trouble getting the 60 votes in the Senate and Harry Reid is having a hard time. I don't think he would have signaled this as possibly going to be put over. If he thought he could bring the votes together, he'd put it out there like that.
COOPER: Ari, how big a night is this for Sarah Palin, for Rush Limbaugh, for commentators who got involved in the New York 23 election but also have been trying to push the Republican Party to focus on the more core conservative issues?
FLEISCHER: I think it depends substantially on the results upstate New York. If Doug Hoffman wins, I think Sarah Palin will be vindicated. If he loses, then I think it's going to be not quite a setback because Sarah Palin's base is so conservative. It's had to set her back among that base.
But it's -- the issue is still upstate was an economic rebellion. Whether or not the vote is split enough between the Republican candidate who will remain and the conservative could (INAUDIBLE) Republicans a seat we don't know.
The other fascinating thing about that seat is John King was right. It's been in the Republican column in Congress for more than 100 years. But Barack Obama took that district by five points. Chuck Schumer's won that seat. Hillary Clinton's won that seat when they ran for Senate.
So it's a little more of a...
GERGEN: Ari, if Sarah Palin hadn't come in and -- if they hadn't come in and helped the Conservative, could she have won that race?
FLEISCHER: Too hard to say. Because I think because of her economic record, because she was for card check, because she was for the stimulus, she voted for budget increases, tax increases and spending increases in the assembly, I don't think a lot of Republicans would have taken a pass on supporting her. Owen (SIC) might have won even by a bigger margin than he's currently up.
We don't know how it's going to out now.
MARTIN: The Republicans are going after moderate conservatives -- moderate Republicans. If they win New York 23 tonight -- if, Hoffman wins, that puts pressure on them. If Owens wins, it might cause them to say let's step back because we can't attack those moderates.
Look at the race in Florida. They're going to be -- they're strategic in terms of going after moderate Republicans because at the end of the day you can you attack your own but you have to win. If you don't win, then this was just a great exercise. But you still lost and you gave a receipt. The Republicans held for 100 years to a Democrat.
FLEISCHER: Well, remember, Florida, Charlie Crist is no moderate. He's cut spending and he's cut taxes.
MARTIN: Well, don't tell Dick ...
MARTIN: There are a lot of people who were -- the TEA Party folks are saying he's a moderate and want (INAUDIBLE).
FLEISCHER: I'll stand up to that. I got you.
COOPER: Pamela, I know you want to get in on this.
GENTRY: I just wanted to say one thing going into 2010. A lot of the things we've said tonight are very true if everything stays the same in 2010 that has happened here tonight.
But if jobs come -- jobs are number one. If we see an increase and we see that number of the unemployment drops, a lot of the conversation we're having tonight could end up being a non-issue because I think that both of these elections tonight were very economic. Both these states are hurting. Both of these states wanted to see economic change.
And even though it's -- whether all this spending is something it was a referendum against, I think that that will all go to the back burner if these states see jobs.
MARTIN: Well, Pam, the White House has been signaling for the last couple weeks that you're going to see unemployment stay steady. So they understand what the trend lines are showing. And so if they don't think unemployment is going to go down. Look, they understand that's going to be a problem for them. That number does not move.
GENTRY: If that number doesn't, that's true.
COOPER: We're going to take a quick break. More with David and Ari and Roland and Pamela.
As always, we want to know what you think. Join the live chat at ac360.com.
Just ahead, promises made on the campaign trail last year -- and there are a lot of them from the economy to gays in the military. How many has President Obama kept? How many is he ignoring? "Keeping Them Honest" tonight.
And a record amount to get re-elected has been spent: new information tonight about New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's unprecedented spending.
COOPER: He's the one player in tonight's election drama who hasn't been seen even though we've been talking about him all night, President Obama. Looking at the White House tonight where President Obama was reportedly not expected to watch the election results. Earlier spokesman Robert Gibbs saying he expected the president to watch pro basketball instead.
As for the first lady and girls, according to Politico a Miley Cyrus concert for which first lady Michelle Obama was due to receive some sort of award or a medal for surviving through.
We have been looking at the president's impact on the races today; their impact on him. Was this, for some voters, a referendum on his presidency or his accomplishments or as critics charge, his unfulfilled promises?
Health care reform is just one of the many promises President Obama campaigned on. Vowed to get a bill passed this year; doesn't look like that is going to happen until possibly early next year.
He also made pledges about the economy, the military, gay rights and more; easy to make promises, of course, in the heat of a campaign. How many has he actually kept?
Candy Crowley tonight is "Keeping Them Honest."
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On that unusually balmy Chicago night last November, the candidate who campaigned on the fierce urgency of now became the president-elect who needed time.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We may not get there in one year or even in one term.
CROWLEY: A year later, President Obama still needs time to turn a myriad of campaign promises into policy and that includes some big ones: immigration reform, new financial market regulations, a game changing energy bill.
OBAMA: In ten years, we will eliminate the need for oil from the entire Middle East and Venezuela.
CROWLEY: The list of the undones is long, varied and mostly difficult.
OBAMA: I have stated repeatedly that "don't ask, don't tell" makes no sense.
CROWLEY: But that policy remains in place.
Still, the president is on track to fulfilling several major promises. The majority of troops will be pulled from Iraq next year though 50,000 may remain. More troops have been sent to Afghanistan. He has ordered Guantanamo Bay prison closed though he is likely to miss his self-imposed January deadline.
Domestically, two issues have dominated the first ten months, health care and the economy, stoked by a nearly $800 billion stimulus plan.
OBAMA: Our plan will likely save or create 3 million to 4 million jobs; 90 percent of these jobs will be created in the private sector.
CROWLEY: Here's the thing about that. How do you count people who don't get fired?
ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: The administration can claim what they'd like. We have no way of knowing how many jobs were actually saved as opposed to created.
CROWLEY: Health care is a work in progress. But two of the things the president opposed in the campaign, mandatory insurance and fines for people who don't have it, are nonetheless likely to end up in the bill.
If ten months is too short a time to keep promises, it's plenty of time to break them starting with putting together a health care plan.
OBAMA: We'll have the negotiations televised on C-Span.
CROWLEY: Didn't happen, nor did another promise of transparency.
OBAMA: When there's a bill that ends up as my desk as president, you, the public, will have five days to look online and find out what's in it before I sign it.
CROWLEY: It was not always done. Perhaps not broken but certainly bent -- the president and lobbyists.
OBAMA: They will not work in my White House.
CROWLEY: The administration has made exceptions; some former lobbyists do work in the administration. A Pulitzer prize winning Web site Politifact.com tracks more than 500 Obama campaign promises, the vast majority are rate "no action."
OBAMA: Well, governing is even harder than campaigning.
CROWLEY: The president needs more time. He has three years and two months.
Candy Crowley, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Let's talk about that. Let's talk about the idea of giving him more time with our panel. Joining me again: David Gergen, Ari Fleischer, Roland Martin, and Pamela Gentry from BET.
David, is it fair to say that the president hasn't fulfilled these promises in the time he's been in office?
GERGEN: I think it's become standard fair for presidents now to be held accountable for what they promise in their campaign. People keep long lists. And indeed White House...
COOPER: Is ten months enough time? GERGEN: It's not -- ten months is not enough time to deliver on all of this. In fact, I think we've argued on this program that maybe he's trying to go too fast in some respects.
I personally think in retrospect, they should have focused almost exclusively on the economy in this first year; really worked on the jobs question. Gotten this economy back in shape and then with that momentum, move on to health care next year.
But he chose to go this other way. I think that in some ways -- to go to Ari's point -- there's been so much going on that people are -- there is a sense among some voters even though they like Obama personally and we see that in the CNN poll tonight, that they're saying this is just too much too fast. Too much government, too fast; too much spending and they're worried about it.
COOPER: It's interesting Ari, the man you worked for, former President Bush used to get criticized when he would keep saying it's hard; like it's hard being president. You now hear President Obama saying that as well.
FLEISCHER: I've noticed.
COOPER: I haven't heard him being criticized for it as much at this point. But is ten months -- should people expect more in ten months? In terms of fulfilling promises...
FLEISCHER: In terms of the substantive legislation, it does take time. But in terms of measuring who our new president is, people are starting to register those opinions rather strongly and especially on the left. There is a keen sense of disappointment and letdown.
I think Barack Obama very quickly showed he is really a conventional politician; not any different or any better than any of those who came before him. He got into office and I think he missed his best opportunity when he got appropriation bill, the regular funding bill sent to him. He signed it instead of vetoing it and sending it back because it contains pork barrel and earmarks.
He could have controlled Washington, D.C. He could have controlled the Congress. Instead, he kind of rolled over. And I think he's missed his opportunity to really show that he was a different kind of president.
MARTIN: Earlier I mentioned Dr. King. Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955, Civil Rights Bill, Voting Rights Bill 64-65, ten-year time period. That kind of changed. It takes time.
The small things we talked about, whether it was "don't ask, don't tell", in terms of the executive order, those are small doable low hanging fruit achievements.
COOPER: Even some of these other things, the candidates talked about transparency, promising the bills online, lobbyists. (CROSSTALK)
MARTIN: You went for such a huge issue that you did not satisfy a lot of your base with some of low-hanging fruit and say those are all accomplishments.
And so when they say, "We'll close Guantanamo Gay." Now you announce you're going to close but it's not closed. So in many ways people are saying you have made announcements but you have not actually achieved those things yet.
Yes, you've gotten further along with health care than anybody in the last 70 years. But is there a bill that you can sign into law? No.
And so that's where those kinds of promises come in. And so now you're in a situation where you have no choice but to close health care because you have to. You have to hang your hat on that because otherwise, your agenda is frankly being held up.
And so that's where -- that's what they're facing. So you're getting serious criticism on the right. But even your base is saying, look, man, what are you doing? I mean we believe in all of this. And now ten months later what have we received? If you can't give low hanging fruit, then what are you hanging your hat on?
GENTRY: I think that one of the things that David said is that he started with -- instead of starting with the economy, he decided that he was going to go with health care. What he really did, on several occasions, he kept saying that, "I can't tackle the economy without tackling health care." And he linked those two things together.
MARTIN: But it's such nuance Pam. It's difficult I think for the average person to say ok. The average person says I know a job. I mean I get up, I put my clothes on and go to work. That's the problem when you start trying to explain to people, no, health care is tied to the economy, the costs, it goes down in 10, 20 year. It's a difficult thing to pull together.
GENTRY: Well, I know. But I'm just saying that's why he can't check -- he can't check them off separately. He has linked them together that there has be -- they both have to go along.
GENTRY: And we don't know that they're in tandem is going to make a big difference.
GERGEN: Pam, I -- there's a paradoxical sense here that there are those on the left who are disappointed as Ari says. And yet, at the same time, there are many in the middle and somewhat to the right and Democratic Party and Independents who think he's gone too far to the left. And saying he's governing too far to the left with Nancy Pelosi and everything like that.
So he's caught in this crossfire now of people on the left thinking he's not doing enough for them and people in the middle thinking he's way too much of a -- he's too much of a leftist.
Same thing on business; he is seen as coddling business and yet big business people think he's hostile.
COOPER: We'll have more with our panel ahead: Roland Martin, Ari Fleischer, Pamela Gentry, David Gergen; much more with the panel.
Also record spending by billionaire Michael Bloomberg at a New York mayor's race: did he buy his way into office? Is that fair? Is it good for the country? We'll talk about that.
Tonight also the high stakes of high-priced politics. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Tonight: high stakes, high priced politics. Here in New York, Michael Bloomberg nearly spent $100 million in his campaign win his third term as mayor. A lot of money certainly is raising a lot of questions.
Jason Carroll joins us with some information about the Bloomberg record spending victory. Jason, Bloomberg spent basically a record amount of money during this campaign, I think more than $97 million. Did he spend so much -- did he need to spend so much to win?
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, when you look at the final results, I think Bloomberg will certainly say that he spent everything that he needed to.
When you look at some of the final numbers here, some rough estimates ended up saying that he'll spend $100 million.
We crunched some of the numbers to put this in perspective, Anderson. When you look at it, when you see that at this point Bloomberg has received some 556,000 votes, when you do the math there that ends up being about $170 he spent per vote. That is a lot of money.
And you also want to talk about a lot of money. You look at what he spent in the past three mayoral elections; we're talking about $245 million. All of that money spent, Anderson, definitely leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of some New Yorkers.
COOPER: There are those who basically approve of Bloomberg's performance as mayor but some have a problem with him seeking a third term. Was his ending term a factor in this race? And it was really talked about a lot.
CARROLL: Absolutely without question. You go out on the street -- I was out in the street earlier today just speaking to some voters, going into a polling place, talking to some folks there.
I heard it overwhelming. You hear voters who came out and said, yes, I approve of the job that the mayor is doing. I like what he's doing in terms of the economy. I like what he's doing in terms of reducing crime. What I don't like is the fact that a few years ago he said I'm not going to run for a third term, then he turns around, lobbies the city council to extend term limit so he can run for a third term. That's definitely one of the things that played into why this particular race ended up being a lot closer than a lot of people had predicted.
COOPER: Yes. I think early on he called those who wanted to overturn term limits disgraceful; clearly changed his mind on that one. Do you think that contributed to a lower voter turnout?
CARROLL: Well, I think that's part of the reason, definitely without question. Again, when I went to my polling place a little earlier today, it was like a tomb. And when I finally did speak to some of the voters who were there, a lot of them were saying, again, "I like what the mayor is doing in terms of the direction that he's trying to steer the city into but I don't like the fact that he did this sort flip-flop on term limits. I'm uncomfortable with the idea that he outspent his opponent, William Thompson, by more than ten to one."
Thompson spending some what -- $8 million on this campaign? A lot of these things left a bitter taste in the mouths of some folks out there. They say, "You know I support the guy." When it comes to a third term, why wasn't that vote put to the people of New York, to let them decide?
One of the factors that I think played into the race as well.
COOPER: All right Jason. Appreciate the reporting tonight.
Mayor Bloomberg spent a bundle but it was hardly a blowout vote.
What does this record spending say about money in politics? Joining us for one more time tonight -- David Gergen, Ari Fleischer, Roland Martin and Pamela Gentry.
Pamela, did he need to spend that much money?
GENTRY: I guess if you have it, I guess why not. I mean, That's a lot of money. I mean, what is it, 10-1, $170 per voter, that does seem like a lot of money.
I think the thing here in New York is that Bloomberg has been this iconic type of figure. He's almost a celebrity type mayor in the sense that he's already this multimillionaire. He has nothing else to do. I guess this is something he wants to do to occupy his time. He's done well by the City of New York.
But I do think it's interesting, I think we should at least acknowledge that Bill Thompson gave him a pretty good run for his money -- for the money, literally. And he brought in, you know, a good showing. This race was a lot closer, I think, than any of us expected it to be.
COOPER: Yes, I think he was a multimillionaire like 20 or 30 years ago. We're now talking billions.
GENTRY: I'm sorry, get those Bs and Ms.
COOPER: Billionaires find that insulting from what I understand.
MARTIN: You know Anderson, I think what was insulting really is the fact that he decided to overturn the will of the voters and the supreme arrogance to say, "Look, I won a third term. I don't care if you guys actually pass this. The council went along with it."
I will not be surprised if you look at whatever exit polling data in terms of these close results. He blew out the last guy, Barrow, when Barrow ran four years ago. For this to be this close, that's an issue.
I have a problem when you just say, "The heck with the vote of the people, I just want to do what I want to do. I'm sorry."
FLEISCHER: But money isn't everything in politics as we saw in New Jersey. Governor Corzine outspent Chris Christie by more than $10 million; again his own money. I've seen races where the rich guy loses. I've seen them when they win.
Ideas and ideology still are really the dominant force in politics. Another local raised here, but Westchester County, New York, a county of almost 1 million people; a Republican won the county executive race there running against what we call the tax madness of government here.
So these ideological issues still play a very powerful role.
GERGEN: I was reminded of what, I think, Jack Kennedy said about his father after he won in the 1960s. His father sent him a note saying, "I'm willing to spend whatever it takes to buy the election but not one damn penny more."
Listen, people change their minds about running again. Teddy Roosevelt famously changed his mind. He went down to defeat doing that.
But I tell you this, I will wager when history is written, Mike Bloomberg will be remembered as one of the best mayors New York ever had.
MARTIN: He didn't change his mind. He changed the will of the people.
COOPER: We're going to leave it there. Pamela Gentry, Roland Martin, Ari Fleischer, David Gergen, appreciate it. Thanks tonight.
We're also following some other important stories including the latest on a young woman who was allegedly run over by her father because police say she'd became too westernized, according to the father. New information about that disturbing case ahead and the latest on the races.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: More election results in a moment. Let's get caught up on some of the other headlines tonight. Erica Hill has a "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.
HILL: Anderson, a 20-year-old woman from Iraq has died in an Arizona hospital two weeks after police say her father ran her over with his car because she had become, quote, "too westernized". The father fled after the attack and was arrested last week when arriving at Atlanta's airport after being denied entry into the U.K. He is now in an Arizona jail.
A seventh suspect arrested in the gang rape of a 15-year-old girl at a California high school. Police say up to ten people were involved in the attack. Another ten people watched it never calling 911.
And a "360 Follow", a Louisiana justice of the peace who refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple has resigned. It's a story we've been following closely. Anderson interviewed Beth Humphrey, the bride-to-be who was turned away by Keith Bardwell. Humphrey and her husband did obtain a marriage license from a different justice of the peace. They filed a lawsuit two weeks ago, Anderson.
COOPER: It will be interesting to see if those lawsuits are affected by the fact that this guy resigned. We'll continue to follow that story Erica.
That does it for this edition of 360. We continue to have our election night coverage. We've seen big victories for Republicans in the state of Virginia as well as the governor's race in New Jersey.
We continue to watch the situation in Maine where gay marriage referendum to overturn the legislature's decision to allow gay marriage in the state of Maine is up for vote. At last count it was 50/50, too close to call since 37 percent of precincts have reported. We'll try to get an update for you in the next hour.
Larry King takes it from here. Our coverage continues throughout the night. Thanks -- Larry.