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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Election Night in America; Republicans Win House; Democrats Keep Senate
Aired November 2, 2010 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: They are -- they did get a net gain in Wisconsin, as we just projected, when Russ Feingold, we project, will lose. And that will be a net gain for the Republicans in the Senate. Ron Johnson will be the next U.S. Senator from Wisconsin. Let's make some more projections.
All right, it's the top of the hour, it's 11:00 p.m. on the East Coast. Ron Wyden we project will be the next U.S. -- he'll be re- elected from Oregon. We expected this, Ron Wyden beating the Republican, Jim Hoffman yes, relatively easily. He'll come back for another six years in the United States Senate.
Similarly for Mike Crapo, the Idaho Senator -- Mike Crapo beating Tom Sullivan the Democrat, easily re-elected in the reliably-red State of Idaho. Those are -- those are -- those are two projections we're making right now. So there's no net gain or net loss for the Democrats or the Republicans.
Let's take a look at some raw exit poll data, I'll start in California. The governor's race are -- right now, remember these are raw exit poll numbers based on interviews we do together with other network, television networks and the Associated Press. It doesn't necessarily mean this is what's going to happen.
But right now, based on the raw exit poll data, we have Jerry Brown with 53 percent, Meg Whitman with 43 percent. It looks like Jerry Brown is in good shape but we're not ready to make a projection on the California governor's race.
The California Senate race, very similar numbers, based on the raw exit poll data we're getting: Barbara Boxer, the incumbent senator, 53 percent; Carly Fiorina, the challenger, the Republican businesswoman, 43 percent.
Interestingly, both Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman they spent tens of millions of their own money trying to defeat these Democrats. They're -- they're -- they're behind in the raw exit poll data, but these are not necessarily the final numbers by any means.
In Washington state right now, Patty Murray, the incumbent Democrat with 52 percent; Dino Rossi, the Republican challenger with 46 percent. These are raw exit poll data.
I want to be precise, it's not necessarily final numbers, but it's showing you a trend of what's going on. All right, we have another projection, a major projection, the Governor of South Carolina race, Nikki Haley we project will become the next Governor of South Carolina, beating Vincent Sheheen the Democrat. Nikki Haley right now with 91 percent of the vote in 52 percent; to Vincent Sheheen, 46 percent. She had the strong support of Sarah Palin, the Tea Party Movement.
She is a first-generation American. Her parents are Indians from India. Nikki Haley will be the next governor of South Carolina. Big win for the Republicans. A big win for the Tea Party Movement in South Carolina right now.
Anderson, it's after 11:00 p.m. on the West Coast, we're watching all these races closely, California, in particular.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Obviously also Nikki Haley was a -- had been pinpointed by Sarah Palin for some early support in that state.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: -- her Indian support across the country really kind of build a base of support I think for sort of a national race as well.
I mean, she has now the first Indian-American female governor in U.S. history, the first female governor of South Carolina and Bobby Jindal of course would be the first, if you're just looking not counting gender.
O'BRIEN: Big for a lot of first.
KATHLEEN PARKER, CO-HOST, "PARKER/SPITZER": Well, Sarah Palin certainly put Nikki on the map in a big way, in a splashy way but Nikki Haley was Nikki Haley before Sarah Palin came on the scene. She was a conservative budget flashing legislator and she was -- she was tapped by Mark Sanford. She was Mark Sanford in a dress is how she was referred to.
So I mean, Sarah I guess gets credit for making us all aware of her in a larger way, but Nikki Haley was already Nikki Haley.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Would she -- could she have won without Sarah Palin?
PARKER: I don't think she could have, because when Sarah Palin came to town, I mean, she shot up from bottom to top. And lots of people went after her and tried to bring her down, and you don't have -- when you go after a woman candidate the way some people did in that state, a couple of men came out and said --
PARKER: -- really horrible things, and at that point Nikki Haley was in. ELIOT SPITZER, CNN CO-HOST, "PARKER/SPITZER": It seems to me the most effective campaign we've seen over the past couple of months, I hate to say it, was fire Nancy Pelosi. That seems to be the message that resonated through the Republican Party and it was -- what led to this tidal wave on the Congressional side.
And I think that Sarah Palin, who is the one who has been driving this, comes out a huge winner tonight. I don't know how the Tea Party is going to be integrated or not into the Republican Party -- I'll leave that to others, David in particular --
PARKER: Eliot is always pushing Sarah Palin. You've got to be --
COOPER: But you have to -- you also have to gave Sarah Palin credit for -- for taking risks to hand-pick candidates long before other people were. Wasn't she -- she wasn't making safe choices, she was really going out there and -- and picking some people who -- who she really elevated.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right. And even though she may not be the candidate in 2012, she could well be the king maker for the Republican nomination. I mean, she has put herself in a position where her endorsement, her -- her enthusiasm, what she can rally, actually makes a difference.
BORGER: Can I just point out her candidate in New Hampshire won. Right?
GERGEN: Yes exactly.
BORGER: New Hampshire, important, early stage.
GERGEN: But I think it's also interesting night, that the number of women who've won, and it's almost like we're not talking about it but ten years ago if this many women had won, we'd all be saying, wow. But it's now it's just part of --
PARKER: Wow. And more women ran than have ever run before.
GERGEN: Yes but you've got a newcomers like in New Hampshire, you've got Barbara Mikulski, who is a continuing star in -- in Maryland. It's just -- it is -- it's woven into the fabric now. And it's a very positive important change.
SPITZER: And they had some big ones as well, Linda McMahon and Carly Fiorina --
GERGEN: But they didn't -- but the gender didn't make it --
SPITZER: No, no, no. I think that's -- that's right. It wasn't -- it wasn't the issue.
GERGEN: It wasn't the issue.
SPITZER: But I think some big names women also --
PARKER: What's important is that so many are running.
COOPER: I just want to point out one of the Tea Party candidates who lost in this state is Carl Paladino who ran for governor. Andrew Cuomo who won for governor is speaking. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW CUOMO, GOVERNOR-ELECT, NEW YORK: You're not going to separate us, you can try it somewhere else, but you're not going to sell that in New York.
We are one. We are united. We believe in community. We believe in finding the similarities among people. And we're not going to let you separate us.
Yes, we have challenges. Yes, we have to clean up Albany. Yes, we have to get the economy running. Yes, we have to rebuild trust with the people.
We're going to do all of that because we faced worse than this before. But we're going to do it together. We are going to be united. That's what made this day this day. And that's what's going to make this state the Empire State once again.
And tonight, tonight, my friends, the campaign is over, and the politics are over. And it's not about being a Democrat, it's not about being a Republican, it's not about being an independent. We are New Yorkers first, and we're going to leave here today as New Yorkers.
And we are going to be more united than we ever have been before, committed to reinventing this government, and giving this state a government that it can be proud of. Confidence, performance, integrity, that's the government they deserve, that's the government they're going to get, that's what you made possible.
We're going to have a great Lieutenant Governor. We're going to have a great team. Thank you, thank you, thank you for making it possible. Let's go do it. Thank you, and God bless you. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo saying the politics are over. Is he right about that, Eliot Spitzer?
SPITZER: At least until 8:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.
COOPER: But -- but I mean, obviously a very substantial win for -- for Andrew Cuomo. Not really a surprise in the state that Carl Paladino wasn't able to do anything.
BORGER: No, Paladino was fun to watch, wasn't he?
GERGEN: Yes, what -- what has been interesting, though, the Democrats seem to have a really strong hold now on the West Coast you know, where we've just seen both major Republican candidates went down. It's very hard to penetrate the West Coast for a Republican. And the Democrats have a very strong lock on sort of New York. Deval Patrick winning the night, along with Cuomo.
So it is -- that's still a Republican challenge. They've made some headway in some of the Congressional races.
PARKER: But Paladino wasn't a serious --
SPITZER: It's slipping like about 15 years ago.
SPITZER: I mean, this is the common you know, two coasts that are clearly Democratic and then the huge swath in the middle, that is much less so.
BORGER: But -- but if you look enough -- I mean, I don't think Paladino was a serious candidate, honestly, but if you look in upstate New York in House races, in the northeast, you're going to see some serious gains for Republicans.
GERGEN: Yes, in the House, in the House.
SPITZER: Gloria, you're right. But the numbers I'm getting are shown in some the upstate swing seats --
SPITZER: -- Democrats, as per the rest of the House, are going to be losing John Paul in the Hudson Valley and perhaps -- perhaps Michael Kerry (ph) a little farther upstate, look like they're losing and that I think will be a symbol of what's coming.
COOPER: Paul -- Paul, I wanted Paul Begala, do you think we're going to be able to call Nevada tonight?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: O hala as the say in Spanish. You know, hopefully, but no. It is -- it's so close there. And they are both running against the only person they could beat, Sharron Angle and Harry Reid. If anybody else or either was nominated by either party, that person would win.
Looking back to the -- we we're watching Andrew Cuomo, the newly- elected governor of New York. This is also a night to look for rising stars. I think Marco Rubio, plainly a rising star -- great victory, great speech. Nikki Haley, what a compelling story, a real rising star in her party.
But Andrew Cuomo in my party, watch for him. I mean, he's more familiar to the political press, because he was the HUD Secretary under Clinton. But he just won a big victory against a not very great opponent, but this is a -- this is a rising star in my party.
COOPER: We -- we should point out, we have no votes in right now from Nevada, so we have really have no sense. We saw those exit polls before but we're watching obviously that closely. We're going to take a short break. Our coverage continues in a moment.
BLITZER: For those of you just tuning in, the Republicans we project will be the majority in the next session of the United States House of Representatives. Nancy Pelosi will no longer be the Speaker of the House. John Boehner will become the Speaker. Not only will the Republicans have a net gain of at least 39, we projected they'll have a net gain of more than 52. More than 52 in the House of Representatives, even more than the Republicans gained back in 1994 when Newt Gingrich had a Contract with America defeated the Democrats at that point to become the Majority in the House of Representatives.
Lots of Senate races are still undecided at this point, including in California. These are very early results coming in, two percent of the vote is now in very early. Barbara Boxer with 50 percent, she is the Democratic incumbent; Carly Fiorina with 44 percent. But it's still very early.
The gubernatorial contest, look how close it is with one percent of the vote counted, 47 percent to 47 percent, Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman.
We'll see how those votes come in and then we'll be able at some point to make a projection. And you John, you're over at the CNN, we call it the Election Matrix. And the beginning of the night it was largely, largely blue.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
BLITZER: Because the Democrats were in control. But now we're beginning to see that shift towards red.
KING: And take a look around me. As you see the class of 2006, the class of 2008 and 2006 and 2008, change was blue. America was becoming more Democratic. Tonight change is red as America, especially in the House of Representatives, becomes more Republican.
What you see flashing right there, that is a seat that has changed hands. Two dozen of our CNN 100. Remember where we started the night. Of these 100 most competitive House races, 91 are now held by Democrats, two dozen have already just in these 100 races switched over to Republicans and it is everywhere in the country, Wolf. Let me give you a few examples.
I'll come over here, Illinois, 17. This is the president's home state. Phil Hare is the Democratic incumbent but in January, he will be replaced by Bobby Shilling. Why is this so stunning? Well, look, the president carried this district with 56 percent of the vote, just two years ago and Phil Hare himself, unopposed, unopposed and he loses his race two years later.
Come over here and let's look at another one of this, if you come down here Virginia '05, we talked about this race earlier tonight. Tom Perriello, who is one of the hat trick Democrats, that's what the Republicans called him, voted yes on health care, yes on stimulus, yes on cap and trade. He will be a former Congressman in January. Again, this was a district John McCain carried, a key targeting for Republican tonight.
If you're studying this tomorrow then you watch the pickups, a lot of them tonight are coming in those districts. If you move over we just did Virginia, we did the president's home state of Illinois. Now you look here, liberal -- you talked about this earlier. Alan Grayson ran what even many Democrats called a reprehensible ad against Daniel Webster.
Daniel Webster wins that race and not only wins it, he wins it pretty handily. Alan Grayson the champion of the liberals will be gone from the House of Representatives in January.
Wolf, I don't want to totally depress the Democrats at home. You see a lot of flashing red there, but if we come over here and we look right down here, Mary Matalin's hometown and James Carville's hometown, well, now heavy Democratic Congressman. Cedric Richmond did win the seat picked up by Joseph Gaw (ph). Joseph Gaw a Republican who won that seat in a special election after William Jefferson. He had to leave the House because of corruption allegations. Again, that is one brief bit of good news for the Democrats.
But just look, just look as we swing through the classes and you see all that red, you see all that flashing at home, those are Republican pickups and we are nowhere near finished. We do know the Republicans will win more than 50 seats most likely more than 60 seats. And Wolf, it is everywhere; it's North, South, East, West. Liberals are being beat and moderates are being beat. It is a shellacking when it comes to the House.
BLITZER: Do we have the results on some of those House veterans, those Democrats, some of the chairmen of powerful committees, like John Spratt (ph) or Ike Skelton, some of these guys who have been in the House for a long time. They were challenged, they had serious challenges by Republicans. Are those -- have we projected winners in those districts yet?
KING: We -- we have not in those districts at least when I checked this a few moments ago. I will tell you, I was at the map looking a little bit earlier, John Dingell no longer a chairman, but the longest serving member of the House and I was looking at his results just a few minutes ago and he was leading but only slightly. And that tells you about the map.
We're not ready to call that race yet but we'll check on Spratt and Skelton out in Missouri as well, those guys are in this CNN 100. We have not called those races yet. The Dingell race, is another one we're watching, some surprises out there. You're losing new members but you're absolutely right, by the end of the night, we're likely to lose some veterans -- more veteran Democrats as well.
BLITZER: John Dingell has been in the House of Representatives for decades, he is the longest serving member if he goes down that would be a huge setback for the Democrats.
BLITZER: So check on Barney Frank in Massachusetts.
KING: I just checked on it and Barney Frank is winning. And he was -- we have -- I don't think -- I don't know if we called that one yet, the last time I looked though, he was comfortably ahead. He did have a bit of a scare.
But the interesting thing about that, is Barney Frank brought Bill Clinton to Massachusetts, spent all of his money in Massachusetts I suppose because he had a little bit of a scare of giving his money away to other Democrats. John Spratt just lost, I'm told. So the House, the man who is right now the House Budget Committee chairman has lost his race in South Carolina.
BLITZER: Wow. Yes.
KING: That's another sign, veteran Democrats going down. Allies of Nancy Pelosi, allies of the President of the United States, targeted in this campaign.
We've talked quite a bit about the president tonight. The Republicans have succeeded in making Nancy Pelosi a national villain, if you look at all this red behind us.
BLITZER: It's an interesting phenomenon on what's going on. All right, John, stand by.
We're going to come back I want to check out some of those -- some more of those House races.
Let's take a look at what's happening in Pennsylvania right now. It's very, very close. 84 percent of the votes have been counted in Pennsylvania. Pat Toomey, the Republican, with 50.5 percent; Joe Sestak, the Democrat, 49.5 percent. It's a difference of 36,402 votes. They've still got 16 percent of the vote to count in Pennsylvania, but this is really, really close.
Pat Toomey slightly ahead; Joe Sestak, the incumbent Congressman, a retired U.S. Navy. Admiral Pat Toomey a former Congressman. But we'll see what happens when they finished counting all the votes. I suspect we might have to wait for this one to be resolved the old- fashioned way by the actual votes being counted. We'll see that.
Eric Cantor is one of the top leaders in the Republican side in the House of Representatives. He is joining us now, let's get some reaction from him.
Congressman, thanks very much for coming in.
REP. ERIC CANTOR (R), MINORITY WHIP: Wolf, good to be with you.
BLITZER: Well, what's your immediate reaction? You've won some, you've lost some, but you're going to be in the Majority in the House of Representatives. We now project at CNN project you will have at least a 52-seat net gain. You needed 39, so that's considerably more than you needed, but what is -- what is your estimate right now? How many seats will you have as a net gain in the next Congress? CANTOR: Wolf, I've learned not to go into the crystal ball business. But I'm very excited, as are most in our Republican Conference, to be given this second chance.
We've got a golden opportunity as Republicans to set the record straight, to actually say we're going to listen to the people, which is what the vote tonight is about.
The American people felt they've been ignored, they looked at the policies of the last 20 months, the policies being put in place by the Obama administration and said enough. We want a check on that. We want to get back to focusing on cutting spending and to -- to put a priority on getting people back to work. And that's what we're going to be about.
BLITZER: Your problem -- you're definitely going to have the Majority in the House of Representatives, but the Senate is increasingly looking more problematic for a Republican majority.
Here is the question. How are you going to get anything done with a split in the House and the Senate and with the President of the United States having veto power as -- as -- as the leader of the executive branch of the U.S. government?
CANTOR: You know, this is not a game here in Washington. This is about being a government that's responsive to the people. And what people have said tonight is they want their government focused on job creation. They also understand we can't keep afford -- we can't keep spending money we don't have.
So the mandate tonight, Wolf, is really about rejecting the policies of the other side, because they haven't worked. The American people want results. They want us to get back to work and they actually say, you know what? We do want the opportunity to succeed again. And I think the American people are willing to take responsibility if they have that chance again.
And -- and I'm hopeful that the president is going to reassess and -- and come and meet us in terms of an agenda that we can limit the scope of government, focus on small businesses, because they're the ones that we need to create jobs.
BLITZER: Well, give us an example of a major program, we're talking about billions and billions of dollars that you would immediately cut if you had the power.
CANTOR: Well, again, we have as Republicans, posited an approach to say we start by saying bring spending back down to '08 levels. You know what? You think about it, Wolf, it wasn't that long ago, the sun rose and set in 2008, and we've got to begin to take those kinds of steps, put the federal government on a diet and reflect on the fact that's what most people in America have been doing over the last couple years. It's time for government to live within its means.
So we've got that approach first, which will save $100 billion in the first year alone and can get us almost to $1 trillion in the budget window, and that's the kind of spirit I think you're going to see the new Republican conference be about. This is not to be --
BLITZER: But can you give us a specific program, Congressman, that you would immediately cut? Some Tea Party activists say eliminate the Department of Education. Eliminate the Department of Energy. You'll save billions of dollars. What program would you cut to save a significant sum, amount of money?
CANTOR: First of all, $100 billion in the first year alone is pretty significant if you go back to the discretionary levels of '08. But listen, we as Republicans have put on the floor all kinds of proposals through our YouCut program that I think you're going to see replicated over the first several weeks and months of this Congress.
I mean we take, for instance, now the expanded welfare program that was put in place on the stimulus bill. This was a program that will save over $1 billion right up front, and this is a program that is welfare without the work requirement. It has gone back on the incentives that were put in place back during the Clinton years that we actually reform well and saw some success.
You know, we've got other programs in the YouCut program that make a lot of sense. You know, we look at trying to make sure that we accomplish some savings through revamping the GSEs. This is the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac situation where you know that the taxpayers are on the hook for tens of billions, if not hundreds of billions of dollars.
So we've got some proposals out there. We have posited them, we've already voted on them. And these are the kind of things that I think you're going to see a Republican majority bring forward right away so we can get this economy going again and rein in the very unfriendly regulatory environment that the Obama administration has put into place and has stifled business hiring.
BLITZER: You're going to be in the majority now. You're going to have more responsibility, Congressman Eric Cantor, Republican of Virginia. We'll be in close touch with you as well. Thanks very much for coming in.
CANTOR: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Eric Cantor of Virginia.
Let's take a look at some -- some numbers that are coming in right now from California. The Senate race, eight percent of the vote is now in. It's close with eight percent, 47 percent for Barbara Boxer. The Republican Carly Fiorina with 46 percent.
The governor's race, three percent of the vote is in, in California. Jerry Brown, 50 percent, Meg Whitman, 45 percent. And look at this. This is Proposition 19 to legalize marijuana use for recreational purposes in California, only two percent of the vote for this referendum has been counted, but 43 percent say yes, legalize marijuana, 57 percent say no, don't legalize marijuana. But only two percent of the vote has actually been counted.
We'll stay on top of all of these races in California.
Remember, go to CNN.com, you can get a lot more information. You can drill deeper in all the House races, the Senate races, the governors' races, you can actually do what John King is doing with our data wall, with our Election Matrix. CNN.com, watch us with your laptop. We'll be right back.
BLITZER: All right. We're getting more than 50 percent of the vote now having been counted in Nevada. Look at this, Harry Reid, the Majority Leader with 53 percent; Sharron Angle, the Tea Party favorite, 43 percent. Two percent for none of these candidates or none of the above. They can vote for none of these candidates in Nevada; 51 percent, that's a lead of about 37,000 for Harry Reid.
We're not yet ready to make any projection in Nevada, but 51 percent of the vote was counted already.
In Washington State, the Senate race very close. Take a look at this, 34 percent of the vote in, Dino Rossi, who is the challenger to Patty Murray, the incumbent, 54 percent to 46 percent. He's ahead by 58,000 votes or so, but that's only 34 percent, only about a third of the vote has actually been counted in California (SIC).
Let's take a closer look at Colorado right now, 47 percent of the vote has been counted. Michael Bennett, the Democrat, he was appointed to the Senate with 50 percent; Ken Buck, the Tea Party favorite, the Republican, 45 percent. Again, less than a half -- half of the vote counted but Bennett slightly ahead of Buck so far.
In Pennsylvania, 84 percent of the vote now has been counted. Pat Toomey building up a slight lead of 131,000, 52 percent over Joe Sestak's 48 percent. That's with 84 percent of the vote counted. Sestak slightly behind Pat Toomey. It's close. We're not yet ready to make any projections.
But let's go back over to CNN's John King. He's taking a look at the balance of power in the United States Senate. What are you seeing right now?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Here's why the results you're just giving us are so significant. If one more race goes to the Democrats tonight, just one more, then they will maintain their senate majority. Let me show you why.
This is how we started the night right here -- 59 Democrats, 41 Republicans. Here are the seats at stake tonight. There's the 37 races we know in the country. Now let's flip them over and assign them based on what we've called so far and let me add this.
Just a few moments ago we called this Wisconsin race for Ron Johnson. So let me give that one to the Republicans. Here's where we stand right now: 49 Democratic seats, 45 in Republican hands, so there will be more Republicans in the United States Senate without a doubt after tonight. The question is can they get to 51? Well, one, two, three, four, five, six. Six left. The Illinois seat. That's Barack Obama's old seat; the Nevada seat you just mentioned, Harry Reid; California and Barbara Boxer; Colorado, Michael Bennet the Democrat can come in; Washington Patty Murray; and Pennsylvania, that's the Sestak/Toomey race. The Republicans need to run the board.
Since we're talking about Vegas tonight and Harry Reid it's like drawing an inside straight, they would have to win every one of these six left to get to 51 and a senate majority. That's perfection, Wolf, as we head on out. That's why this Pennsylvania race is so important. You just mentioned how close it was, Sestak/Toomey, incredibly close.
You just mentioned there, just as you were speaking, Murray was ahead with early returns, then Rossi goes ahead; we've got see-saws there. The Nevada race could be the deciding and that one, as we go late, we see early returns.
And of course, Democrats were favored in this one, we haven't called it yet, but that's all it would take right there. Barbara Boxer winning and that would mean Mitch McConnell would be the Republican leader but not the majority leader in the next Senate. This is fascinating chess being played.
And where we are right now, Republicans essentially need to win every outstanding United States Senate race to get to 51. There will be more Republicans in Washington, without a doubt. Conceivably still 50/50, but they've got to win them all if they want to be the majority.
BLITZER: For the Democrats it's a far cry from the 60 they started off with the last time which would have been a -- was a filibuster- proof majority in the Senate. A lopsided majority if they get down to 51 or 52.
KING: And a great point because even if the Democrats retain control or even if the Republicans somehow magically get to that 51, it's going to be very difficult to do serious business in the Senate. Whoever wins is going to have a very, very small majority.
BLITZER: All right. John, stand by. We're going to get back to you. Much more of our coverage coming up.
Anderson Cooper is standing by with "The Best Political Team on Television". We'll be right back.
COOPER: And welcome back. Our coverage continues, "The Best Political Team on Television" has gorged themselves on pizza and they're ready to resume discussion.
Alex Castellanos, you're new to the table, what do you make of what's going on tonight?
ALEX CASTELLANOS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think tonight that -- why aren't Republicans doing a little bit better in the senate races than in the house races? We can still win Pennsylvania and Illinois, but Colorado, California don't look so good. And I think it's the weakness in the Republican Party we're seeing tonight.
America decided to put a brake pedal on Barack Obama's car tonight, stop spending, stop the health care, the expansion is of government, but you only need one brake pedal. So the Republicans are still the party of no, stop what Obama's doing, our -- what we need to do for the next two years, how would we lead, how would we govern, show me America, what America would be like if Republicans actually led.
COOPER: Interesting to hear Eric Cantor though echoing a line that Marco Rubio said, which is thank you for giving us a second chance.
BEGALA: Look, back when we were sitting here in '06 when the Democrats took back the Senate, one of the things that Carville and I were saying is we have not been given a mandate, just a chance. I think that's what's happening with the Republicans here.
If you go back to that night in '06, since that day, Democrats had gained in the last -- '06 and '08, 55 seats in the House. They may lose them all tonight. And 14 seats in the Senate, they will not lose all of them. But we may be pretty close to status quo ante circa November 2006.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anderson -- I'm sorry. Go ahead.
SPITZER: I was just going to say, the other thing he said though when you asked him about the cuts, when Wolf did, he said he had $100 billion that were easy. $100 billion in a deficit of $11 trillion over ten years, he wants to extend tax cuts that will add $4 trillion to the deficit there. So there is simply not an answer from the Republican side yet about how they're going to close that deficit.
CASTELLANOS: Let us do away with the myth that it's hard to balance the budget. Government's been growing at 7.3 percent a year. If you freeze it at zero percent growth, you balance the balance in 2016. One percent growth, you balance the budget 2017. Two percent growth, which would allow for inflation, you balance the budget in 2020. It's not that hard, you just have to get off the habit. Kick the habit.
DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: But look at the exit polls. What should be the highest priority of the next congress? Cutting taxes, 19 percent; reducing the deficit -- 39 percent; spending to create jobs -- 37 percent.
COOPER: What does that tell you about the conflict going on in the United States?
BRAZILE: It tells me that the Republicans need to manage expectations.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to spend more.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to talk about the new Democratic --
ERICK ERICKSON, REDSTATE.COM: The point -- I'm intrigued tonight looking across the country at the races, statewide races versus district level races where the Republicans are performing. I'm sure there will be a lot of blame back and forth, the Republicans in Washington, the NRSC I'm sure will blame Tea Party candidates in some of those states, but it's happening further on the ground.
We're seeing in Iowa, the judges who legalized same-sex marriages, they look like they're going to get trounced. We're seeing ten state legislatures flipping to the Republican Party already. This isn't just at the federal level, it's happening at all levels of government.
If you remember in 1994, not only did we see this Republican trouncing across the nation, we then saw dozens and dozens of Democratic officials suddenly become Republican. I don't know that there are any left who would become Republican, but this is something that's happening not just at the federal level today.
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And also, a critical issue. President Obama wins 2008. The question came up, are we talking about an Obama movement or is it an Obama moment. And the reality is you're seeing that it is the moment. Look at his home state. Pat Quinn, barely leading in the governor's race. Alexi Giannoulias, behind in the U.S. Senate race. Incumbent Democrat Melissa Bean, losing. Incumbent Democrat Debbie Halvorson, losing.
So when you have an issue where you're the sitting president and you're having fundamental problems in your home state, in a state where Democrats don't -- excuse me, Republicans don't hold a single statewide race, there are some critical issues for the Democratic Party and for the president.
COOPER: John Boehner is taking -- about to speak in Washington, D.C., at the RNC headquarters. Big night for him. Let's listen.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), OHIO: The tireless leadership that he exhibited over at the NRCC along with his sidekick, Greg Walden (ph). They have done a marvelous job on behalf of our team.
And I want to thank all of our candidates, our supporters, our volunteers who have worked so hard to make this moment possible.
Let me just say this. It's clear tonight who the winners really are, and that's the American people. It was the American people's voice that was heard at the ballot box. The American people's voice.
And, listen, I'm going to be brief because we've got real work to do, and frankly this is not a time for celebration. Not when one out of ten of our fellow citizens is out of work, not when we've buried our children under a mountain of debt, and not when our congress is held in such low esteem. This is a time to roll up our sleeves. A time to look forward with determination and to take the first steps toward building a better future for our kids and our grandkids.
Across the country right now, we're witnessing a repudiation of Washington. A repudiation of big government and a repudiation of politicians who refuse to listen to the American people. Of course, this campaign's not over yet. Until the folks out west where the polls may still be open, this is the time to seize that moment to make sure your voice is heard. To reject the spending sprees, the bailouts, the backroom deals, the takeovers and all the nonsense, and to join your fellow Americans in putting Washington on notice. Because for far too long, Washington's been doing what's best for Washington, not what's best for the American people. And tonight, that begins to change.
With their voices, the American people are demanding a new way forward in Washington. Now, I'm here to tell you tonight that our new majority will be prepared to do things differently, to take a new approach that hasn't been tried in Washington before by either party. It starts with cutting spending instead of increasing it. Reducing the size of government instead of increasing it. And reforming the way Congress works in giving the government back to the American people.
And for all those families who were asking, where are the jobs, it means ending the uncertainty in our economy and helping small businesses get back to work. The people's priorities will be our priorities. And the people's agenda will be our agenda. This is our pledge to America, and this is our pledge to you.
While our new majority will serve as your voice in the people's house, we must remember, it's the president who sets the agenda for our government. The American people have sent an unmistakable message to him tonight, and that message is, change course. We hope President Obama will now respect the will of the people, change course, and to commit to making changes that they are demanding. And to the extent that he's willing to do that, we're ready to work with him.
But make no mistake, the president will find in our new majority the voice of the American people as they've expressed it tonight. Standing on principle, checking Washington's power, and leading the drive to a smaller, less costly, and more accountable government here in Washington, D.C.
These are the principles our new majority will stand for. And we hope that, Mr. President, you'll stand with us in the hard work that lies ahead. Because we are humbled by the trust that the American people have placed in us, and we recognize that with this comes the responsibility to listen, and listen we will.
Let's start right now by recognizing that this is not a time for celebration, it's a time to roll up our sleeves and go to work. We can celebrate when small businesses begin hiring again. We can celebrate when the spending binge here in Washington has stopped. And we can celebrate when we have a government that has earned the trust of the people that it serves.
When we have a government that honors the constitution and stands up for the values that have made America America. Things like economic freedom, individual liberty, and personal responsibility. Listen, I hold these values dear because I've lived them. I spent my whole life chasing the American dream.
CROWD: USA. USA. USA.
BOEHNER: All right. Listen, I started out mopping floors, waiting tables and tending bar at my dad's tavern. I put myself through school. Working every rotten job there was and every night shift I could find. And I poured my heart and soul into running a small business. And when I saw how out of touch Washington had become with the core values of this great nation, I put my name forward and ran for office.
So I want to thank my wife, Debbie, my girls, Lindsay and Tricia, my 11 brothers and sisters, and all my friends and neighbors in Ohio for giving me the chance to serve and the opportunity to stand before you ready to lead. I thank all of you. God bless you, and God bless our great country. Thank you.
COOPER: John Boehner, an emotional speech from him, as the next Speaker of the House. Mary, what did you think of that?
MARY MATALIN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: He's awesome. I mean, he is America. One of 12 kids, worked in his daddy's bar, did mop, what you see is what you get. And he is -- he will be able to run that place as I said earlier, the likes of which we haven't seen since Tipp O'Neill. He really is the real deal.
He has a great step (INAUDIBLE) and while we're on greats, the NRCC, do you know what, they went out and recruited all these candidates when Obama was at 67 percent. It was hard to recruit then. They got good candidates, they funded them, they supported them, they mentored them, they're smart candidates coming from all walks of life just like John Boehner. And that dynamic in the house is going to answer the call that the American people put out. Whatever -- whatever the margins are.
COOPER: Clearly, they wanted to send a message tonight, though, not of celebrating some victory, but of sort of a night of humility.
ERICKSON: They very much wanted to. I think he hit the right note. As Paul and Mary have both said, his background, John Boehner's story really is one of rising himself up out of poverty to a degree. Very, very hard childhood, with his family.
And you know, the interesting thing to me in all of this is that when you look at the night, and I've made this point before, when you look at what the National Republican Senatorial Committee did versus what the National Republican Congressional Committee in the House, the NRCC did not go in and really dictate, saying, this is going to be the guy we're going to back and the NRSE did. And it looks like the NRCC is going to have a better night, because they went into districts and they really recruited from within the district people who related to the grassroots. And we're seeing that.
BEGALA: There is this fissure, frankly in both parties, but let's focus on Republicans for now, between the elites and the insurgents. And if I were in the White House advising president Obama, I'd say, Mr. President, let's put a wedge in there. And that wedge is anti- corruption, anti-lobbyist. Tea Party activists do not like corporate special interests running our country. And I think they could find common cause with the zealous reformer in Barack Obama if he were to take that up as his second party.
First is jobs, but the second one there, because Mr. Boehner who -- I thought it was a great speech, and it was very emotional. I was impressed.
But his most famous quote will always be, "I am cozy with lobbyists" and Democrats I think should use that coziness to make some of these insurgent Republicans very uncomfortable.
MARTIN: Anderson, to Erick's point, it is easier for you to find candidates who will be able to win a congressional race, that's set up solely based upon can you get out your hardcore supporters as opposed to running the statewide races. That's why I think -- certainly that strategy makes sense --
ERICKSON: I agree with you on that part.
MARTIN: And so we're seeing it in terms of we'll see what happens in Nevada. But again, when you have to run statewide, you can appeal to your base, like Christine O'Donnell in a primary, then you get crushed in the general because all of a sudden it doesn't apply. The rules change.
COOPER: David Gergen?
GERGEN: First of all, I think we saw a very different side of John Boehner tonight. One that if he could continue having showing some vulnerability and some emotional connection to the country in coming out of the mainstream, that's something that President Obama has spectacularly had a problem with since he's become president for reasons none of us can fully understand.
But I disagree with Paul Begala on this one point. I don't think this is the time to sort of figure out how to drive wedges in the opposition. I really think this is a time for serious people, when the country is so clearly hurting, so clearly sent a negative message, we don't like what's going on there, to see if you can't find some common ground across these bridges and see if we can get jobs going again and get this economy moving again.
COOPER: I've got to interrupt. We're still tracking a number of very important races especially the race in Nevada. We're going to take a short break. We'll be right back.
BLITZER: We're not ready to make a projection in Nevada, but look at this. Fifty-seven percent of the vote is now in, Harry Reid, the majority leader, he has 51.6 percent to Sharron Angle, the Republican, 43.9 percent. None of the above, none of these candidates, 2 percent. Fifty-nine percent of the vote in. He's ahead by 33,645 votes. Still almost -- more than 40 percent of the vote still to come. So we're watching Nevada very, very closely.
Let's bring in Ali Velshi, he's watching Nevada for us as well. What are you seeing, Ali?
ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Nevada is interesting because there are a lot of economic issues that I'll talk about in a second, but what we asked people in the exit poll is do you think Harry Reid has been in Washington for too long?
And let me show you what they said to us when we asked them that question. The first -- hang on, let me just get these little tricklets (ph) running. There we go.
All right. Here's what people told us. 55 percent of respondents said that they thought Harry Reid has been serving for too long in Nevada; 41 percent said they don't think so. And by the way, that ends up breaking down, according to candidate. If you think Harry Reid's been there for too long, that you are likely to vote for Sharron Angle.
Let's take a look at this. Do you think Sharron angle's position on the issues are too far to the right? Forty-four percent say she's too conservative. Thirteen percent say she's not conservative enough. Thirty-one percent say that she is about right. Sharron angle is about in the right place.
I want to show you one more. This is something that interests me particularly, and it's about foreclosures. Nevada is a big foreclosure state. We asked people specifically, are you worried that you or a relative will lose a home to foreclosure? Look at this, Wolf. Fifty-three percent of voters said they are worried that they or a relative could lose a home to foreclosure. Forty-six percent are not worried. Nevada has, by the way, the highest unemployment rate in the country.
We've been getting a lot of tweets, by the way, about this new technology. My favorite is someone who said that perhaps I should challenge Anderson to a wicked game of pong right here.
BLITZER: A wicked game.
VELSHI: A wicked game of pong.
BLITZER: All right. Ali, thanks very much.
VELSHI: All right.
BLITZER: Stand by, we have a major projection.
All right. CNN now projects the Democrats will in fact retain control of the United States Senate. The Republicans need to win ten, a net gain of ten in the Senate. They are not going to get ten seats, a net gain of ten seats in the United States Senate. The Democrats will retain control of the Senate irrespective of what happens to Harry Reid in Nevada.
We have not made a projection in Nevada yet. Harry Reid facing a tough challenge from Sharron Angle. Whether or not he is re- elected, the Democrats will be in the majority in the Senate.
A very different story in the House of Representatives. We projected a while ago that the Republicans would become the majority in the House of Representatives. Not only would they have a gain of the 39 seats that they need, the net gain that they need, they will have more than 52.
That's what the Republicans gained back in 1994 when Bill Clinton was president of the United States. The Republicans under Newt Gingrich and the Contract with America won 52 seats then.
But right now we can project that the Republicans will be the majority in the House, but not in the Senate. And here's why. Barbara Boxer, we project, will be re-elected for the United States Senate from California. Barbara Boxer will beat Carly Fiorina in that Senate contest in California, with 24 percent of the actual vote in. She is ahead 48 percent to 46 percent.
But based on exit polling, based on other information that our experts are getting, we project that Barbara Boxer will be re-elected. And that explains why the Democrats will retain the majority in the Senate. It may not be a huge majority; certainly won't be the 59-41 majority that they've had in the current U.S. Senate. Remember, they started off with 60-40 until Scott Brown, the Republican, won in Massachusetts, bringing it down to 59.
But they will retain the majority in the United States Senate. It's a big win for the Democrats. They were very, very nervous that they would lose the majority in the Senate, as they are doing in the House of Representatives. But because Barbara Boxer will win in California, we project the Democrats will retain the majority.
Anderson, so the Democrats barely will be the majority in the Senate, the Republicans will be in the majority in the House of Representatives. We're talking a little bit about a divided legislative branch of the U.S. government.
COOPER: But it was enough and you missed it because you weren't looking at her to have -- let Donna Brazile have sort of a church moment over here. I thought I saw her palms raised to the skies. Was that possibly what I saw?