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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Election Night in America; Republicans Gain Control of House; Democrats Retain Control of Senate

Aired November 3, 2010 - 02:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JOHN KING, HOST, "JOHN KING USA": That's just the House. Here's the Senate as we know it now. We're not done with this. These were the Senate races tonight. There's where we started. See all that blue in the middle of the country. There's where we are there, one last look.

And again, we're not completely done. Here's where we started. These are the governor's races on the ballot tonight. See all that blue? That's a lot of red. Tonight, it is red that represents change in America.

WOLF BLITZER, HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM: And the drama of what's happening in the House of Representatives, a net gain of 60 seats for the Republicans in the House of Representatives. John Boehner will become the speaker and Nancy Pelosi will have to step down when the new session of the Congress is sworn in.

But even some veteran powerful chairmen of important committees, John Spratt of the House budget committee, Ike Skelton, the chairman of the house armed services committee. We knew David Obey didn't even seek reelection in Wisconsin and he's not going to be coming back as a chairman.

The Republicans are taking over all those chairmanships, some of these powerful Democrats are gone.

KING: When you think about powerful Democrats gone, you go back where they're from. John Spratt is from South Carolina. He lost his seat tonight. There's a southern state, probably not as much of a surprise. Ike Skelton is out here in the state of Missouri. He lost his seat. That one is right over here. He lost by five points there.

So then you're into the Midwest, right into the heartland, into Missouri. The David Obey's seat you mentioned up here. You see this going across -- that's Minnesota. Wisconsin is right next door. My mistake.

In the south, in the Midwest, now you're seeing numbers come in out in Colorado with younger Democrats who came into power in the last few years as the Democrats thought they were moving their base out into the west.

So it's just when you look at the scope of it, there's where we started. We'll end somewhere like that in the sea of red. Senior Democrats falling, newly elected Democrats falling, a much smaller Democratic caucus and a big decision for Speaker Pelosi tonight. She will not be the speaker come January. As Dana Bash was reporting earlier, inside her circle, a fierce debate because she's not saying much about whether she will just decide to leave the congress.

BLITZER: And some Democrats who basically didn't have to worry about getting reelected, they got reelected, but they had to work really hard, like Barney Frank in Massachusetts. John Dingel in Michigan. They got themselves reelected, but they had to work really hard to do so.

KING: Much harder. They had to use their money on their own races, which is very important. When you look at the Democrats who lost in close races tonight, that's what will happen right there. There's the Dingel district right there. He won comfortably, but he had to fight for that this year and spend his money. I think the --

BLITZER: Hold on one second, John. I want to go to California right now, because Jerry Brown has been just elected the next governor of California. He's speaking to his supporters.

JERRY BROWN, (D) CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR ELECT: Thank you, everyone, who has helped in this campaign. A lot of people labored. Volunteers, people on the staff. It's just a marvelous, marvelous effort.

And I have to thank the most important person of all, my wife, Ann, who really ran the whole show, kept me on track.

(APPLAUSE)

And, you know, I don't need a plan when I have such a good planner at my side all the time.

And, you know, I did this -- you know, I did this 36 years ago. And I tried during the campaign never to mention the word "experience" or to tell too many old stories because, you know, after a while, people are looking for something new. But I'm a little something old.

So that's why I wanted to be here at the FOX theater, the home of the Oakland School for the Arts, because this is a --

(APPLAUSE)

This is something that was built in 1929, was dark for 30 years. And now through the work and the contributions of a lot of people, it's one of the most magnificent movie palaces in the whole country. Take a look at that ceiling and all of the craft that went into it.

(LAUGHTER)

And I wanted to it stand in front of the Oakland Military Institute cadets. This is the tenth year of the school that I started with a lot of struggle. It wasn't easy. It wasn't trouble-free. We made plenty of mistakes. But this June, of the graduates of the military school, one out of four were accepted to the university of California. That is a heck of a record.

(APPLAUSE) And then, of course, behind them are the really -- a tremendous creative force, the kids from the Oakland School for the Arts. I wanted the military to represent my sense of honor and duty and leadership and camaraderie, and I wanted the arts school to exemplify creativity and imagination, because all of that is what California needs over the next four years.

(APPLAUSE)

And I want everyone here tonight and throughout California to know, this is why I'm doing it. I built these schools because I want to build for the future. And that's what it's all about, the kids in school, not just these two schools, but every single public school in California. We want to make sure they have what they need to create greatness.

(APPLAUSE)

Every kid, every kid has so much potential. And we ought to make sure our society keeps that in the forefront of whatever we do. Well, this helps the next generation. That's going to be my watch word, OK?

Now, they haven't got all the votes in yet, but, hell, it's good enough for government work.

(APPLAUSE)

And I think -- so looks like we're going back again. As you know, I have the know-how and the experience and all of those other things that I said.

(APPLAUSE)

And this time, of course, we have a first lady, which we didn't have last time. I think that's going to be -- that's going to be the real difference.

(APPLAUSE)

Now look, it's -- I like the symbolism of this theater because it was dark and actually there were people camped in here and they were burning the ceiling and cooking their meals. And now it's transformed into this beautiful venue for music. It's for the school, the school is upstairs.

And I want people of California to know that we might and we will have times that will be tough. How long they'll last, a year, maybe longer. But if we all pull together and we operate with honesty, if I tell you what I understand, I level with you, and we include everybody and it's transparent, and here's the key point -- we want to be fair. In our society, if we're going to hold together, if we're going to meet the challenges that we have to, we've got to have a larger sense of agreement.

And the only way we can get to where we are, which is polarization, division, hostility, and even this election. I mean 90 percent of the Republicans voted for Meg Whitman, 90 percent of the Democrats voted for me.

Now, how do we get -- how do we get -- luckily the independents made a pretty big margin there in the middle. And also there are more Democrats than Republicans.

But having said all that, these are real divisions and they're divisions tonight in California. There will be divisions in the state capitol and in Washington. I take as my challenge forging a common purpose, but a common purpose based not just on compromise but on a vision of what California can be.

And I see a California once again leading in renewable energy, in public education --

(APPLAUSE)

-- an openness to every kind of person, whatever their color is. I mean, we're all -- we're all god's children.

And while I'm really into this politics thing, I still carry with me my sense of kind of that missionary zeal to transform the world. And that's always been a part of what I do. So I understand the political part. But I also understand what it's all about, the vision.

And I'm hoping and I'm praying that this breakdown that's gone on for so many years in the state capitol, and we're watching it in Washington, that the breakdown paves the way for a breakthrough. And that's the spirit that I want to take back to Sacramento 28 years later, full of energy, full of creativity, and ready to serve you, the people of California.

Thank you very much for helping and getting us here. Thank you. Thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

KING: Of the many remarkable stories tonight, perhaps none more remarkable than what you're seeing there, the once and future governor of California, Democrat Jerry Brown. He was the governor 30 years ago. He ran for president in the 1970s for the Democratic nomination, didn't get that. Ran for president again in 1992, did not get the Democratic nomination.

But went back to California, became the Oakland mayor. He's currently the state attorney general. In January, he will return as governor's office in Sacramento. Democrat Jerry Brown defeating Meg Whitman quite convincingly, 50 percent to 45 percent, Meg Whitman having spent more than $140 million of her own money. Jerry Brown, nonetheless, a remarkable comeback. He will be the next governor of California.

This is one of the races we have watched in how it's played out in social media. What you see behind me is sentiment tracking. This is tracking tweets from all the way back in April to the very end, nearly 200,000 tweets in all.

I want to show you a few significant moments in this race. Anything above the black is positive. You see Meg Whitman is the light green, Jerry Brown, the darker green. Black is neutral. And then the negative, Meg Whitman is orange and Jerry Brown is the more yellow part.

Let's play this out from April through the race a little bit. You see different tweets along the way. I want to come through July and August. You see a decent amount of traffic in the twitter-verse.

But our panel was talking about this tonight. Right around here, you see the most negative traffic right here. The most negative traffic for Meg Whitman right here at the bottom and for Jerry Brown. I just want to touch on this and see what you get when you pull them up. I've got to come back a little bit to catch it just right. Here we go.

Meg Whitman has explaining to do on illegal immigrant housekeeper. This was a story that knocked this race of off the path. Meg Whitman wanted to be about her competence as a businesswoman, that she could bring competence to Sacramento. This story changed this race dynamically.

As you watch as it comes through to the finish line, again, nearly 200,000 tweets in all, a lot of positive activity at the end, a lot of negative activity as well. A big state like California, you might expect that. But the social media and the commentary playing a big role in this race.

We're going to take a quick break, I believe. Oh, you can do this at home. If you want to try this at home, go to CNN.com/electionpulse. You can watch all of these things at home. Track these tweets here, look at other races. We have maps to show you, how the social media is playing out in politics as well. It's a fascinating experiment.

Still a lot more happening as we count the votes out in the west and beyond. Stay with us. Our election coverage returns in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: You're looking at live pictures of Rick Scott, the Republican candidate of governor for Florida. He's confident he's going to win. We haven't projected a winner. He hasn't declared victory.

Let's look at the vote tally right now with 89 percent of the vote counted in Florida. Rick Scott has 48.8 percent. Alex Sink, the Democratic candidate has 47.8 percent. More than five million votes have been counted in Florida already, and Rick Scott is ahead by 54,155 votes.

But still 11 percent of the vote outstanding in Florida right now. So we'll see what happens. It's very, very close. We have not been able to project a winner for the governor's race in Florida right now. But Rick Scott, as I said, he says he's confident he's going to win.

Remember, the polls closed in Florida at 8:0 p.m. eastern. That's a long time ago, but they're still counting the ballots in Florida right now.

In California, Carly Fiorina is speaking out in California now. She ran for the U.S. Senate. She's speaking -- but she lost to Barbara Boxer in California. We project Barbara Boxer will be reelected. Should we listen in for a moment to Carly Fiorina? Let's listen in.

CARLY FIORINA, (R) FORMER CALIFORNIA SENATE CANDIDATE: We have a new majority leader, John Boehner.

(APPLAUSE)

We've had a fantastic sweep across the nation. Many Senate seats have already fallen, and as you all well know, we have a new majority leader, John Boehner -- just a wonderful, wonderful night.

Yes, exactly. The message has been sent loud and clear.

Now, here in California, you know, California is always a little bit different, right? So here in California, here's where we are -- 36 percent of the vote has been counted, 36 percent, and we are in a dead heat tie.

(APPLAUSE)

And so the facts are it is too close to call. The facts are it's going to be a long night. We're going to be watching returns all night. But all those people who have already declared this race, maybe that was probably not a smart thing to do.

(APPLAUSE)

On primary night, on primary night, I promised that I would run a tireless, fearless campaign. And I want to tell all of you that you have run a tireless, fearless campaign as well.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to thank the tens of thousands of volunteers who have given of their --

BLITZER: So you're seeing Carly Fiorina. She's not conceding, at least not yet, to Barbara Boxer even though we and other news organizations have projected that Barbara Boxer will be reelected, the United States Senator from California. And 41 percent of the vote has been counted in California. She's ahead right now by nearly 200,000 votes, Barbara Boxer over Carly Fiorina, but Carly Fiorina says wait until more votes are counted. She's not ready to concede yet.

Let's look at Alaska right now because we have an interesting projection that we want to make in Alaska right now. We're projecting, this is going to be a little strange, but we're projecting that Scott McAdams will come in third. He is the Democratic nominee in Alaska right now.

Why is that significant? Because the two other candidates, Joe Miller, the Republican candidate, Lisa Murkowski, the write-in candidate, both of them say they are Republicans, so if either one of them wins, that seat stays in Republican hands.

Lisa Murkowski is a Republican even though she lost the Republican primary. Right now, right now with 49 percent of the vote counted in Alaska, Joe Miller, the Republican nominee, has 35 percent, but the write-in candidates, and that includes Lisa Murkowski, and we believe that Lisa Murkowski represents the bulk of those write-in candidates, has 39 percent, so the write-in candidates are ahead by 6,153 votes with 49 percent of the vote counted right now. So it's -- it's close.

But that's what -- that's what's happening in Alaska right now. We are projecting that Scott McAdams, the Democratic candidate, will come in third.

Let's go back to California right now because Barbara Boxer, we've projected she will be reelected in California. She's speaking to her supporters. I want to listen in.

SEN. BARBARA BOXER, (D) CALIFORNIA: Feinstein 2012.

(APPLAUSE)

So it took me a while to get down here because hours ago we were called the winner by every single station, every single publication, and we're going to win this race.

(APPLAUSE)

And we just pulled out to a several-point lead, and that's before L.A. is in.

(APPLAUSE)

And that's before Alameda County is in. So I am thrilled. I want you to listen up. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for this victory after the toughest and roughest campaign of my life. This is my 11th straight election victory.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: All right, so Barbara Boxer is declaring herself the winner. We've projected that she will be reelected as well. Barbara Boxer in California right now we project winning over Carly Fiorina, although you heard Carly Fiorina just a little while ago. She's not ready to concede, at least not yet in California.

It looks like a good night, John, for the Democrats in California because Jerry Brown will be the next governor. Barbara Boxer reelected. It's not necessarily good night for Democrats in a lot of other states, but in California, they're doing just fine.

KING: It's not a good night for Democrats across the country with the exception of California. The house has gone Republican. A lot of governorships are turning Republican. The Senate will stay Democratic, but it will be more Republican.

And let's take a look at that. Here's where we started the night -- 59 Democrats in the Senate to 41 Republicans. But we want to run this out here. We'll show you quickly. These are the seats at stake tonight -- 37 Senate seats on the ballot tonight.

Here's where we are right now. You just made the projection that Scott McAdams will finish third. We can put Alaska in the Republican column, whether it's Joe Miller or Lisa Murkowski. We've called all these other races. There we go.

This is what's left. Alaska is now over there. We've called all these other races. This is what's left, Washington and Colorado. The Colorado race, Ken Buck and Michael Bennett, we're still waiting to make a call on that one. Very close race. Washington, another one. Patty Murray, the democratic incumbent, and Dino Rossi.

You've got 51 Democrats, meaning they are guaranteed to keep a majority to 47. So the best the Republicans do if they win these last two would be 49. The Democrats could get it as high as 53.

So you will have a smaller Democratic majority. Harry Reid will come back to Washington. He will presumably stay on as the Democratic leader with 53 at most, maybe 51, 52, or 53. So the Republicans will be more powerful in the Senate, Wolf.

Boy, we've talked about all the complications for the new speaker, John Boehner, trying to keep those independent voters who gave the Republicans the majority happy and the Tea Party people who gave the Republicans their energy happy. This is going to be something to watch.

It usually takes 60 votes to get just about anything important done in the United States Senate. It will be very closely divided. We're waiting on these last two races very closely in Colorado and Washington State. The Democrats are very happy for California tonight to keep their Senate math blue.

BLITZER: Let me go over and check out what's happening in those two Senate races in Colorado and in Washington State. And right now with 81 percent of the vote counted in Colorado, take a look at this. Ken Buck, the Republican candidate, with 47.5 percent. Michael Bennett, the incumbent democrat, he was appointed, 47.1 percent. Buck is ahead by 6,147 votes. Still 19 percent of the vote has to be counted. So it's very, very close in Colorado. We cannot make a projection yet.

In Washington State, it's also -- look how close it is in Washington state, 54 percent of the vote counted. Patty Murray, the incumbent democrat with 50.5 percent, Dino Rossi, the Republican challenger, with 49.5 percent. Patty Murray is ahead by 14,261 votes. So it's very, very close. We have not been able to project a winner in Washington state or Colorado.

Remember, CNN.com is where you can go check out all the races you're interested in. The House, the governors races, the Senate races. Much more of our coverage right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "AC 360": Welcome back to our continuing coverage. We saw a short time ago former governor Jerry Brown reelected, a pretty remarkable moment when you think about. He was the youngest governor in the state of California. My favorite line he said tonight was "I'm into this politics thing."

(LAUGHTER)

Rarely do you hear that.

JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That's going to be on a t-shirt tomorrow morning.

COOPER: But a pretty kind of an interesting rambling speech. But kind of one the people in California should come to expect from the governor.

AVLON: I guess there's plenty of more of that to come down the pike.

It is an extraordinary story. A guy who was governor in the '70s, he's back. He did a great job as mayor of Oakland in the 1990s, attorney general.

But California -- I mean, we're a content-free political campaign in California. We had a lot of debates about distractions, whether it was Latina nannies or who said "whore" on a voicemail message in a time when our biggest state is in serious bankruptcy, essentially.

And so there are such huge problems facing this state. The fact that -- the good news is California has a governor who has done it before and helped contribute to the problem. He's making a Nixon in China argument, saying I'm a Democrat, I can deal with the unions.

But this is a really -- he's going into a tough job. California does not have a huge margin of error here.

JOHNS: It's so strange about Jerry Brown. He has really moved around from attorney general. I remember walking around on the streets of Oakland with him, and it was basically the same speech that he gave to me is the speech he gave out there. He talked about the buildings and what he did and how he's changed things and that's very much --

BORGER: Is that what he was saying?

JOHNS: ... who he is.

(LAUGHTER)

BORGER: Because I couldn't figure it out.

JOHNS: Yes, right. This was -- this was Jerry Brown. This was 100 percent Jerry Brown. I mean, who knows what he's going to do for California. I still didn't have a clue from that speech, quite frankly.

COOPER: Candy, earlier... MARTIN: Anderson (INAUDIBLE) California is interesting. Democrats are winning every major state race there except the attorney general's race. Kamala Harris was (INAUDIBLE) the first African-American elected statewide in 32 years. They're winning every other major statewide except that one. The question becomes, you know, when it comes to Steve Cooley, will he be one of those Republican attorney generals who will actually try to combat the president's health care reform if he wins the attorney general's race? So just interesting, that particular race...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: So you've been looking at what's going on in the state legislatures.

ERICKSON: You know, this is the -- this is the story we haven't talked about, which is absolutely fascinating to me. If really you want an idea of how big this Republican wave is, consider how deep it is. North Carolina house and senate flipped to the Republicans for the first time since 1870. The Indiana house has flipped. The Pennsylvania house has flipped. The Alabama house and senate has flipped for the first time since 1874..

The Michigan house has flipped. The Ohio house has flipped. The Iowa House has flipped. Wisconsin general assembly and senate have flipped. The Montana house has flipped. The New Hampshire senate has flipped. In New Hampshire, the Republicans have picked up 75 seats in the state legislature. The Maine senate has flipped. The Wisconsin senate has flipped. Tennessee Republicans in the house were neck and neck with the Democrats. They've expanded their lead.

The Texas house of representatives was neck and neck, like, 75 to 74. The Texas Republicans are now up into the mid-90s in the statehouse there. The attorney generals are largely Republican now. Secretaries of state in the Rust Belt are now Republican. And remember, in 2004, there was a big issue as to where the secretaries of state were. This is a massive sweep for Republicans at the state legislative level. Republicans now control a majority of the legislatures or governors in states that'll be reapportioned.

(CROSSTALK)

ROLLINS: I was going to say, I've been involved in two presidential elections that had won 49 states. Nixon in '72 was my first as a Republican. I ran California, President Reagan's campaign. When we won 59 percent of the vote, 49 states, we picked up 300 legislative seats and 14 congressional seats in 1984. The depth of this thing is unlike anything I've ever seen, and it's just...

(CROSSTALK)

ERICKSON: ... from a reporter in Texas who says the sweep in Texas has been so big, Republicans no longer need Democrats to pass constitutional amendments in Texas.

BROWN: Wow. MARTIN: And I'll tell you right now, one person right now who the Obama administration ran off when they took over, he's sitting out there saying, I told you guys. Do not forget our 50-state strategy. That's Howard Dean. Don't be surprised if you see Howard Dean become a significant force in the next two years when it comes to Democrats (INAUDIBLE) running in different places across the country.

COOPER: John King is actually taking a look at the board at why these races in these state legislatures -- why this flip is so important, so dramatic -- John.

KING: Well, Anderson, it's for a number of reasons. Number one, policy. You'll have a lot more Republican governors and Republican legislators. And we already know a dozen states, maybe more, say they might try to copy the Arizona immigration law. A number of conservatives have said they want to copy the new restrictive Nebraska abortion law.

But to the point Erick was just making about reapportionment -- here's where we came coming into the night, and these are the governors on the ballot. This is the governors nationwide, but this is the governors' races on the ballot tonight. Blue were held by Democrats, red by Republican. Now we switch it over to where we are now. I want to be clear, the Republican is leading here. We have not called that race. I want to be clear about that one. As you see, it's red down there in Florida.

But What happens? Florida will gain seats because of the census, 2010 census (INAUDIBLE) Florida's going to gain a couple seats. If the Republicans control not only the legislature, which they do there, and they have the governor's seat, as well, that's a big deal.

Erick just mentioned Texas. Essentially, if you look at the Sunbelt, the states down here are likely to gain after the census. And you're seeing a lot of red. That gives the governor, and in many of those cases, also Republican legislatures total control over reapportionment. But at least if the state is red, the governor gets at least a big piece in it.

These states up here -- come up here north. This is -- these are most of the states that are going to lose seats after the census, the seats up here. And if you go back and look, as we began the night, there were a lot of Democratic governors up here who would have had a say in reapportionment, who would have been able to at least, if they have a Republican legislature, try to negotiate a split when you lose seats. So if you're losing two, lose a Republican and a Democrat.

But instead, we have this, which gives Republican governors in these seats that are going to lose seats. And again, they're not only redrawing congressional seats, they often have to redraw their state legislative districts, as well. So when you add all those legislative gains tonight, add huge gains by the Republicans at the governors level, it gives them a much more powerful and in some cases the decisive voice in the states that are losing and the states that gaining. That could reshape the Congress for at least another decade, state legislatures, as well. COOPER: Yes. Massive implications, long term and short term.

(CROSSTALK)

ROSEN: This could be another -- this could be another "Be careful what you wish for" because what people forget is that a significant portion of the stimulus bill that -- that the Congress passed last year actually went to make up for deficits in state and local budgets. And so...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That stimulus bill that the Republicans...

(CROSSTALK)

ROSEN: One of the problems that these legislatures and governors are going to face is that all these states are broke, and there aren't a lot of places to cut spending. And so they're going to end up being faced with significant problems. Do they raise taxes? What do they do locally...

CASTELLANOS: But that's why they ran, to deal with these problems. Maybe they can survive something as tragic as winning.

(LAUGHTER)

CASTELLANOS: But they -- but they can. I think no president has done as much to rebuild the Republican Party since Ronald Reagan as Barack Obama has done tonight. He has reminded Republicans of what they believe in. He has energized them. He's given them a North Star focus. He's given Republicans a second chance. Reagan did it by holding out a North Star, This is who we are, follow me. Obama's done it by the reverse, by being the hot stove and repelling the Republican Party into cohesion. But they both ended up having similar effects.

AVLON: The significant thing is, though, if the Republican Party has revived in reaction to President Obama, now they've got the responsibility of governing, and that's very different. The "Nobama" approach and strategy will no longer work from today. And I think, you know...

CASTELLANOS: (INAUDIBLE) years.

AVLON: The point that -- the point -- if you look at the map that John just drew for us, says two things to me. First of all, it makes it even more difficult -- there's an added degree of difficulty in 2012 for President Obama with this redistricting. That is very real.

But the other thing it shows is there are serious structural problems that the Republican Party has to deal with because the momentum they've had is so significant down in the state legislatures, the fact they didn't control the Senate, first time since 1930 that a party has made gains in the House and not the Senate, is directly the result of some of the Tea Party candidates on the far right who won the close partisan primaries and they were not able to convert to the general election. That's the reality. So that's a mark of part of the structural problem they're facing as a party. (CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is one hope, though...

(CROSSTALK)

ROLLINS: ... may end up with 49 seats. I will take that any day of the week. Two years ago, I sat at this table and wasn't sure my party was ever going to get back out of the dirt. And I think that we should not diminish the fact that we didn't take the Senate back. That was always a long shot. We picked up seven or eight seats tonight. That is dramatic.

(CROSSTALK)

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: I mean, just to talk about structural problems of the Republican Party tonight is insane!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

TOOBIN: This is a night of triumph for the Republican Party. And they aren't -- sure, they have problems. You know, they don't control 100 percent of the country.

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: ... they should have taken the Senate. I mean, you know, they did a heck of a job! I mean, I just think that, you know, to find what's the opposite of a silver lining, to find the -- the lead lining in a night of triumph really misses the main story here...

ROSEN: Can I just also...

TOOBIN: ... which is that the Republican Party is ascendant. And by the way, you know, in that redistricting story, the one state where the -- the Democrats picked up the governorship, California, they also passed a referendum which will make redistricting non-partisan. So Democrats won't get any advantage out of controlling the government, either.

(CROSSTALK)

ROSEN: Jeffrey is right that -- that...

CASTELLANOS: ... Republicans watch TV, too. And they're watching tonight. And that's why Republicans are out there saying, We understand all we've got is a second chance, but we're running because we want to govern. We want to try. So you know, maybe they actually mean what they say.

ROSEN: I think Jeffrey's point is correct that this is a huge victory. But it is also correct that when you have the responsibility that they've not had for the last two years, you are facing a very different world than people have faced before, which is an extremely fickle public, a significant impatience among the constituency. And the truth is, when you have the Senate as close as it is and a president who's Democratic, you know, a lot of rhetorical opportunities, but not necessarily change without cooperation.

COOPER: Nevertheless, all the Republicans at the table seem pretty happy to face that opportunity...

(CROSSTALK)

CASTELLANOS: Plus, there are 24 Democrats up in two years.

COOPER: We got to go. Wolf (INAUDIBLE) for you.

BLITZER: All right, Anderson, thanks very much. I want to just update our viewers on some very, very close races that are still out there. We have not been able to project winners. For example, in Illinois right now, the race for governor of Illinois. Pat Quinn is the Democratic candidate, slightly ahead of Bill Brady, the Republican candidate, 46.5 percent to 46.3 percent. With 93 percent of the vote in, more than 3 million counted already, Quinn is ahead by 8,515 votes. That's not very many. It's a very close race in Illinois for governor.

Same in Florida, very close race in Florida right now, 89 percent of the vote in. The Republican candidate, Rick Scott, slightly ahead of Alex Sink, the Democratic candidate, 48.8 percent to 47.8 percent. More than 5 million votes have been cast. Scott is ahead right now by 54,155 votes. So that's not a lot. They still have 11 percent of the vote outstanding.

Let's look at some more close races out there. In Alaska, we have projected that Scott McAdams, the Democratic candidate, will come in third. So the Democrats will not have a -- a pick-up in Alaska. It'll either be Joe Miller, the Republican nominee, or Lisa Murkowski, the write-in candidate. Right now, the write-in candidates (SIC), most of whom are going for Murkowski, 39 percent for the write-in candidates, Joe Miller, 35 percent right now, the Republican candidate. That's about half of the vote counted so far. We don't know exactly how many votes Lisa Murkowski has. They'll open up those ballots only after all the votes are in to make sure that -- that Joe Miller doesn't have more than the write-in candidates. But that's a close contest in Alaska.

In Colorado, look at this, 82 percent of the vote has been counted already. The Republican challenger, Ken Buck, with 48 percent to Michael Bennet's 47 percent. He's the incumbent Democrat -- 1,400,000 votes have been counted already. Buck is ahead by 6,865 votes. We haven't been able to project a winner in Colorado.

Same in Washington state. Look at how close it is here between the incumbent, Patty Murray, with 50 percent, Dino Rossi, the Republican challenger, 50 percent. Right now, Patty Murray is ahead by 14,261 votes out of 1,400,000 counted already, 54 percent of the vote has been -- has already been counted. But there's still plenty more to go. We have not been able to project a winner in Washington state.

We do know that so far, all the votes that have been counted in all of the states so far, right now, the Republicans have come in with 36,600,000, the Democrats 31,900,000. The independents with 1,800,000. In other words, the Republicans so far in all of the states have taken in 52 percent of the votes, the Democrats 45 percent, the independents 3 percent. That's a marked difference than what happened two years ago when President Obama captured, what, 53 percent of the vote nationally.

We'll take a quick break. We'll resume our coverage right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Welcome back. You're with "The Best Political Team on Television," those who are still standing, at least, at this late hour. As this new Congress comes into session, what can they actually work together on? What can actually get accomplished?

BORGER: You know, Anderson, we don't really know. The president is going to make an overture tomorrow when he has his press conference and say they all ought to work together. And maybe they can work together on cutting the deficit to a certain degree.

But there is one thing that joins both parties, which is they've got to get the economy back on track, if that's something that they can actually do, because they're all now invested in having it do well for 2012. Whatever they can do, they should try. Whether, in reality, the Republicans are going to be able to come up with anything that Republicans can agree with together or the Democrats are going to work with, I mean, we just don't know.

TOOBIN: There are real philosophical differences about how you improve the economy. I mean, Democrats fundamentally...

BORGER: Right.

TOOBIN: Remember, the Democrats are a more liberal party than they were yesterday...

BORGER: Right.

TOOBIN: ... because a lot of the Blue Bogs left. So the people who remain are Keynesians. They think...

BORGER: Right.

TOOBIN: ... you've got to spend more money, you've got to build more highways. That's not going to fly with the Republicans.

(CROSSTALK)

CROWLEY: I mean, they don't have the numbers in the House because they're not in the majority anymore, and they're more conservative on the Senate side. So you're not -- I mean, that may be true in the House, but they don't have the power...

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: That's what I'm saying. They don't have a chance of getting it through. AVLON: This election is a very clear reminder, though, that America is essentially a center-right country. And the White House is going to need to work with at least Republicans in the House. And then in the Senate, which is so closely divided, the power really is in the center. So beyond the economy, that's clearly the message, and I think there's an opportunity to put deficit reduction and debt -- you know, if they're going to do other issues, they need to be very clever. I mean, maybe President Obama can pull a Nixon and China and take Bush's immigration plan and retool that to address some of the concerns and put that forward. But it's going to take very nimble leadership by the White House to try to forge a consensus and define that common ground.

(CROSSTALK)

JOHNS: ... hilariously, one of the things the Democrats ran on two years ago was the issue of accountability in government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure.

JOHNS: Right now, as these Republicans start talking about going to the Capitol and taking over the majority, they're talking about accountability in government now. So perhaps we can get them all on the same page, talking about the same things.

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: We have seen a significant number of Republican candidates say throughout this campaign government cannot create jobs. Government cannot do it. But then you heard the same people say, I'm going to Congress to create jobs. And so the -- so the question is going to be for Republican and Democratic candidates if you say government can't create jobs, government has no role in it, how in the hell are you going to create jobs?

(CROSSTALK)

ERICKSON: No, they've said government can't create jobs. I'm going to get government out of the way so you can create jobs. There's a big difference between those two things.

CASTELLANOS: There's a difference between two different stimuluses. One is a stimulus where you take money and you put it in Washington and you count on those smart people in Washington to somehow trickle down prosperity. Republicans have an alternative view, and it is a philosophical difference here. Take that money, cut spending and cut taxes in Washington and put it in American people's pockets. And instead of programs, put it -- let each American invest in their own hopes and dreams.

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: Do you actually believe that the Bush tax cuts, which you say somehow did not contribute to the deficit, which is absolutely delusional -- explain to me how Republicans are going to sit here and say, Extend those tax cuts, but we want to cut the deficit, which the Tea Party people sent us to do?

ROSEN: And I've talked to House Democrats tonight, and I think that's where you're going to see House Democrats simply say, Fine, you go do what you do. Pass what you want to pass. It's on your head now.

We heard John Boehner say tonight that, We want to work with the president, as long as he is willing to change. And I think you're going to hear from President Obama tomorrow that he wants to work with Republicans to create jobs, but that he wants them to come forward with proposals.

I think you may also hear from the president, though, that he's going to have some principles that he will stick with. And so there are going to be extremely -- you know, it's going to be extremely hard to get the House together with the president. The Senate as a -- you know, gridlock...

(CROSSTALK)

ROSEN: It's going to be very tough to move anything through.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: ... the president is going to have a very weakened hand. I mean, I was looking at some of the exit polls, and the president's coalition from 2008 fell apart tonight. The kids stayed home. The voters under 30, they came out in lower numbers than they did in 2006. The independents flipped. They went with the Republicans. The black vote was down below where -- far below where it was in 2008 and really below where it was in 2006.

He's got to have some kind of a basis. There's going to be a lot of rumbling in the Democratic ranks. Who lost the House? Well, you know, Nancy Pelosi presumably will just sort of move on. But there are going to be a lot of questions raised. This Democratic coalition was very quiet, stayed behind the president, and he led them into a disaster tonight.

ROLLINS: Governing is totally different than campaigning. We've seen that. And I've been in government for 20 years. I've been in campaigns for 40 years. The bottom line here -- and you can't condemn Republicans until the put the proposals forward. They know for two years that they had an opportunity to gain some seats. They didn't expect to gain the majority until a couple of months ago. They're now prepared to learn the lessons, from changing people on the Appropriations Committee to the whole nine yards that -- you're going to see programs. The president has not defined himself as a leader yet. That's one of the great weaknesses he's had. People still like him, but they have not defined him as a leader. He now gets to show whether he's a leader or not in the next few months...

ROSEN: And he will make an effort to do that...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: We've got to take a quick break. Our coverage continues, though. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: I want to update you on what's happening in Nevada right now. We've projected that Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, will be reelected in the state of Nevada. But Sharron Angle, the Republican challenger, she's not conceding yet, even though 99 percent of the vote has been counted, Harry Reid with 50.2 percent, Sharron Angle 44.6 percent. Out of some 700,000 votes counted already, Reid is ahead by 40,648. We project Harry Reid is reelected, but Sharron Angle, interestingly -- she's not conceding yet.

Let's go back to John King up at the election "Matrix" for us. And just reset what has happened. It's been a tumultuous night in American politics, a huge win for the Republicans, many gains, not enough to take over the Senate, but many gains in the Senate, well beyond the necessary 39 they needed in the House of Representatives.

KING: Substantial gains in the Senate. The Republicans will end up with 48 or 49. We're still counting the final races there tonight. So big gains for the Republicans here. The Democrats will keep the majority. But when you look at here around me and the CNN "Matrix" here and you look at the CNN 100 -- stunning, breath-taking, astounding. Those are the words you might use to take the Democratic (SIC) sweep tonight. It is a geographic sweep for the Republicans and it is a generational sweep for the Republicans.

What do I mean? You see the class of 2004 and 2006. These were seats taken in those elections, the class of 2002 there. We'll come back to those in a minute, the class of 2008 that came in with President Obama. But Wolf, I want to go back in time first. I'm going back here through the '90s, all the way back -- we're keep going back past the '90s because I want to show you these races as we come on back. We come on back even more, even more. Missouri '04 -- look at this. This is the class of 1976, the class that came to Washington post- Watergate. Jimmy Carter was elected president. Along came Ike Skelton. He was the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. He is the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. In January, he will retire because he was defeated tonight in his district. And he was defeated 50 percent to 45 percent. This is a Democrat who has been in Washington since 1977, won in the '76 election.

Let's move it around and we'll find some more. Virginia, '09. Again, this is a seat that changed hands tonight. Rick Boucher, a veteran Democrat from the hills of Virginia, a conservative Democrat -- yes, he votes with the leadership sometimes, not all the time, though. Rick Boucher, again, came in in the class of 1982. He has been defeated tonight. Now, you just keep coming on and on and on and you walk through this. Here's another very interesting one.

A lot of Nancy Pelosi's allies were defeated tonight. Some of the Democrats who were constantly thorns in her side were defeated, as well, tonight. Being against Nancy Pelosi did not protect you if you were a Democrat in some parts of the country. Gene Taylor, a veteran Democrat, came in in the class of 1989 -- he was defeated tonight, Wolf. So Missouri and Mississippi -- we show you others. We come across through the classes tonight. And you look and look and look as we come through in time. Now we're in the class of 1996, the class of 1998, some changes there, as well.

Now you come into the 2000s, and we can show you even more of these...

BLITZER: John, let me interrupt for a moment...

KING: Sure.

BLITZER: ... because when you think about it, some of those Democrats who went down, like Gene Taylor or Ike Skelton or John Spratt, they were such veterans, chairmen of important committees. They brought so many benefits to their districts, but the voters this time around didn't seem to care.

KING: That is a very important point to make, that the old playbook says you go home and you say, I bring home the bacon. I built that courthouse. I got you the money for that bridge. Look at all the school money. That was one of the things that politicians in both parties learned this year. The old playbook didn't work. You couldn't go home and say I'm the pork barrel guy. You had to go home to an electorate that most of the voters had had to make painful decisions in their budget, and they said, No, no, no, no. That's not what we want. We want Washington to get things done.

That's a key point to make as some of those veterans go home, John Spratt, the chairman of the Budget Committee, Ike Skelton, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Gene Taylor, a veteran Democrat, Rick Boucher, a veteran Democrat with seniority.

Now as you come into the younger classes here -- and again, look at all this red. When we started the night, 91 of these 100 races were blue for Democrats. Now 60 of them have shifted. The Republican majority is built right in here.

And let's look at a few more of these races. And if they're flashing, they switched. When we began the night, we could have shown you a map that had very few Republicans in New York state and in New England. Here's a Republican pick-up right here in the state of New York. John Hall, the incumbent congressman -- he will be gone in January. Nan Hayworth, a first time, ophthalmologist, had never run for office before -- Republicans pick up seats in New York. That's the class of 2006. And you just come straight through it, Wolf, on and on and on.

Out in Colorado, there's a seat here. This is one good for the Democrats. Earl Perlmutter held his seat. This is of the Republican targets. But that is the exception tonight as you look especially at the class of 2006 and 2008. That was mostly blue at the beginning of the night. As we close the night and close this part of the night, Republicans, a sweep, a breath-taking coast-to-coast sweep.

BLITZER: It's amazing what's -- what has happened for the Republicans in the House of Representatives. John, thanks very much.

I just want to update our viewers one more time. That's a House race -- some Senate races before I throw it over to John Roberts and Kiran Chetry.