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Confrontation or Compromise?; Republicans Regroup

Aired November 7, 2012 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Erin, thanks. Good evening, everyone.

We begin tonight in Washington. After a history-making election night, with two simple words. What next? What next for the men and women in the capital behind me in a Democratic Senate and Republican House. What next?

What next for the party that tried and failed to retake the Senate and White House who ran on a platform that a majority of Americans saw as too extreme and a demographic base that now seems just too narrow. What next for them?

What next for the man who ran for re-election despite a slow- healing economy? Who returned from Chicago tonight and came home to face rapidly approaching challenges on taxes, the budget, the global economy and a whole lot more.

For President Obama, what next?

Today markets took a nosedive in part because investors see what is coming and worry that Washington simply cannot fix it. And that's why we are here tonight again.

In the speeches last night, in the statements today, everyone form President Obama to Mitt Romney, to the leaders in the building behind me, all found ways of saying they get it. They understand the challenges and will rise to meet them. Listen.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We want our children to live in America that isn't burdened by debt. That isn't weakened by inequality. That isn't threatened by the disruptive power of a warming planet.

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The nation, as you know, is at a critical point. At a time like this we can't risk partisan bickering and political posturing.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: If there's a mandate in yesterday's results, it's a mandate for us to find a way to work together on the solutions to the challenges that we all face as a nation. SEN. HARRY REID (D), MAJORITY LEADER: It's better to dance than to fight. It's better to work together. Everything doesn't have to be a fight.


COOPER: Well, tonight, what is next on the fiscal cliff and the rest of the president's agenda, on whether and how Republicans will deal with the diverse electorate.

Tonight we are looking forward, not so much looking back to last night. We begin with Dana Bash on the coming fiscal cliff when tax cut expire and automatic budget cuts kick in -- Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, welcome to the capital, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Thanks.

BASH: You know, on that issue, you heard everybody sort of singing this kumbaya tune. But when you got down to the next sentence, of course, there was a but. You heard John Boehner, in particular, talking about the fact that on the issue that has divided them over the past years or so, on this fiscal cliff issue, taxes, saying very clearly he does not want to raise taxes. But he also put out an olive branch, Anderson.

He did say that maybe he would be for some kind of -- raising some kind of revenue. Didn't give any specifics about what that means but talked about broad tax reform as it relates to entitlement reform. On the other side of the capital, though, you saw right over there, the Senate majority leader Harry Reid fairly clearly feeling like he has leverage here, not just because of what the voters said on the issue of tax.

It is really where the clear-cut issue between President Obama and Mitt Romney.

COOPER: Right.

BASH: But also because of just the mechanics of it, Anderson. If nobody does anything, taxes for everybody will go up. So Democrats realize that, so they do feel like they have the leverage and they're probably right.

COOPER: And there's motivation to try to do something on that.

BASH: Exactly.

COOPER: There was a private conference call Boehner had with his caucus. What do you know about it?

BASH: Well, we're told from a source who was on the call, this is a call with all House Republicans were invited to this. That he was sober and he did try to buck everybody up and said, in fact, the words he used is that we are the last line of defense from an America that Barack Obama would design. But he also had a clear message for his rank and file, which was hold your fire. I need to -- you know, I need to have running room. Not to mix too many metaphors here, but I need to have some running room to figure out how we can do this the right way.

And the other thing that I'm told that he said to them is that he won't let the White House box him in. But he can't be boxed out either. He knows that he's going to have to negotiate big time. And he's going to be the point person with the president just like they were in those failed talks a year ago.

COOPER: We'll see what President Obama does to try to reach out to Boehner, and repair that relationship as well, and vice versa, I should say.

BASH: Exactly.

COOPER: Dana Bash, I appreciate that.

I want to turn next to Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina who famously said just a couple of days ago, if Mitt Romney loses in the Republican states because he wasn't conservative enough he'll, quote, "go nuts."

Senator, Americans -- first of all, how are you doing today? Have you gone nuts? Because I've heard a lot of Republicans saying just that.



Well, I just think the honest truth is that we have a demographic problem. If we've gotten 40 percent of the Hispanic vote Mitt Romney would be president. You know, 43 -- Bush 43 got 41 percent, McCain got 31 percent, and Romney got 27 percent. We're going in the wrong direction.

COOPER: So how do you change that? I mean how do you change it? You've got -- because you have extremes in your party who certainly on the -- on the immigration issue, for instance, don't want to see some sort of a compromise.

GRAHAM: Yes, yes. Well, here's what I want to see. I want to see a solution that will not lead to 12 million illegal immigrants 20 years from now. And I'm willing to deal with the 12 million in a firm and fair way. But I want a comprehensive solution that prevents the third way to illegal immigration.

That's all I ask and I think that's all most Americans want. I think most Hispanic voters, they didn't have a real fondness for President Obama. His job approval rating among Hispanics was about 50 percent. I just think they saw him as a lesser of two evils between Obama and us because he didn't really lift a finger to do comprehensive immigration reform like he promised. So we're -- we'll be back in the game. Immigration is a national issue. It's just not a Hispanic issue, it's an American issue, and there is a solution to be found out there if people want to find it.

COOPER: Senator, Americans are going to see massive tax increases if Congress fails to strike a deal on the so-called fiscal cliff.


COOPER: And it's not just tax increases. Also massive budget cuts.


COOPER: Every single American will feel the effects. What level of hope do you have tonight that Congress can really come together and strike a deal? Because there's always talk about yes, we're going to work together, and then it's never materializes.

GRAHAM: Yes. Right. It's pretty high, actually. Simpson- Bowles is the way forward, Anderson. And what the Simpson-Bowles do, they didn't raise tax rates they eliminated deductions. All but two, I think. Interest on your home with a cap and charitable deductions and they had lower rates to 25 percent corporate rate, the top individual rate was around 30 percent.

They took that $1 trillion from eliminating deductions and exemptions. They put some of it on the debt, some of it to buy down rates. And they did entitlement reform. That's exactly what I think we'll wind up doing and we'll come together on discretionary spending cuts.

I'm very optimistic after hearing John Boehner today say that revenue would be on the table in the form of Simpson-Bowles. I think that's the magic way forward. And the Democrats have to do entitlement reform.

COOPER: But if you look at the polls, I mean, that people actually voted for, a lot of them do support raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Boehner said he would not do that today. support it. Harry Reid still said Democrats would insist on those taxes being raised.

GRAHAM: Well, all I would suggest is that every bipartisan group has looked at this. The gang of six. Three Republicans, three Democrats. Simpson-Bowles rejected higher tax rates. They raised revenue by eliminating deductions and exemptions, taking that revenue back into the treasury, applying it to the debt and buying down rates to create economic growth. And some future economic growth can be dedicated --


COOPER: But did that really get you where you need to be on deficit reduction? GRAHAM: Absolutely it does.

COOPER: Just eliminating loopholes.

GRAHAM: It does. Well, there is $1 trillion out there every year that we give away through the tax code. Take that $1 trillion back, apply some of it to the debt, some of it to lowering tax rates to create jobs, and future economic growth set some of that aside to get out of debt. Raising tax rates was rejected by Simpson-Bowles and the gang of six, and there'll be no Republican who will go down that road because it will hurt job creation. Tax policy and job creation go hand in hand.

COOPER: Well, didn't this -- I mean this president got re- elected very clearly saying that is what he wanted to do. To raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans. The Republican challenger said he did not want to do that and he did not get elected.

Doesn't that give President Obama and the Democrats some right to push for raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans?

GRAHAM: Well, I think the House got re-elected. Their mandate is to not raise tax rates. And go back to Simpson-Bowles. Simpson- Bowles rejected the idea of higher tax rates. They eliminated deductions. The people who will give up most deductions are the wealthy among us. Pick a rate, 30 percent, and tell people you've got to pay it. How many American in the upper income level actually pay 35 percent.

The tax code is a social engineering document that reward friends and punish enemies. Flatten the tax rate, make people pay the rate you pick, have a 25 percent corporate to create jobs here in America.

If you have bad tax policy, you're going to have bad job creation. Simpson-Bowles, the gang of six, is the way to go forward, and I'm confident that's what we will do.

COOPER: Well, we'll watch it. Senator Graham, appreciate your time.

Coming up next, our panel, chief national correspondent John King, chief political correspondent Candy Crowley, moderated the second presidential debate, also political analyst David Gergen and Gloria Borger.

John, when you listen to Senator Graham, I mean couple his words with those of two congressional leaders today, you get a sense we're looking at anything other than gridlock? You can say Simpson-Bowles all you want, but both sides completely just creating tax rates on the upper income Americans?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You're going to hear a lot of Simpson-Bowles. Everyone will say it's the roadmap. And then when you get to the specifics of it, that's when they walk away. That's what happened when it was first released and that's what has happened every time it comes up since, Anderson. You do have a -- you know, Speaker Boehner, as you were discussing earlier, plants in a flag today. He also said, well, I want to be conciliatory, I want to listen. Leader Reid says I'm not going to draw any lines in the sand. The burden here is going to be on the president of the United States. And even a bit more so than usual because Speaker Boehner, whether the Democrats think this is fair or not, he feels burned by the last time they went down this path. He thought he had a deal with the president. And he thinks the president walked away from it.

And so, is this a game of chicken where, you know, who blinks first? The president gives up higher taxes on the rich for long-term tax reform? Republicans give up something on the short-term to get more on the long-term? That's going to be the kabuki dance, if you will, and the stakes are pretty enormous.

COOPER: Candy, can you see any position where the president gives up higher taxes on the wealthy? I mean, he did get re-elected on this and he has been very clear on this particular issue. I mean this was a major thing he ran on.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And he said if he got to build -- did not include the end of tax hikes for the wealthy, he'd veto it. So -- but that was pre-elections, this is post-elections. But you know the pressure I think is on all of them but let's remember the pressure for the president.

One of the things that is difficult about a coalition that puts you in office is every part of the coalition wants to protect something. They think that they helped put this guy back in office. And you already hear folks on the left saying, do not touch Social Security, do not touch Medicare. There is no need to do that. So there's pressure on that side and there's pressure on the side of him that said in his acceptance speech last night, and I'm going to work and I'm going to -- we're going to get this done. So I think the pressure on the president is probably even more so than that of -- on Republicans.

COOPER: Gloria, do you agree with that? I mean congressional approval levels are -- you know, I don't know, all-time low.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Ridiculous. Yes. Like 17 percent. Something like that. I think there's pressure on all of them. Because I think what you have is a divided country and I think they've got this huge speed bump which is the question of tax cuts for the rich. And they have to figure out a way to get around that. Maybe they'll raise the bar of how you define wealthy. I think everybody understands that there is an outline of a framework here to do tax reform.

You know, Mitt Romney talked about it in his campaign, said cap deductions. He gave them an idea. He said let's do this. So I think they just have to figure out a way to get around this. You know, my big question is, what role does Paul Ryan play in all of this? Because he's pretty far out there. He's now a national figure, said, you know, no new taxes, and John Boehner is going to have to try and lead some compromises in his own caucus and he's got now a new national leader.

COOPER: So do you see that compromise is possible?

BORGER: I do --

COOPER: Because of the fiscal cliff. I mean --

BORGER: OK, so here's the thing. In the olden days when I cover the Congress, I always used to say, you know what, they're going to end up doing the wrong thing. I no longer think that. I now believe that they could all retreat into their corners. The only thing that gives me hope is that it's in their own ultimate self interest.

COOPER: Right.

BORGER: To get something done.

COOPER: Yes. It's everybody's self-interest.

You know, David, I mean, you know, you -- as you surveyed the landscape of the incoming Congress, do you see any likelihood that these members will be able to come together, work with the president on big ideas -- immigration reform, climate change, tax reform, entitlement reform?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I do, Anderson. I'm increasingly optimistic that we will not go over the fiscal cliff. The sharp drop in the markets today send a clear signal to Congress and to the president that you guys better not let us do this, that you're going to throw us into a recession next year. And Barack Obama doesn't have to run for office again but the rest of these folks up there do.

And they often be dumb but they're not crazy. And I do think that they'll act out of some sense of what the national interest here. I think the way to get there, though, is to be careful not to isolate just the question of tax hikes on the wealthy. If you isolate that, you're going to get everybody dug it. What you need to do is put that question into a broader framework.

How do we raise revenues? Which John Boehner said today he was now open to and he would favor that. And how do we get spending down through entitlement reform? If the Republicans are willing to come to the table on some form of -- you know, of tax increases that don't come out of the middle class, and also the Democrats are willing to go along with entitlement reform, you could get the structure of a deal now, you can't get a real deal before January 1.

But you could get an agreement on what the basic structure would be. And then direct your committees next years within six months or a year to come back and put the deal together.


KING: But will they get there, is the big question, I think, Anderson. Can they get there? Because we talked about the Tea Party last time, they came out of an election, they said we won't do these things and they wouldn't do those things, some of these new Democrats, Senator Elizabeth Warren -- Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts, for example, ran ads saying, I will never cut Medicare. What happens?


BORGER: And maybe the president will actually come up with a plan. He's been re-elected, he doesn't have to run again.

COOPER: Well, I'm curious also to see does --

BORGER: Maybe he'll put something on the table. We'll see.

COOPER: Does he change the way he interacts with Congress. I mean does he sort of take some of the criticism that he's gotten in this race and sort of figure out differently --


BORGER: And invite them over to the White House?


BORGER: Maybe once in a while?

COOPER: Play golf with them or something.

BORGER: Play golf, having a dinner?

COOPER: Yes. Candy, David, Gloria, thanks. John, stick around.

When we come back, I want to break down the demographics that are key to President Obama's victory. And Republican trouble winning the female vote, as Lindsey Graham said a moment ago, the Latino vote, huge difference there.

We're also joined by a panel of Republicans to talk about how their party changes to fix the problems they face.



OBAMA: I believe we can seize this future together. Because we are not as divided as our political suggest. We're not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions and we remain more than a collection of red and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.


COOPER: Another moment from President Obama's acceptance speech in Chicago in the early hours of the morning.

The fact that it wasn't a concession speech due in small part because President Obama and the Democratic Party managed to assemble a voting coalition that better reflects America's growing diversity. They did in part -- they did that in part through a computerized data crunching operation that was so sophisticated, so closely guarded that campaign spokesman, Ben LaBolt, called it their nuclear codes.

John King is back to break down the numbers for us -- John, take a look.

KING: Anderson, it was their nuclear code perhaps, but they did what they said they were going to do. If you go back to your notes a year, a year and a half ago, you ask the Obama people, what are you going to do, they say, we're going to identify our voters. We're going to find them. We're going to keep in touch with them. And we're going to turn them out.

And nationally if you look at the electorate, men, 47 percent, shaded red because Governor Romney won, but women -- there's a big gender gap -- 53 percent. If you're winning as the president did 55 percent of the biggest chunk of the electorate, and you're competitive elsewhere, you're on your way to winning the election.

This is the women vote. If you look at it here. That's one piece. Let me swat it over. That's nationally. Now this plays out in swing states as well. You get to a state like Colorado, the president actually won the men's vote as well. But women made 51 percent of the electorate. Once from a reliably Republican state in Colorado. Look at that. More of a classic swing state. Closer here in Colorado. But the president won there by being competitive among women as well.

And I'll move you over to one more. It's a little touchy. She's had a tough couple of days. Forty-eight percent in Ohio were men, 52 percent in Ohio were women. And once again, Anderson, you look at the gender gap, this is just the gender gap, and bang. Especially college educated women in the suburbs critical to the Obama coalition. But that's not the only piece. Not the only piece.

Let's go back and look nationally by race. When we saw this number last night, we knew Governor Romney was in trouble. Only 72 percent of the electorate was white yesterday. Governor Romney needed that up at 74, even 75 percent. African-Americans 13 percent of the population again. A lot of people thought that would drop. High African-American unemployment. Not history the second time around.

The Obama campaign, that operation you talked about, found them, got in touch with them, and turned them out in Philadelphia, in Cleveland, elsewhere across the country. And look at this, the president got 93 percent of their votes.

Again, 13 percent of the electorate but you're getting 93 percent of the votes. And this is historic. Latinos crossed double-digits. Ten percent nationally for the first time. And this is not only part of the president's victory coalition. This is a long-term generational crisis for the Republican Party. Seven in 10 votes among Latinos nationally for the president, 27 percent for Governor Romney. And again, Anderson, it's not just nationally, you look at states like Nevada where the white vote is smaller. Why? Because the Latino vote is nearly 20 percent of the vote in the state of Nevada. The president gets 71 percent. Can't win. You can't win. The other side can't win when the numbers are like that. And let's bring this over Colorado, much more of a white vote, 78 percent. The Latinos at seven -- at 14 percent, excuse me, you pop up the pie chart one more time and the president getting 75 percent.

Let me shift walls, Anderson. Just take one more minute of your time. I want to show you this. Nevada used to be a swing state in presidential politics. Colorado used to be a Republican state in presidential politics. New Mexico was a swing state in presidential politics. Florida, a swing state in presidential politics.

If the Democrats keep getting 66, 70 percent of the Latino vote, watch this. The darker the area the higher the Latino population. So in Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico, it's almost game over. In Florida last night we're still waiting to get the final results. Latino vote critical to the president's lead. And if you look at the state of Texas in the long term, if Republicans don't solve this problem, one or two or three more presidential elections, we might be talking about Texas as a blue state -- Anderson.

COOPER: Wow. It's amazing looking at the maps like that. The demographic. John, appreciate that.

So let's talk about this. Given that, how does the Republican Party evolve? That's the question. What is next for them? For some in the extreme right, there's not a lot of self-examination going on quite yet. Certainly not today.

Take a look at this from the "American Spectator." "Doomed beyond all hope of redemption. Dark thoughts on the meaning of a catastrophic election." That's from the "American Spectator."

From a Tea Party group in Ohio, the, under the headline, "We mourn the loss of our country," there's this quote. "Today I wear black the day America died."

From a conservative interview by the liberal "Mother Jones," quote, "This is not hyperbole, this country is done. The writing's on the wall. Dead."

And from the billionaire Romney surrogate who shall go unnamed, quote, "This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy."

Joining us a panel of Republicans, Redstate editor-in-chief, Erick Erickson, GOP strategist Kirsten Soltis, and Alex Castellanos, and former George W. Bush press secretary, Ari Fleischer.

So Alex, we talked last night about your party challenge reaching Hispanic voters. Is there a sense the Republicans are ready to fundamentally change their approach? Is that what they need to do? Or they're just looking for a better way to package the positions they've already got?

ALEX CASTELLANOS, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: I don't think this is a small thing. This is not a matter of changing your positions on a couple of issues. We need a -- remember that the philosophy that Republicans hold, which is freedom and opportunity for everybody, is what works and it's reason people come to this country and have for generations anyway.

Nobody comes to this country, the United States, saying hey, I'm going to get more government benefits here. Most people who come to this country come here because it's still a land of opportunity, a land of endless promise. And that's what I think the Republican message needs to be. We need to become the party of yes and the party of more.

Come here, this is a place that has open arms for everybody. And Democrats, yes, you get more from government. But there's an end to that. It's going broke. With the Republicans you get more from the economy which is the real reason you come here.

COOPER: Kirsten, I mean, ahead of the vote, there are all these predictions that young voters wouldn't turn out for the president the way they did four years ago. According to exit polls, your party hasn't made any headway in reaching them. Republicans had four years to address the problem. What are they still doing wrong on that?

KRISTEN SOLTIS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: So actually young voters did break heavily for the president but not as heavily as they broke four years ago. The Republicans still have a long way to go. And I think this election hopefully has sort of busted two myths about them. The first myth is that they're not going to show up. Turnout is now at 19 percent. It's never been below 17 percent.

A lot of my colleagues got that wrong. They thought they'd stay home. It's clear that this is a new world. The other thing that's different is you saw the voters in their 30s actually were the group where Obama did better than he did four years ago. The young voters for Obama last time they got older and they stuck with the president.

I think it's important for Republicans to realize that this isn't just a matter of young voters who are going to grow up and become conservative when they get older, this is going to resonate throughout these voters' political lifetimes.

COOPER: Yes, Ari, part of the problem with young voters maybe your party's position on social issues. A lot of Democrats will certainly say that. Conservatives are very nostalgic obviously about the Reagan era, but that was a time when there was a lot -- there was a lot more diversity of opinion on social issues.

I mean, now, you know, President Obama mentioned gay people every step on basically every campaign stop. I don't think I ever heard Mitt Romney acknowledged there were gay and lesbian Americans in existence.

ARI FLEISCHER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. COOPER: And that's just one thing that -- and young people in the polls you look at support something like same sex marriage runs much higher.

FLEISCHER: No, Anderson, if you want people to vote for you, you have to be comfortable talking to people. And that means Republicans have got to start going into communities they typically don't go to and speak and listen. And that connection is just a part of how people say, I think he understands what I'm going through in life.

Let me -- let me give you two other factors that are huge. America is changing and their cultural issues, Anderson. If you're married you're voting Republican by 29 points according to the exit polls. If you're single you voted Democrat by 14 points. Think of the gap between single and marries. And that also huge issue, religion. America is increasingly becoming a secular country. Seventeen percent of the Americans told the exit pollsters they never go to church or synagogue.

Twenty-nine point the Democrat advantage among those who never go. Among those who go to synagogue or church every week, plus 19 Republican.

The cultural divide are turning the Republican Party, and this is the red state/blue state issue into essentially an older party that's a more churchgoing party of married families and children. The Democrats are increasingly younger, more secular and unmarried. And the numbers don't look good for Republicans.

COOPER: Erick, where do you come down on this whole notion of, you know, did the party go too far right? Should there be more of a sort of center right? Or are you of the opinion that Romney was too center right and not conservative enough?

ERICK ERICKSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I think the problem with Mitt Romney was that depending on the time of day and the week as to what position he was and where he was. And that was part of the problem.

Look, when you have a guy who agrees, by the way, in the first debate, which everyone says he won, he actually agreed substantively with Barack Obama on seven to 10 positions. Seven in the second debate, five in the third debate. When instead of drawing bright lines or trying to blurry them so you could do this passive aggressive campaign, where you say I'm going to be a better manager, but I'm not really going to tell you where I stand, well, you know, people are going to go with the politician they know. Not the politician they don't know. You've got to actually be able to articulate your vision for the country which --


COOPER: But Erick, are you saying -- are you just saying that what the GOP had was a Mitt Romney problem or do you think there is a GOP problem and if there is, what do you think it is? ERICKSON: I think it's both. Part of the problem the Republicans have is that they've been very successful for 30 years. And they've forgotten that they can't just talk inside the echo chamber. They've got to go outside the echo chamber. They've got to go outside the echo chamber. They've got to be able to explain things to people.

When you're talking to Hispanic voters, it's really hard to woo Hispanic voters when they think you hate them. It's not the policies that Republicans advocate that hurt Hispanics. But they get that vibe from Republicans. They've got to be able to --

COOPER: So you think it's just the way the message is delivered as opposed to what the policies actually are?

ERICKSON: Look, freedom and equality and opportunity sell to everyone. The Republicans have a great messages to sell. They've just got to remember that a lot of people can't -- come from countries where that's not the message.

CASTELLANOS: And Anderson, there are some things that Republicans need to fix. You know, we are against big government. Unless all of a sudden big government agrees with us or we're running it, especially on social issues, freedom nationally, values locally. Get government out of our lives. I think, you know, we saw a lot of excitement from Ron Paul coming into the Republican Party. We saw a lot of youth there. That's the future of the party, I think. We can't cheat and cut across the track and hug big government when it agrees with us.

COOPER: Right. Erick Erickson --

FLEISCHER: The future of the party is also --


FLEISCHER: The future of the party is through economic growth and economic ideas. Our number one problem remains, debt, and that still is something that Republicans have got to lead the way in solving.

COOPER: We've got to leave it there. Erick, Kristen, Alex, Ari, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

Let me know what you think about this, whether you're a Democrat or a Republican. Twitter -- send me a message on Twitter, @andersoncooper.

Coming up tonight what is next for Mitt Romney. I'll look at the former governor's political future if he really has any. Is he just kind of go away like Mike Dukakis? Kind of disappear from the national stage when we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the nation. But the nation chose another leader. So Ann and I join you to earnestly pray for him and for this great nation.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Mitt Romney last night conceding the election. He spoke for less than 5 minutes, half as long as John McCain did in 2008. Governor Romney also said this. Listen.


ROMNEY: I want to thank Paul Ryan for all that he has done for our campaign and for our country. Besides my wife, Ann, Paul is the best choice I've ever made. And I trust that his intellect and his hard work and his commitment to principle will continue to contribute to the good of our nation.


COOPER: One thing Paul Ryan was not able to do was deliver his home state, obviously key battleground into voters help push President Obama over the victory line -- four years ago.

Congressman Ryan did win re-election to his House seat under his state's election law he's able to run for an eight term concurrently with his vice presidential bid.

He is expected to return to Washington. Mitt Romney's next step though isn't nearly as clear. Candy Crowley and Gloria Borger join me once again.

Candy, two failed presidential bids and one-term governorship of a state that resoundingly voted against him last night. The Republican base that clearly was never too enthusiastic about him and today kind of attacking him. Does Mitt Romney have a political future on the national stage?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm not sure Mitt Romney wants some political future on the national stage. I mean, this was not an easy fit. Mitt Romney with this particular Republican Party in general, unless you have a base to return to, as Paul Ryan does.

But if you are Bob Dole who quit the Senate to run, you do tend to kind of disappear. People don't come back to those who lost elections for them and look for a lot of things.

But if you are a John McCain, you can go back to the Senate. You can certainly turn that into something and John McCain became one of the most powerful voices of criticism against President Obama particularly when it comes to foreign policy.

John Kerry the same thing, he had a Senate seat. But there is no place in politics, no elective office that Mitt Romney holds now. So I don't see where he easily fits back into this party at this point.

COOPER: He can become a cable TV host, who knows. What do you think? It seems like a lot of the Republican Party today was moving quickly.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: It sounded like a valedictory to me last night and he didn't talk about we are going to continue to fight in the future. It sort of like he was going to recede and he done it twice, he tried, he lost.

And there are a lot of people who regarded him as a transitional figure even when he was the nominee of the party. So I think he will probably go back to business maybe to Bain Capital, who knows? But I don't see politics in his future.

COOPER: Candy, what about Paul Ryan. I mean, he was considered one of the rising stars of the Republican Congress. Will he just pick up where he left off? It's kind of increase superstar budget wonk or do you see him try to broaden out the party standard bearer?

CROWLEY: Well, he has time. Listen, he has something that is very hard for a House member to get and that is nationwide recognition. He also is a bonafide brainiac when it comes to budget things. You may not agree with what he would like to do with the budget, but he understands the budget.

So there is still a place for him there. He certainly does speak for the conservative wing in the fiscal part, but he is also very pragmatic. So, yes, I mean, I think he can -- there has been some talk maybe he should go to a think tank and you know hang out for a while and think those big thoughts. It's a nice spot.

He clearly wanted to keep it if he wasn't going to get the vice presidency. So, you know, I think -- he is young. He is 41 or 42. I think he is one of the contenders when you look four years from now if that's the route he wants to go.

COOPER: Yes, Candy Crowley, appreciate it. Gloria Borger, thanks very much.

Joining me now is former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Mr. Mayor, thanks very much for being with us. Looking at last night's exit poll results, it is clear or I guess, I should ask you.

Do you think it is clear that your party has a big problem on its hands reaching out to Hispanic-Americans, for instance? It shows the Hispanic votes decreasing and if so, what do you do about that?

RUDY GIULIANI (R), 2008 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I certainly agree that we have a big problem reaching for the Hispanic vote, what is it? Twenty five percent, I ran for mayor of New York and each time, I ran, I got a higher percentage of the Hispanic vote.

That probably elected me with 43 percent then I got 48 percent. I think President Bush had us up to about 44 percent to 48 percent nationally. And since then we've been declining. I think there's one big issue. I think Lindsey Graham would agree with this. I just talked to Lindsey about this a couple of days ago. We have to get over this immigration reform hurdle.

I mean, President Bush was on the right track with comprehensive immigration reform. If we had passed that, we would be a party that had a 40 percent, 45 percent Hispanic base.

COOPER: How do you sell that message to the fringe of your party? Because that is not a message they want to hear?

GIULIANI: Big opportunity lost really in Mitt Romney losing because I think that is one of the things Mitt Romney could have accomplished with the Democratic Senate, Republican House and new president. He probably could have gotten 150 Republican votes for comprehensive immigration reforms, which means to the Hispanic community being sensible about the 12 million, 14 million, 15 million people that are here.

You can't deport them all. You can't chase them all out. Sure you can focus on the ones that are criminals or the ones that are doing bad things, but I know that community really well.

And 90 percent of them are hard-working people who are actually making a contribution. So why do we want to hound them? I think that's the major thing that hurts us --

COOPER: What's also interesting about your record, I mean, you're someone who's held positions on social issues that certainly are in step with the rest of your party as it is right now according to exit polls on married women who went for the president by nearly 40 points.

Do you think the Democrats what they said was a war on women message resonated? Should your party adjust their approach on women's issues especially reproductive issues or you know, same-sex issues, same-sex marriage?

GIULIANI: I ran that way in 2008. I didn't get the nomination and nobody with my views ran in 2012. Frankly, Anderson, I didn't run in 2012 because I didn't think I could be nominated being pro-choice and being pro-gay rights. I signed -- as mayor of New York, I signed the first -- I think the first in the nation civil union bill --

COOPER: Didn't you officiate a gay wedding?

GIULIANI: Didn't do that. I still believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, but I'm very open to a civil unions and I'm also open to allowing states to decide this on a state by state basis.

So if New York wants gay marriage, fine. If some other state doesn't want to have gay marriage. Here we are a party that believes in state's rights. Until we get to an issue like gay marriage and then we don't believe in state's rights.

COOPER: And also this is a party that doesn't believe in, you know, heavy federal government involvement in, you know, people's private lives unless on certain issues. It's something Alex Castellanos brought up earlier. So again, how do things evolve in that? Do they need to evolve for the GOP?

GIULIANI: My ideal Republican Party would be a Republican Party that was fiscally conservative, conservative on foreign policy and military policy and on social issues we would be libertarian. We would say, you know, we're going to stay out of pocketbook and we're going to stay out in your bedroom.

I think that party could be a majority party. I think if we were running that way this time. I think we win by 4 percent or 5 percent.

COOPER: What about the Tea Party? The Tea Party decided they wanted pure candidates. I'll put that in quote. So your party lost races that they may have caused Republicans control of the Senate. Some say Republicans can't win with the Tea Party, but they can win without them and a lot of leaders don't feel comfortable publicly, you know, even bringing this issue up.

GIULIANI: Well, I think what we should try to do with the Tea Party is to get them to figure out what are your priority issues. Their priority issue, the whole reason it got established was big government, heavy taxes, Obamacare, government trying to direct your life.

And then allow a certain amount of flexibility on social issues. If we could organize around fiscal conservatism, conservatism on foreign policy and on military policy and then allow people to disagree with each other, sort of in the Ronald Reagan mold of, if you agree with me on eight out of ten issues, you are my friend.

Somehow we going to have to get around to that kind of party. Otherwise and I've been saying this for, you know, 10 years. Otherwise, we give away, look at the map. We give away the entire north east.

When you give away the entire west coast, by the time we get to the electoral vote, we have to win by one state or two states and when you get a good campaign against you. Barack Obama had a great ground game and a great campaign then you lose.

COOPER: I got to go, but I just want to ask you very briefly, do you think Mitt Romney has a role in the national stage, in the Republican Party or do you think, you know, he goes kind of like Mike Dukakis, kind of disappears from the national stage?

GIULIANI: We don't do that. Republicans don't reject their prior candidates. I mean, we've had lots of candidates --

COOPER: I heard a lot of rejection today.

GIULIANI: I know. I know. The day after we reject and then but a year later they have a role in the party. Mitt Romney ran a very, very good race. The reality is he is a very, very intelligent man. He has a lot of terrific ideas. He is someone that I think can play a big role in this party. Will he be a candidate again I doubt that. There an awful lot of candidates coming on, but will he be somebody that we respect and admire?

I gained -- I ran against Mitt Romney and I saw in 2012 a Mitt Romney that I really, really admired.

COOPER: OK, Mayor Giuliani, I appreciate you being on. Thank you very much. President Obama's victory comes some new challenges. History showed second terms, of course, can be tricky. We're going to look at the pitfalls and the possibilities. Stay tuned for that.


COOPER: Welcome back. Barack Obama obviously won an entry last night to the ranks of two-term president. The day after President George W. Bush was re-elected, CNN's John King was asked him about the freedom that comes with winning a second term. Listen.


JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And also whether you feel more free to do any one thing in your second term that perhaps you are politically constrained from doing in your first?

FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: You asked do I feel free, let me put it to you this say. I earned capital in the campaign, political capital and now I intend to spend it. It is my style.


COOPER: President Bush forged ahead with an ambitious domestic agenda, but his second term ended with a financial crash. President Clinton spent much of his second term mired in that sex scandal and fighting impeachment. Even if they managed to avoid major missteps and scandal, second-term presidents are lame ducks, which brings its own set of problems.

Let's talk about that with Cornell Belcher, Democratic strategist and Obama 2012 pollster and also Van Jones, former special adviser to the Obama White House, Alex Castellanos is also back.

Cornell, first of all, I would have expected you to take today off, and at least maybe a couple of months off --

CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Your producers -- your producers kept calling me.

COOPER: Alex, let me start with you. The biggest difference from a first term to a second term is the president doesn't have to worry about running again. I know you don't agree with President Obama's policies, but you heard President Bush in that clip from 2004. Re-election brings with a certain amount of political capital. Do you think it does with President Obama? ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I think free at last. He doesn't have to answer to voters. He has tremendous flexibility now and you know, it happens to politicians and it happens to athletes.

Once they have won a big one, once they've won a major championship, they are -- the pressure is off and they can become better athletes.

Same thing is true with politicians. Barack Obama has an opportunity now to kind of lift eyes over to horizon and see how history is going to judge him, not how the next election is going to judge him.

He has two things he has to deal with, debt and economic growth. He can focus on that like a laser and the politics are going to get smaller and the presidency now I think can get bigger.

COOPER: Cornell, what do you see it's different? What could change now?

BELCHER: I think that is well said. Look, this time, the presidents whoever they are, Democrat, Republican may start thinking about legacy. One of the things that they can get accomplished, where they, you know, they don't have to worry about re-election.

You know, what Alex said, clearly the debt and economic growth there, but also, you know, I got to think, I have no information on this, but poverty is the big issue on the left.

Let's also understand that poverty is a place where this president started. You know, he started organizing for churches and people in poverty. I have to think this is my dark horse issue here. It is also a real look at poverty and what we do about poverty in this country.

COOPER: Van, what do you see changing? Do you think president changes style? How do you think things are different now?

VAN JONES, FORMER OBAMA SPECIAL ADVISOR: He will focus now on the question of the debt and deficit. He has been clear about that. He wants to do it with the balanced approach. I do think he wants to be the president that was able to solve some of the problems he sees with entitlements.

There's going to be some thunder on the left. His liberal on the left is going to be concerned that we don't have a 10 to 1 deal on revenues versus spending. I really do think that Cornell touched on something very important.

The African-American community has been very patient and very quiet as a lot of pain and suffering has started to accumulate in the black community. This community has lost almost 60 percent of its wealth in the housing debacle, job crisis, kids in prison and urban poverty has not been discussed yet. This community still came out nonetheless, 93 percent for this president and won Ohio for him. I think there's an opportunity for him to now turn back to his base had been there for him and find some jobs for youth program or something like that could be a part of his legacy.

COOPER: Cornell, just very briefly. Was there ever a moment in the final couple of days where you thought the president was not going to win?

BELCHER: Here is the thing, Anderson, it happened the way I laid it out. I said it would be tight in a lot of states, but in the end from electoral map standpoint, we were going to be solid. You know, we were going to be solid in Ohio. We were going to be solid in Virginia and I think we were going to win Florida because we put in a ground operation there.

We expanded the electorate there. And we ran a good program there on those key battleground states. A lot changed from nationally. But if you look at the coalition in those battleground states, not a lot changed from how it looked in 2008.

COOPER: Right, Cornell Belcher, Van Jones and Alex Castellanos, guys, thanks very much.

The other big story we're following tonight, and it's exactly what hundreds of thousands of people are still suffering in the wake of superstorm Sandy. Staten Island, New York blanketed in snow and another storm slamming the east coast. Rob Marciano is tracking the storm from one of the places hit by Sandy the hardest next.


COOPER: Well, tonight the northeast is getting hit by another storm. A nor'easter that began pounding the region today. I want to show you some of the hardest hit areas, heavy rain and snow, up to 60 mile an hour wind for the battered Jersey Shore.

Cities across New York and New Jersey and Staten Island, hard hit by Sandy, 3,500 customers still without power. It is dark and they are cold. Meteorologist Rob Marciano is live in Staten Island tonight. He joins me now. Rob, another storm, how bad is it?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, you can see the snow coming down. It is cold enough for snow. The winds are blowing as you mentioned. We are a couple of hundred yards from the ocean where this time during Sandy the water was up and over my shoulder.

So this area was decimated. The houses aren't completely destroyed, but certainly flood damage everywhere. Now it is covered with snow. We got about three to four inches of it. The kids were out here making light of it.

At least trying to have a good time in making a snowman, but inside this home are the Cameradas and they only have light because they are plugged into our satellite truck right now. I spoke with them earlier today and for them it's really all about a matter of survival.


NICK CAMERADA, STATEN ISLAND RESIDENT: I went through the most pain that I ever went through in my life from being electrocuted trying to get back into my house watching all my possessions and my family practically almost dying.

You know, a few days without sleep. You can't sleep when you are living in a house with propane. You're worried about you're not going to wake up from carbon monoxide poisoning.

DIANE CAMERADA, STATEN ISLAND RESIDENT: This has been a week from hell. I mean, you know, I'm grateful that I have my family. I could have lost three of them and my husband out there to the water coming up so fast.


MARCIANO: You know, your heart goes out to these people. Anderson, it has been over a week now and they are just physically and emotionally beaten down and now this. With the winds whipping those people that are lucky enough to have gotten power back.

They may lose it again tonight with this heavy wet snow and the winds picking up with this storm. Certainly unusual and not what they needed.

COOPER: Very quickly, how long is it going to last around that area?

MARCIANO: Well, the snow probably will last at least through midnight maybe until day break. We have winter storm warnings up can you believe that after a hurricane came through just over a week ago and high wind warnings up as well. It's a dangerous situation. It won't be done until day break tomorrow -- Anderson.

COOPER: Rob, appreciate the reporting. Thanks. Get warm. We will be right back.


COOPER: That is it for us. Thanks for watching. We'll see you again one hour from now another edition of 360 at 10 p.m. Eastern from Washington. "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" starts now.