Return to Transcripts main page
CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Election Night in America; Celebrating at Obama Headquarters
Aired November 7, 2012 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: You heard Bruce Springsteen and his song, "We Take Care of Our Own." He was a big supporter for the president of United States. They're celebrating at Obama headquarters in Chicago over at McCormick Place. You can see the confetti. You can see the Bidens, you can see the Obamas. A lot of their close friends, family members. They are there on the stage celebrating this historic win, a second term for the president of the United States. And the vice president of the United States. They are pretty happy.
Perhaps early in the day there was a little tension but they came through and they won, they won decisively in the electoral college and they're winning right now in the popular vote as well. Nearly a million votes, by my estimate. Right now, 800,000 votes in the popular vote. The president, 50 percent, Mitt Romney, 49 percent. They're still counting votes across the country right now but the president clearly has been reelected.
And he promised to get down to business right away. He promised to work not only with Democrats but with Republicans. We had a statement, by the way, in just a little while ago from John Boehner, the speaker of the House, and the Republicans will maintain their majority of the House of Representatives. Also saying, he wants to work. He wants to cooperate. He wants to get down to business and pretty soon, they're going to have a lot of business to do. Because they have pricey issues between now and the end of the year, the so- called fiscal cliff.
But there's no shortage of work to do. They'll celebrate tonight but before you know it, Anderson Cooper, they're going to have to get down and deal with a lot of very, very sensitive issues.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Certainly indeed. And really an extraordinary speech by President Obama. Especially when you compare it to his acceptance speech four years ago. A much different tone.
Paul Begala, you were remarking on that. And also you were remarking on this -- what an extraordinary win this is for the president.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: It really is. And it looks like -- I think the president has told friends that he thinks the economy really is going to take off in the next four years and this was much more optimistic, exuberant, energetic. This was more like the Barack Obama that we were introduced to at that Boston convention in 2004, in the very somber young president-elect we were first introduced to in Grant Park. I loved it. I thought it was wonderful. But it is -- it's hard for me to actually put it into context. No one has -- in the modern era, has ever been re-elected with an economy this soft, even close to this soft. It's really remarkable. He held off any primary challenge from his own party. Job one for an incumbent president. And then he made the case in the most difficult environment you can imagine. I mean, the guy -- I know Barack means blessed and maybe he is, but his first weeks in office there was an economic collapse. His last weeks before the election there was a hurricane. And in between he didn't have very many easy days.
ANA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: By the way, the hurricane was a blessing.
BEGALA: The way he handled it was. Had he handled it, frankly, the way President Bush handled Katrina, he'd be ex-President Obama tonight. So he had to rise to the occasion and he had a team in place that could do it. And I think both in his campaign and certainly in FEMA, he seems to have had that team. But the campaign staff, having been an old staffer, the real -- the real hacks, we understand, this is an even bigger, more difficult, more impressive win than 2008.
COOPER: Just because of so many odds --
BEGALA: So many -- the economy was so --
COOPER: Roland Martin?
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: The final six months of 2008, he lost 3.74 million jobs. Final month before this election, we gained 171,000 jobs. He purposely was somber in 2008.
MARTIN: Because he's saying -- he could not walk out there and give this exuberance speech knowing full well the economic condition that we were in. He even signaled that to the first lady. She walked over, she wanted to give him a high five. He said no, not tonight. From that moment, that's why he walked up there, and he said -- remember he said, we have to rebuild this country, brick by brick, house by house, street by street.
And so he understood the grind. The last four years it was a grind. And so what you saw tonight was him putting that coalition back together. You saw them expanding out west. Winning those critical states. Folks say, OK, Nevada, New Mexico, you throw in Colorado. I mean, so you're talking about a different sort of focus this time around.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think that calling Roland and other Democrats special the president and his team deserve a night of big celebration. This was a big victory. For an African- American or black to win two straight elections in this country is a -- is a significant accomplishment in political history and I don't take anything away from that.
I do think it's possible to over-interpret just how big the win is. I mean it is worth remembering that when he beat John McCain, he beat him by 10 million votes and tonight he is winning currently by about a million votes. I think it will go higher. But it's not -- I don't think it was as overwhelming a victory as what he got last time when he broke through.
What I also found interesting about this, and I think that gave him some -- it tempered. It was a little tempered tonight about where he was going. It was much more a speech about values. Paul was absolutely right. This speech echoed 2004, the convention speech. It sounded like a redux, right? But what it didn't -- what I thought he carefully steered away from was something he has been arguing earlier. And that was that this election was going to clear the air.
This election would resolve what path we were going to take. And instead, he came out and talked about tonight, that the arguments go on. People are going to -- passions continue. And we need to see if we can figure out how to get there.
MARTIN: Size doesn't always matter.
GERGEN: You did not see him say, you know, I've been elected. Now we ought -- I've got an agenda and this is what the country --
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I just like to make an observation about one throwaway line in the speech where he said, you know, and all the people who waited in line for three and four hours to vote, and we've got to fix that.
TOOBIN: You're damned right we do. What a disgrace. What a disgrace in this country that you have to wait in line for three or four hours in order to simply to vote.
COOPER: Paul, you were making the case that you work on elections in Brazil, which is obviously a very modern country. Has a lot going for it. But they are --
BEGALA: Much better system of voting. Much better. They're electronic, it's instantaneous and it is verifiable. So there are careful checks against correction. A lot of people in America --
NAVARRO: It's on a Sunday and it's mandatory.
BEGALA: Right. (CROSSTALK)
COOPER: I want to -- I just got to quickly check in with Candy Crowley and just -- Candy, you first. From your perspective tonight?
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I actually was thinking about that 2004 speech that he made when he gave the speech. I also talking back and forth to colleagues said, you know, the thing you is want to say, OK, what's the plan? And I think we still don't know what the plan is.
And what we do know is that we've had the president tonight saying, I'm going to reach out to Republicans and Democrats. We had the speaker, who may or may not even expand his majority in the House, say, I'm willing to work with the president. But then both men have said -- Speaker Boehner said in his statement tonight, this should not be seen as some mandate to raise taxes.
And we know, also, that the president has said that he'd veto any bill that didn't end the tax cuts for the wealthy. So I'm not sure where we are. I don't know what the plan is. Tonight is not the night for it but it's going to come pretty quickly -- Anderson.
COOPER: And Jessica, let's check with you. The campaign.
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, I think one of the things we're overlooking is that the president is very clear about -- when he says something, he actually does do it. And what he has said during this campaign, or he tries to do it, is that he believes his mistake in the first term was trying to reach out to Congress without reaching out to the American people more.
And what he said in that speech was, I return more determined and more inspired than ever. What we saw during this campaign was the president who became increasingly cold and detached in office, became energized and alive on the campaign trail as if it breathed new life into him being on the campaign trail.
And what his advisers tell me over and over is that when he gets back into office, if they thought he would be re-elected, when he gets back into office, instead of working just with Congress, he will take the show on the road. I know people say it can't be done. Whatever. They think it can be done. And that he will continue to make the case to the American people. He thinks that's the answer.
And that will energize Congress to move. And that he did lay out a second term agenda. They think pretty clearly.
YELLIN: You can disagree but -- anyway.
COOPER: We want to talk about that with our panelists ahead, exactly what that means, taking the show on the road. But I want to go to Wolf and John first. There's a lot more numbers to look at on the map. BLITZER: Yes, I want to make sure that we take a closer look right now, John King, at the pathway to victory.
How did the president of the United States -- he's up now by more than a million votes on the popular vote. But on the electoral college vote, the all important reach for 270. He got it. He went beyond it. How did he do it?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And they will be critically happy in the Obama campaign if they can get above 50, Wolf, and keep that above 50. A much narrower victory than last time when he had 53 percent of the vote. But if he can crack 50, this will make them happy as they go back to the White House.
You're a sports fan as I'm a sports fan, a winning team in sports, what does it do most of all? It defends its house. It defends its turf. You have to win at home. So this is the Obama map of 2008. When you come to the Obama map of 2012, remarkably successful in a much tougher year for Democrats. They lost only Indiana and North Carolina. The two most Republican states. Of all the states President Obama won as Senator Obama four years ago, the only ones he lost tonight --
BLITZER: Remember, North Carolina four years ago.
BLITZER: They only won by 14,000 votes.
KING: Right, 14,000 votes. These are the two states from 2008 that had the deepest Republican DNA of the two states he lost tonight. You have to say it is a remarkable achievement. Given the economy, given persistent high unemployment that the president defended this map. And it is a remarkable achievement. Now --
BLITZER: I want to just point out to our viewers. Florida is the only state we have not projected a win yet or a loss. We haven't made any projections in Florida.
BLITZER: It's very close. Ninety-seven percent of the vote has been counted. The president has 50 percent. Mitt Romney has 49 percent. There is a difference, though, not much there in Florida. But I think for -- the reason we have not made a projection is that they've decided to stop counting votes at least for the night. They're going to resume tomorrow morning and then we'll wait and see for the official number. But we have not made a formal project in Florida.
KING: We have now, about 65,000 votes there. My rough math, I've gone through this looking at the county. If you're looking for the conservative votes in these red counties, you're not going to find them. The questions is, what else is there. They have other votes to count down here. A few votes here, then perhaps they know something in Florida.
BLITZER: Maybe absentee ballots or whatever.
KING: Right. Absentee ballots and the like. So we'll wait and let this one play out. At the moment, though, Florida is blue and you're right. If this one happened to go red late, that would be a third one. But at the moment he's only lost two which is pretty remarkable when you look at this. And so then you come to this map here. The president successfully defended the map. He is on the path now. He has 303. If he gets the state of Florida, he'll crack -- that would put him over 330.
He won 365 electoral votes last time against John McCain. Again, in defending his map, it's a very impressive electoral college victory. A more narrow victory when it comes down to the national election but from electoral college perspective, you have to tip your hat. This is exactly what they said they were going to do. Defend their turf. Keep their coalition intact. Turn out their vote. They did it.
BLITZER: A lot of Republicans were bad-mouthing the pollsters. But you know what, most pollsters in most of those battleground states proved to be pretty accurate.
KING: Very accurate.
KING: If you go state by state, look at the late polls, dead on.
BLITZER: Yes. Pretty good. All right. We're taking a closer look at the president's path to re-election. How did he get to some key voting groups? And what does it all mean for his second term?
Much more coming up right here at the CNN Election Center.
BLITZER: Another four years for President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. They win re-election in the electoral college. They're winning the popular vote right now. The demographics of this win. How do they put together this impressive coalition throughout the United States?
KING: It sounds overly simplistic but who votes determine who wins because of voting patterns in the United States.
Here's the nationwide vote by race. Seventy-two percent of the electorate was white tonight. The Romney campaign told you going in. Any smart Republican did. That number needed to be 74 percent or higher for Governor Romney to have a reasonable chance.
Among white Americans, Governor Romney did win, nearly 60 percent of the vote, 59 percent to 39 percent. The president needed to be right around 40.
But, Wolf, when you look at the nonwhite vote. African-Americans, 13 percent. That is exactly consistent with four years ago. The Obama coalition turned out. They did a good job there. Latinos, for the first time in our nation's history, in double digits nationally. And look at that. The president winning even more of the Latino vote than he did four years ago, 71 percent.
This is a crisis for the Republican Party on the national level going forward.
There you have the vote by race. Then you come over here, a gender gap in our voting tonight. Governor Romney won the men's vote, that's why that's red. Plus 53 percent of the electorate were women. President Obama carried that, he carried it by a pretty healthy margin, 55 percent to 44 percent.
So if you look through the demographics there, again, a win for the president.
Let me slide this one over here. Again, proof the Obama coalition. They kept it together. They turned out, 18 percent four years ago, 19 percent now, 18 to 29 voters. Look at the president's lopsided win among younger voters as those voters age. If the Democrats can keep them in the coalition, that's the question for the party. Are they Democrats? Are they Obama voters?
This number here went up a little bit from four years ago. It's a reliably Republican constituency. Governor Romney getting his win among seniors, those 65 and older, 56 to 44, but not enough, not enough nationally because of the president's strength among other voting groups.
Now we asked these questions. Does the election give the president a mandate? A big electoral college victory. A narrow popular vote victory, it seems. Forty-seven percent of the people who voted today did say taxes should be increased on those above 250,000. That has been a big Obama pledge in the campaign that he would push that. He won 70 percent of those votes. No surprise there.
Here's an interesting one. We'll watch how this one plays out. He promised in a "Des Moines Register" interview if he won to push quickly for immigration reform. The president wants to offer legal status to those who are here illegally, 65 percent, that's a high number, 65 percent of those who voted today said some legal status should be offered to those who are here illegally. And you can see here when you bring out the pie chart here, they voted overwhelmingly, those voters do, 61 percent for the president.
So, Wolf, the president kept his coalition by race, by gender, by age. He kept the coalition alive. He can cite the exit polls and say he won on some of the big issues but you just heard Jessica Yellin say he's going to take it on the road.
Here's the map. The president won an impressive victory. I don't say this to rain it on the president's parade. I say this to reflect America's political reality. If you look at the vote by county, by county across the United States of America, there's a whole lot more red. So when the president takes it on the road, and says let's give legal status to illegal immigrants. When the president takes it on the road, and says, let's raise taxes on the wealthy. A lot of these red counties are Republican conservative counties that will say no. That's not what we voted for. The president won re- election because he ran up the numbers in urban America, ran up good numbers in suburban America. But to a lot of the country, even though he has this victory, it'll be a tough sell.
BLITZER: Did you just say he got 39 percent of the white vote?
BLITZER: Because last time he got 44 percent of the white vote. So it went down even though -- but he made up with it because of the Hispanic voters voted in bigger percentages for him.
KING: And his victory, his margin of victory is smaller. Governor Romney did better with the white vote than Senator McCain did. That's our national number. If you go state by state for the battleground states which are more important if you look at the calculation. But the president's percentage among white voters came down. That's one of the reasons this is 50 and not 53.
KING: He had 53 last time.
BLITZER: He's building up that lead right now. Good point. All right. Anderson, back to you.
COOPER: Yes, Gloria, and you just got a statement from, I think, Mitch McConnell?
BORGER: Yes. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate who, remember, said that he wanted to make -- his job number one was to make Barack Obama a one-term president. Tonight released a statement that, forget the kumbaya. He said, you know, the voters have not endorsed the failures or excesses of the president's first term. And then he went on to say, now it's time for the president to propose solutions that actually have a chance of passing the Republican controlled House and a closely divided Senate.
And then he goes on to say, we look forward to hearing the president's proposals. So this is the first shot across the bow. Mitch McConnell, as you pointed out, is up for re-election. Could be primaried by a more conservative Republican. So he is the leader.
COOPER: What does this tell us about the second terms for president?
BEGALA: Tough. Very few -- I can't think of any offhand.
GERGEN: Bill Clinton.
NAVARRO: Bill Clinton.
GERGEN: He got impeached. TOOBIN: He was impeached but other than that --
GERGEN: But he actually got four straight balanced budgets. He got welfare reform. Remarkable.
TOOBIN: Yes, but I mean -- I think impeachment --
FLEISCHER: No, that was the first term.
TOOBIN: That will be in the second paragraph of his obituary. I mean that's a pretty big deal.
MARTIN: But Anderson, what --
GERGEN: He left the office with 64 percent.
TOOBIN: I know that.
MARTIN: But that's one thing -- that's one thing you're going to see, though, this time that you didn't see last time. In 2008 many of the people who voted for President Obama saw it as a moment but not a movement. They pretty much said, OK, the president, he's there -- he's got it. And so in many ways they sort of left. They've learned the last four years, they can't sit on the sidelines and just say it's all up to him.
You're going to see a lot more active participation. You're going to see folks who recognize (INAUDIBLE) the Tea Party in 2010. They're going to say the president needs troops --
COOPER: Is that really? It wasn't a more of a movement -- it was more of a movement back then than it is now.
MARTIN: No. No. Actually no. After -- when he won, many folks said he is there. He is in the White House. And look. If -- he talked about it as well. That's one of the reasons why he hasn't revealed the three.
COOPER: What about all that talk that they had a whole e-mail list?
MARTIN: No, no.
COOPER: And he's going to mobilize teams --
MARTIN: That -- but that was Obama for America that was pulling to the DNC. I'm talking about the people who externally in terms of who are there fighting for your agenda. And they -- the White House will tell you, they did not --
MARTIN: -- effectively mobilize people. (CROSSTALK)
MARTIN: That's the difference.
COOPER: At this point, when you hear the president and says he's going to take it on the road, what do you make of that?
BEGALA: I switch. I don't think the president's supporters quit on him. I think the president didn't ask. He -- if Jessica Yellin's reporting is right, and I'm sure he is, he's going to ask now.
COOPER: So what does that mean?
BEGALA: It means, for example, when he passed the Recovery Act, he passed it and went on to the next thing. He should have toured the country, he should have --
BORGER: In a hard hat.
BEGALA: Yes. Going to sites with --
MARTIN: That's right.
BEGALA: Fixing roads and bridges --
MARTIN: He lost the narrative.
BEGALA: He got to take it on the toad.
NAVARRO: At one point he said at one of his biggest failures had been not telling the story and I think -- what do they mean that he's going to take it on the road that he recognizes that we are a divided country today.
MARTIN: That's right.
NAVARRO: And that's going to try --
BEGALA: He's got a billion -- Reagan did that with his agenda. Clinton did that --
COOPER: To David, then we get to a break.
GERGEN: OK. I'm not sure it's gong to be that easy to go on the road now. I think he -- I think it's critically important to be actually --
COOPER: He's got a plane.
GERGEN: He's got a plane.
(LAUGHTER) GERGEN: I think he actually needs to spend time with his own party in Washington. He needs to spend time with the Republicans in Washington.
BORGER: He doesn't like doing that.
GERGEN: He does not like doing --
BORGER: He doesn't like that. But if he had to get there. If he's going to get there, I think he has to do both. I don't think he can do one of these things.
COOPER: Well, we've got to take a quick break.
The Democrats are holding on to control the Senate. We know that, we're going to look at the priorities in Washington going forward, and whether partisan gridlock -- well, will be as bad as ever. Has anything really changed. We'll be right back.
BLITZER: Let me update you right now on the popular vote nationwide for president of the United States. The president is ahead. He's got more than a million votes ahead of Mitt Romney, 50 percent to 49 percent. Could be precise, the president has 55, 248,00 to bet Romney's 53 million &95,000 To be precise, He's got 1,153,000 plus votes more than Mitt Romney right now.
Let's look at what's ahead in the United States Senate. The Democrats retaining control of that chamber. Tonight our Tom Foreman is in the CNN virtual Senate -- Tom.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Wolf, you know, even as Democrats are celebrating tonight Barack Obama's re-election to the presidency all eyes are on this chamber and how the final vote is going to play out here, because that's going to have a huge impact on what happens to the president's agenda.
Let's take our shot up high so you can take a look at the chamber as we saw it earlier tonight. You can see that there are 47 seats in red there that are the Republican seats. They've been able to control and there have been 53 seats that have been held by the Democrats over there. That's if you include these purple seats. Those are independents back there.
Take a look at those a little bit closer. Because I want you to consider that. One of those existing independent seats that was caucusing with the Democrats. The other one is Angus King from Maine who just came in tonight. It's not clear if he'll caucus with the Democrats but it seems very likely.
We're also changing three of these seats to plain wood there. So because of the three races out west that are currently undecided, it's not clear what's going to happen out there. In any event the Democrats will maintain their majority here and that could help the president with his agenda. Although when you think about things like raising taxes on the wealthy, as we heard just a short while ago from Gloria, I believe, there is already pushback from some Republicans who are basically saying look, the victory here wasn't profound enough.
The president's victory wasn't profound enough to make them back down on their resistance to thing like this. Other matters, for example, what's happening with immigration reform. The idea the president might light into that. That may find some more wiggle room as Republicans look at the polls, they look at the results, and they They look at the Latino vote and what they might want to do about that.
Other matters that might come up in the next four years, for example, an empty Supreme Court seat. That could be a different case where the Republican will push a good bit more. The president often get their appointee in any event. But they could see some Republican pushback.
The bottom line, though, is exactly what we said earlier on. There is no 60-vote super majority. That's what you need to overcome a filibuster here in the U.S. Senate. Absent that, the big question is, how much will Republicans want to push back and how cooperative will they feel?
The president, if he wants to get his agenda through, is going to have to have his party find a way to work across this aisle with the Republicans, whether there is reluctance or not, or else we will probably see a lot more of the gridlock we've been seeing so far -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Tom, thanks very much. No super majority but a pretty good night for the Democrats in the United States Senate. They retain their majority.
Let's get some more details right now. Anderson is back with Dana.
COOPER: Yes. I'm glad his legs grew back as well.
So what are we looking at here in the Senate?
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we wanted to point out something that we saw, that was interesting, a trend that we saw develop tonight. That there are a record number of women or at least will be in the next Senate. Tammy Baldwin, we can project that she is going to be the new senator from Wisconsin. She happens to also be the first openly gay lawmaker, or senator elected to the Senate.
Nebraska, she's a Republican, but another new women, a new female face. We're going to see Deb Fischer from Nebraska. Massachusetts, we already talked about Elizabeth Warren. She is going to win there. And then Mazie Hirono in Hawaii.
So there will be 19 -- so far, 19 females in the Senate. So less than 20 percent of the Senate. Of course 50 percent of the country is female, though.
COOPER: The number of races we're still -- go to Washington. BASH: And these are very, very close. Also a couple of female candidates still outstanding. North Dakota, the Heidi Heitkamp, is fewer than 4,000 votes ahead of rick berg. This of course is an open Democratic seats who are watching this very closely still. Nevada as well. Very, very close. The Republican incumbent, Dean Heller is slightly ahead of the Democrat, Shelley Berkley. And in Montana, this is a little bit of a surprise. Because John Tester and Denny Rehberg were really, really right. Only 56 percent reporting but Jon Tester, the incumbent Democrat is ahead right now.
COOPER: There are a couple of House races also we're watching closely with some more of their names.
BASH: That's right, very well low known names and boy, this is -- these are really speakers.
Look at this, Florida, Allen West, he is pretty well known because he was an outspoken freshman Tea Party-backed member, 50 percent to 50 percent. For his Democratic challenger, just a little more than 2,000 votes separating them with 99 percent reporting.
BASH: Very, very close. And probably the best well known name when it comes to the Tea Party. Michele Bachmann, she is now neck and neck, fewer than 2,000 votes ahead of her Democratic challenger. So this is pretty remarkable.
COOPER: With 85 percent reporting.
BASH: But 85 percent reporting, and -- so we also want to talk about some Tea Party backed Congress, forgive me, who lost. And one was in Illinois, Joe Walsh, he was on television a lot. He so lost to Tammy Duckworth, the Democrat.
He won back his seat and be the Tea Party backed candidate who beat him last time around, Ann Marie Buerkle. We are seeing some defeats of the Tea Party wave that we saw two years ago.
COOPER: Right. Interesting stuff. All right. Dana, appreciate it.
BASH: Thank you.
COOPER: Thanks very much.
Let's go over here to Gloria Borger, Jeff Toobin as well.
Let's talk about how governments (INAUDIBLE). I mean, where do things go from here?
BORGER: Well, it's very hard to say, I mean, Mitch McConnell is clearly not conciliatory. He is the leader of the Republicans in the Senate. They've kept the majority there, they've kept their majority in the House, even added a couple seats in the house. I don't think they feel like they've got to compromise with the president. They feel like the popular vote was a million difference and I think they're waiting for the president to propose and then they'll decide what they ought to do.
Personally I believe in terms of their own survival, why would they want to go off the fiscal cliff? It doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to me. But I think they want to hear from the president first.
TOOBIN: Isn't the one certainty that the president will attempt immigration reform like sooner rather than later?
TOOBIN: I know. But sometimes --
BORGER: He owes Latinos. He owes this (INAUDIBLE)?
TOOBIN: That's right. He owes Latinos enormously. And also --
NAVARRO: He didn't deliver four years ago. He better deliver on this time.
BEGALA: And also it puts the Republicans in an enormously difficult political position because, as we saw during the primaries, they are defining themselves by, you know, bigger fences, more deportations. And --
COOPER: Where else do you see movement besides immigration?
NAVARRO: It will either be a challenge for the Republicans or an opportunity. I hope it's the latter.
COOPER: So where else do you see movement besides that?
BEGALA: They have to do something about this fiscal cliff.
BEGALA: In that package, though, if they're smart, they'll ad infrastructure, transportation, highways, roads, bridges. Republicans drive, too. They don't. They are driven, I guess.
But you know they need to use these roads and bridges, too. And it used to be that was always the guaranteed bipartisan bill on the hill. Because, you know, everybody needs roads and bridges. And perhaps after this -- well, no, but it's actually called rebuilding America.
After that terrible storm on the east coast, I think people are seeing how fragile their infrastructure is. So I have real hope for that. You can actually put it all together. Short term. Six-month, one- year package of rebuilding America which would actually create jobs which we still need and then long term structural deficit reform. But I looked it up. There's no even Steven here. The Republicans say well, we won't give in on taxes for the rich and the Democrats say we won't give in on Medicare. Raising taxes on the rich is supported by 72 percent of Americans.
BEGALA: Cutting Medicare is supported by 21 percent of Americans. So it is not an even Steven deal. What the Democrats want to do is what the American people want. Which is ask the wealthy to pay a little bit more.
What the Republicans seems to want to do, they don't seem to get it. The country is just not buying what they're selling. This is not a country that wants to cut Medicare. If there's any lesson we got from the defeat of Tea Party candidates, even in very conservative states, is that this country doesn't want to cut Medicare.
NAVARRO: Paul, this was a very close race.
NAVARRO: There's no clear messages coming out of it. You can't talk about a mandate. This was a very close race. Very close in most of the Hispanics.
FLEISCHER: Go ahead. Raise taxes on the rich. You just got $700 billion over 10 years. The debt is still gone up $10 trillion over 10 years. So Paul when you're talking about -- you call look at the polls. You're not solving any of the nation's problems.
The fact is we are in so deep we --
BEGALA: I don't want this --
BEGALA: I don't want to be snippy but it is 2:30 in the morning.
FLEISCHER: Hold on, Paul.
BEGALA: You created those problems for our nation, Ari. Finally, I worked for the guy that balanced the budget. You came in and squandered and now you're complaining to me?
FLEISCHER: Now President Obama -- now President Obama can blame the guy who came -- in the last four years. The problem still is all the spending. We still have the trillion-dollar deficit. And the economy that grew at 1.8 percent 2012 at a rate of 1.8 percent.
The economy remains weak. And Anderson, your question was, what do they have to do when they come back. Somehow the president is going to have to put this together with Mitch McConnell with Harry Reed in the Senate. Not easy to do. And with the Republicans in the House. And also keep the Democrats on board the House to cut Medicare, to make changes in Social Security, They cut entitlements. And I'm not sure what the answer is on taxes. Republicans are going to say, we'll put taxes on the table, if you put Obama care on the table.
MARTIN: It is no shock Ari didn't bring -- it is no shock Ari didn't bring up the defense and this whole issue as well. Look, the president talks about taking to the American people, what he's actually saying is Congress has such a terrible approval rating. Mitch McConnell can make all these comments he wants but the bottom line is, he is going to have to come to the table.
Because the American people are not going to sit here and watch another four years of the crap that we saw the last four years. OK? Cutting right to the chase. Now will the president do so? Yes. Is he going to go bold? Go big? Absolutely. On fiscal as well as on immigration.
And so he's going to tell the folks, look, I won, they didn't win. You can say all you want to about a mandate, that's a Washington, D.C. nonsense. When you win, you win. OK? And he's going to say I'm the president. So watch him do that. But he's going to look to Mitch McConnell and say you need to be at the table. Quit the press releases and you also need to lead. Because you can't just say it's all on the president because he needs to get his people in order and Boehner is going to have to get will have to get his folks in order as well to say we've got to solve the crisis together. But it can't be solved by one party or one branch of government.
COOPER: Mitch McConnell, though, has a race coming up in two years, once to get re-elected, and --
BORGER: And that's right. And he could be challenged on the right.
COOPER: Right. On the right, President Obama says he's going to return to work at the White House more inspired than ever. We're going to take another listen to some of the victory speech ahead.
BLITZER: How did the president -- how did the president score this victory today? Well, take a look at this. These are some of the battleground states. The most important battleground states, all of them in fact.
Take a look. He won New Hampshire, he won Virginia, he won Wisconsin. He won Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan He won Wisconsin -- once again we got Wisconsin over there. We had it once over here. But he won Iowa. North Carolina went for Mitt Romney, Arizona went for Mitt Romney. But Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, they went for the president of the United States.
Florida, by the way, we have not yet made a projection on. They stopped voting for the night in Florida. You see the president is ahead by about 64,000 votes in Florida with 97 percent of the vote in.
Once again, the president won his re-election for another four years because he won almost all of the battleground states. He didn't win North Carolina. He didn't win Arizona. But the president did well obviously in most of those battleground states.
The president spoke eloquently in his victory speech tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Our economy is recovering is. A decade of war is ending. A long campaign is now over.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
And whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you. I have learned from you. And you've made me a better president. And with your stories and you're struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there has to do and the future that lies ahead.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
Tonight, you voted for action, not politics as usual.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together. Reducing our deficit. Reforming our tax code. Fixing our immigration system. Freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We've got more work to do.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
But that doesn't mean your work is done. The role of citizen in our democracy does not end with your vote. America has never been about what can be done for us. It's about what can be done by us together through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self- government.
That's the principle we were founded on.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
This country has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that's not what makes us strong. Our university, our culture, are all the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores.
What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on earth. The belief that our destiny is shared. That this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations so that the freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for comes with responsibilities as well as rights. And among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism.
That's what makes America great. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: The president's victory speech tonight in Chicago. The president re-elected for another four years. We're going to ask our analyst if anything about tonight's results surprised them. Their answers, that's next.
BLITZER: The president reelected for another four years tonight. Here's what his Republican challenger Mitt Romney had to say to his supporters tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I ran for office because I'm concerned about America. This election is over, but our principles endure. I believe that the principles upon which this nation was founded are the only sure guide to a resurgent economy and to renewed greatness.
Like so many of you, Paul and I have left everything on the field. We have given our all to this campaign.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
I so wish -- I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction, but the nation chose another leader and so Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for him and for this great nation. Thank you and God bless America.
You guys are the best. Thank you so much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: A very gracious concession speech by Mitt Romney to the president of the United States.
Let's bring in Soledad O'Brien -- Soledad.
WOLF: Wolf, thank you. You guys have been toiling through the night now into the early hours of the morning. I want to get a sense of what you think were the biggest surprises of the night.
Gloria, I'm going to let you start.
BORGER: Well, and just -- and looking at the number, that a president was reelected when 77 percent of the people in this country felt that the economy was bad or poor, and in looking through the numbers, it's very clear, Mitt Romney did not have an advantage on who's best are able to handle the economy and it was all about demographics, and the way the country is growing and the way the country is changing.
O'BRIEN: Do you agree with that, Jeff Toobin? Comes down to the demographics?
TOOBIN: Well, I think that's very important, but I'm going to pick an entirely different thing. I think the fact that voters in this country, the first time in American history, two states, approved same sex marriage, marriage equality, in Maine and Maryland, and we don't now about Washington and Minnesota.
I just think in the broader scope of American history, that's going to be seen as big deal because that's a cause that 15 years ago it was considered a fringe cost. In 2004 Karl Rove clipped those ballots because they knew that it'd lose and --
O'BRIEN: Are those all the same things essentially, really? I mean those are not necessarily not connected.
O'BRIEN: Change in demographics and the vote on gay marriage.
BEGALA: Rapidly changing. By the way, we just re-elected not only an African-American president, the Republicans nominated a member of a once-hated religious minority. Something they ought to be very proud of. So this country is really changing I think in the best possible ways, right? And we've just elected our first openly lesbian senator, Tammy Baldwin, senator-elect from Wisconsin. We re-elected a president who endorsed gay marriage.
Nineteen years ago, I was working for Bill Clinton on his political team and we thought it was progress to pass "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," so that gay service members could lie about their lives but still serve their country.
This is -- I think Jeff is right. This might be -- for somebody who believes in that cause, one of the most wonderful things about tonight.
O'BRIEN: Ana Navarro, you and I have spoken a lot about the Latino vote over the last 17 months or so. Big surprise for you tonight?
NAVARRO. I'm surprised that Romney lost Florida. I thought he was doing much better in Florida than what it ended up being. I'm also surprised that after we know that the eyes of the world are on us when it come to voting, we couldn't get it right the second time around. I'm hoping that the governor of Florida, that the legislature in Florida get together and figure out a way to fix our ballot, fix our system so we don't have these waits and some of these issues that we saw in this election.
O'BRIEN: Ari Fleischer, what was your big surprise of the night?
FLEISCHER: My surprise was the coalition that showed up once again to elect the president. And that is the African-American vote and the youth vote. Now I thought going from -- in 2008, that it was that magic in a bottle. The pride of the African-American community felt for having the first black candidate was real, he can win. So they turned out in record numbers in 2008. Well, you know what? They matched those record number in 2012.
So did the youth. There are the sense going into the election was, there wasn't that excitement on college campuses anymore. The magic was gone. They couldn't get jobs. That poster was fading.
O'BRIEN: Apparently that magic was not gone.
FLEISCHER: They showed up in the same numbers.
MARTIN: My surprise is tied to what Ari just said. The real surprise to the Republican Party, you picked the wrong time to tick off the wrong people with voter suppression. I'm going to tell you right now. There was a lot of -- there are a lot of folks, African-American, young folks, not enthusiastic. When the Republican Party essentially said, we're going to deny folks the opportunity to vote, we're going to force through these voter I.D.s., I'm telling you right now I literally saw the shift, the last nine months in places all across this country where people were ticked of and they said, if --
FLEISCHER: So it wasn't more Barack Obama?
MARTIN: No, no, no, no. It was for -- it was for President Obama. What I'm saying is when folks were saying, you're going to deny me an opportunity to vote? The anger was there and people vote three different ways. You saw the hope and change. You see fear or it's anger. And so that was big a surprise. I've got to give a shout to Steven Horsford, elected tonight, first African-American ever to serve Congress from the state of Nevada, and due up to him and his wife Sonya. Congratulations.
O'BRIEN: We're going to take a short break, we'll come back in just a moment. We'll talk about the markets reacting to President Obama's re-election tonight. We'll back in just a moment. Stay with us.