CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
America Votes 2002: Where Do Democrats and Republicans Go From Here
Aired November 6, 2002 - 05:47 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to this special edition of DAYBREAK. What a history making night for the Republicans. Wow! I bet they're celebrating even as we speak.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And as Stu Rothenberg is here with us just for a few more minutes, we want to pick his brain as much as we can in that short period of time. And I got to ask you, I mean the first thing that jumps out is what a difference for Republicans here. It's -- just a couple of weeks here makes. We heard them fuming over that -- the different machinations that took place in New Jersey to get Frank Lautenberg...
STUART ROTHENBERG, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
HARRIS: ... there on the ballot. And they thought that perhaps here we go again, all these different things are being put into place to keep the Republicans from having a great day and then what happens?
ROTHENBERG: Right, the Republicans did have a good day. And you're absolutely right, first it was New Jersey where Bob Torricelli dropped out, Frank Lautenberg was substituted. Then it was Minnesota with the Wellstone tragedy. What do the Democrats do, they come up with a candidate who supposedly is unbeatable, Walter Mondale.
And then over the past two weeks, Leon, I've noticed a significant buzz in and around Washington that maybe the Democrats were going to have a really good year in Senate races. New Hampshire, Colorado suddenly looked like races, North Carolina even. Democrats were showing a great deal of optimism.
What they didn't expect was what the voters would do today. Some of this had to do with Republican turnout, some with Democratic turnout. I think Republicans had a financial advantage, particularly in the House races. There also appeared to be a slight Republican surge here. I'm not sure if the national generic numbers that we saw in some polls, including the CNN USA Today Gallup and the "New York Times," were accurate. You may recall they showed a seven percentage point...
ROTHENBERG: ... I believe a six or seven point Republican generic advantage. I'm not sure these outcomes necessarily reflect that. But whatever, the Democratic expectation has got ahead of themselves.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: So the question becomes then, as we look ahead, where do the Democrats go from here and how do the Republicans capitalize on this going into 2004?
ROTHENBERG: I think Bill Schneider put it correctly earlier in the evening that -- and now we have the new round of finger pointing. There's going to be a lot of blame going around here. Liberal Democrats are going to say you know, we didn't fight hard enough, we didn't take the president on, we didn't talk about good Democratic populous issues, talk about the economy. We tried to run kind of a with George W. Bush. We should have taken him on. And moderates are going to say -- moderate Democrats are going to say no, whatever it was it was technical factors, it was financial factors, maybe they had the wrong candidates. We're going to see a lot of arguing within the Democratic Party now.
COSTELLO: The Democratic Party is really in trouble because this says a lot about Dick Gephardt and Tom Daschle and a lot about who's out there for the Democrats to run in the next presidential race. Who is there that's going to stand out to the voters?
ROTHENBERG: Got me. That's a good question. I'm not sure -- I'm not sure if the election says a lot about Daschle and Gephardt. But it does say this, I would be willing to wager that now that the Democrats did not take over the House, in fact lost House seats, I don't think you're going to see Dick Gephardt running for Democratic leader again. I think he is -- you know he's in the House, will probably stay in the House.
COSTELLO: What about running for president for him?
ROTHENBERG: He is going to start -- he is going to start that presidential race right away.
Now what does Tom Daschle do? I never thought he was going to run for president. I thought personal considerations would keep in the Senate, but now he's not the Senate Majority Leader. Oh, we should have said he's probably not...
ROTHENBERG: ... the Senate Majority Leader. He may well be the Minority Leader. Maybe that makes a presidential run more interesting, more attractive.
HARRIS: Well let me throw one more name out here. We haven't talked about these two names yet, the party leaders -- party heads who charged (ph) raising all this money that was spent, Terry McAuliffe and Mark Roscoe. What -- I've been thinking or I've been waiting to hear someone come out and say that perhaps all of this was Terry McAuliffe's fault. We have...
KAGAN: I think I heard a little bit of that tonight.
HARRIS: Yes. You did? I was listening for that, didn't hear it.
KAGAN: Crossfire game (ph).
ROTHENBERG: Sure. Yes,...
ROTHENBERG: ... some Democrats are saying Terry McAuliffe, there's a mixed message there. He talks populism but he goes out and he raises money from big corporations and he is the -- I mean he is a Hoover vacuum cleaner when it comes to DNC money. So I think you'll see -- you'll see some criticism there.
You know I don't know what the Democratic National Committee is planning to do, but the Democrats have to sort out the what's going on. I did not hear Massachusetts Senator John Kerry's comments after his victory. I had been told that he was going to give a speech which clearly was a jumping off point for a presidential run. I did not hear it. I think we have to look at that very closely. He has been running for president, has wanted to run for president,...
ROTHENBERG: ... is running for president. I suppose his campaign begins today.
COSTELLO: Yes. Oh yes.
COSTELLO: Hey, Stu, thank you very much.
HARRIS: Stu Rothenberg.
COSTELLO: I know you have to catch a plane.
COSTELLO: I wish you could stay, but we cannot convince you.
KAGAN: We all do.
COSTELLO: Yes, but what a great job.
KAGAN: Thanks for doing overnight duty with us. We really appreciate it.
HARRIS: (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Nice going.
ROTHENBERG: OK. What's -- can we do this again tomorrow night?
HARRIS: Let's not but say we did. COSTELLO: No.
KAGAN: Say that two years from right now.
ROTHENBERG: I'll be here.
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