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Election Night Coverage: Gillibrand Wins Senate Race; Interview With Sen.-Elect Rand Paul

Aired November 2, 2010 - 21:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're about to make projections.

In New York state, CNN now projects Kirsten Gillibrand, the Democratic senator, she wins in New York state. Kirsten Gillibrand beats Joe DioGuardi, the Republican challenger, not a surprise.

This will be a four-year term for her, by the way, because she took over for Hillary Clinton when she became secretary of state. She's filling out Hillary Clinton's four years that were remaining.

Chuck Schumer reelected easily in New York state. All of us remember Chuck Schumer running for the Senate in New York. He will get a six-year term. The question if -- will be for Chuck Schumer, if Harry Reid loses in Nevada, does Chuck Schumer become the Democratic leader in the U.S. Senate? There's been some speculation about that.

This is something we could have projected a long time ago but we didn't because all the polls weren't closed in South Dakota. But John Thune, he's reelected. He did not have an opponent. He did not have a Democratic challenger. He ran unopposed.

John Thune, whose name has been mentioned as a potential Republican presidential candidate or vice presidential candidate. He gets reelected in South Carolina.

In North Dakota right now, CNN has another projection. North Dakota, the governor John Hoeven, we project he is the winner, beating Tracy Potter. So that's a Senate pick-up -- that's a Senate pick-up right now as an open Democratic seat. So that's another pick-up, an important pick,-up for the Republicans in North Dakota.

And in Kansas, CNN projects that the winner will be the Republican Jerry Moran versus Lisa Johnston. Jerry Moran will take over Sam Brownback's seat in Kansas. Sam Brownback was running for governor. That was an open seat but it will stay in Republican hands in Kansas.

There's more information coming as well in Texas. This is a big one for the Republicans. We project Rick Perry will be reelected as the governor of Texas. Rick Perry, with 50 percent of the vote now in, beats Bill White, former mayor of Houston. A big win for Rick Perry in Texas.

Not a big surprise in New York, Andrew Cuomo, the attorney general, will be the next governor of New York. He beats Carl Paladino as fully expected.

And in Kansas, Sam Brownback, the senator, gave up the Senate seat to become governor of Kansas. We project Sam Brownback wins in Kansas. That is not a surprise either. Everybody expected him to.

Well, we've got some exit poll information that we want to share with you as well. These are raw exit poll numbers. This is not necessarily the end result but it shows a trend in the state.

These are questionnaires that we and the other television news networks and the Associated Press ask people as they emerge from the voting booths.

David Vitter, the Louisiana senator, the Republican, 53 percent in that raw exit poll data to Charlie Melancon, the Democrat congressman running for the Senate in Louisiana, 44 percent.

Look how close it is in Wisconsin right now. This is an exit poll data result. Russ Feingold, the incumbent, with 49 percent. He's the Democrat. Ron Johnson, the Republican challenger, 50 percent.

But there's a big margin of error in these raw exit poll data. So this is a lot closer than some of the earlier polls going into Wisconsin showed. We'll see if Russ Feingold, the long-time senator from Wisconsin, can hold on.

And here's some exit poll -- raw exit poll data from Colorado right now. Michael Bennet, he's the appointed senator, the Democrat, 49 percent. Ken Buck, who's a favorite of the Tea Party movement, 47 percent.

It's very, very close in Colorado as well. Don't want to put too much emphasis on this. But these are trends that we're seeing and we're showing you these numbers as we get these numbers in.

This is the raw exit poll numbers. We'll take a closer look at the actual numbers coming in. Other information where the numbers are coming in from and eventually we'll be able to make a projection. But we see a very close Senate race in Colorado and a very close Senate race in Wisconsin right now as well.

Let's take a look at Rand Paul headquarters right now in Kentucky. They're getting ready for Rand Paul to come in. We've projected a while ago that Rand Paul will be the next U.S. senator from Kentucky, beating Jack Conway, the Democratic senator.

There you see Rand Paul right now with his wife and his family. Let's listen in a little bit to Rand Paul, the Tea Party favorite who will be the next U.S. senator from Kentucky. He's the son of Ron Paul, the long-time Republican congressman from Texas, the former presidential candidate back in 2008.

Let's listen to Rand Paul.

RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY SENATOR-ELECT: Thank you, thank you. What a crowd.

I'd like to thank my wife, Kelly. I couldn't have done it without her. And my boys, William and Duncan and Robert. And for the great music. Thank you, guys.

I have a message. A message from the people of Kentucky. A message. A message that is loud and clear and does not mince words. We've come to take our government back.

They say that the U.S. Senate is the world's most deliberative body. Well, I'm going to ask them to deliberate upon this. The American people are unhappy with what's going on in Washington.

Eleven percent of the people approve of what's going on in Congress. But tonight, there's a Tea Party tidal wave and we're sending a message to them.

It's a message that I will carry with me on day one. It's a message of fiscal sanity. It's a message of limited constitutional government and balanced budgets.

When I arrive in Washington, I will ask them respectfully to deliberate upon this. We are in the midst of a debt crisis and the American people want to know why we have to balance our budget and they don't.

I will ask them respectfully to deliberate upon this. Government does not create jobs. Individual entrepreneurs, businessmen and women create job, but not the government. I will ask them respectfully to deliberate upon this. Why is America great? Why are we the greatest, richest and freest country ever known to man?

America is exceptional, but it is not inherently so. America is exceptional because we embraced freedom, because we enshrined it in our documents and because we have lived and fought for the principles of freedom.

America will remain great if we remain proud of America, if we remain proud of the American system, the system that is enshrined in our founding documents, the system that protects and promotes the free exchange of goods, the system that protects capitalism that has made this country great.

America will remain great if and when we understand -- if and when we understand that government cannot create prosperity. We have to understand that it comes from ourselves. It does not come from government.

We are the creators of that prosperity. Until we understand that, we cannot truly protect and defend our liberties.

I have great confidence in the American system. We must believe in ourselves and not believe that somehow some benevolent leader in a distant capital will take care of us, will save us from ourselves. We must once again believe in ourselves. I will ask the Senate respectfully to deliberate upon this. Do we wish to live free or be enslaved by debt? Do we believe in the individual or do we believe in the state?

Thomas Jefferson wrote that government is best that governs least. Likewise, freedom is best when enjoyed by the most.

America can rise up and surmount these problems if we just get government out of our way.

I am humbled by the honor bestowed upon me by the voters of Kentucky. I will do everything within my power to live up to that trust.

America's best days lie ahead of her. If we can once again unleash the creative genius, the entrepreneurial spirit, the faith in ourselves that is the American dream.

Thank you and God bless America.

BLITZER: There he is, the next United States senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul, obviously very, very happy, thanking the Tea Party movement for his win in Kentucky, a win that he worked very hard to achieve.

We're going to be speaking, by the way, with Rand Paul. That's coming up, we believe later this hour. We'll let you know exactly when. But we'll be speaking with him.

We're going to take a quick break. But we're standing by. I think we're going to have a major projection when we come back.


BLITZER: CNN is now ready to make a major projection. The Republicans will take control of the House of Representatives based on a statistical analysis of key seats, key races all over the country.

CNN can now project the Republicans will gain -- have a net gain of 39 seats, at least 39 seats. They will become the majority in the House of Representatives. John Boehner, the congressman from Ohio, the minority leader, he will become the next speaker of the House of Representatives. Nancy Pelosi will not be the speaker of the House of Representatives.

This is a major, major projection right now. It's something the Republicans had been working on for a long time, something the Democrats had dreaded even as late as today. The Democrats were predicting they would manage to hold on to the House of Representatives.

But based on all of the information we're now getting at CNN, the actual ballots that have been counted, the exit polls, the statistical review of all these key battleground races, there are about 100 that were up in the air, we thought, out of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives, we now project the Republicans in the next Congress will be the majority.

Anderson Cooper, this is obviously a big, big deal and it's something the Republicans were thinking about. I dare say two years ago when the president of the United States was elected they didn't think this would happen. But it goes to show you how fast things can change in the political world of the United States.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And based on our estimate, our projections right now, we believe they're going to win at least 50 seats, at least 50 seats in the House.

Bill, a big moment for Republicans.

BILL BENNETT, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, it's a great moment for us. Goodbye, Speaker Pelosi, goodbye, Chairman Frank. Maybe the one that catches it for me most dramatically is the gavel goes from Charles Rangel, the Budget Committee, to Paul Ryan.

You talk about a transition, you talk about philosophical differences, that's philosophical difference. This is a conservative House, by the way. It will have moderates -- Roland, there are moderates in the party.


BENNETT: No, no, there's more than that.

MARTIN: Three.

BENNETT: More than that. But it will be a conservative -- it will be a conservative Republican House and that will be interesting. But this is a dramatic shift of power.

COOPER: Erick Erickson?

ERICK ERICKSON, EDITOR IN CHIEF, REDSTATE.COM: You know you are seeing, whether the Republicans win the Senate or not, and I really don't think they will, but when you look at the races that they are picking up, you're seeing the Republicans in the Senate shift to the right, which is what the Tea Party movement largely wanted.

You're seeing House Republicans shift to the right. You will now have Republicans -- remember the polling has shown all along that the Tea Party movement and the American people don't like the Republicans or the Democrats.

Will the Republicans make some institutional changes when they get in? For example, will they put a guy like Jeff Flake on the Appropriations Committee?

Jim DeMint tonight has an op-ed out that will be in tomorrow's "Wall Street Journal" saying, "Congratulations to all the Tea Party- backed candidates who overcame a determined partisan opposition who win their elections. The next campaign begins today because you now must overcome determined party insiders if this nation is going to be spared from fiscal disaster. Many of the people who'll be welcoming the new class of Senate conservatives in Washington never wanted you here in the first place."

And a lot of them are going to the House and Senate thinking that.

COOPER: There has been, Mary, a lot made of the schism in the Republican Party. Do you think it is a real schism?

MARY MATALIN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: No, John Boehner is going to be the -- not to the extent that it has played out. The Republicans lost before because they left -- let go of those values and those principles.

John Boehner is going to be a speaker the likes of which we haven't seen since Tip O'Neill. He knows process, he knows policies, he's a mainstream conservative. He has a great staff, Barry Jackson. I hope he stays on there. This is -- he's going to know how to work. Make all these guys work together.

Paul Ryan is an intellectual powerhouse. And being in that position -- when we say conservative, we don't mean what James and Paul and Roland mean. We mean constitutional, free-market reform. That's what's going to drive the House. And Boehner will really be able to herd these cats.

BENNETT: I made a mistake by the way. Rangel is Ways and Means. But --


BENNETT: John Spratt. Judge Spratt. But Paul Ryan will indeed be head of --

COOPER: Joe Manchin is about to speak in West Virginia. He obviously now is the projected winner. Let's listen in.

JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA SENATOR-ELECT: -- such an honor and privilege for Gail and I both to be able to serve you for six years as governor and first lady.

I can't -- we made, we made tremendous strides as a state. And the reason we did that is because we trusted one another. We worked together. We put our state first. And it worked so well for us. And we're going to continue to fight for West Virginia every day of our life.


MANCHIN: I just -- I can only say that I want to thank all the people of West Virginia for believing in me. I really, truly appreciate every one of them.

You know we never thought we would ever lose our beloved Senator Byrd. But the Good Lord had other plans. And leaving the governor's office was one of the toughest decisions I had to make.

And we achieved so much as a state working together. But I can tell you, I'm proud of what we've been able to do. I have -- proud of every one of our accomplishments. But when I look at what challenges we have ahead of us in Washington, I know it's time to take that fight there.


COOPER: Winning in the state of West Virginia, obviously a big relief for them.

Wolf, let's check in with you.

BLITZER: All right, Anderson. This is a lot of news that we want to digest right now. We project that the Republicans will be the majority in the House of Representatives, in the new Congress. We project that they will get at least a gain -- a net gain of 39, maybe even more than 50.

John King is over here at what we call our election matrix. We thought that there were 100 competitive seats, 91 of those seats were held by Democrats. The Republicans are doing well.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: The Republicans are doing well. You see the races flashing behind me. Those are the ones that have changed power. You see the check marks. These are races we've called. You see it on the air.

If you look at these things, if you look up, I just want to look at one we have called. Virginia '05, Tom Perriello, you mentioned the president of the United States was just there.

This is why this matters. It's not just because Robert Hurt is coming to Washington to replace Tom Perriello. It matters because Tom Perriello voted for the Obama health care plan, he voted for the Obama stimulus plan. He voted for that cap and trade energy legislation.

Robert Hurt ran saying he would go to Washington and vote to repeal the health care plan, oppose any further stimulus money, and fight the president if he came up with a similar energy policy.

We can go across the board, Wolf, to all of these Republican winners and all the other places we're looking at, and the breath and the depth of this is important. Republicans are making gains in the northeast where they have struggled for more than a decade.

Republicans are winning in the suburbs. They're winning in Virginia and Indiana, states the president thought he had pulled back from red to blue in the last election cycle.

If you just go through here's a couple of others. Now we have not called these yet. But I want to take you up to the state of New Hampshire. Republicans are leading in both of these races. And Republicans will tell you this, that Ann Kuster running for this open seat in New Hampshire. They say she ran a perfect campaign.

And yet former Republican Charlie Bass is leading right now. Let's take a look at the results that's coming. Leading 51 percent to 45. We have to watch that one as it comes in. But, again, right now, two Democratic congressmen in New Hampshire it looks like we will end the night with two Republican members of Congress.

Why does that matter? President Obama carried that district just two years ago, Wolf, with 56 percent of the vote. So I know the panel has been debated. Is this a repudiation of the president?

Well, it is certainly a repudiation of the president's agenda and the direction that Washington has been taken that in states where he has done so well, we see things changing.

We'll come across and we'll watch some other races as we go here. This is another fascinating race to watch in Colorado. John Salazar -- of course we're just starting to count the results out there. Another big Republican target.

Again I bring this race up because of this, 50 percent for John McCain. This is one of the 44 districts in our CNN 100 where John McCain actually carried the district running for president.

The Republicans are beginning, in the early results we have, even as we've made our projection as we watch these races, their targeting started this way. The seats won by John McCain, then the seats won by Barack Obama where he was under 52 percent of the vote, and they're beginning to expand beyond that as we run up these numbers.

And again, it matters not just because of the math. It matters because these Republican candidates say they want to go to Washington and fight the president. Many of these Democrats we see in our CNN 100 took very, very tough votes to support the president and his agenda.

BLITZER: The Republicans capture some of those seats in New England. They haven't had any Republican congressmen in New England in a while now.

KING: They haven't had any in New England in a while. They're going to get two in New Hampshire it looks like tonight. They're competitive in one race in Massachusetts. They're competitive in some other races.

And you mentioned that. I want to bring back over here. It's not just in New England. They've had a really hard time in the state of New York. This is another big district. This one's about an hour away from here. We could drive up. We're waiting for the results to come in here.

Another one of those races, John Hall, for those of you out there, Orleans fans, you might remember that name. He left music, went into politics. He's in a very tough race right here in the suburbs. And again, go back in time, President Obama carried that district.

So you're watching in places, and when we go over to the map later, I'll show you, these places the president turned blue, some places that had been reliably blue for quite some time, in doubt tonight.

Why? Independents in the suburbs beginning to move away. Some of those white working class voters the president has struggles with, starting to move away. As you look at this now, we've projected a Republican majority.

And as you look at these races, Wolf, and as you look at the map fill in -- a lot of red filling in -- you can see the Republicans getting to 50 and looking to go higher.

BLITZER: All right. It was mostly blue at the beginning of the night, 91 out of those 100 seats, blue seats. But it's going to get redder and redder and redder as the night goes on. We're now projecting a net gain for the Republicans of 50 seats.

KING: Right. And look -- you see it now. A lot of this red you see on the map. Those are the seats -- all the red you see here up on the matrix, that means -- you see the switches and they're going to get more and more as we fill them in.

You see the New Hampshire seats here. Watch these seats in Pennsylvania. You have a governor's race there, a tough Senate race there, a battle for the suburbs, also a battle for the Scranton area. Joe Biden's original home.

Up in the Erie area, a battle for a seat up there. This goes on and on. Then it goes south, you see some in Kentucky, Louisiana and on we go. Right now, the Republicans are building substantially all across the map.

BLITZER: All right. John, I want to go to Florida right now because Marco Rubio is speaking. He's walking in. You see him right there. He'll be the next United States senator from Florida.

Marco Rubio beating Charlie Crist, the independent, the former Republican, Kendrick Meek, the Democratic congressman.

Marco Rubio, a rising star in the Republican Party. He ran a very, very smooth campaign. He's clearly been very effective there. And you see how excited he is. He's young and he's dynamic.

That's Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, the brother of the former president -- two former presidents.

Marco Rubio is going to speak. The crowd is excited there. And as they should be, because he is a rising star in the Republican Party. There you see him with his family.

Our own Don Lemon is on the -- on the scene for us. Well, let's listen in to the -- well, if he's not going to speak yet -- there he is with his wife and his family.


BLITZER: Well, let's listen to Marco Rubio. RUBIO: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Glad you didn't say Polo. That would have thrown us all off.

Thank you so much. Thank you. About an hour and a half ago, I received two very gracious phone calls. Governor Crist called me to congratulate. And I thank him for that gracious phone call.


RUBIO: Congressman Meek called to congratulate and I told him that he has given us a lesson in dignity and in strength.


RUBIO: And I thank both of them for being worthy opponents in a difficult campaign. And I wanted to thank all of you for all the help you've given me as well.

Let me begin tonight by acknowledging a simple but profound truth. We are all children of a powerful and great God. Of a God who isn't always going to end -- things are not always going to end up the way you want them. His will is not always going to be yours.

But I promise you this. No matter what you face in life, he will give you the strength to go through it. I bear witness to that tonight as so many of you do in your own lives and must be always acknowledged in everything we do and everywhere we go.



RUBIO: He likes the microphones.


RUBIO: I don't even know how to begin how to describe this journey but to thank so many of you that have been a part of this. And we'll talk about little tidbits of that in a moment.

Clearly I'm grateful to my family. To my wife, Jeanette, who has made this possible. Raising children under any circumstances is a two-person job but she has done it alone for the last two years. I owe her a debt of gratitude I will never be able to repay. I am blessed to have her as my wife and I am grateful that she is with us here today.

I am also blessed with four children who remind me every day of what's important in life but also give me the strength even throughout this campaign. There was a moment early in this campaign where I didn't know how I was going to raise the money to be competitive.

And I'll never forget that the next morning my children showed up, they had collected their allowance, which was largely quarters and single-dollar bills, and handed it to me. I didn't tell them that. They overheard me.

And it was in that moment that I was reminded of what this race and election was really all about. It was not about any of our individual ambitions but it was about the future, as represented by them and their generation.

And that lesson is profound. It's one that I will not soon forget.

Tomorrow or even now, the stories are being written about what this election is about. What does it mean? And we don't still -- we still don't know all the results from around this country.

But we know that tonight, the power in the United States House of Representatives will change hands. We know tonight that a growing number of Republicans will now serve in the Senate as well. And we make a grave mistake if we believe that tonight these results are somehow an embrace of the Republican party.

What they are is a second chance. A second chance for Republicans to be what they said they were going to be not so long ago. You see, I learned early on in this campaign -- in fact it's what propelled me to enter it -- that what this race was about was about the great future that lies ahead for our country, a future that Americans know is there for the taking. But it requires actions on our part.

Americans believe with all their heart, the vast majority of them, and the vast majority of Floridians, that the United States of America is simply the single greatest nation in all of human history, a place without equal in the history of all mankind.

But we also know that something doesn't seem right. Our nation is headed in the wrong direction and both parties are to blame. And what Americans are looking for desperately are people that will go to Washington, D.C. and stand up to this agenda that is taking us in the wrong direction and offer a clear and genuine alternative.

And that's what this race was about early on for me. And that's what it's about tonight. It is about the future of this country and what it will look like when our children are our age. Let me tell you, there are those out there who doubt about the greatness of America. Sometimes when I say it, I hear the snickers from some in different parts. They think it's simplistic.

But see, I know America is great not because I read about it in a book, but because I've seen it in my eyes. I've been raised in a community of exiles, a people who lost their country, a people who know what it's like to live somewhere else. By the way, a community that I am proud to be a part of, a community -- a community of men and women that were once my age. And when they were, they had dreams like we have now. Yet they lost all those things through an accident of history.

So they came here to try to rebuild their lives. And some did. But many others could not. And instead, it became the purpose of their life to leave their children with the opportunities they themselves did not have. This is the story of the Cuban exile community. And it defines what so many of us who are a product of it are.

And I know this, no matter where I go or what title I may achieve, I will always be the son of exiles.

BLITZER: Marco Rubio, his acceptance speech; a very, very impressive win for the Cuban American. He's very proud of his Cuban ancestry. Take a look at these number, 63 percent of the vote in. He's got 51 percent, 1,852,000. Charlie Crist, the independent, former Republican, 29 percent; Kendrick Meek, 19 percent. Even if Marco Rubio had only one opponent, he's already got 51 percent, so he's doing very, very well.

He'll be the next United States senator from the state of Florida, a very attractive and impressive young man who's got a huge future in the Republican party, probably in the nation as well.

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


BLITZER: Christine O'Donnell in her losing speech right now. She loses to Chris Coons. She's making the concession speech. Let's listen in.

CHRISTINE O'DONNELL (R), CANDIDATE FOR SENATE IN DELAWARE: My joking big brother goes, we won, did we miss something? You know what I meant.

We were victorious because the Delaware political system will never be the same. That's a great thing. The Republican party will never be the same. And that's a good thing.

Our voices were heard and we're not going to be quiet now. This is just the beginning. We've got a lot of work to do.

I just got off the phone with my opponent, and I reminded him that he is now in a position to help the people of Delaware who are suffering. I reminded him of Victor Rodriguez and Donald and his family and the many small business owners who are very concerned about these tax hikes. And if he does raise them on the top two percent, they'll be forced to close their doors.

I asked him to watch that 30-minute commercial that we did so that he can see what's going on in Delaware the way I have. And I asked him if he would talk to you and if he would take up my promise to, in this lame duck session, fight to stop the death tax from being reinstated this January 1st.

So hopefully he will. And he's going to be up against his party leadership, but I asked him if he would sit down with some of the families who are very concerned about that and realize the difference he can make. So we can only hope and pray that he chooses to go against his party leadership and do what's right for the people of Delaware.

But we're not going to stop fighting either, because there's a lot of work to be done -- a lot of work to be done. As I've said, this whole campaign is about putting the political process back into your hands. And that is where it is now.

The leadership of our party is going to be drastically different this next year. The leadership in Delaware will be drastically different from now on. Our elected officials will be held accountable by their constituents, like it or not.

So although the outcome isn't what we all worked so hard for, our voice was heard. We'll continue to be heard. So I hope and pray that you are as encouraged as I am. And we've got a lot of food. We've got the room all night. So God bless you. So let's party.

BLITZER: Christine O'Donnell, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from Delaware conceding. She lost to Chris Coons. Let's go over to CNN's Ali Velshi. You've been studying with your team, Ali, some of the exit polls that are coming in. And it's fascinating to see what people are telling us as they emerge from the voting booths.

ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: Right. When they vote, you only know who they voted for. When they talk to us, they tell us why they voted a certain way. So we asked them several questions, starting with those who voted in House elections. How did the independents, who we've been talking about for so long -- how did they actually end up voting?

Let me show you how those votes broke down. Independents in this nation broke for the Republicans; 55 percent of independents ended up casting their ballot for the Republican candidate for the House; 40 percent ended up voting for the Democratic candidate for House. This is interesting, because if you go back to 1994, you'll find that the breakdown was similar. Back then, it was 55 to 41.

Let me tell you now about their feelings about the economy. We asked people as they voted for House members what their feelings were about the economy; 51 percent said that they were extremely worried about the economy, very worried about the economy; 36 percent were worried about the economy; 10 percent were somewhat worried about the economy; and only three percent were not worried at all about the economy, Wolf.

Then we wanted to talk about the state of the national economy, how you think it's going right now. And here is where it becomes pretty interesting. Ten percent of the respondents said that things are good or excellent. Look at this -- I can't even get behind that, because it's too big -- 89 percent of respondents say that the economy is not so good or poor.

You just heard Marco Rubio in Florida talking about being in the wrong -- on the wrong track. So we asked respondents the same question. Do you think things in this country are going in the right direction? Thirty five percent of respondents said that they are going in the right direction. Take a look at this, 62 percent say that they are seriously in the wrong direction or on the wrong track.

This is what Marco Rubio -- this is what a lot of other people have ended up saying. Finally, we have one more I want to show you. It is about how do you feel that the federal government is working right now? Twenty four percent think that the federal government is working OK; 74 percent say that it's not working. They were negative about how the federal government is working.

So this all gives you some sense of why those votes ended up the way they did and why the House ended up breaking Republican.

BLITZER: Fascinating numbers. I know you and your team have a lot more of those numbers. I love our new technology and how to show it. You look good behind those walls.

VELSHI: Thank you.

BLITZER: Sometimes you can't fit underneath some of the walls.

VELSHI: But it is slimming.

BLITZER: It's a very nice image, Ali. Stand by. I know you've got a lot more. We're getting closer to the top of the hour. Five more states are going to be closing, including Nevada. That's where Harry Reid is fighting for his political life right now. Stay with us. Our coverage is only just beginning. We'll also speak with the new senator -- he's going to be the new senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul, when we come back.


BLITZER: It turned out not to be all that close in Kentucky. Rand Paul beating Jack Conway -- 87 percent of the actual vote has been counted; 56 percent for Rand Paul, 44 percent for Jack Conway. Rand Paul is joining us now.

Congratulations, Dr. Paul. I'm sure you're thrilled.

RAND PAUL, SENATOR-ELECT FROM KENTUCKY: Thank you, Wolf. Yeah, we're all smiles down here in Kentucky. Everything's good.

BLITZER: Did you hear from Jack Conway? Did he call you to concede?

PAUL: He did. He was very gracious. And he wished me luck and I wished him luck also.

BLITZER: So no more hard feelings, because it was a bitter campaign. There were some ugly name-calling going on. I assume you're over that?

PAUL: I think a little distance and time will make us forget that.

BLITZER: At one point, you even didn't want to shake his hand. Let's move on and take a look at where you're going now. You're coming to Washington, D.C. What will be your top priority as a United States senator from Kentucky?

PAUL: I think the number one priority is we need some fiscal sanity in Washington. The budget's out of control. We cannot sustain two trillion dollars debts, two trillion dollar deficits. Even the Federal Reverse chairman, Bernanke, says two trillion dollars in a year is an unsustainable debt.

So we really have to tackle this. And I think it's going to take a serious adult conversation. And we need to be willing to look at the entire budget. But I think we also need some new budgetary rules. I'm in favor of having a balanced budget amendment. I think both parties have proven themselves untrustworthy when it comes to balancing the budget.

BLITZER: You know, a lot of Democrats -- at least some Democrats are saying if you eliminate the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 for everyone, go back to the tax rates that existed during the Clinton years, you'll save over the next ten years four trillion dollars, be able to reduce the deficit and the budget and the debt by four trillion dollars. What do you say to those folks who say, go back to the higher tax rates?

PAUL: I would say that they must be in favor of a second American depression, because if you raise taxes to that consequence, that's what will happen in this country. Raising taxes in the midst of a recession would be a disaster for our economy. And anybody who proposes such a policy really is, I think, unfit to be making decisions.

BLITZER: What if they just raised taxes on the richest, those making more than 250,000 dollars a year?

PAUL: Well, the thing is, we're all interconnected. There are no rich. There are no middle class. There are no poor. We all are interconnected in the economy. You remember a few years ago, when they tried to tax the yachts, that didn't work. You know who lost their jobs? The people making the boats, the guys making 50,000 and 60,000 dollars a year lost their jobs.

We all either work for rich people or we sell stuff to rich people. So just punishing rich people is as bad for the economy as punishing anyone. Let's not punish anyone. Let's keep taxes low and let's cut spending.

BLITZER: Is there going to be a Tea Party caucus in the U.S. Senate?

PAUL: If I have my way, yes, there will. That's one of the things I'll begin working on tomorrow morning.

BLITZER: What about your dad? Is he there, the congressman from Texas? Is he celebrating with you tonight?

PAUL: He was here electronically. He had his own party in Texas. And we have talked. And I told my mom this evening that I'd like to have a joint swearing in party. So we'll let the House and the Senate come together for a day.

BLITZER: I've spoken to your dad, Congressman Ron Paul, on many occasions. He is very, very proud of you. Once again, congratulations, Dr. Rand Paul, the next United States senator from Kentucky. Appreciate it very much.

Let's go over to John King, because he's taking a closer look at this Tea Party phenomenon, Rand Paul an example. He's beloved by the Tea Party members and he won.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: And one of the interesting things we're doing tonight, Wolf, as we watch the results come in coast to coast, we're also doing something unique, what we call sentiment analysis. We're using our friends to analyze thousands and thousands of Tweets in the Twitter-verse.

This is the view of the Tea Party -- this might surprise you. Camera, come in a little bit close. You see all this beige right here, the lighter yellow. This is anti-Tea Party Tweets. In the states that you see lit up with that color, that means the plurality of the Tweets were anti-Tea Party. Thirty four percent nationally of the Tweets today we've analyzed are anti-Tea Party.

If you come down to the state of Texas, you see more of a pro-Tea Party. That's for the Tea Party and anti-Washington. Over here as well, for the Tea Party in general.

This is Rand Paul's home state of Kentucky. Even there, 28 percent, a plurality of the Tweets about the Tea Party today, were negative. Now, obviously, he just won that election, and he won pretty big. So there's a pro-Tea Party sentiment in the state of Kentucky, Wolf. What this tells you is those active in the Twitter- verse today talking about this race may be seeing the results that were coming -- were Paul opponents or Tea Party opponents venting their views.

But it's a fascinating way, as you pull back to the national map, to just look at the conversation in the Twitter-verse. This one is about the Tea Party. I want to show you just one more.

This one, to me, is a little personally depressing, as someone who's covered politics for a quarter century. This is, are you voting for or against somebody? If it's orange you're voting against a person or against a policy. And you see for Maine to southern California, coast to coast, with only the state of Vermont saying it's voting for a person or a policy tonight. As you watch the Twitter- verse come in, a clear plurality, over 37 percent of Americans say they're voting against somebody or a policy, Wolf, when they go to the polls.

Just to explain, the white states mean we just don't have enough data yet to add them in.

BLITZER: John, thanks very much. Fascinating, a whole new world of the social networking and how we're drawing some political conclusions from that. Let's take a look at some votes that are actually coming in Wisconsin right now. Ten percent of the vote is in. Ron Johnson, the businessman, the Republican challenger to the incumbent Russ Feingold, way ahead, 58 percent to 41 percent. Only 10 percent of the vote has actually been counted. The polls closed 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

In Illinois right now, almost half of the vote has been counted. The Democrat, Alexi Giannoulias, with 51 percent;, Mark Kirk, the former congressman, 44 percent. The third party candidate, the green party candidate, LeAlan Jones three percent. That's with 45 percent of the vote in.

In Pennsylvania, about a third of the vote has now been counted. Joe Sestak, the Democrat, with 54 percent; Pat Toomey, the Republican, 46 percent. Still got two-thirds of the vote that needs to be counted.

Look at this, in Colorado right now, about a quarter of the vote is now in. Michael Bennett, the Democrat, he's the incumbent, the appointed senator. He took over for Ken Salazar when he became secretary of the interior. Fifty four percent, Ken Buck 41 percent. Ken Buck, the Tea Party favorite in Colorado.

So you can see Democrats in three of these races right now, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Colorado, ahead at least as of right now. And Wisconsin, Russ Feingold not necessarily doing so well. But we're watching it. Only 10 percent of the vote in Wisconsin counted.

We're going to take a break. Exit polls, they are coming up right after this.


BLITZER: CNN now projects that Deval Patrick, the incumbent governor of Massachusetts, he wins. He is re-elected. Take a look at this, these are the actual votes. With 56 percent of the vote now in, Deval Patrick 50 percent, Charlie Baker 41 percent, Tim Cahill, the independent, eight percent. Deval Patrick, re-elected. Ali, you're looking at some exit polls. What are you seeing?

VELSHI: Massachusetts an interesting state because of health care. Health care has played a very, very big role this entire election. Let's see how this has worked out for seniors. Seniors at this point in the election have represented 24 percent of the vote. OK? This year, they were 24 percent. I need to show you what they were in previous elections, previous midterms.

In 2006, 19 percent of the electorate. In 2008, 15 percent. In 2010, it was more like this year, 24 percent. All right, that's how much of the electorate they are.

How did they break for the Democrats? Let's look at that first. In this election, 39 percent of the electorate voted -- let's dozen do it again. Let's do that one more time. Let me see if I can show you that. There we go. OK, 39 percent of seniors voted for the Democrats in this election. Let's start in 1994. It was 48 percent. In 2006, another midterm, 49 percent. 2008, 48 percent broke for the Democrats. This time, 39 percent of seniors broke for Democrats.

How'd they do for Republicans? Let's take a look at that. The Republicans in this election, we saw -- let's again start from 1994, 51 percent back in '94 supported Republicans. Then 49 percent in 2006. By 2008, it was 48 percent. Look at this, 2010, 58 percent of senior citizens broke for Republicans. In many cases, that had to do with concerns about health care, Wolf, the idea that they didn't see in this health care bill something that necessarily helped them more than they were afraid that it would take money out of Medicare and Medicaid, and end up perhaps helping other groups. That might be one of the areas of concern, Wolf, that allowed seniors to make a decision to vote for Republicans in the House races over Democrats.

BLITZER: And we know that the older Americans get, the more likely they are to vote. Older people vote in much higher percentages than younger people. So if the Democrats are losing these seniors, the older vote, that's not going to be good news for the Democrats.

VELSHI: That's exactly right. They came out, 24 percent of the electorate in this election voting for House races were senior citizens.

BLITZER: Ali is going to go through some more numbers, fascinating numbers. Ali, thanks very, very much. We're getting very close, less than a minute to the top of the hour. We're getting ready for more poll closing at the 10:00 p.m. Eastern, at the top of the hour. The polls will close in these states: Arizona, Iowa, Montana, Nevada, and Utah.

All of these states important, but Nevada critically important in this midterm election, because Harry Reid, the majority leader of the United States Senate, he's in the fight of his life against Sharron Angle. And we're going to be watching this very, very closely. Harry Reid, we'll see if he does get re-elected in Nevada or he doesn't.

We're getting close to the top of the hour. So let's get ready as we get closer to the top of the hour. I believe we will make some projections.