Return to Transcripts main page


Election Night Coverage

Aired November 6, 2012 - 23:59   ET


MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: We're talking about these different demographic groups and one thing about the millennial generation any cohort, generational cohort when they come of age politically. If they vote three times in a row for the same party their partisan identity is solidified for the rest of their lives.

They spit their votes Al Gore and George Bush. They voted for John Kerry. They voted Barack Obama. They have voted for Barack Obama again. They will not self-identify as Republicans for the rest of their lives. This generation is lost to the Republican Party.

COOPER: Do you buy that?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't think so. They have work to do, but I don't think they are lost.

HOOVER: Any demographic study cohort solidifies over time.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I just fundamentally disagree with the proposition that people are lost forever. I think there are people hard to get back but politics changes over time.

I think it's extremely unhealthy for the country to have a party, a Republican Party that relies on whites for about 90 percent of their national vote and the other party becomes much more inclusive.

The minorities also collect in that party. It's going to be much healthy for the country and the Republicans will become a permanent minority party unless they find ways to appeal to the minority community. They've got to find way to appeal.

ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That's always been our message. We're supposed to be the party of opportunity.

BORGER: Look at the primaries. You sat there during the primary debates with me, Alex. That was not the party you saw during the primaries. Let me go to one of Van's points, because it's kind of interesting we have a split popular vote.

And the question mandate has been raised second-degree there a clear mandate, what does the president do? One of the questions I was looking at is the opinion of government. Should government do more or does government do too much, 53 percent of the people believe that government does too much for you. COOPER: If Mitt Romney does not concede and not willing to make a speech does President Obama go ahead and make his speech?

GERGEN: I think Mitt Romney has to have a rationale very quickly within the next half hour.

JAMES CARVILLE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: In '04, Kerry said testifies going to contest the provisionals in Ohio. He did not concede until the next day. President Bush did not go out that night. I made the phone call.

My wife took the phone call and I said I just heard the Kerry people are going to contest the provisional so you may want to think about to tell the president before he goes out.

I did write a book. The science shows voting as a young person does indicate how you vote at 24 indicates how you vote at 54.

HOOVER: We've all wrote books about this. Other issue is we have Hispanics. About 25 percent voted for Mitt Romney this time. Down in 2004 from 40 percent, maybe 44 percent for the Republican Party so clearly the Republican Party has work to do. President Obama won 12 points women. That increased his margin on women. We've got to start thinking about how we are going to grow the party.

COOPER: I want to put up some of those numbers on ballot initiatives on the states.

VAN JONES, FORMER OBAMA SPECIAL ADVISOR: I really agree with Margaret on this particular point. The Tea Party is allegedly libertarian and doesn't care about social issues but then you have problems on the social issue side. If you didn't have Akin who were saying things about women you would have a different outcome. I think the Republican Party has two problems.

CASTELLANOS: It's not just about women. This is a recidivist attitude. This is part of that 1950s America that we lost. It's not just women. It's the whole way of looking at the world.

JONES: If we're going to be able to govern together we have to have two healthy problems. We have problem with Democratic Party. My concern is that you had a Bill Clinton who came with the Democratic Party and got us ready, I don't see who will get the Republican Party ready for the new century.

Until they do, everything that's wrong in Washington, D.C. is laid at Obama's feet. I think he's tried to find a partner and he's not been able toll in the Republican Party. I don't think he gets enough credit for trying.

CASTELLANOS: The Democratic Party is not seen as economic responsibility. Right now it's 50/50 split. The Democratic Party is back to being the party that James Carville had to save. There are those next Republican generation Republicans leaders out there.

CARVILLE: Look, the demographic for the Democrats it's going to do nothing but get better.

CASTELLANOS: The country will go bankrupt.

CARVILLE: Alex, I don't want to get into this because everybody says it's only 15 percent of Obama's policy. It's not the discussion now to have this discussion. We can do that later.

The discussion is that and you're right somebody will grab hold. There's going to be a healthy debate in that. Tomorrow morning people will say Romney lost because he wasn't conservative enough.

HOOVER: They're already saying that.

CARVILLE: Chris Christie stabbed us in the back or the storm helped or the media was against us. Until somebody says we got to deal with what it is that people are seeing about us that are turning them away.

CASTELLANOS: This is the best advice he's ever given the Republican Party. That I agree.

BORGER: If you're playing identity politics, the Democrats are going to win. That's the way it is right now. The Republicans have to find a different message. The thing about Mitt Romney was, and I think we all sense this at the Republican convention is people saw him as a transitional figure even before this.

The fact that he is not going to be the next president of the United States means that they can move on. There were people at the convention auditions for the next spot as they spoke in favor of Mitt Romney including Chris Christie and Marco Rubio and maybe even Paul Ryan. I think Romney was transitional, older and now they have to move onto something else.

GERGER: In 1968 Republicans started winning national elections. They won four out of six. Bill Clinton understood if you can take this party back to the center we can start winning.

Since Bill Clinton got elected now Democrats have won four out of six and it seems to me that the lesson should be clear for Republicans that they have to adjust.

They are seen as the extremist party by too many Americans. People who will self-identified moderates in this election went heavily for Obama.

BORGER: Independents.

COOPER: Let's check back in with Wolf and John.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: You know, it's interesting that we've not heard any indication that Mitt Romney is ready to concede, not ready to deliver a concession speech. The president obviously is not delivering a victorious speech yet. What's going on you think behind the scenes? JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is always a tough moment. You remember in 2000, Al Gore was coming to concede and he pulled back and didn't concede and Bill Daley, his campaign chairman came out and spoke.

There's always communication. Each staff has a designated person talks to the other before the candidates speaks to each other. We have no knowledge and no belief. Why are they waiting? They still want to wait and see what happens here.

But, Wolf, we're up to 91 percent now. Why are they waiting? Because this is painfully close, if you're Governor Romney after a hard fought campaign, you're looking at that and saying there must be a way. I'm so close.

I've been looking to see if there's way. Not to help Governor Romney just to check on the math and you keep going small amount of Democratic votes out there, small amount of Democratic votes out there, little more votes out there, Miami-Dade.

So Governor Romney is not going to make it up there. The president is winning almost two to one in that county and I keep looking and looking and looking, are there places where there are Republican votes at.

So pick your place, 100 percent it's in, a 100 percent it's in. There's a possibility that some county is in touch with somebody saying we've got some votes somewhere. We'll wait and see the rational, but I can't find them.

The other guys have been talking across the room. I'm hunting for votes there. Last time you and I spoke this turned red, the state of Ohio. We've already called it for the president. It's back turning blue now.

The president has pulled slightly ahead, but again, if you're in the Romney campaign and you're looking at this math, only 81 percent of the vote in. You have to be thinking is there some way we can get Ohio.

BLITZER: Because we've discussed earlier this is about a 20,000 vote advantage that the president had with 81 percent of the vote in, but there were about 200,000 provisional ballots out there that potentially could be counted beginning November 17th in 10 days.

KING: It could be counted in 10 days, but our decision team has made their own calculations based on this, based on where those provisional ballots are. You look at the demographics of a county.

The voting patterns of the county, you look at where the provisional ballots are, our team is really good team. They've been through this many times before and they are cautious. So when they make the call, they do it based on things.

And in part, they based it on the fact that, yes, at 81 percent you have that very narrow lead, but where are we missing votes. We're still missing votes in Cuyahoga County. That's a Democratic area. The president's margin is only going to go up in that regard.

You come over here to Toledo, we have only 12 percent of the vote in. In Lucas County right now, it's 4 percent of the population statewide. It's blue color, big Chrysler plant there. The auto bailout helps the president. He is winning more to two to one.

So you look at the places where the votes are out and they are largely Democratic areas. Again, I've talked to some Republicans down here in Hamilton County, they promised me when the night is done, this will be red, not blue.

You see it's 50-49 right now. So that's conceivable, but even if Governor Romney catches up and passes the president, if the president is up 4,000 now at 75, maybe Governor Romney gets a net gain of 4,000 votes or so, maybe 10,000 if he makes that up if they have some numbers that we don't have yet.

When you look elsewhere around the state, again, we can go state by state. I can give you another example in Virginia. I mean, look at this, 50-49, painfully close. If you are the Republicans, if you're looking at this map painfully close.

But again, you say what's left and the places where you still have some outstanding votes, Prince William County, I told you earlier, this was red for Governor Romney. This has now turned blue for President Obama.

This is more Democratic when you move in to Fairfax County, not a lot of the votes still out, but still, you look at the population there's a lot of votes there, another 10 percent or 9 percent. You can only assume the president is going to boost his numbers.

So if you're in the Romney war room and again, Wolf, you can't blame them. This has been a hard fought campaign you're calling frantically to a Republican governor in this state, to a Republican governor in this state, to a Republican governor in this state.

And their staff and their political teams and you're saying what's out. Is there any way this could be possible. Democrats out there probably frustrated. We haven't heard from Governor Romney yet.

At the end of a hard fought campaign, if we were in the flip side and it was President Obama in this situation, you'd probably have many of the same questions. I'm going to walk over and switch calls for just one quick second for the conversation the analysts were having over there.

I just want to help them with the numbers in this campaign. Remember, one of the advantages for the president is he didn't have a primary challenge. He was not pushed as Governor Romney was. A man that supported the Bush-McCain Kennedy immigration proposal to say he favored self-deportation.

Sixty five percent of the people who voted nationally tonight think illegal immigrants should be offered legal status. That's a change in our politics from 2010. Let's slide this over this way, and Van was talking moments ago at the president's coalition.

Republicans are winning among 65 and older voters, 17 percent of the electorate tonight, but Governor Romney won about an 11-point victory among older voters, critical to him in some states. The president's coalition was intact.

The Obama campaign told us this number would be stable or go up and it did. The president won hugely among younger voters, the key part of the Democratic coalition. This will be discussed after the election.

Margaret was talking about this and Gloria. Women were a majority of the electorate. They will be a majority of the electorate for some time to come. Among that group, you see 12-point gender gap in favor of the president of the United States, 55 to 43.

It's simple math, folks. We sometimes try to say politics is complicated, but as Bill Clinton at the Democratic conventions often it's just arithmetic. If you look at the breakdown of the electorate, the Romney campaign needed this to be higher.

A 72 percent white electorate, given the president's coalition, given the unique characteristics of Barack Obama's coalition, a 72 percent white electorate is not enough for Republicans to win.

Among those white voters, Governor Romney got 50 percent, but President Obama crossed the line. His staff always said if he could get to 40 percent, he could win the election and Wolf, he did.

BLITZER: He certainly did. All right, standby because we want to take a closer look at one of the battleground states in this presidential race. Look at this map of Ohio. Mitt Romney is carrying the counties that appear in dark red. The dark blue counties are going for President Obama.

Now let's highlight the major population centers that are criminal this deciding who wins the state. Let's take the counties that are decided out of the picture.

We'll turn all the counties reporting 99 percent of the vote gray. You notice most of the state -- most of the counties are blue. Take a look at that. Most of the counties remaining are blue.

That's why we feel very confident in our projection right now and our projection that Ohio will be won by the president of the United States -- John.

KING: Wolf, you look at the map, you go through this. I remember we looked through this a lot in the Republican primaries as well. You see all this red if you're Republican. You're saying there's no way. There's no way my guy is losing the state.

We went through this a lot in the primaries. Remember when Rick Santorum would rack up wins across small rural counties of a state and Governor Romney would win because we would in the suburbs where you had more people. That's what's happening tonight and that's part of both any Democratic coalition nationally to win an election and especially President Obama's coalition. You just showed the depth of the population. Cuyahoga County again, not to sound like a broken record, but you win a state by winning big where the people are.

Major population center you run up a 68 percent to 31 advantage then you're going to do very well. You drop down here Summit County, 60 percent to 39 percent. This could be more competitive.

In some statewide elections, the president is keeping it up. You drop it down again to Stark County. This is always a swing county. This one is always. If you go back in history in '08, the president carried 52-46.

In '04, John Kerry even carried it 51-49. In 2000, George W. Bush over Al Gore, 49-47 so it's always a swing county so the president is holding it, 61 percent at the moment.

And that's what you look for. You go through this -- where are the swing counties? The 50-50s, the president is holding those. There's one in Franklin County, African-American vote. He's doing what he has to do. His base voters live here.

They turn them out. That's how you win a close statewide election. When you pull it out same thing at the moment is happening here. Got a little math to do in Florida, still at 91 percent. It's been stubborn at 91 for a while. We'll wait and see what happens.

This is the fascinating one. Governor Romney sprinted out to an early lead here. President Obama has caught up and passed him. He's adding to his vote total. Again, you're looking around. You say well, can Romney catch up?

Pick one randomly. Just pick a red county, 100 percent of the votes in. Back this way, 100 percent of the votes in. You just go around, 96 percent there, Franklin County.

But look, we're not talking about a lot of votes. Governor Romney could get a few more there. There's another 100. There's a 92, tiny county, might get a couple of hundred votes there.

But you come up back up here, you get close to the Washington suburbs, Wolf, there's Richmond, 100 percent is in there. You come out and come up here, there's still votes missing up here, which is the most reliable Democratic area of the state.

And back to the point, our friends were talking about across the room, there's where you find your college educated women. There's where you find your younger college students. There's where you find your Latinos. It's all blue.

BLITZER: Standby. I want everyone to standby. We're waiting for the president of the United States, Barack Obama, to speak about his election victory. His supporters clearly anxious to be waiting over at his headquarters in Chicago. We also hear from Mitt Romney soon, though, an aide says he's not yet willing to concede. A lot more coming up on this big historic night in the United States.


BLITZER: We have another projection to make right now. CNN projects Colorado will be won by the president of the United States. The president will win Colorado and it's nine electoral votes, 73 percent of the vote is in Colorado.

Right now the president has 51 percent to 47 percent for Mitt Romney. He has a 65,000 vote advantage. Let's show you where it stands right now with the president need 270 to be elected, re-elected for another four years.

We now have him at 290 electoral votes compared to 201 electoral votes for Mitt Romney. Two states we have not yet made projections in Florida and Virginia.

Alaska, the polls have not yet closed. In Alaska, they'll close at the top of the hour. Colorado was a state the Republicans desperately wanted.

KING: I'm going to call it the exclamation point for President Obama. I'm going to show you why. We have him at 281 right now before you gave him Colorado. Let me give him Colorado that gets him to 290.

What's the significance of that, well, he's 20. He's already over the top, 270 get you over the top. But let me do this, here's a hypothetical for you. So the Romney campaign has been unwilling to concede because they dispute some of the things.

So let's just say Governor Romney wins Alaska as we expect him to do. Let's say we're not wrong, but let's say for the sake of argument we were wrong and our Ohio call was wrong. So let's give it to Governor Romney.

Virginia right now, the president leads narrowly. Let's say Governor Romney comes back and wins the state of Virginia. The president is ahead in Florida right now. Let's just say for the hypothetical, Governor Romney comes back and wins Florida. It's not enough.

It's not enough. Now that the president has Colorado even if Governor Romney wins Florida and wins Virginia and somehow we have to take Ohio back, which I don't think we're going to have to, I'm very confident in our call.

But even if we had to, if they're looking at the map saying maybe here, maybe there, even if they get there and there, even if they get there and there, they can't get there.

BLITZER: Colorado clearly a little exclamation point as you point out. Colorado, let's take a look at Colorado and see where it stands now in terms of the actual vote for Colorado. This is the national vote, the popular vote, 51 percent -47 percent.

KING: This, Wolf, again, not to sound like a broken record, but you agree with our friends across the room, this is a wakeup call and a message to the Republican Party. This was one of the most reliably red states in presidential politics.

Bill Clinton carried it once with the help of Ross Perot back there, but this is a fast changing state. Most of the change is here in Denver and the Denver suburbs. Let's dig in. You win by winning where the people are.

In Denver County 13 percent of the population, not all votes in yet. The president is getting three quarters of the vote. That's a great way to start out the foundation. You turn you're your base in the biggest population center and you thump your rival to get you out to a huge cushion.

Then you come out into the suburbs, Jefferson County, much closer here, much closer. These are more competitive once very reliable Republican areas, but they're growing. The Latino population is growing.

Suburban women, again, critical to the president's coalition, bang. Let's come over here to Arapaho County. Again, 11 percent of the population, most of the population of the state is right in here, Denver in the suburbs.

Governor Romney is close, but close isn't good enough in a county like this. The president is pulling up. And you pop up here to Adams County. I spent some time out here last time I was out in Colorado. A Latino population is growing in Adams County.

Again, if you go back in time, this was once solid Republican territory. We don't have the county data. You see the president pulling up in here and then you come out and you're looking at the map filling in here winning where the people are. Republicans are running it up out here, but it's not enough.

BLITZER: -- Colorado for the president. Let's go back to Virginia right now because 89 percent of the vote is in. The president is slightly ahead 50 percent to 49 percent. We have not yet gotten an indication that the Republican presidential nominee is ready to concede.

KING: Right. Let's do my math real quick, in the ballpark of 50,000 votes, right there. Again, it's very close. You're looking at a state like this. It was 234,000 the president's margin in Virginia four years ago.

So Governor Romney is closer, closer, but as we said earlier, and I don't mean to be mean about it, a close second is still second. The president is winning big in the Democratic vote here.

Some of the votes still outstanding as down here in Norfolk, that's a big Democratic area. The president is going to pad his margin there to keep coming up and looking for places. You come out here, Governor Romney is doing quite well.

Not in Roanoke itself, but there's more votes out here. He is doing very well around it out here, smaller population centers. The most of the vote is in.

Wolf, what you do here is you hunt. You say where are the votes out? The places where you are shy of a hundred is up here in the Washington suburbs, Prince William County used to be Republican trending Democratic --

BLITZER: Take a look at this. Look at this wall you see the popular vote for president of the United States, 73 percent of the popular vote is in, 49, 49 percent. You see the Mitt Romney lead nationally by 335 votes. Look at how close it is, 49 percent, 49 percent, 49 million for each of these candidates. Mitt Romney right now with 73 percent of the vote in has 335 more votes than Barack Obama has.

That's an amazing statistic, Anderson. We watched the popular vote. I don't know what will happen in the end when the 100 percent of the popular vote is in, but it shows how divided this country is right now.

COOPER: Yes, 73 percent of the popular vote in. Does that matter for President Obama moving forward if he does not win the popular vote?

GERGEN: Yes. I think already -- you know, the first debate still mattered in this whole election. Had he won that first debate, I think he would have won by a much more convincing national margin.

That would have given him the mandate that he was looking for and given him the kind of authority he needed to go to the Congress and say look the country spoke in a clear decisive voice.

The country has spoken tonight. It's not as clear and decisive as it would have been had President Obama won that first debate. I think now it's a much more complicated thing. The Republicans can say the House of Representatives, we won the House. That's the people's voice in Washington.

COOPER: We already hear a lot of Republicans tonight though blaming Mitt Romney being a northeast liberal and not conservative enough.

BORGER: You can't do that.

GERGEN: They can go that way. They can double down in Arizona and be a minority party for a long time to come.

BORGER: You know, I mean, the big story tonight is the demographic story. John King just put up the number before, which is that whites are now 72 percent of the electorate.

And it's going down and republican pollster, predicted rightly so that if whites drop to 72 percent of the electorate, the president would win. If whites were 76 percent of the electorate that Mitt Romney would win.

But this is a party that has not done any reaching out and looking and --

CASTELLANOS: Let's also remember to be a successful president, which is what Barack Obama wants and now he's won a second term with a remarkable ending. But to be a successful president his biggest challenge, there's a challenge before he deals with the economy and that's bringing the country together because right now it is split into pieces.

BORGER: But how does he do that?

CASTELLANOS: He knows how to do that. He's done it before. He got elected president by saying there's no red and blue. If I say one America, Americans I think are going to be more than hungry to see if he wants to hit the reset button and he wants to be that guy again --

COOPER: Is he the one -- he can't do that alone. Doesn't that require Republicans?

CASTELLANOS: He's the president. He has all the flexibility and the power to do that. If he does that, he'll put an incredible amount of pressure on the Republicans to step forward and meet him if not halfway, if not 80 percent, but he'll put an incredible amount of pressure on the Republicans to come to the table. He's done this before.

CARVILLE: The pressure is going to be on the Republicans because, guess what? In 2016, they'll be faced with a 70-69 percent white electorate. They're not going to be able to deal with things the way they have before. The Democrats have our problem. I completely agree with that, but the trend that's going on in this country will continue. We need to realize that.

GERGEN: I think James is right. I think they've got to do that. There is a practical problem for Republicans in the Senate, which I've always thought they would go along after this was over. The senator will up. They could get knocked off. That's a serious problem within the dynamics of the Republican Party. I think this goes back to your point this will be hard.

CARVILLE: If they keep throwing Todd Akins and Richard Mourdocks, they've got to wean from that. Yes, they could beat Lamar Alexander who was popular with a challenge from the right, but that's going to hurt them more.

BORGER: They're vanishing.

CASTELLANOS: Just because they're not doing so hot does not mean the Democrats are founder of the holy grail of politics. This is a party that's gone backwards. They're not trusted with money. They're trusted more than us, but that doesn't mean a lot.

JONES: We're trusted with lesbians and gays, we're trusted with Latinos. We're trusted with what America is coming. HOOVER: The backdrop of a $16 trillion deficit that Mitt Romney pulled ahead of Barack Obama in every single swing state by independent votes. Every single time you asked them debt and deficit.

BORGER: Not tonight. Tonight it was one or two points.

HOOVER: They didn't vote on debt and deficits. They voted on -- it was mandate on the president.

BORGER: On the exit poll question, which was asked specifically who is better able to handle the debt, it was a one or two-point difference. The president managed to close that gap and I think it was because the president was seen as best able to deal with my problems and to understand the middle class.

CARVILLE: If you look at a politician be it at the Senate or House ask yourself, is that politician more afraid of being in the primary or general because that's going produce entirely different behavior.

GERGEN: Exactly.

CARVILLE: If you're from Tennessee, you're more afraid of getting beat in a primary or Kentucky. The same thing is true in the House. That's the first thing. When you go in to see a senator or a congressman that's the first question you have to ask.

JONES: Both parties are concerned about debt and deficit. That's common ground. You have a more balanced approach, which is what the president was talking about. You both have increase in revenue or do you do all cuts. There is common ground. Nobody wants to decrease neither party and so there is common ground.

CASTELLANOS: Van, there may or may not be because Gloria was trying -- raising a point by how much are the Democrats going to be willing to cut spending after his election.

BORGER: I mean, that's a question, if the Republicans are going to give on taxes, the Democrats have to cut spending. That's going to be a big problem with the Democratic base.

COOPER: I want to go to Wolf who is going to look at the popular vote.

BLITZER: All right, as more votes come in from California, check this out. All of a sudden the president is now ahead in the popular vote with 75 percent of the vote in. Both of these men have 49 percent of the vote, but the president has 40,699 more votes in.

The number will probably go up because a lot of the votes are still being counted on the west coast, California the largest state in the United States. You see they both have 49 million votes. The president has nearly 40,000 advantage in the popular vote.

This will be very point psychologically politically. If the president does win and he will have more than 270 electoral votes so he will be re-elected president. But it's psychologically important for the president to say he won more votes nationally than the Republican presidential nominee.

We'll see where that number goes. I suspect it will continue to increase as we get more votes coming in for the west coast especially from California. Right now as our last count the president has an advantage of 38,711 votes.

It does underscore how divided this country is. This is something we're watching closely and we will continue to watch it. The president has not yet spoken because as of right now Mitt Romney has not yet conceded.

We don't know if there have been any phone calls between the two. We have projected that the president will be re-elected, but so far there's no concession coming from the Republican campaign. No concession coming from Mitt Romney. We're watching this very closely -- Anderson.

COOPER: We're also watching the ballot initiatives. Major one in Maine on marriage equality, also in Colorado, on marijuana legalization, we're going to get you those results shortly.

I want to go to Jim Acosta who is standing by with the Romney campaign. Jim, what are you hearing behind the scenes when or if Governor Romney may concede?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, it's been radio silence now for the good portion of half an hour to an hour from the Romney campaign after we spoke to the communications director.

At around 11:30, when he said Governor Romney was not ready to concede this election, I can tell you though. Within the last half hour I did talk to Mike Levitt. He was going to be the transition head for Mitt Romney, transitioning from candidate to president elect when Mitt Romney elected president of the United States.

I can tell you that he's seated among some of these other dignitaries that have been brought in by the Romney campaign. Off to my right over here, we can perhaps pan over to this area or show you this area.

I can tell you that Scott Romney, the brother of Mitt Romney, is also in the room right now. I saw a brother of Paul Ryan make his way into the room. Family members of the candidates are starting to make their way into the room.

That's a sign of what's to come, the next stage of this night. As of right now, I keep checking and looking down at my iPhone to make sure, nothing official yet from the Romney campaign. We'll keep checking.

COOPER: Behind the scenes, David Gergen, how does this work?

CARVILLE: These guys are dying. They have wanted this in '08. They wanted it in 2012. Inside the Romney family, Governor Romney all the people that worked on it, they bleed and they really bleed. It's sad thing. I might have voted for them, but when campaign loses, you're dying on the inside. It hurts like you can't even imagine how much it hurts.

CASTELLANOS: Which I'm sure Barack Obama will do is you give him time to get that together. It probably won't be long.

GERGEN: Alex, you know Mitt Romney better than I do. His wife talked him into running. I don't think he was like some of these candidates that have been obsessed with becoming president.

COOPER: He's been running quite a while.

GERGEN: I think he's a pretty resilient guy.

CASTELLANOS: He has a life outside of politics. He asked a lot of people to believe and invest in him. When a candidate disappoints those people, it leaves a pool of tears in the bottom of your heart. It's a brutal thing.

COOPER: He's been running. He's been running for president now for a long time.

CARVILLE: I'm just saying, internally, it's hard. Somebody's got to lose in every race. I can understand why they taking a long time. He wants to play out every possible option. I think that President Obama understands that too. Some level you've been there and you know what it's like.

BORGER: In spending some time with the Romney's and the family, I'll tell you one thing, his wife made a video for him after the 2008 campaign and said to him, never again.

And, she and Tagg came to him and said we want you to do this. It's a staff that's been with him just like the Clinton staff. It's a staff that's been with him since, some of them since he ran for the Senate seat in 1994. It takes a lot of time.

I think James is absolutely right. I think there are people who are so emotionally invested in this, in his family because it's been a real family kind of campaign. He's got five grown sons. They've all been out there. His wife has been out there on the campaign trail this fall. I think it's a very tough thing.

CASTELLANOS: You missed the last shot in the tournament and let the team down. O n top of that you actually believed that you were doing something important for the country and if you didn't succeed you've left the country not as good a place. It's a tough thing.

GERGEN: But don't you think he actually ran a good campaign given who he was. He redeemed himself. I think he lost with considerable extend because of the primaries when he was so far over to the right.

HOOVER: This is a really interesting question whether the Republican primaries and having 20 debates were actually good for the Republicans in the general election. I think there are a lot of Republicans who will scratch their heads and defend it, but there's a lot of folk who is will say this was not a good thing because he could not reconcile saying self-deporting.

COOPER: We got another projection to make. Let's go to Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, we got a major projection to make right now in the race for the White House. CNN projects the commonwealth of Virginia will be won by the president of the United States. The president will win all 13 of Virginia's electoral votes.

You see 89 percent of the votes is in. The president is ahead by about 50,000 votes more than three million votes counted already. We have projected that 13 electoral votes from Virginia will go for the president of the United States.

That adds his total right now. Let's update you what's going on at 303 electoral votes for the president, 203 for the Romney, 270 needed to win. Let's go over to Candy Crowley right now. She's over at Romney headquarters in Boston -- Candy.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Still very quiet here waiting for Mitt Romney to come over here. The last we heard Jim Acosta hasn't heard from anybody. I haven't heard from anybody despite our efforts to call.

Listen, it takes a little while to adjust to this if they believe the things they were saying as they moved into Election Day, they felt they were going to win. That's a hard thing to adjust to.

We know that Mitt Romney said he only written one speech, his victory speech so that takes a little time. They wanted to follow Ohio. But we have seen signs as Jim said that they are getting ready to do this.

We know that Paul Ryan is here in the general area in the adjoining hotel. We expect him to come first and we expect Mitt Romney to come. So far we have not gotten any definitive word as to when they might be here.

The last we heard they were still looking at Ohio, still thinking those numbers might be other than what the projections have said on our network and others. So that was the last time we heard.

But again we've seen people in here relatives, brothers, kids of the candidates and it leads us to believe he will be here at some point. You got to write that speech. You got to get everybody together and come out and put on a good face and give a speech.

BLITZER: So we're just waiting, Candy. We're waiting for Mitt Romney to go ahead and concede assuming if he will do that at some point tonight. We'll standby for that.

We want to update you on some major initiatives that were on the ballot in several states. We've got some results beginning with the issue of marijuana. Let's show what we know right now in Arkansas allow medical marijuana, we project the final vote in Arkansas will be no. They reject allowing medical marijuana.

Let's go to Massachusetts. On the other hand, they say yes. They do allow medical marijuana. Question three in Massachusetts, we project that will pass in Massachusetts. Let's continue right now in Colorado, this would legalize marijuana, not just medical marijuana, it legalizes marijuana in Colorado.

Yes, that goes forward in Colorado. That's Amendment 64. In Oregon legalizing marijuana, that's measure 80 in Oregon. That is a no. We projected that will be a no. They do not go ahead and legalize marijuana in Oregon right now.

Let's continue. We've got some more ballot initiatives. Here in Maryland, take a look at this. Allowing same-sex marriage in Maryland, that's a yes. Yes, number six we project will be approved. Maryland will go forward and permit same-sex marriage in the state of Maryland.

There are three other states that had that on the initiative. Maine had that and Minnesota. Let's get some more information on those three states. Right now, Maryland historic moment has approved same-sex marriage -- Anderson.

COOPER: Also pointed Maine passed it.

HOOVER: I cannot emphasize what a historic night this is.

COOPER: It's the first time it's been put up to vote and actually passed.

HOOVER: It's gone to ballot 33 times and failed. Now in one night, it is likely four of four have won. We won't know Washington for three days or so because they are all mail-in ballots, but this is watershed moment for the gay rights movement.

COOPER: It looks like it is Maine. We haven't called it. Others have.

HOOVER: First this passed in the courts and the opponents said this is judicial activism. Then it passed in the legislatures and they said it will never pass at the ballot box. And tonight, it has passed --

COOPER: This whole issue did not come up in any of the debates and there's some who criticize that for not being brought up by the moderators. But the flip side it was not being used as a wedge issue in this election.

CASTELLANOS: Republicans have a problem here. This is an area where there's party with it. Is big government a good idea when it agrees with them? The next generation of Republican leader I think you're going to see freedom nationally, values locally. The Republican Party can't be the party that thinks there's too much love in the world. JONES: I agree with that. This is a huge civil rights issue. I want to say that as an African-American. This is about liberty and justice for all, period. There was an intent -- to use to turn African-Americans against the president the wrong way on this issue.

It's not that we have too many people who want to have lifelong loving commitments. If people want to be able to stand together and not be judged by race or sexuality, the African-American community needs to follow and lead.

COOPER: We got to take a short break. When we come back, we are anticipating hearing from Governor Romney shortly. We'll be right back.


BLITZER: Let's go to Candy Crowley. She's at Romney headquarters in Boston right now. Candy, what are you learning?

CROWLEY: Wolf, I can tell you that the phone call has been made between Governor Romney and President Obama. We know this. Jessica Yellin has sources on her side and we have sources over here.

So that's happened. We also know the motorcade, which honestly you can walk from where he is, but the motorcade we are told has taken off. We are expecting to hear from the governor very shortly -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, we just saw one -- somebody put paper on the podium behind you over there. So I assume we'll hear from the governor first. The governor will concede and then the president of the United States will speak after that.

Normally that's the way it goes, Candy. He'll be speaking right behind you. You're saying he's not very far away from that location in Boston?

CROWLEY: Right, exactly. We think he will speak in the next 5 minutes or so. He's not far away at all. He's in an attached hotel.

BLITZER: All right, thanks very much, Candy. We'll get back to you. Let's go to John over here. You're getting some more information as well. What are you learning?

KING: I just an e-mailing some sources. I'm told by a very good Republican source it was a short conversation and polite conversation and Governor Romney conceded the election to President Obama. And said he will speak shortly to his supporters.

BLITZER: That will be a sad moment for him. He'll speak to his supporters out there. That's normally the way it goes. The losing candidate calls the winning candidate, congratulates the winning candidate, concedes and then we hear the concession speech first and the victory speech second.

KING: It's one of the rituals of American politics. It's an especially important ritual when you have a country that is so evenly divided. This is the national vote total.

The president's lead is ahead 100,000 votes thanks to California. We're watching the rest of the votes come in. We just reset the wall so we don't have the up to date totals. You see a state like Florida where the president won four years ago with a bigger margin, 50-49.

You go through these battlegrounds and Governor Romney this is why it took so long. The president won the state by 240,000 votes last time. You see again 50,000 votes this time. You go through state by state takes a little longer.

Feelings are harder. James has been through this. You see a state like Ohio 50 to 48. You're looking at such a narrow vote margin. It's harder to digest. In some ways coming this close and losing is harder. The conversation was short, polite and Governor Romney is prepared to step forward and concede the election then we'll hear from the president.

BLITZER: Yes, we'll hear from the president after we hear from Governor Romney. A very difficult, painful moment I'm sure for him, for his wife and five sons, 18 grand children, a very close knit family. They worked really hard for this and they came up short.

KING: They worked hard and look a lot of people I've talked tonight about how the first debate in this campaign that was game changing in terms of the competitiveness of the national election.

If you go back to the Republican primaries, it's easy to forget. They seem so long ago. Here you have Mitt Romney. His opponents called him moderate Mitt. He was the governor of Massachusetts. He once favored abortion rights, more moderate on gay rights and he was pilloried in the primary by his conservative opponent saying he was not a true conservative.

Yet in the first election after the rise of the Tea Party, he won the Republican nomination. People will say he's a weak Republican field. He had a better fundraising operation, but he proved his tenacity time and time again in the Republican primaries. And he proved his tenacity in the general election as well with a strong debate performances -- he's strong, but not strong enough performance on the ground in these final days.

BLITZER: We're told maybe a minute or so away from Mitt Romney walking to the microphone there in Boston over the Boston Convention Center. His supporters are pretty quiet right now.

They're waiting for Mitt Romney to come over. Candy Crowley is on the scene for us. Candy, it looks like it's going to be very, very soon we'll hear from the Republican presidential nominee.

CROWLEY: Indeed. Wolf, I'm not sure on any of the elections I've covered have I heard a crowd as quiet as this crowd has been. They started a couple of cheers. You can hear them starting to sing God bless America, but it's been incredibly subdued. I think we're about to hear the announcement. Here he comes. BLITZER: He's walking out now and he's getting applause from his supporters. Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee getting ready to concede, let's listen in. Let's go to Boston.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you my friends. Thank you so very much. Thank you. Thank you. I have just called President Obama to congratulate him on his victory. His supporters and his campaign also deserve congratulations.

I wish all of them well, but particularly the president, the first lady and their daughters. This is a time of great challenges for America and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation.

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

Also want to thank, Ann, the love of my life. She would have been a wonderful first lady. She has been that and more to me and to our family and to the many people that she's touched with her compassion and her care.

I thank my sons for their tireless work on behalf of the campaign and thank their wives and children for taking up the slacks as their husband and dads have spent so many weeks away from home.

I want to thank Matt Roads and the dedicated campaign team he led. They have made an extraordinary effort, not just for me, but also for the country that we love and to you here tonight, I don't believe there's been an effort in our party that can compare to what you have done over that's past years. Thank you so very much.

Thanks for the calls, speeches and appearances, for the resources and prayers you gave deeply from yourselves and performed magnificently and you inspired us and humbled us. You've been the very best we can imagine. The nation is at a critical point.

At a time like this we can't risk partisan bickering and posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people's work and we citizens have to rise to the occasion. We look to our teachers and professors.

We count on you not just to teach, but to inspire our children with a passion for learning and discovery. We look to our pastors and rabbis to testify of the enduring principles upon which our society is built, honesty, charity, integrity and family.

We look to our parents from the final analysis everything depends on the success of our homes. We look to job creators of all kinds. We're counting on you to invest, to hire, to step forward.

We look to Democrats and Republicans at all levels to put the people before the politics. I believe in America. I believe in the people of America. 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 the nation was founded are the only sure guide to a resurgent economy and greatness.

Like so many of you, Paul and I have left everything on the field. We have given our all to this campaign.

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.


ROMNEY: You guys are the best. Thank you so much.


ROMNEY: Thank you. Thanks, guys.