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CONNECT THE WORLD

Barack Obama Faces Many Challenges, Opportunities In Second Term

Aired November 7, 2012 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BECKY ANDERSON: First though this evening, heading home.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: U.S. President Barack Obama prepares to head back to the White House after sealing another four years in power.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.

ANDERSON: Well, the campaign was neck and neck, but in the end the majority of the swing states fell for Barack Obama. Tonight, why his celebrations could be short-lived.

All right. The party is over, now U.S. President Barack Obama is getting back to the business of governing. Any minute now he'll board Air Force One and head back to Washington from Chicago fresh off his election victory. That's Air Force One on the ground at Chicago O'Hare Airport awaiting the president. And he'll be back in Washington within a couple of hours.

He spent the morning calling congressional leaders to talk about legislative priorities for the rest of the year. His race with Mitt Romney was expected to be close and it was. But President Obama ended up winning not only the electoral college vote, which technically determines the outcome of course, but also the popular vote, important of course for claiming a mandate.

We're going to be live in Washington shortly, but if you didn't manage to keep your eyes open to watch the drama unfolding over the past few hours, here's a look back at how CNN brought you the results all in a very manageable 170 seconds.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're closing in on the first results in the battle for the White House.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: It is going to be an exciting night. And how close it will be.

BLITZER: And CNN projects President Obama will carry Vermont. CNN projects Mitt Romney will carry Kentucky.

Right now on the race to 270, Mitt Romney has 8 electoral votes. Both presidential campaigns know it's crunch time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is the line, here is the clock. The polls close here in about five minutes. A fresh wave of voters just came in.

BLITZER: Right now 8:00 pm on the east coast, Connecticut, seven electoral votes for the president. Delaware, the president will take three electoral votes. The District of Columbia, Washington D.C. and it's three electoral votes. His home state of Illinois, a big prize.

Oklahoma in Romney's corner and it's seven electoral votes.

Right now the president has 64 electoral votes in his corner. We project Mitt Romney has 40 in his corner.

Let's check over at the Empire State Building in New York. Remember, we're turning the mast red and blue to reflect the electoral votes. What the colored columns rise.

There's another watch party going on. You're looking at live pictures from Chicago.

We're following also the battle for control of the United States Senate in a brand new way in CNN's virtual Senate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whomever wins the presidency, his ability to get the job done and do what he wants is going to depend on what happens in the U.S. Senate tonight.

BLITZER: CNN projects the Republicans will maintain their majority in the House of Representatives.

CNN projects the Democrats will retain their majority in the United States Senate.

In Kansas, we project Kansas will be won by Mitt Romney. Nebraska, we project he will get three of the five electoral votes. In North Dakota, another three electoral votes.

Look at this, Texas, 38 electoral votes.

CNN projects that Barack Obama will be reelected president of the United States. He will remain in the White House for another four years, because we project he will carry the state of Ohio. By carrying Ohio, he wins reelection. The president of the United States defeats Mitt Romney in this - at this time, right now we have made this projection so the president wins this battle for the White House. They're excited in Chicago. They're excited at Times Square in New York. They're watching all over the world right now. The president of the United States has been reelected.

MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have just called President Obama to congratulate him on his victory. His supporters and his campaign also deserve congratulations.

OBAMA: And whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you. I have learned from you. And you've made me a better president. I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: All right. President Obama should arrive back in Washington in the next hour or so. We've been looking at pictures of Air Force One on the tarmac at Chicago O'Hare airport. And Jill Dougherty is in the U.S. capital anticipating his arrival back in Washington.

"I've listened and I've learned from you," said President Obama last night. And there are no shortage of pressing issues for Obama in his next term. Where would you start if you were him?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, actually he doesn't have much of a choice, because where he's starting - whether he wants to, and I think he does want to, is with this fiscal cliff issue. It's really crucial right now this $7 trillion in - it could be tax increases and spending cuts that they have to work out with the congress by the end of the year, otherwise everything goes into effect. There are massive cuts. And as we know, it will have implications not only in the United States, but around the world.

So even before he got off the ground back here to D.C., the president has been speaking with the leadership in the House and the Senate. Both Democrats and Republicans talking to them about legislative priorities. And what are they?

Well, one of the key ones is dealing with the deficit and this fiscal cliff.

And then just a few minutes ago, about a half an hour ago, Speaker Boehner, John Boehner, Speaker of the House who is a Republican explained their opening gambit, Becky, about what they see opening the door to potentially increasing taxes, but only if there is tax reform.

And then that sets in train another issue. Also they want entitlement reforms. The entitlements are these things like Medicare - you know, big, big ticket items that are very, very controversial.

ANDERSON: We're talking fiscal cliff. Richard Quest joins me a little later in the show to really explain what we mean when we talk about what is this incredibly pressing issue that Obama faces when he gets back.

It's going to be tough to govern, isn't it, with congress still split and the Republican majority in the House, let's be frank, in tact?

DOUGHERTY: It is. I mean, it depends. I should say it could be. I mean, there is the optimistic viewpoint which is after this election, after the voters said we want both sides to work together, at least that's the way it's being interpreted, that maybe both sides will work together. But that's really a very optimistic scenario.

Another one is that we could be back to pretty much what we were at before this election.

But again both sides know that there are grave implications of that.

You know, I think you'd have to say does the president really - is he able to bring the Republicans and his own party, I should add, together to make these changes? And can they bring them in from the right and from the left to the center to do something? And that's a question that nobody really knows. There is no answer at this point.

ANDERSON: Can he afford to deal with these Republicans. Can he emerge as Clinton did, for example, as a unifying post-partisan figure? All those questions remain unanswered at this point. For the time being, Jill, as ever we thank you for joining us.

The one clear victory, but when all is said and done as we've been suggesting the American people have more or less, more or less, ratified the status quo that existed 24 hours ago. The balance of power, and that's what's important here, nearly stays the same.

My colleague John Mann has been looking at that and crunching the numbers for us.

When you take a look at those numbers, what do they tell us, John?

JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What they tell us is that the doubts and disappointments of the four years that Barack Obama has already been president, well he didn't escape them on election day, they carried over.

If you look at the electoral college map, it magnifies the size of his victory. It looked easy. He not only one every state that the Democrats traditionally win, he picked up virtually all of the swing states as well.

The one exception in the southeast of the country, the state of Florida, that's still uncounted and we're still waiting to hear. But Barack Obama won 303 electoral votes to Mitt Romney's 206. He is clearly in control of the electoral map.

What kind of mandate got him there? That's a little bit more dubious, because his margin of victory was not that great. He won 50 percent of the vote, that's not a ringing endorsement in any country. Mitt Romney, obviously his only serious competitor, 48 percent of the vote. The margin of victory 2 percent. So the popular vote suggests that the doubts and disappointments followed Barack Obama.

One other thing that followed Barack Obama is the division in Washington. You eluded to it. The White House was in the hands of Obama, a Democrat, it stays in the hands of a Democrat.

But it's more complicated when you look elsewhere around the city. The House of Representatives, 435 seats in it. As you eluded to, an enormous Republican majority before the election, and even with the small number of seats that changed hands, most of the incumbents kept their seats. The Republicans have an enormous majority.

So we have the White Hosue in the hands of a Democrat, the House of Representatives in the hands of Republicans. The third election we want to watch today the Senate. And they are 100 seats, 33 up for grabs, because it goes to the polls in two year increments, one-third of the Senate is elected every two years.

Well, what happened before is that the Democrats had a small majority, not really enough to govern even the Senate with, because the rules there require a 60 seats majority to really get work done. Well, their 51 seat majority is now a 53 seat majority. Republicans had hoped to pick up seats, the Democrats ended up doing it, a tribute perhaps to Barack Obama or some strong candidates on their side.

But again, short of 60, no one controlled the Senate, nobody controls the Senate. The White House is in the hands of a Democrat, the House of Representatives is in the hands of Republicans. The Senate is out of anyone's control, that's where Washington was, that's where Washington stays.

ANDERSON: Sounds like a bit of a mess to me.

But let's plow on and find out whether we think it is and will be messy going forward. John Mann, thank you for now.

That's how the balance of power then lies this hour. What's it going to mean for us and the U.S. and the rest of the world. Up next, we're going to explore the economic crisis facing Mr. Obama as soon as he lands in Washington?

The president's victory set new records on the internet. I'm going to get that for you in just about 10 minutes time and tell you why.

And then we're off to Jerusalem. We're going to see whether a new term could bring new hope to the Middle East peace process.

First, let's hear what some of the world's leaders had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I'd like to congratulate Barack Obama on his reelection. I've really enjoyed working with him over these last few years. And I look forward to working with him again over the next four years. There's so many things that we need to do.

ESSAM AL-AYRAN, SPOKESMAN, MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD: We are looking forward for a more respect of the will of the people and also cooperation with the elected president and elected government in the future to help Egypt to overcome the obstacle in the economy.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: The security relationship between the United States and Israel is rock solid. And I look forward to working with President Obama to further strengthen this relationship. And I look forward to working with him to advance our goals of peace and security.

ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): I would like to congratulate reelected President Barack Obama from the bottom of my heart. We know each other well. And I'm looking forward to our cooperation. Also in light of the stabilization of the Transatlantic relationship between the German government, Germany and the United States of America, but also between Europe and the United States of America. My heartfelt congratulations on this day today.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Right. You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World. And those are the stock markets in the U.S. and a couple out of Europe today, just giving you a sense of what a miserable day it was across the board for stock investors today. You see the Dow Jones Industrial has had its worst day I'm told in a year. The NASDAQ off 2.5 percent. You've got the FTSE down in London and the Xetra DAX, that's a market that's been holding its own, of course, of late through this economic crisis, but my goodness, look at that, nearly a 2 percent fall at the close of play.

Do remember, we've got the Asian markets opening shortly. We'll watch to see how those get on.

The markets were buoyed after the speedy election results. That did all, though, change. Richard Quest is with me taking a look at these markets today.

And Richard, what do you blame that - that red on across these markets today, because things were changing all day, weren't they, for sort of a sense of why the markets were doing what they were doing?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We can pin one reason out of many for what happened today. But what I think you can't blame is the U.S. presidential election. There were issues, for example, of the fiscal cliff, which we'll get to in just a moment. There's questions of Germany now being well and truly infected by the EuroZone crisis. Growth is slowing in Germany. You've got the riots and the problems of the Greek bailout, which has brought a snowball back of all the issues of EuroZone. And then you've got the questions of just gridlock in America, the issue that the congress and the White House going to two different bodies.

Now you cannot put your finger on any one reason and say that was the definitive reason, but what you do, Becky, get is an underlying unease that now the elections out the way, the markets are focusing back on the business as unusual.

ANDERSON: Yeah, all right. OK.

Well, it's not good news if you are an investor at least in stocks and you are hoping the markets go high. Not everybody is, of course, as we are right to point out.

One of the major challenges, then, that Barack Obama faces is this looming fiscal cliff, Richard. We keep talking about it. And I want you to explain a little bit more about what's going on here. That's coming in January, of course, when a raft of spending cuts begin and historic tax breaks end.

Now the fear as far as I can tell is the combined effect of these results could result in a catastrophic drop in U.S. GDP. So will it I guess is the next question.

QUEST: Right. Jump in the moment you feel we are wandering too far from the straight and narrow.

OK, this is the fiscal cliff best explained. That's the U.S. economy. All those various points you made. If they ignore the warnings, that's what happens. The car goes over the edge, the U.S. economy goes down.

You've eluded to the reasons. I'm going to show you the main reasons and the main problems. Spending cuts because of a failed budget agreement. Bush tax cuts will expire. In other words, taxes will rise for certain Americans -- the Alternative Minimum Tax, the payroll tax, the unemployment benefit extension. All of these things will come into play on or around January 1.

In a totality of about $6 trillion or $7 trillion over the long-term.

Put this into perspective. If everything happens at once, which we don't really expect, Becky, then the U.S. economy would feel a contraction, or at least a downward pull of about 4 percent of GDP. It's the exact - the exact opposite of Keynesian economics. This is all due to happen for a variety of rather arcane reasons in January. And the goal is to try and pull things back so that the car, the economy doesn't go over the cliff.

ANDERSON: So we have already heard from two quite strategic players when it comes to the decision making process going forward in all of this. John Boehner, who is the Republican House speaker today, said this. Have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R) OHIO: There's an alternative to going over the fiscal cliff in whole or in part. It involves making real changes to the financial structure of entitlement programs and reforming our tax code to curb special interest loopholes and deductions. By working together and creating a fair, simpler, cleaner tax code, we can give our country a stronger, healthier economy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: I guess the question, then, is this. Hang on a minute. The question then is this. You've got Barack Obama on his way back soon to Washington. Can he emerge as Clinton did way back when as a unifying post- partisan figure in all of this and get this right, do you think?

QUEST: He can. The question is whether he will, because although you heart John Boehner speaking then, and we've also heard Harry Reid. And I promise you, if you listen to anybody else, they'll all talk about the need for a bipartisan spirit. They need to come together. The election is over. We're all Americans together, the problem is on each of these issues they are diametrically opposed on fundamental grounds. Who gets a tax cut? Which spending should be cut? Which of these should be kept? What sort of tax code should there be? Nobody can agree.

Now, so what do they have to do? The first and foremost and most important is to prevent the car going over the cliff. And that will be a fudge. Expect a fudge sometime around about January to February if they don't turn off the lights.

Thereafter, you're going to have to have a detailed plan for long-term structural deficit reduction. That sounds tedious, long-term structural deficit reduction. They tried it - they tried it last year. They tried it and they failed. And that's one of the reasons why we're in this mess now.

ANDERSON: It's complex, but well done. Brilliantly explained. For those who don't yet still understand, you'll have to go elsewhere, because I'm not sure that Richard and I can do any better than that. Richard, thank you very much indeed. Richard Quest is at CNN Center for you.

Still to come on Connect the World with you Becky Anderson out of London this evening. The U.S. election played out on social media like never before. After the break, we're going to show you why the president made Twitter history. That coming up after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Right. You're watching Connect the World live from London. I'm Becky Anderson. Welcome back.

From Kenya to South Korea, the world was quite frankly abuzz with election fever and even more so online. The Twittersphere nearly exploded as the U.S. election results poured in. The peak in online conversation, I'm told, came when President Obama was projected to have won with, get this, around 327,000 tweets per minute.

Keeping up with all of those was Fionnuala Sweeney. She joins us with more.

You must have had fast fingers last night.

FIONNUALA SWEENEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I was going to say, the map was about to implode from the rates of the tweets that were coming per minute.

As you can see, Becky, if we have a look at the map now, it's dropped to, oh, just under there and a half thousand tweets per minute now, but as we were saying the map almost broke with the volume of the conversation we're seeing. And that wasn't the only Twitter record set last night. President Obama himself has become the most retweeted person of all time with this tweet, "four more years."

Also a picture there of him and the first lady. And that has been retweeted more than 700,000 times.

I should add Mitt Romney hasn't tweeted since the result as far as we know.

ANDERSON: And he's only just done it now, so let's...

SWEENEY: There's also been a huge global response online. Here's what one of our iReporters in Italy had to say after watching the election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARTINA LUNARDELLI, CNN IREPORTER: I have just finished watching the speech of future President Obama addressing the nation after his election. And his words made me very hopeful as he is. And I really believe in his path. So, yes, United States of America, let's unite. And Mr. President Obama, please go on and let's do this words a better one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SWEENEY: A viewpoint there from Italy.

But a lot of people also turn to Twitter to discuss big wins for gay marriage and the legalization of marijuana in several states. Jordin Crosbie tweeted, "aside from the president, history was made last night in many huge ways. I'm proud of this country for moving toward equality. Great start."

Megan Black wrote, "Obama won, three states just legalized gay marriage. Washington and Colorado legalized weed. Wow, cheers to moving forward."

And Sal Gentile tweeted, "some really truly incredible things tonight. Marriage equality, marijuana legal, DREAM Act, Elizabeth Warren, a more progressive Senate."

Even Ricki Martin, the openly gay singer, chimed in saying, "wins for marriage equality in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington. Equality prevails."

Dan Savage wrote, "we came out, fought back, changed the world. Miles to go, but tonight take a moment to marvel at how far we've come."

And finally actor and comedian Steve Martin just tweeted, "to commemorate Obama's victory, I'm having a tea party."

Becky.

ANDERSON: Thank you for that. @BeckyCNN is where you can find me, of course.

We want to know what you think the priorities for the states are going forward. What do you think about the fact that Washington and Colorado citizens will be allowed to smoke cannabis freely and gay marriage advocates declaring victory in four states, as Fin (ph) said. Anything and everything, I want to hear from you @BeckyCNN.

Still to come on Connect the World, his to-do list is a long one, but as America's president gets back to work, could his second term kickstart peace negotiations in the Middle East? That and more after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Thank you for that, @BeckyCNN is where you can find me, of course. We want to know what you think the priorities for the States are going forward.

What do you think about the fact that Washington and Colorado citizens will be allowed to smoke cannabis freely and gay marriage advocates declaring victory in four states, it's been said. Anything and everything. I want to hear from you, @BeckyCNN.

Still to come on CONNECT THE WORLD, his to-do list is a long one, but as America's president gets back to work, could his second term kick-start peace negotiations in the Middle East? That and more after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: A very warm welcome to our viewers across Europe and around the world. At just after half past nine in London, I'm Becky Anderson. These are the latest world news headlines here on CNN.

US president Barack Obama will soon head back to Washington fresh off his election victory. He spent the morning calling top congressional leaders setting legislative priorities that include cutting the deficit and creating jobs.

US and European markets have closed down after the European Central Bank president raised concern that economic powerhouse Germany has not escaped the effects of the eurozone debt crisis. The Dow Jones closing more than 300-odd points lower. There, 312 down. Its worst day since last November.

Violence has broken out in the streets of Athens as Greek lawmakers prepared to vote on a crucial new round of austerity measures. That vote is expected within the next hour. Protesters threw Molotov cocktails at police, who responded with teargas on what is the second day of a nationwide strike. Let's get to Athens. Elinda Labropoulou is there and joins us live. Elinda?

(SILENCE)

ANDERSON: OK, it looks as if we're going to have to reestablish our communications with Elinda. We'll get back to her a little later.

A new storm has hit the northeast of America bringing heavy snow and freezing temperatures. Those were not the pictures, those were continuing pictures of Greece. The story out of the States, though, it's bad news for more than 600,000 households still without power nine days after the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy.

I hope we've got Jenny Harrison lined up for us. She's at the International Weather Center. And just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, quite frankly, this is sort of a sand in the eyes, as it were --

JENNY HARRISON, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I know.

ANDERSON: -- for many on the East Coast, isn't it?

HARRISON: It really is, Becky. It really is. This whole storm system has been coming through in the last few hours, and it's been bringing strong winds, but also rain and also some snow, of course, because the air is so very cold in this particular area. You can see all the clouds in the last few hours.

And this shows you the rain, but also the sleet and the snow. Now, we're not talking historic amounts of snow by the time the day is done, but even so, it could actually have some record amount of snowfall in this region for this time of year.

This is the low. It'll work its way northeastwards as we continue through the rest of Wednesday into Thursday, and we have got the possibility of some pretty strong wind gusts, maybe around 80 or 100 kilometers an hour.

These are the winds currently and, in fact, they've not changed much throughout the day. We've had some high gusts in there, but nothing too bad, not as bad as it could be, because the low is actually further off the coast. So, what that has meant, though, is that it's actually been turning a lot of the moisture into show, because it's been pulling in all the cold air.

Now, talking about bad news as well, travelers, over 700 flights have been canceled. The three New York airports and also Philadelphia, so you can see a bit of ground stop, but basically, as I say, over 700 flights that have been canceled. The Port Authority, who handles the airports, certainly, in New York, they are saying you need to check, obviously, ahead, but for now, not looking good there.

And it is cold, and this is the temperature with the wind factored in, so it feels like minus 5 in New York. So, you've got the strong winds, the bitter cold. All of that, as you said, Becky, in a region which of course just a week ago was so hard-hit by Sandy. These are the totals, the snow totals, over the next 48 hours.

So, you could be seeing in excess of 6 centimeters. However, there is a bit of brightness in all of this. We've got the warnings in place, we've got the coastal flood watches, we've got the warnings, because we could see some strong gusts. And of course, we've got the wind -- the snow warnings.

But Becky, on the upside, by the time we get into the weekend, we might in New York have temperatures around 20 degrees Celsius, 21, that's 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and the overnight temperatures are back in double figures, around 10 degrees, and that'll actually be above average. So, at least there's a little tiny bit of a light here at the end of the tunnel, should we say?

ANDERSON: OK, particularly for those who may be traveling to the Eastern seaboard or, indeed, traveling from the Eastern seaboard out towards -- maybe out across the pond. All right, Jen, thank you for that.

Well, it doesn't look particularly warm in Chicago this evening, but it looks as if it's certainly weather-wise good enough to get this plane in the air. Air Force One and the president, Mr. Obama, leaving Chicago O'Hare Airport bound for Washington once again.

The 17th president of the United States who takes a second term as president. He is getting ready to head back to the White House where he faces all manner of issues, not least his inbox crammed with problems on the economy and foreign policy.

That is Marine One, we've seen pictures of Air Force One on the ground at Chicago, that is Marine One. That is the president sitting there.

Even before he takes the oath of office, of course, for a second time, he has a crisis on his hands, of course. In the beginning of January, America will begin a long fall off that fiscal cliff that we've been talking about unless the White House and Congress can agree on a deal to avert that plunge.

That is going to be a critical issue, and it's not going to be easy. One hopes that he can emerge not just from Marine One, here, but he can emerge as Clinton did, as a unifying post-partisan figure. We've heard from the House Speaker this evening. We're hearing other noises out of those who run Congress. It's going to be a tough one, that.

Many foreign policy issues to deal with, not least Syria and Iran. Here he is, getting out of Marine One. Here are the kids. I wonder how they feel about going back to the White House? They look as if they're pretty happy there, though, don't they this evening? There's mum Michelle and the kids and the president of the United States of America leaving Chicago this evening.

I guess they'd have one night off. I wonder what they did last night. We'll find out. Check the Twitter feed and find out what they were doing last night. We know what they were doing, they were watching CNN and getting a sense of the results as they came in.

That is the president of the United States of America with his kids and his wife, walking the tarmac at Chicago O'Hare headed for Air Force One. That, of course, is the plane that will take him back to Washington. He'll be there in an hour or so and he will get on with the next four years.

Let's watch him get up those steps. He's had very little time, of course, to savor his reelection victory. President Obama heading back to Washington this hour, and on top of the domestic issues in his in tray, as I said, foreign policy remains a key priority, especially the Middle East.

But while Syria, of course, remains mired in violence and the standoff with Iran continues, could his reelection reignite peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians? As they close the door on Air Force One for you this evening, let's join Sara Sidner, who's live for you from Jerusalem tonight.

I know you've been talking to the Middle East peace envoy Tony Blair. He will hope to kickstart what has been six years of a real mess, so far as the Middle East peace negotiations are concerned. What are the expectations in your region at this point?

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting, because this peace process, this two-state solution that the Palestinians and the Israelis have been talking about, everyone saying that that is what they want, but nobody seems to be truly working on it and trying to make it a reality.

And it really hasn't been, in the last year or so, on the table. There haven't been peace talks for a couple of years, it hasn't been on the agenda, it hasn't been high on the agenda of the United States administration, nor does it seem to be high on the agenda of the Israeli administration, either.

It is high on the agenda, as you might imagine, on the Palestinian Authority's agenda. And so, what there is hope here right now is that because President Obama is in his second term, we've talked to several Palestinians and Israelis about this, the Israelis concerned more about Iran than they are their neighbors in some ways.

But they also recognize that nobody is going to live in complete peace unless this situation here in the region is sorted out. It's been going on since 1967, they want to try and figure out what is going to work.

The question is, who's going to work on it? Who is going to force these two parties to the table to sit down and try to really map this out and make some agreements and concessions. A difficult, difficult thing to do.

But in speaking to Tony Blair today, who was hear in his mission as a special envoy to the Middle East, trying to find out what some of the wiggle room might be so they can get the Israelis and the Palestinians to the table to try to talk about this.

Even though looming in the background has been Iran, with Prime Minister Netanyahu looking at Iran and Iran only and talking about that issue as his number one issue, worried about them being able to build a nuclear weapon and what Israel's going to do and what that might mean to the region.

In the meantime, what's been in the background is this idea of the issue with settlements, the issue with people trying to figure out where it is they can be and how this can work so that there can be peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

Let me let you hear what Tony Blair had to say earlier on today when I asked him if President Obama's reelection is going to be good for the Middle East or not.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TONY BLAIR, MIDDLE EAST QUARTET ENVOY: I think the reelection of President Obama gives us a great chance, a huge opportunity, actually, to move things forward here. We know we've got huge turmoil and revolution in this region. You've got Syria, you've got Iran, you've got problems all over it.

But this issue here -- and we're standing right here in Jerusalem now -- between the Israelis and the Palestinians, it remains of fundamental importance. And I know President Obama's deeply committed to it. I think his reelection gives us a chance, now, to reenergize it and renew our commitment to solving it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: All right. Sara, thank you for that. Sara Sidner out of Jerusalem for you this evening.

Coming up after the break here on this show, as the Republicans recover from a stinging defeat, let's take a look at where it all went wrong for them. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Well, they fought a bitter election campaign that came down to the wire, but in the end, the Romney-Ryan ticket wasn't enough to get the Republicans into the White House. Bob Worcester from polling company Ipsos MORI is here to help me crunch some numbers for you this evening.

Take a look at these. If we go and look at the demographics of this vote, it was the minority -- the minority -- and female vote that swept Mr. Obama to power. And if we take a look -- this number's important, isn't it? The turnout. Over 10 percent, in double figures for the first time. When you look at the way that they voted, have a look at what happened with Mr. Obama.

Hispanics making up 10 percent of the electorate for the first time, up from 9 percent in 2008. And of those 10 percent, 71 percent voting for the president, 93 percent of black voters cast ballots for Obama, and over half of the female population voting for him over Romney.

In comparison, it was -- if we take a look at Romney's numbers, it was white men that made up the majority of Romney's supporters at 59 percent. You see that number just there. Bob, how do these numbers compare with 2008?

ROBERT WORCESTER, FOUNDER, IPSOS MORI: Well, he's held his own among the blacks. It was 95 percent, now it's 93, nothing in it. But Hispanics, he's gone up very significantly. Very significantly. It really made a difference this time.

And bigger proportions, slightly bigger, in the population and certainly that's the case, and the same with Asians.

ANDERSON: Let's have a look at this turnout once again, because I want to take us through and have a look at what happens when you take a look at the age picture here. I just raised that up just a little bit here.

Here is the turnout as a whole. When you again, Bob, get into Obama, looks at what happens here, 60 percent of the 18 to 29-year-olds who voted for him, 52 percent voted for him within the age bracket 30 to 44.

When you take a look at what happened with Romney, is this where you might say things are going really wrong for him? Because here's a split, and this is what's happening for him. White, middle-aged, over-45-year- olds, and a lot of 60-pluses.

WORCESTER: That's it.

ANDERSON: How does that --

WORCESTER: That's it.

ANDERSON: -- work out in 2008?

WORCESTER: And these people are more likely to turn out to vote than these people. So, that counters it a bit, but basically, the Republican Party has to do something about that, because they really lost touch with that group.

ANDERSON: What can they do? What can they do to make up lost ground, now? We're looking at eight years of Democrats, of course.

WORCESTER: They've got to look at some gender issues. They've got to look at some sexual issues. There's no question about that. The public's moving on, and the Republicans are staying still. If anything, they're dropping back a little bit on these issues.

ANDERSON: We're going to be crunching numbers over the next four years. He will join us during that period of time as we look to see whether the Republicans can recover from what has been a stinging blow, let's face it, for Romney and Ryan this November.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD, live from London. Coming up on CNN, we're going to have no idea what this man thinks about the global economy. No clue what he makes of global warming. But he's in line to become one of the most powerful in the world. That story -- and it's a crucial one -- is up next.

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ANDERSON: Well, the US isn't the only country at a pivotal moment in its future direction. China is about to undergo a monumental change in its leadership. In just over three hours from now, China's ruling elite will meet at the 18th Communist Party Congress. The week-long meeting kicks off a once-in-a-decade power transfer.

There is no official schedule, but according to one spokesman, corruption is an issue which does need to be tackled. Remember, Bo Xilai, once a contender for top leadership, was ousted from the party in China's biggest political scandal in years. His wife was convicted over the death of a British businessman.

Other issues which may be addressed include a slowing economy and a widening gap between rich and poor.

Well, as part of the leadership shakeup, China is getting a new boss. Little is known about the man widely tipped to be formally endorsed for the spot. Stan Grant, my colleague, now takes a look at who he is and whether the world will be able to work with him, perhaps more importantly.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STAN GRANT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A man who was barely known outside China a year ago, now Xi Jinping is about to become one of the most powerful people on the planet, the leader of the world's most populous nation.

MIKE CHINOY, CHINA ANALYST: Xi Jinping is, in many ways, an unknown commodity. He's risen to the top of the Chinese system by being very, very careful not to disclose what he really thinks.

GRANT: It's been a year-long coming out for Xi Jinping. He's met the world's leaders, traveled to the United States, even managed to disappear for more than a week amid rumors of a heart attack or stroke. Here, he reappears, but still no official word on exactly what happened.

Little wonder the man is still largely a mystery. The veil lifted slightly during off-the-cuff comments to Chinese workers on a trip to Mexico in 2009.

"There are some bored foreigners with full stomachs," he said, "who have nothing better to do than point fingers at China."

Xi's journey begins in the Mao era, his father a revolutionary hero. Xi, one of his so-called princelings of Chinese Communism. He seems to fit the very model of a straight-laced Chinese leader, right down to the regulation died jet-black hair.

What charisma Xi can claim comes from his wife. Peng Liyuan is a popular folk singer from the 1980s. But this is a man who sings from the Communist Party song sheet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Xi, welcome back to Iowa.

GRANT: Analysts inside the country say he may be more in touch with common people, but don't look to him to change the system. He is no traitor to his class.

ZHANG MIN, PROFESSOR, RENMIN UNIVERSITY (through translator): He is part of a consensus to keep the Communist Party as the only ruling party. Any so-called liberty must only be on the condition of the survival of one- party dictatorship.

GRANT: Xi inherits a country straddling dangerous fault lines: a widening wealth gap, a slowing economy --

(CROWD SHOUTING)

GRANT: -- and rising levels of unrest from pollution to the rule of law and land disputes.

GRANT (on camera): Xi Jinping must steer his people through some choppy international waters. There's the ongoing territorial disputes with the likes of Japan and the Philippines and, of course, the rising tension with the United States from trade to military. But those who know him are optimistic.

KEVIN RUDD, FORMER AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: I've met Xi Jinping quite a number of times when I was prime minister of Australia, and I believe he's someone that you can do business with.

GRANG (voice-over): The world is about to find out if that is true.

Stan Grant, CNN, Beijing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Join us for a CNN special as we take a look inside China's once-in-a-decade leadership transition and the secretive Communist Party process. Kristie Lu Stout, my colleague, hosts "The Future of China: China's New Leadership" at 1:00 in the morning London time.

If you're up last night, we're asking you to stay up again. Not sure we should be making you a coffee, shouldn't we? 9:00 in London -- 9:00 in Hong Kong, though, of course, right here on CNN.

Coming up at the top of the hour, in just over five minutes, we've also got special coverage of a crucial vote in Greece. Politicians are debating as we've been speaking this past hour the latest package of austerity measures.

It's already sparked violence in the streets of Athens. Unions say if it's passed, it could have a devastating effect on people's lives. If it isn't, it could break -- it could break Greece's fragile coalition and threaten the country's next bailout installment.

It doesn't get more important than this in Greece this evening. John Defterios with me in the studio. So much at stake here, John. I know that Parliament has just taken a break. What can we expect?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, they're doing a final head count, here. The crucial thing we have to look out for is can they get 151 votes or more. The answer is very likely 95 percent they will indeed, but not without strains to the coalition that you talked about.

The Democratic Left is one member of that coalition representing 16 votes. They'll abstain, but there's going to be enough votes around, even though some radical PASOK members of the socialist party are going to break out of this.

But Prime Minister Samaras seems to have the votes right now. This is $17 billion of cuts to get another $40 billion. That's the basics, there.

ANDERSON: And when we talk about cuts, what are we talking about? Structural -- deep, deep structural reform, here. One of the reasons we've seen so may people out in the streets, right?

DEFTERIOS: Sure.

ANDERSON: Labor reform.

DEFTERIOS: Well, this is something nobody's talking about. They did tuck in some labor reforms that Prime Minister Samaras has been looking for, and that's what the business community has been looking for.

So, 25 percent unemployment, 50 percent unemployment amongst the youth, but they did get some deep reforms in, so you have flexibility for people to hire and fire, not very generous pensions, if you lay them off. It gives a lot more flexibility.

Severe cuts in certain sectors, like the judges taking a 30 percent pay cut. So, some of the things they couldn't push through before are happening now, and it seems like he has that final push to get it done.

But the reality is, a 7 percent contraction in 2012, losing 35 percent of your economy in the last five years, is not a recession, it is a depression, and that's why people are protesting. What's next for us? We don't see growth yet.

ANDERSON: Stay with CNN. We'll bring you live coverage of that vote. John, thank you for that.

DEFTERIOS: Yes.

ANDERSON: Coming up in the next few minutes, John will be with us here on CNN for that, 10:00 P in London, 11:00 in Berlin.;

I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. In the end, it was Barack Obama's night. Going to leave you with some of the most iconic images of the moment that he claimed victory. Good night.

END