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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
How the Vote was Won; Beau Biden on Dad's Win; Welch on Obama Win
Aired November 7, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Good evening. You're looking live at the White House where a happy and undoubtedly exhausted President Obama is celebrating his big election. But with no time to waste, the president has already been working the phones, calling congressional leaders and leading top Republicans to talk about what he wants to accomplish before the end of the year.
It's a big agenda -- the deficit, taxes, and jobs. Not to mention the looming fiscal cliff. It's a tall order but he's an optimistic president. And why shouldn't he be? In his election speech last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are not as divided as our politics suggest. We are not as cynical as the pundits believe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I'll talk to David Axelrod about the president's plans. And on the other side of the aisle, how would the GOP handle the changing reality in Washington and indeed by losing again. I'll ask the Republicans later.
Meanwhile, breaking news tonight, knockout punch Mother Nature. The nor'easter bearing down on New York and New Jersey tonight just nine days after super storm Sandy. New York City's death toll has already risen today to 41 from Sandy. And the current storm has forced airlines to cancel more than 1700 flights in the region. We're live in one of the hardest hit areas.
But we begin with the president's storming election victory. Joining me now, the man you argue who did more than almost anybody else to help President Obama won a second term. His top strategist, David Axelrod.
David, you must be feeling pretty chaffed.
DAVID AXELROD, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yes. It was a great night, Piers. Just to be in that room at McCormick Place last night with that crowd and the sense of joy and idealism and patriotism, frankly, that was evident in that room, and then today, the president came by the campaign headquarters and spoke to the young volunteers -- not volunteers but staff. And it was a very moving, moving encounter. So this has been a tremendous 24 hours.
MORGAN: When was the moment last night -- if you're honest -- that you thought we've got this? It's all going to plan?
AXELROD: You know, when the vote started getting counted we knew pretty quickly we have -- you know, we have a fairly sophisticated model. We have projections. We knew when we were hitting our targets and our folks were very skilled and when they saw the votes started -- the votes coming in, in Ohio and Virginia -- first it was Virginia, and then in Florida, there was a sense that this could be an earlier evening than we thought.
MORGAN: We looked at the demographics that have come out from all the polling last night. Pretty much across the board you guys had a very good night on women, independence, you know, younger people. African-Americans, Latinos, Asians. It was a pretty big sweeping area of people coming in to vote again for you, guys.
Were you pleased about the level of the turnout?
AXELROD: Absolutely. And the breath of it. You know, the question that was being raised on the other side was whether the Obama coalition that served him so well in 2008 would come out again and -- so one of the things we saw very early and even before the polls closed when, you know, just looking at the turnout was that we were getting strong turnout among the very groups you were talking about. And it was -- that was encouraging.
MORGAN: Inevitable inquest to start with, into why the Republicans lost. If you were putting your strategist's hat on and looking at their campaign, where do you think they really, in the end, lost it?
AXELROD: But I think the problem for the Republican Party is that the center of gravity has shifted so far to the right that they're way out of the mainstream. The positions that Governor Romney took in the primary on immigration reform, the position that he took on women's health issues and contraception and Planned Parenthood, drove large numbers of voters away from them, and then on economics, which is central to this election. They had a theory that frankly was not a popular theory in the country which is that, you know, if we go back to tax cuts for the wealthy and deregulation that that would profit everyone.
And then for Romney himself, there were specific things that he did. I think that the decision in the final week to try and litigate the auto bailout again in Ohio had a tremendously negative impact there and perhaps beyond Ohio. So, you know, in the final analysis, there are a lot of factors here, but in the short term that was a very bad decision, in my view.
MORGAN: People are looking at -- to what happened and saying look, the Senate remains with the Democrats, the House remains with the Republicans. You know, Barack Obama has been re-elected, not much changed. How can we expect the Washington machine that many see as being fractured if not paralyzed to somehow regenerate itself now and get stuff done. Speaker Boehner has come out today said, you know, come on, Mr. President, let's get some stuff going here. But how much of the responsibility lies with him, with Speaker Boehner, do you think?
AXELROD: Well, I think that he certainly bears some -- people want cooperation on both sides. The issue at hand, of course, is going to be the fiscal cliff and our budgetary situation. The president has put a proposal forward. It's incumbent on the speaker to say what they'd be willing to do and not simply say it's not our responsibility.
I think people expect everyone to live up to their responsibilities. And, you know, one thing that is clear as I moved around the country with the president is they're hungry for that kind of cooperation. I hope that coming out of this election people will come with a renewed sense of cooperation. Because it will take that to solve problems.
Let me just say one other thing, though. You mentioned that not much has changed. Actually what's interesting is you have these super PACs spending literally billions of dollars, billions of dollars to defeat the president and to defeat Democrats running for Congress. Well, the president was re-elected, you have more Democrats in the Senate than you did before, more Democrats in the House than you did before, and one heartening thing to me in this election is that the special interests and billionaires spent all this money and got nowhere with it.
And hopefully that will discourage the kind of obscene spending that we saw in this election because it plainly didn't work.
MORGAN: Obviously you've got as many people vote on Twitter, I was watching it last night, the reaction, a second chance many people see it to perhaps be bolder, be braver than you were able perhaps to be in the first term. There are parallels to the most popular modern presidents, being Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, both of whom had pretty rough first terms, then they had very successful economies for their second term. And that emboldened them to much braver perhaps than they might have been.
Are you hoping you're going to get the kind of economic security if not prosperity in this term that will allow you to do perhaps the things Barack Obama, when you sailed in on hope and change, hoped he could do?
AXELROD: Well, Piers, I do believe the economy is improving, but I want to challenge a bit of your premise because one of the reasons the economy is improving is because this president was brave. It was brave to intervene to save the American auto industry, which was not a popular decision at the time.
It was brave to move forward on the Recovery Act, which was not popular at the time, and still is the source of controversy, because without that, we would have slid into a second great depression.
It was brave to stand up the American financial industry when it was on the brink of collapse. Even though that was an unpopular thing to do because he understood that we needed to do these things to move the economy forward. And now we're reaping the benefits of that bravery and those good decisions, because the economy is improving, and I do believe that gives us a chance to move forward on a series of fronts to further strengthen our economy for the short term and the long term and strengthen the middle class.
We're not losing 800,000 jobs a month anymore. We're gaining jobs. And that foundation that's been laid is a foundation on which we can build progress.
MORGAN: And two very quick last questions. One is, I understand that the first person the president called after knowing that he won was Bill Clinton, is that right?
AXELROD: Exactly. Yes.
MORGAN: Does he --
MORGAN: Does he feel a big debt of gratitude to him?
AXELROD: Well, there's no question about it. As he said to President Clinton, he was the most valuable player in this campaign. He -- and you know, we got a chance to spend some time with President Clinton over the weekend. He just campaigned his heart out. And he was -- because he believes that there were two choices here and one led us forward and one led us back. And he was very effective out there.
And so there is a strong sense of gratitude and I think the president is looking forward to calling on President Clinton in the future for advice council and assistance as we want -- as we move this country forward.
MORGAN: And secondly that the biggest tragedy of the whole evening for many of us was the fact that your mustache gets to stay on.
MORGAN: Are you a relieved man this morning?
AXELROD: Well, I know this has the subject of a lot of discussion. I will say that when I made the bet the bet was if we lost Pennsylvania, Michigan or Minnesota, I would shave off my mustache. I did it with complete confidence that this mustache, which has been appended to my face for 40 years was going nowhere.
So I'm very -- I was confident then. I was pleased that I was right. But you know sometimes you just have to take a stand and that -- and I did on that one.
MORGAN: Well, courage has always been your (INAUDIBLE), Mr. Axelrod. Congratulations on a brilliant campaign. I know a lot of this was down to you.
AXELROD: Thank you, Piers.
MORGAN: And the team. It was a master class on how to win an election. Well done.
AXELROD: Thank you so much.
MORGAN: David Axelrod, a very smart guy.
And Vice President Biden is celebrating and at the same time blasting Republicans, saying the GOP has some soul-searching to do.
With me now is the vice president's son, Beau Biden.
Beau, you must be a happy guy tonight.
BEAU BIDEN, JOE BIDEN'S SON: I am. I'm a very happy guy. What happened last night. A wonderful night.
MORGAN: You were with all the top team. The president, the first family, and your parents. What was the mood like as victory became a reality?
BIDEN: Well, it was a very exciting night. It was -- as David said, I think, you know, it was exceptionally exciting for all of us. We were in a different part of the hotel than the first family. I was getting out of the shower, quite frankly, and I saw that we won Iowa which I was very interested in the fact that we won Iowa. And I spent a lot of time there. And then my 6-year-old son came and I told him that, and -- then he came back to me, he said no, daddy, we won. And -- because I went back to get -- start getting dressed. And I said no, we won Iowa, honey. No, he said, we won. And that's how I found out from my 6-and-a-half-year-old son.
MORGAN: That's brilliant. And how is your father about it?
BIDEN: He was -- he was, you know, over the moon. He was very, very happy. Our entire family was -- we were all together. And it was -- it was a great end to a great night and a great campaign.
MORGAN: The key, it seems, to the most impartial observers about the second term now for President Obama is, how he's going to get bipartisan support to really get stuff done and to fix America's big problems.
What do you think he should be doing? Who should he be dealing with, talking to? Who are the names he should be sitting down with? What is the strategy here?
BIDEN: Well, you know, I'm going to leave the strategy, obviously, to David Axelrod and to the president and his staff, and his chief of staff, Jack Lew, and my father. But what I will say is that I think there's an opportunity here. And when you have Tea Party favorites like Congressman Akin in Missouri being beaten so soundly by Senator McCaskill, when you have Mr. Mourdock in Indiana being beaten so soundly, and when you have Joe Walsh in the state of Illinois being so beaten soundly by a great veteran, Tammy Duckworth.
I think the fever has a potential to break because the Tea Party has been repudiated. Now two cycles in a row. And I think you're going to have to see a number of Republicans -- at least I hope -- good Republicans that are going to have, I think, the courage to stand up to the Tea Party caucus because they know it's not in their interest and awfully not in the nation's interest not to built a -- come to a principled compromises on so many important things starting with the -- with the fiscal cliff which needs to be dealt with over the next many weeks.
MORGAN: What's your father's plan now?
BIDEN: His plan is to get to work. He will be back in D.C. tomorrow. He's home here in Wilmington tonight. And they got a number of issues to tackle. Not just the fiscal cliff but immigration reform, energy policy, education. A whole host of issues that he is focused on that you heard him talking about during the course of this entire campaign.
MORGAN: I mean he's been I think one of the unsung heroes. I thought the vice presidential debate was terrific. I think he's given the president a real kind of ying-yang double act thing which has worked very effectively particularly in the areas perhaps in the Midwest where you were so successful.
He must be feeling pretty proud, isn't he?
BIDEN: Well, I think he is. I am. I mean he played a critically important role in this campaign. I mean, the vice presidential debate came at a time where there was a bit of a slide if you looked at some of the polls. And you know, he stopped that. I was very proud of him in that debate. I was very proud of him what he did throughout the country over the last six or eight months. He was in the battleground state of Ohio dozens of times, all over the battleground states, and spoke correctly to the middle class about what this president has done and what this president will do to continue to build this economy from the middle out and the bottom up.
And, you know, I don't think there was a better spokesperson on behalf of the president and the party, and what the administration wants to do over the next four years than my father. I was extremely proud of him.
MORGAN: Yes. So you should be. He's done a terrific job. Send him my very best. And congratulations, Beau, to you, the family, everyone involved. There must be a thrilling time for you all. Four more years, well done.
BIDEN: Thank you, Piers. MORGAN: Where is the economy headed in President Obama's second term? And where are the Republicans headed. Jack Welch is here. A lot to talk with the election, the economy, and why his mate Mitt Romney blew it.
MORGAN: Jack Welch is an outspoken supporter of Governor Romney during the campaign and has some harsh words for President Obama. The former CEO of G.E. joins me now to talk about the election, the fallout and -- well, what happened to your mate, Mitt Romney?
JACK WELCH, FOUNDER, JACK WELCH MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE: Well, he didn't get it done.
WELCH: You know, I -- he didn't get the minorities, he didn't get the young women. So he really had an issue with that -- with that population. And he didn't count it. I mean he didn't sell the story. Now I think he's a wonderful man. I think he's a great guy. I think he would have been a great president. But it's over. And the president has got to be commended for what a campaign.
You know, when he knocked off Hillary Clinton, that was an incredible accomplishment, when he took her. And he came in now with a tough record and Axelrod was on a little earlier, he didn't have to shave his mustache. And --
MORGAN: Well, actually hearing David Axelrod -- I mean I've interviewed him about a dozen times in the last 18 months. His voice tone never changes. He's always very calm, very strategic, and always been very confident. And to be fair, they all have been in the recent weeks. Even as others have been saying you're in big trouble.
You know, and I thought listening to him is a very interesting. His analysis of where the Republicans have gone wrong here pushing themselves so far out in the nominee race to the right that it was almost impossible for Romney to come back.
WELCH: Right of Rick Perry on the Latino issue. And it's a tough place to be. But they deserve all the credit in the world for a great job. I mean, Axelrod is a hero for this job, and if you like management you like what they did.
MORGAN: Yes. Very, very smart on the ground operation.
WELCH: Everything. And you know, it gets to what has to be done next. I mean if you think about the country's problems, the fiscal cliff, and the regulatory wall. No one talks about that but it's equally important to knock it down if we're going to get the jobs back and the economy we need.
And the president, if we can get out of him the same intensity that he has campaigning, and the same intensity day after day after day --
MORGAN: Well, actually, the same intensity of him campaigning in the last week, because we rarely saw -- I mean, I watched Obama last night making his acceptance speech. That was the Obama I remember from '08. But it wasn't the Obama we saw, for instance, in his convention speech.
MORGAN: It wasn't the Obama we saw in the debates. For some reason he was a little bit lackluster in this campaign. But when it really mattered --
WELCH: He got up for it.
MORGAN: I thought he ripped it up.
WELCH: He got up for it. And if we could get him up for it to go after the fiscal and deal with the Republicans, and then go after his own staff, bring those cabinet members in, they -- how are we doing about jobs? Putting every plan, every regulation. Is this a job creator or a job killer? And be on them and managing them.
MORGAN: But, I mean, look, the Republicans have got to be less intransigent, too, haven't they?
MORGAN: They've got to be less --
WELCH: No question.
MORGAN: They have got to be and they have got to be less driven, I would argue, from the result of this election, by the Tea Party, by the more right-wing members of the party. They've got to try and bring themselves a little bit more to the middle, haven't they? And the president has got to (INAUDIBLE) Harry Reid who is day one has come out prepared to change the filibuster rules and all that. Boehner so far has been OK. Day one was quite conciliatory. Now we'll see if -- but the president if we could get his leadership the way he has in the campaign, he motivates the campaign, he motivates the team, gives great speeches, he's all over it. He's excited.
MORGAN: I thought the moment when he went down to New Jersey with Chris Christie was actually a very significant one for what the next four years could be like. If they had Chris Christie, Romney's great right hand guy, putting his arm on the president and fighting together.
MORGAN: I like that. And I know Christie is getting flak from the party. I think it's ridiculous that the guy was doing what he should do as the governor of New Jersey. WELCH: Christie did just the right thing. He had a job as governor of New Jersey, and he did it. And he endorsed Romney all the way. He gave Romney a lot of support. The optics -- everyone was looking for a scapegoat today. I mean it's the campaign, it's the manager, Axelrod is a hero, Stephens is the bum. I mean that's the way it works in this game. It's the same way in football.
MORGAN: Would it have made a difference? I mean I always thought Paul Ryan was a big risk as a VP because it didn't cover any other base, any other demographic. Would he had been bolder and braver, perhaps most successful had he gone for Marco Rubio or Condoleezza Rice, somebody a bit different from Paul Ryan who looked like a younger version of Mitt Romney?
WELCH: You know, that's the second guessing, and I don't know. They always say the vice president --
MORGAN: I mean he didn't even deliver his own home state.
WELCH: But he ran a state-wide race. He's been in district (INAUDIBLE) if you will. In hindsight, Marco Rubio may have gotten, instead of getting 27 percent of the Latino vote, you might have got 35 or 40. But you still might not have made it. I mean the facts are we didn't make it. And we have -- as a good a candidate as we got. Surely the best candidate in the field. We got a good guy, a good person, a smart guy.
MORGAN: Who would you most like to see in '16 of all of the current candidates that have --
WELCH: I'll tell you in --
About 48 hours.
MORGAN: But who's the kinder of person?
WELCH: Well, Marco Rubio is a very appealing guy. I think he's a centrist. I think he can deal with --
WELCH: -- changing demographics.
MORGAN: Jeb Bush?
WELCH: Can a Bush do it again? I don't know if the country is ready for a third.
MORGAN: Maybe up against a Clinton.
(LAUGHTER) WELCH: That would be a (INAUDIBLE) race, wouldn't it? You know, that's right. What I want more than anything is to bring this thing together. Now we got to fix these two issues. But I want you to ask people about the regulatory wall.
WELCH: Because if we don't get natural gas and if we don't get oil out there, we have a chance to make this the American century. If we're the low-cost energy producer in the world, if we really take advantage of this fracking technology and our resources, America can have it. I've said before, this is the Internet of this century now. And it's a huge opportunity. We're only in the first inning.
MORGAN: Well, Jack, great to talk to you. Thanks for taking --
WELCH: Always nice talking to you.
MORGAN: Sacrificial lamb tonight for the Republicans. You volunteered yourself manfully.
WELCH: Thank you.
MORGAN: Good to see you again.
WELCH: Nice to see you.
MORGAN: When we come back, the latest from the storm zone plus rising Democratic star Cory Booker on the nor'easter battering his state tonight and on the president's election triumph.
MORGAN: Some breaking news tonight. Exactly what New York and New Jersey did not need, another dangerous storm battering the region just nine days after Hurricane Sandy.
CNN's Rob Marciano is in Staten Island tonight, one of the area's hardest hit by both storms.
Rob, looks pretty cold over there. Tell me what it's like.
ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, it's cold and it's snowing. But just think, Piers, a little over a week ago when Sandy came through the water from the Atlantic Ocean which is a couple hundred yards that way would have been up and over my shoulders. It inundated this whole entire area. The houses aren't gone but damage all around.
And now there -- they've got three, four inches of snowfall here. A lot of them are staying in their homes, but a lot of the homes have -- the debris that's been pulled out. Actually a lot -- hi, guys. These guys just came up and delivered some hot soup. So the community is coming together, because the folks inside this house are staying put. And one of the reason sadly is that -- some of their stuff got looted right after the storm. And they don't have power. The only light you see is -- because they're plugged into our satellite truck. So a cold, dangerous night ahead with a lot of them. Briefly on what -- already seeing record snowfall totals. Take a look at some of these over eight inches in some parts of Connecticut, even New York City seeing almost three inches of snow and it's still coming down.
Winter storm warnings are posted. A radar lit up with all sorts of snow. So just incredible to see. This sort of snowfall a little over a week after basically a hurricane came roaring through this exact same area. Not what we need and certainly the folks that maybe just got their power back on may be seeing it go down as this heavy wet snow lays down on some of those weak branches and power lines.
MORGAN: Yes. And hundreds of thousands still without power at all. They must be freezing.
Rob, thank you very much indeed.
Cory Booker, obviously your area was affected you as well. Tell me what it's like where you are, but also what is your view of the repeated storms we're seeing at the moment?
BOOKER: It is Mother Nature's one-two punch. And it's testing the resolve and the grit of my state and my city and obviously this reign. As I was coming -- shooting in here to do this interview and go back and soon follow around plow trucks in a few minutes, I just continue to see the fact that we haven't recovered.
I have about 25,000 people without power. Now this is being dumped, has a potential to knock out more power within my state.
MORGAN: Eight inches in Connecticut. This is a big snow.
BOOKER: It's significant. Fortunately, the bigger snows are further north, where there was less hurricane damage. But this is going to tae continuing us pulling together, standing together and fighting together, because this has just been a brutal 10 day stretch for this metropolitan region.
MORGAN: It certainly has. We send our best wishes to those in the most difficult areas. It must be very hard for them.
Let's turn to the election. Big night last night for President Obama. I think he won a very convincing victory. What are you most pleased about? When you woke up this morning, what were the things that went through your mind?
BOOKER: A lot of it was just relief. There was a lot of gains that I specifically saw for people in my city. This whole Obamacare has gotten so tortured. The reality is there are millions of Americans that have access to health care. Those who were being denied by big insurance companies for coverage are going to be able to keep their coverage. You know, plans that are invested -- we need to cut. We need to be responsible. But also, we can't only cut our way out of this problem. We have to invest. So waking up and knowing I have got a president that is committed to Pell Grants and opening access to education, knowing --
MORGAN: Where's he got to go harder for? Because before, you were in campaigning mode for him. He has got back in. He can't be reelected. So this is it for him. You can push the envelope now as one of his friends and supporters. What do you want to see him really going harder at?
BOOKER: Look, at the end of the day, we know what our problems are. This is going to be tough to bring people together. This fiscal cliff is going to test not the president but really the national resolve of our leadership to come together and solve our fiscal problems.
I think the president did some really responsible things by putting up solid plans. But now we've got to push to get them through. And I think that is going to be the test.
I don't want to go off the air without saying I think other things are happening in America that should be very encouraging. I think that this was a moment in our nation where we took another step forward on issues of inclusion, of equality, restorative justice.
If you look at what happened in America, number one, the first time ever you see marriage equality passing in other states. People are recognizing, hey, you and me created by the same God; we are of -- all Americans should have equal protection under the law.
You saw restorative justice things, California getting rid of three strikes. I view the pot legalization not as people saying hey, we love marijuana. But enough is enough. We are locking up so many people. We've got to find another way. Not a way I necessarily agree with, but think about this, we have -- we are the land of the free, but we lock up more people wasting incalculable resources from our country in this prison industrial complex.
And people are starting to think, there has got to be another way to do things.
So as I look at the whole country and a lot of the ballot initiatives, I get very encouraged that this nation is -- this democracy of ours is becoming more robust, more inclusive and more enlightened about how to create safer neighborhoods, how to lower taxpayer dollars.
MORGAN: That is all true. And I don't take issue with any of that What I do think is crucial though is this whole bipartisan thing. I was saying to Jack Welch, I was very encouraged by many people, by Chris Christie's relationship with the president at such a crucial time. Chris Christie could have just totally ignored the president and played politics, but he didn't.
And that kind of leadership is what is desperately needed in Washington. People want to see the Republicans and the president and his top people coming together and getting stuff done. I think the American public will be very unforgiving, and rightly so, if we get to February and we have gone over another cliff.
BOOKER: First of all, it's brutal. The debt ceiling debate last year alone caused more shaking in consumer confidence than the attacks on 9/11.
MORGAN: It was pathetic.
BOOKER: It was outrageous.
MORGAN: I mean, really outrageously pathetic.
BOOKER: Bob Eggert (ph) at Disney, he was saying to me that what happened then is what happened, people -- less people visiting his parks during that period, less people making --
MORGAN: Of course.
BOOKER: It will hurt the economy. Look, I'm proud to be in New Jersey where our -- our folks are far more centrist and you don't have the kind of extremes. I'm really worried about a Congress that sees -- this is Republicans -- losing people like Olympia Snowe, who are leaving, losing people Dick Lugar, who are getting beat on their right, having guys like John McCain and Hatch have to run far to their right just to keep their offices.
This is very perilous for our country. I'm looking for us to going back, where you had guys like Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill reaching across the aisle, working together, guys like Jack Kemp, who influenced a lot of my thinking on urban policy.
MORGAN: Clinton and Newt Gingrich, in the second term, worked very well together.
BOOKER: I think we have the right president for that. But we need the kind of leadership coming out of Congress that is going to rise up to that challenge, and bring our nation together. Because most of us in this country are not out on the margin. We're not the wingnuts, as some people call them.
Most of us, whether -- however we identify, Republican or Democrat, we actually have so much more in common than we do apart. That's where we hope that our government will now follow where the people are.
MORGAN: That is so true. Corey Book, great to see you.
BOOKER: Good to see you, as always.
MORGAN: And best of luck on the ground because I know it's tough over there. Appreciate you coming in.
Coming up next, the fight for women's vote. How the Republican party lost the battle. Two women on opposite sides of that question go head to head. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
MORGAN: Both sides courted women voters. But in the end, it was President Obama who had the majority of their support. What went wrong for Romney and the right?
I want to bring in Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, and Republican strategist Kelly Anne Conway. Welcome back to you both.
KELLY ANNE CONWAY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Thanks.
CECILE RICHARDS, PLANNED PARENTHOOD PRESIDENT: Thanks, Piers.
MORGAN: Kelly Anne, let me talk to you. We have talked a few times in the last few months about this. In the end, women rejected Mitt Romney in quite large numbers. How much of that was down to the policies that he adopted, the tone that he adopted, the behavior of people like Akin Mourdock? What do you put the blame down to for the loss of support amongst women?
CONWAY: Well, the margin was pretty typically for a successfully elected incumbent. Actually, Piers, President Obama carried women by 13 points in 2008 and carried them by 11 points yesterday. So his margin among women was down two points.
That is an unusual trend line for a successfully reelected president. Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, all successfully reelected, all increased their margins among -- by seven to eight points. Obama actually went the other way. I just don't want to --
MORGAN: Hang on, hang on, hang on. He is still 11 percent ahead of Mitt Romney. So whichever way you try and spin the apple cart.
CONWAY: I don't want to spin anything. You know how I am on the women's vote.
MORGAN: Romney lost. And he was comfortably beaten amongst women and amongst mothers as well. And by a higher margin. So why is the question.
CONWAY: And he carried men. In fact, the real gender gap exists for this reelected president among men as well, but nobody seems to want to talk about that.
MORGAN: Kelly-Anne, nobody wants to talk about Mitt Romney's triumphs in the election. He got hammered.
CONWAY: No, no, no, Piers, all I'm saying is it's a very typical fact of politics that women do tend to favor Democrats and men tend to favor Republicans. What happened yesterday was not atypical in that women favored a successfully reelected president by slim digits and Barack Obama carried unmarried women handily. Mitt Romney carried marred women. Mitt Romney carried older women. Barack Obama carried younger women. Mitt Romney carried white women. Barack Obama carried non white women.
But on the broader question of what the Republican party has to do, three quick things. One is go to where the women are. You know, this idea that women are just going to sit by the TV all day or click on to these Internet ads to the tune of a billion dollars and decide that they like you and that you are like them is really foolish. It's insulting to women.
And not play in to -- I think there was never a really good response about Obamacare. And there was never a really good response about Benghazi, and really a failure to communicate against this war on women.
MORGAN: Let me bring in Cecile here, because you have had a good run there. Cecile, obviously Obama won pretty comfortable, both in the popular vote and the electoral college vote. So it was a fairly convincing victory. And there is no doubt, you know, that women were more attracted to him and what he stood for than they were Mitt Romney.
RICHARDS: Big time. This was an incredible night for women, for women's health, for the president over all. The gender gap was 18 points yesterday, overwhelmingly won among Latino women, among young women.
And I think the other thing we saw -- so I think it was a rejection of Mitt Romney's policies and his promises to get rid of Planned Parenthood, his pledge to overturn Roe, wildly unpopular with women.
But in addition to that, we saw the candidates -- some candidates who should have really easily been elected, Richard Mourdock in Indiana, Todd Akin in Missouri, were defeated because of their extreme positions on women.
I think women went to the polls and showed they would not vote for men who wanted to take away their rights and who didn't believe in women's health.
CONWAY: Why did Scott Brown lose in Massachusetts? He's Mr. pro-choice. Let's not --
CONWAY: And let's not be a commercial for our interests here tonight. Let's be fair. Wait, where in the CNN exit polls was what you just described? Where was abortion the top issue? Was it number two? Was it number three? Was it number four?
MORGAN: Hang on. Hang on. Kelly Anne, I admire your optimism. But let's face facts here, Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, they both -- they both lost because of their ridiculous outpourings about issues that women thought were utterly offensive. What Mitt Romney should have done the moment they came out and opened their mouths with this nonsense was cut them off at the head.
CONWAY: Mitt Romney told him to get out of the race. But why are we talking about two people who lost in the Senate. Again, I didn't hear President Romney -- I didn't hear President Obama last night in Chicago thank Planned Parenthood for his victory, say, as soon as I get back to Washington, I'm going to make sure this war on women continues.
He was a pretty humble president. He realizes that 57.7 million people last night voted against him. And yes, we all want to work together, but it is ridiculous to pretend, yet again, that women ran to the polls because of abortion.
RICHARDS: Look, I think it was so clear last night. And Kelly Anne can keep speaking. But the point is President Obama talked about Planned Parenthood throughout this entire election. The only thing Mitt Romney did -- obviously he took very extreme positions on overturning Roe, on getting rid of birth control access.
And what was incredible to me, in the waning weeks of this election, when it was clear that Mitt Romney was going down in defeat and that women were not supporting him, he ran millions of dollars of ads trying to convince women that he really was not that extreme on women's health issues. It didn't work. Women didn't vote for him. And that's the reason, frankly, that President Obama was reelected last night.
CONWAY: Where is that in the exit polls?
MORGAN: Let's agree on one thing. I think we can all agree on this; 20 years ago, there were seven women in the Senate and thanks to last night, there are now 20. That is something to celebrate, isn't it? One if five.
RICHARDS: It is incredibly exciting. I think we saw over and over again -- I mean, Heidi Heitkamp who just was victorious in North Dakota -- that is frankly a state where a Republican should have easily won. But Heidi has a very strong position in support of women's health, women's health care access. She is a breast cancer survivor.
And that was actually -- she really appealed to women and men about the need for women's preventive care. Mitt Romney continued to be dismissive his entire campaign about issues, trying to say that any issues women were concerned about were small issues and irrelevant.
CONWAY: Where did he say that? Where in God's name did Mitt Romney say that any issues women cared about were small and irrelevant? Can I see that quote please?
RICHARDS: I was actually on with you, Kelly Anne, on a panel where you said women didn't care about women's health issues. All they cared about was jobs and the economy. CONWAY: I didn't say that, Cecile. Hold on. Back it up. Back it up. I never said women don't care about health issues. You want to pretend that the word abortion means women's health, because you are scared of using the word abortion. Stop saying women's health if you're not talking about breast cancer, obesity, nutrition, cardiovascular disease, the number one killer of women.
Stop pretending about that abortion is women's health. Can we talk about the fact that Heidi Heitkamp probably has a very different view on energy from North Dakota than your president and her president, Barack Obama. He is not for hydraulic fracturing. He is not for what --
MORGAN: -- hydraulic fracturing, which wasn't quite the topic of this segment.
MORGAN: Ladies, we have to leave it there. I will bring you both back, though, because there is a nice simmering tension between you. Thank you both for joining me.
RICHARDS: I want to be truthful. Thanks.
MORGAN: Coming next, does President Obama's victory mean America is moving to the left? I'll ask my political all star panel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: It doesn't matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn't matter whether you are black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, abled, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you are willing to try.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Will President Obama's victory usher in a new and much more liberal America? It's a question a lot of people are asking tonight. Here with the answers, "New York Times" columnist Frank Bruni and Kurt Andersen, host of public radio's "Studio 360" and the author of "True Believers." Welcome to you, both.
Let me start with you, Kurt. It seemed to me from what the president was saying there, you don't have to be -- it doesn't matter if you are black or white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, young, old, rich, poor, you can make it here in America if you're willing to try. It's a great American dream.
He was obviously trying to revive that. Is he capable of delivering the old American dream now in a second term?
KURT ANDERSEN, AUTHOR, "TRUE BELIEVERS": No. He's not, and I think what the Democrats need to do and what the president needs to do is to actually have a way forward and to sort of talk turkey about the fact that it isn't going to be like it was anymore. I think where he succeeded -- and are we a more liberal America? In the social, cultural way? Unquestionably.
That was to me the big point of last night, is that on gay marriage, these popular initiatives, not a judicial decision, not a legislative decision, but the people in Maine and Maryland and Washington State saying, yeah, we're fine with this, with gay marriage.
You see on the marijuana legalization in Washington, Colorado. I think the culture wars last night were won by the liberals. And I think that's unquestionably so.
The politics, the political economy issues, I think that's where we are still very much split 50/50, and haven't figured it out.
MORGAN: Frank, I think that there's no doubt that what you saw last night was a repudiation of the Tea Party faction of the Republicans, the more extreme members of the Tea Party. They're not all extremists by any means. But that more extreme right that was chased by all the Republican nominees earlier this year, I think that got rejected last night.
FRANK BRUNI, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": I think are you absolutely right. I think I heard you say earlier, are we moving to the left as a country? I don't know that we're moving that far to the left, but I think the Republican party has been held hostage by its right. And what they learned yesterday and today, as they're making sense of all this, is that if they don't find a way to distance themselves from their rightward element, from the Tea Party, they are going to start losing a lot more elections and they're going to have a hard time ever getting the presidency back.
MORGAN: Yes. I think, Kurt, you just see a total disconnect, don't you, between what is going on in terms of marijuana being legalized, gay marriage being legalized, the first gay senator, and so and so on, on one level. On the other level, you have still got Republicans, you know, who want to try and reverse Roe v. Wade and all that kind of thing. And it sounds to me so sort of archaic.
It's like, come on. This is not the battleground that is ever going to get you to where the next election is going to be fought.
ANDERSEN: No, and it's really interesting to read, as I did today, what the Republicans are saying what's our problem? Now, they understand that you can't go, as they did, from having a margin of nine percent among Hispanics for Democrats eight years ago and 44 percent yesterday. You can't go from having -- in addition, though, eight percent gender gap eight years ago, 12 percent gender gap four years ago, 18 percent gender gap today.
There's a real problem there. And they can't just say, oh, we have got to stick to our guns and he wasn't conservative enough. There is a real, real problem if they allow, as Frank said, this right wing tail to wag their dog. MORGAN: Was it a mistake, Frank, do you think, to go for Paul Ryan as the VP pick? Did it send the wrong message? You know, another white guy with pretty far right social issue views, certainly? Was it, with hindsight, Monday morning quarterback -- was it a mistake? Should he have gone for a braver pick, a Marco Rubio, a Condoleezza Rice?
BRUNI: I don't know that Paul Ryan hurt him that much, because I think, at the end of the day, people don't vote for the vice president. But there were a whole bunch of atmospherics. I mean, Paul Ryan very associated with an anti-abortion position and then you have these other Senate candidates saying what they did.
And it all kind of came together in a way that made the Republican party look, as you said, archaic and very mean spirited.
It's interesting you mentioned Rubio and Condoleezza Rice. I wonder, coming out of this, whether the Republican party is just going to try to find and recruit candidates who have a darker skin color, who punch certain holes, rather than realizing that there are certain policies and certain ways the party talks that alienate a lot of voters, no matter what the color of the skin of who they put on the ticket or what the gender of the person they put on the ticket is.
MORGAN: I just think, you look at these poll results last night, and you're thinking, the idea that in four years' time they could fight another election with two white guys from reasonably well off backgrounds, I just don't think that can fly. I think they have got to be more adventurous, the Republicans.
But for now, Frank and Kurt, thank you both very much. And we'll be right back.
BRUNI: Thank you.
MORGAN: Millions on the east coast tonight dealing with another major storm, a brutal nor'easter. Stay with CNN for the latest. That's all for us. "AC 360" starts now.