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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Obama Gets Four More Years; Democrats Retain Senate, GOP Retain House; Florida Still Too Close to Call
Aired November 7, 2012 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everybody. We welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Soledad O'Brien.
President Obama gets another four years in office. He has been declared the winner. He won critical states like Ohio and Colorado, Nevada, Iowa, Virginia. We're still waiting for details on Florida.
Here's what the balance of power looks like today. You can see right here. It looks very similar to what it was yesterday. Republicans are holding the House. The Democrats hold the Senate.
So the split Congress leads to the question, what does that mean for the president's ability to govern? We're going to talk about straight ahead. First though, we want to play a little of President Obama's victory speech. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: America, I believe we can build on the progress we've made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunity and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founder.
The idea that if you're willing to work hard, 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're black or white or Hispanic or Asian or native-American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disable, gay or straight. You can make it here in America if you're willing to try.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: No surprise, huge cheers while the president was speaking and then they dropped the confetti at the end of that speech. It is an opportunity for President Obama's family to come out and join him.
A lot of people on Twitter were talking about just how big Sasha had gotten and Malia had gotten joining him on stage and then of course, it was Joe Biden's family as well coming out, everybody hugging the absolute enthusiasm and joy, very clear as they came out on to that stage as well.
In his speech, the president credited his partner, he called him, Joe Biden. The best vice president you can have, he said. You can see there the crowd and the cheering. This is what it look like as the president wrapped up his victory speech just around 1:30 this morning. Our reporters have been camped out with the campaigns. Let's get out to John Berman who's got more on that. Hi, John.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Soledad. As you said, it was after 1:30 a.m. when the president finally gave his victory speech. A full two hours after CNN called the race for the president. When he took the stage, it was an elegant, exuberant speaker to an ecstatic crowd or more than 10,000 in Chicago.
Our CNN's Dan Lothian is in Chicago right now to give us an update of what it was like in that room. It must have been electric.
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It certainly was electric. A big night for the president, for his campaign, for all of those Americans who supported him, worked very hard for him especially those in the key battleground states.
We heard so much in this campaign about the importance of that ground game. That clearly paid off tonight. Where the campaign was able to target essentially micro target segments of the population, deliver a message that was tailor-made for them.
Get them motivated and get them out to the polls. The big issue for the president now is how will he be able to unify a clearly divided country?
BERMAN: Dan, they've been exuding confidence over the last several days, the Obama team has, saying they would win almost without a doubt, that they had the right combination of states to do it. I have to wonder was there a sense of relief when it finally came through for them?
LOTHIAN: Well, look, I think there obviously was a sense of relief. They were very confident even down into the final hours before we started getting those returns. But you know, you heard from the president in one of the interviews earlier in the day that he had that the president said he had butterflies.
He said that anyone during this would have to experience butterflies at some point. But he was very confident that he would still win. I mean, this is after all an election. It is in the hands of the voters.
So anything could happen as the president said himself. They were confident. But of course, you can't start celebrating until all the votes are counted. Now they're celebrating.
BERMAN: All right, CNN's Dan Lothian, they will no doubt be celebrating in Chicago for many hours to come. Thanks so much, Dan.
So we know the president has won at least 300 electoral votes. How did he do it? What combination of states did he use to reach that magic number? I'm at the magic wall here with Christine Romans.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: He swept. He swept through all these swing states and did quite well. I mean, take a look at there. This is Nevada 6, he took that. Colorado, 9, he took that. Look at Iowa. It has 6, he took that.
Wisconsin, 10, you get the picture. Ohio, that was the big one, Ohio was a key to all of this, of course. New Hampshire. I mean, you go down the list. We have not called Florida. That's how you get the president to 303, Mitt Romney, 206.
If Mitt Romney were to take Florida, there are another 29 electoral votes for Florida, but that would not put Mitt Romney over the top.
BERMAN: Right now, the president is leading in Florida, but they've stopped counting ballots in Miami-Dade County overnight. They're going to get some sleep. They say it will pick it up again tomorrow morning.
There was so much talk about what combination of states the president might use to get to the magic number. He didn't bother with the combination. He just swept the swing states.
ROMANS: He lost a couple states. You look here. He won these two. These are traditionally reliably red states. The president won both of those states in 2008. He did not this time. He lost ground there, but it didn't matter. He won all of those swing states. And we're waiting on Florida, still waiting on Florida.
BERMAN: Stay tuned. By the end of our broadcast this morning, we may have results there. Thanks so much, Christine Romans -- Soledad.
O'BRIEN: All right, John, thanks. I want to get right to our panel this morning and ask them what was done right and what was done very, very wrong. I guess, Roland, I'm going to start with you, if you will.
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Which part?
O'BRIEN: Either one, both sides. Start with the Dems.
MARTIN: First and foremost, the right thing, the president was smart to make sure they had a smart ground game four years ago. I mean, last election, they implemented that ground game after the election because they knew how much more difficult it would be.
I think for the Republicans, a bad mistake. They realized tonight you won't be able to win a national election largely targeting white Americans. You have to put together a cross section.
You can't let somebody have 95 percent of the black vote or 70 percent of the Hispanic vote. You have to put together a much different coalition and they got a problem because they can't figure out how to do that.
O'BRIEN: OK, what do you think, Ari?
ARI FLEISCHER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I'll start with what Republicans did wrong. You talk about white males. You talk about different kinds of males. We have a dumb male problem.
O'BRIEN: What does that mean?
FLEISCHER: I'm referring to our Senate candidates in Indiana and in Missouri.
O'BRIEN: Self-inflicted wounds on those.
FLEISCHER: The insensitivity, the absurdity, the foolishness of just waging into the conversation of rape. How blind can these men be? And they did it and it was painful. And they got their clock cleaned in Indiana and Missouri and races that should have been Republican pick-ups. So to me those were the two worst.
In terms of what Republicans have done right, and I think this will be a growing issue and people haven't figured it out yet, the senior vote. It is increasingly a Republican vote. Because the baby boomers are hitting retirement years, it is a growing senior population.
It is not the seniors who are 80 and 90s and dying, it is people turning 65 who are increasingly voting Republican. That's a big growing bloc that shows up to vote and that will be the Republican power base.
O'BRIEN: Ana Navarro?
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, let's see.
O'BRIEN: You've got a long list you're drawing -- at least nine things.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's got 99 problems.
NAVARRO: Probably. I'm so punchy I can't even read my own handwriting. What did the Republicans do right? I think they raised money very well. We were terribly outspent four years ago.
They were able to keep up ad per ad. What else did they do right? You know, I think they, I think -- let me go back to what the Democrats did right, the convention.
They had a great convention. And I think President Obama had a great sprint to the end. I think he understood how important the handling of Sandy was and he did it very well. He looked presidential. It was a game changing moment.
And it was something that he turned into an opportunity politically for him though it was a tragedy for the people of New Jersey. What did the Democrats do wrong? What did Obama do wrong? The debate, it was a disaster.
MARTIN: The first debate.
NAVARRO: The first debate which was the one that mattered the most was a disaster. I think both campaigns had a small campaign with no real vision. We did not see this campaign go big and be about values and it should have been about that from the very start.
O'BRIEN: Mitt Romney spoke a little bit about that in a very gracious concession speech that he gave. I want to play a little of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We look to Democrats and Republicans in government at all levels to put the people before the politics. I believe in America. I believe in the people of America.
And 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 this nation was founded are the only sure guide to a resurgent economy and to renewed 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. You guys are the best.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Governor Romney in a little bit of a short concession speech. Paul Begala, back to that question, what was done right by the Dems? What was done wrong by the Dems? How about right by the Republicans and maybe what has to be fixed if they intend to be competitive?
PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: We've talked about what they've done wrong. Most importantly they have to find a way to grow their party. America is increasingly diverse and Republicans are increasingly homogeneous.
I think, well, the smart Republicans, we'll see if the broader party and its leaders do. He mentioned in that first debate, the president did not do a very good job. Ana, sorry --
O'BRIEN: It's early.
NAVARRO: We all look the same to you.
BEGALA: Not at all.
MARTIN: I agree with her.
BEGALA: Governor Romney did a great job. He deserves credit. I cannot imagine how daunting it must be. Not only to walk out and debate a president with 70 million people watching, but Barack Obama who is a pretty good debater.
In the first debate, Romney cleaned his clock. Give him credit for that. Another thing that Ari Fleischer mention, they have remade their party in the last 25 years as a strongly pro-Israel party and they've gotten more Jewish votes and more pro-Israel gentile votes because of that. That's an important thing.
FLEISCHER: Showed up tonight the numbers, 70-30, 30 for Republicans is a modern record. They never used to get that.
BEGALA: It would be single digits usually -- I think it was good for America.
NAVARRO: And I live in Florida. And the effort that was waged in Florida for the Jewish voter was very targeted, incredibly effective, a very good ad campaign.
BEGALA: On the Democratic side, the president gets enormous credit for this, but he was able to do what the military calls, use force multipliers, Joe Biden, Bill Clinton and of course, the First Lady. When you have three assets like that, that's a pretty impressive holy trinity.
NAVARRO: So the best thing was to smoke the peace pipe with Bill Clinton.
FLEISCHER: And now in Washington they'll be smoking.
MARTIN: On the Republican side, I'm sure they really wish they could deploy for one president like George W. Bush. I don't care what anybody says if the former president on the campaign trail is always an asset. It has to hurt the party that they can't deploy him on the campaign trail.
O'BRIEN: We're going to take a look at now that the election is decided, how overseas markets are reacting this morning. Up next, Ali Velshi and Christine Romans will joins us with a look at what investors around the world are saying with their cash about four more years of President Obama. We're back in a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: You, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up. We have fought our way back. And we know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Projection now on one of the last remaining hotly contested Senate races, CNN now projects the Republican Dean Heller has retain his Senate seat from the state of Nevada. He defeated Democrat Shelley Berkley in a really tight race there.
Dean Heller, the Republican won, despite the victory in that state from President Obama. What does that mean for the make-up of the House and Senate? Well, the Senate, the Democrats will still maintain control of the Senate and in the House, the Republicans, as we've been saying all night.
The Republicans will maintain control of the House of Representatives. Barack Obama has been re-elected president so this maintains the status quo in Washington, which by some accounts hasn't been all that great lately especially with a fiscal cliff looming.
For more on what that means and what the financial markets think about the election, let's go back to Soledad.
O'BRIEN: Thank you. With Ali Velshi and Christine Romans to take a look at what the markets are saying today. Good morning.
ROMANS: It is basically as expected. The markets, investors wanted Mitt Romney, but they thought they would get Barack Obama and it is a status quo essentially.
You're going to have a president and a Congress, a House, at odds about how to fix the fiscal cliff. That's the first order of business. In terms of response we're seeing in the markets.
I mean, stock futures have turned higher and you've got, we just had the close of Asian trading, basically mixed or steady. And European stocks just started trading.
ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: So markets are going to be looking for certainty now. They did not have certainty about who was going to win. Now they do. They know they have the same make-up between, the same old problems. Everybody is going to have to go into this with a little more force.
O'BRIEN: So the fiscal cliff kind of kills the certainty thing.
VELSHI: It certainly does. But the president gets to go in and say while he did not campaign on this issue. It hardly came up during the campaign, at this point everybody knows they have to deal with this.
O'BRIEN: At the same time you have the same make-up in Congress that we had before the election.
ROMANS: And so many people, voters really care about the economy and getting the economy growing. They must think. They voted this way that this president will be able to get it growing again.
Guess what, the fiscal cliff is the biggest huddle for him. If he can't work with Congress to fix it, the economy won't be growing. We'll have a recession next year. So it's the same old problems. There's going to have new politics to fix it. We haven't seen it with those new politics.
O'BRIEN: It is terrible to start up in the morning and say same old problems, which you just said. Christine Romans and Ali Velshi, thanks. We're going to keep talking about.
Also after last night's elections, some big names in the House and the Senate are out. The new balance of power and how it will impact the president's ability to break the gridlock on Capitol Hill or not. When CNN's live election coverage continues. We're back right after this.
O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN's live continuing coverage. Lots to tell you about. President Obama has won. He has now gotten re-elected to another four years in the White House.
Congress though split still, Republicans retaining control of the House and Democrats controlling the Senate. John Berman takes a closer look at the breakdown of the balance of power -- John.
BERMAN: All right, it's a whole lot of the same here in Washington, Soledad. Let's start by talking about the House of Representatives. Right now, the Republican Party will maintain control of the House. They have 225 seats right now. We don't know how many they'll end up with, but we know they will keep control.
In the Senate where it stands right now, the Democrats have 51 seats, the Republicans, 45 seats. There are two independents. You can see them in purple, that is Angus King in Maine. We don't know which party he'll caucus with for sure.
Although we suspect the Democrats, the other purple seat there, Bernie Sanders from Vermont. Really he counts a Democrat. There are two remaining races here that are simply too close to call. In fact, we can show you those races.
Montana where the incumbent Democrat Jon Tester is still in a very tight race against Congressman Danny Rivert and in North Dakota where the congressman is facing Heidi Heitkamp. Those races are too close to call.
A few moments ago, Nevada was too close to call, but we were able to call that race for the Republican incumbent, Dean Heller. You will want to stay with us for these two remaining races though.
We can tell but some high profile races that are settled though, look at that, Missouri, Indiana. Democrats won both those races. You remember those are races where the Republicans made those controversial comments about rape.
Both Republicans lost and then finally, it may have been the heavyweight bouts in the Senate races in the country this year, Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren defeated incumbent Senator Scott Brown.
That is a pick-up for the Democrats in the state of Massachusetts. Elizabeth Warren will be the first female senator from the state of Massachusetts -- Soledad?
O'BRIEN: A huge race that we were watching. All right, John, thank you. You want to stay with CNN for the best election coverage on TV.
Coming up next, reaction from both candidates as we take you live to Obama headquarters in Chicago and Romney headquarters in Boston. We're back in just a moment.
O'BRIEN: Welcome, everybody. We welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Soledad O'Brien.
Welcome, everybody. This is what it looked like, 1:30 in the morning when President Obama was making his victory speech. President again, gets another four years in office.
He has been re-elected after winning states like Ohio and Colorado and Nevada and Virginia. We're still waiting on some details about Florida.
The balance of power looks very similar to how it looked yesterday, in fact. The Republicans hold the House. The Democrats hold the Senate. We'll look at what that means for the ability to govern. First though, a little more of what the president had to say as that victory speech. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Despite all the hardship we've been through. Despite all the frustrations of Washington, I've never been more hopeful about our future. I have never been more hopeful about America. And I ask you to sustain that hope.
I'm not talking about blind optimism. The kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead or the road blocks that stand in our path. I'm not talking about the wishful idealism that allows to us sit on the sidelines or shirk from a fight.
I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing opinion side us, it insists despite all the evidence to the contrary that something better awaits us. So long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.
America, I believe we can build on the progress we've made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunity and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founder.
The idea that if you're willing to work hard, it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from or what you look lying, it doesn't matter if you're black or white or Hispanic or Asian or native- American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight. You can make it here in America if you're willing to try.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: That's what it looked like in Chicago. Let's get right to John Berman for a closer look at how it went in Chicago -- John.
BERMAN: Soledad, you know, it was the kind of soaring oratory that a lot of Democrats say they wish they had heard from the president on the campaign trail. They got it tonight and they really seemed to love it, the 10,000 people in Chicago.
Our CNN's Dan Lothian is in Chicago right now where no doubt, they're celebrating somewhere -- Dan.
LOTHIAN: They are definitely celebrating. What you pointed out, there were a lot of concerns through the campaign that the president was not fired up the way he was in 2008. The base was not energized.
There was also a lot of concern among some of the diehard Democrats after that first debate performance. But the Obama campaign was always very confident. They had crunched the numbers and they told us time and again that they believed the numbers were on their side.
The other thing they were able to do quite effectively, build up a very solid effective ground game. That paid of tonight. They were able to micro target different segments of the population. Tailor a message for them.
Get them inspired, motivated to go out to the polls and they certainly did that. And they believe that was critical in this victory tonight. The big question for the president is, will he be able to unify what is clearly a very divided nation?
He talked about that during his victory speech tonight. That will be especially difficult. He has some big issues facing him once he gets back to Washington, most importantly, that fiscal cliff. The Congress, the make-up of Congress has not changed. That process is no doubt will be very messy -- John.
BERMAN: He won tonight. What does he do tomorrow?
LOTHIAN: Well, I think he breathes a little bit, kind of relaxes. He heads back to Washington. He did point out at some point he wants to sit down and talk with Governor Romney and talk about moving the country forward.
We do expect that at some point soon the president will perhaps either address the nation or hold some kind of a news conference. That's not something they have confirmed to us.
But we do expect the president will have to get before the nation and talk about how he will be able to bridge that gap and unify the country. Again, we don't have any details on that, but we expect it will be coming soon.
BERMAN: All right, Dan Lothian in Chicago, thanks so much -- Soledad.
O'BRIEN: All right, John, thank you. Mitt Romney waited a little while before he made his concession speech. Aides said that, in fact, they were looking more closely at the numbers in the state of Ohio. When he did speak, he was very gracious. Here's a little of what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: The nation as you know is at a critical point. At a time like this, we can't risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders to have 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 priests and rabbis and counsellors of all kinds to testify of the enduring principles upon which our society is built honesty, charity, integrity and family.
We look to our parents for in 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Let's get right to Peter Hamby. He is live from Boston at the Romney headquarters. Peter, as the states started coming in and the projections were being made, you could see the mood getting gloomier and gloomier. How was it last night?
PETER HAMBY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. I mean, the mood started getting gloomy inside Romney's inner circle probably around 9:00, 10:00. Once they saw Florida was still very tight and Romney wasn't hitting the number he needed to in some big Republican counties in Virginia.
They started to realize the writing was on the wall. If Florida was still that tight interesting chances they could bust through Obama's firewall in the Midwest were increasingly grim. They chalked this up to three reasons so far in my conversations with them.
Obama's superior field operation, which Dan just touched on, demographic shifts that the Obama campaign success any tapped, and the storm Sandy, the first two sort of dove tail. The Obama campaign was very skilled at really kind of drilling, modelling and targeting their voters.
In Hillsborough, in Florida, for example, the Obama campaign got more votes out of Hillsborough than they did in 2008. And they overperformed in counties across the country. The field operation was successful.
And then a lot of people feel the storm really blunted the momentum that Romney had heading into the storm and it gave Obama an opportunity to look big after he looked a little bit small in the campaign trail.
And more than one Romney adviser really expressed some frustration about Governor Chris Christie and his effusive praise of President Obama in the wake of that storm.
O'BRIEN: I think there's no question there will be many more questions about that. Peter Hamby for us this morning, thank you. Peter, appreciate it.
Let's get right back to our panel. Ari Fleischer, can I start with you? Let's talk about the fiscal cliff. We've laid out how it looks. Obama in the presidency, but Congress is split.
It leaves us in the same position we were yesterday, really. So how do you navigate and negotiate this off the fiscal cliff -- before you fall off the fiscal cliff?
FLEISCHER: It is daunting. And I'm just finishing Bob Woodward's book about it. And you realize how everybody was just knocking their heads against the wall and going nowhere. They took them real time to figured out they were going nowhere. And I don't know what's changed and I think sometimes in a difficult negotiation like this, you let calm heads prevail.
O'BRIEN: We don't have time technically.
FLEISCHER: Well, that's the thing about a cliff. It has the tendency to make people decide quickly. And the question is, where do compromises lie?
MARTIN: You have to start the conversation with, I'm not going to get what I want.
O'BRIEN: On both sides.
MARTIN: Yes, absolutely. That was the problem. The problem was, even inside the Republican debate. Remember that great question. They said how many of you, if you had an opportunity for ten cuts, everyone revenue increase.
How many of you would accept that? Nobody raised their hand. And so people might say that's the debate. The reality is that is the attitude. So neither side will walk out happy. You'd better do something for the good of the country and not your party.
O'BRIEN: Earlier today, David Gergen pointed out. There are people up for re-election in two years and that ties your hands in what kind of a position you might want to take on something like the fiscal cliff.
VELSHI: Well, there might have been a bit of a repudiation of the most extreme of those people who wouldn't compromise. Let's put this fairly as much as people wanted to blame Barack Obama and as much as he may have had some responsibility.
This is an absolute delinquency on Congress's part to get this done. Now, there's some sense that this needs to get done. And there are still people beholden to Grover Norquist. You cannot go up on taxes.
O'BRIEN: A lot of people are still beholden to him.
VELSHI: Lots of people. But this doesn't work with the American people. You can disagree. You can pick sides, but you can't get anything done -- maybe, I don't know.
NAVARRO: Right now we have a lame duck Congress. And there are still conciliators that will not be there come January in the U.S. Senate. People like Joe Lieberman. People like Lugar that are getting replaced. So if we're going to get it done, it has to be now when there is a sense of urgency.
ROMANS: And on John Boehner's part too because he will to have wrangle the House. He doesn't think a lame duck Congress should do anything. If kicked down the road, that's been good for the economy.
It is not good for the markets. There is a sense that the president and this Congress are going to have to have a big, maybe kick the can short term, but have real deficit reduction soon, very soon.
There's the worst possibility that you don't fix it. We could lose 6 percent. That's an absolute recession. So I don't think we're going there whether it is --
O'BRIEN: What are the chances we could fall of fiscal cliff and head into a recession?
VELSHI: Well, there are three chances. There's a chance you could fix it. There's a chance that you kick it down the can or you have a half a fix and then there's the worst possibility where you don't fix it.
And if you don't, we could lose or 3 percent or 3.5 percent off of GDP. We're only at 2 percent GDP growth so that's an absolute recession. So I don't think we're going there, but it's whether A or B.
O'BRIEN: That's a political question. Politically, are we going to go there?
FLEISCHER: Last year, the president promised he would not sign a temporary kick the can down the road. We'll see what happens with the reality of it. It would create a recession. Howard Dean said, let's all fall off the fiscal cliff. Cause a recession for two quarters.
O'BRIEN: He said let's fall off the fiscal cliff.
FLEISCHER: His point is it would do something fundamental about the deficit.
O'BRIEN: It would put millions of people out of work. It would close factories. It would kill towns.
FLEISCHER: Some have said do it. Let's everybody learn the lesson. Pay the high price.
O'BRIEN: Politically speaking, do we learn lessons --
BEGALA: If that's accurate. I do I trust you. That's irresponsible. By the way, Michele Bachmann who was fighting for her political career said it would be good if we defaulted on our national debt.
So you have really irresponsible positions taken by these extremists. If you look at the book last year, political scientists, it is not the American people. It is the Republican base. If you do care compromise, you will lose your job. Dick Lugar should win the Peace prize. NAVARRO: He didn't have a house in his state.
BEGALA: Look at Bob Bennett.
NAVARRO: Look at Joe Lieberman.
BEGALA: Joe got re-elected.
NAVARRO: He got kicked out of the Democratic Party.
BEGALA: You're supposed to sit there --
O'BRIEN: One person at a time.
BEGALA: The Republican base has a strangle hold. You used the phrase of Grover Norquist. He doesn't have the strangle hold. It is that he can lead this increasingly powerful, increasingly small base.
O'BRIEN: We're going to take a commercial break. They are shaking their heads like this. That's straight ahead.
Also ahead on CNN's live coverage of the 2012 election, two states making history by approving the use of recreational marijuana. Question now is how the federal government going to response. We're going to take a look at that as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Tonight in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up. We have fought our way back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Welcome back to our special live election coverage. You're just listening to President Obama who will remain President Obama. He was re-elected. We called the race shortly after 11:00 Eastern Time here on the east coast.
As for the other houses of government right now, the Republicans will maintain control of the House and the Democrats will maintain control of the Senate so not much has changed.
It was a remarkable election in many ways especially how the president won it in the coalition he managed to put together. We're over at the magic wall to talk to Christine about that.
ROMANS: Let's talk, John, about what the demographics looked like in this race. The president won the female vote, women 53 percent, men, 47 percent. This went for Mitt Romney quite frankly. This was a vote that last time around, four years ago, the president took this.
Let's move over and look at it by race. I'm sorry. I'm moving too quickly. The white vote, 72 percent, this was for Mitt Romney, 59 percent, a 20-point difference, a 20-point difference for Mitt Romney.
BERMAN: And President Obama not able to break the 40 percent barrier, which a lot of people thought was a big deal, but --
ROMANS: But look at this, it didn't matter. The Latino vote, 10 percent, first time it ever hit double digits. African-American vote, 13 percent, overwhelmingly no surprise for the president there, overwhelmingly the Latino vote for the president, 71 percent to 27.
This is why it matters so much in these swing states. Look at this. There we go. Look at this. How interesting this is. This is such an important demographic. He took Nevada, right? He took Colorado.
If you go over here and you look at the concentration of Hispanic voters, you can see how important this is. This is where the Hispanic population has been growing quite strongly and these are states that he needed to take. When you go back and look how this has changed. Look at 2008. Then look at 2004.
BERMAN: It is amazing. He was able to turn Nevada and Colorado blue. And New Mexico is hardly even a swing state. It is practically solidly Democratic now.
ROMANS: Yes, it's so interesting. It was such a big percentage of the white vote going for Mitt Romney. The president has been able to build these coalitions among women and the minorities.
BERMAN: All right, standby, Christine. We're talking about this all night. There were other stories on election night. In many cases, history-making stories with ballots initiatives across the country, some dealing with marijuana.
Now in Colorado, and the state of Washington, they voted to legalize marijuana. Not for medical use but recreational use. Oregon turned it down. This means that states can regulate, control, and tax the sale of marijuana in small quantities.
There were also referendums on medical marijuana use. In some other states, in Arkansas, did not pass. In Massachusetts, it did not pass. In Montana, they upheld the ban on medical marijuana so Massachusetts is the only one that allowed it.
So the history was made on the issue of the recreational pot use in the states of Colorado and Washington. The federal government still considers it illegal. So this sets up potential huge legal issues.
The big question, Soledad, I have for the panel, where does this end up? How does it resolve itself?
O'BRIEN: Supreme Court?
BEGALA: It could be. There was a case a couple years ago. A woman was growing pot for her own use and the feds busted her and it was actually under the commerce clause. It was litigated under the Affordable Care Act, found to be something Congress could do. Somebody will take advantage of this state law and then they'll wind up in front of the Supreme Court. It is unusual for states to set their own drug policies.
FLEISCHER: I have no idea. You'd better ask a lawyer about that.
O'BRIEN: It seems like a clear butting of states' rights versus fed rights.
MARTIN: Alcohol, states have enormous power over their own state alcohol laws. But drugs have always been, since the 20th Century, the province of the federal government to regulate what drugs are legal and illegal, certainly for medicinal uses, but also recreational use --
NAVARRO: -- from the FDA. I'm almost in support of this.
MARTIN: --- pass people will be very happy with all of this. Let's expand this. You're also about to see a serious tackling of drug laws in this country, this whole notion of the war on drugs.
You're seeing right now where civil rights groups are getting more support from Republican governors when it comes to that than even Democrat governors. We cannot keep building prisons.
We keep imprisoning people for small amounts of drugs, marijuana as well. I think the next phase will deal with what about our drug laws? Are we putting people in prison spending millions of dollars when they should be in treatment?
So that's the next step when you look at this law. This is the first wave. That will be the second wave.
O'BRIEN: It sounds like you're saying yes to litigation.
Obama supporters are celebrating four more years. We'll take you to the president' ancestral home in Kenya. That's straight ahead. Back in a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: That's President Obama from his victory speech a little bit earlier this morning. Here's a look at world reaction to President Obama's re-election.
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, tweeted this. Warm congratulations to my friend Barack Obama looking forward to continuing to work together. From the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, the strategic alliance between Israel and the U.S. is stronger than ever. I will continue to work with President Obama in order to assure the interests that are vital to the security of the citizens of Israel.
Let's get right to David McKenzie. He is live in Kenya for us this morning. Taking a look at how the president's ancestral family was reacting. Hi, David.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the western part of the country and home to so many Obamas. They can't even put them on the street signs. They've named several streets here after him.
Earlier the streets were bedlam. I want to show you the pictures of the partying. There is band here playing CNN. When people realize that had President Obama got the second term, they said he is the son of Kenya, the son of Africa.
We spend some time with Sara Obama. She is the grandmother of President Obama. We spent time watching those votes coming in overnight last night in a house here. There is a sense of relief and of excitement.
And the scenes certainly will live in the memory of these people for very, very long. One thing these people do want is the president to come visit them. He did as a senator in 2006. They want him to come in his second term as a president. She said he won an election. He has to work hard for the people who elected him, but maybe when he can he should come visit me.
O'BRIEN: Are there expectations that he will do that when he finds some time?
MCKENZIE: Well, I think so. I think people are realistic in the first term with the economy and the situation in the states, he couldn't come over here. When he came in 2006 as senator, it was just crazy crowds throughout Kenya.
They wanted to come here now. But again, there is a sense here now that he'll come at some point before the end of his term. I think he would disappoint a lot of people if he didn't. He only made one brief trip to Africa and Ghana.
A little disappointing for ordinary Africans, but they do see him as a big role model. That's what his grandmother said. If we can win with his family history, it is open to anyone in Africa to anything they want said Mama Sara as she's known -- Soledad.
O'BRIEN: David McKenzie for us this morning. Thank you, David, appreciate it.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and our viewers around the world. I'm Soledad O'Brien. Lots to tell you this morning if you're just joining us, President Obama has been re-elected.
We're still waiting on what's happening in the state of Florida though. We want to look at the balance of power. Republicans are still in charge of the House. Democrats still control the senate. Take a little bit of a listen to the president's stirring victory speech. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: It is not small. It's big. It's important. Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated. We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply health beliefs.
And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy. That won't change after tonight and it shouldn't. These arguments we have are mark of our liberty. We can never forget --