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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

President Barack Obama Wins Reelection; Interview with Newt Gingrich; Interview with Debbie Wasserman Schultz; Interview with Chris Van Hollen

Aired November 7, 2012 - 07:0   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A huge victory and four more years. President Barack Obama wins re-election, and in the end, it wasn't even close.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You made your voice heard. And you made a difference.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With a gracious concession, Republican challenger Mitt Romney made a humble request of both parties.

MITT ROMNEY, (R) FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To put the people before the politics.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: No Republican has ever won the White House without Ohio.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the end, the battleground state of Ohio put the election out of reach.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": The President of the United States defeats Mitt Romney.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the nation remains a House divided.

BLITZER: The House stays in Republican control.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As the balance of power holds firm on Capitol Hill, a call for unity.

OBAMA: We remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This morning we have every issue covered. Can the White House and Congress work together to fix the economy? Will the partisan gap now close? With the Empire State Building bathed in blue light, this much is clear.

BLITZER: Let the world know that 11:18 p.m. on the East Coast of the United States, we projected this win, the re-election of Barack Obama for another four years --

(END VIDEOTAPE) SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome, everybody. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and our viewers around the world, as well. I'm Soledad O'Brien. And we have a winner. It is President Barack Obama who has been re-elected to a second term. You take a look at the electoral map right there.

You needed 270 to win. You remember, we talked a lot about that. The president right now, the count is at 303 for him, 206 for Mitt Romney. But of course in yellow, the state of Florida, the problematic state of Florida, we continue to watch and wait on Florida.

Here's a little bit of what it sounded like when the president made his victory speech last night. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: It's 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 held beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy. That won't change after tonight, and it shouldn't. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty.

And we can never forget that as we speak, people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter, the chance to cast their ballots like we did today.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: But despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America's future.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: After 17 months of campaigning, months and months talking about the electoral map, and the map, you've got a breakdown for us.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, Soledad. It was after 1:30 a.m. when president Obama gave that victory speech. He had 303 electoral votes in his pocket at that time. He still has a chance for more. How did he get to this number which was higher than a lot of people thought?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, everyone was talking about Ohio. All roads to the White House lead through Ohio. And the president, the president took Ohio. No question about that. But he also took all those other swing states. For months now there's been all of this gaming about what the electoral map would look like. In the end these yellow or swing states, the president took them one after another and took all of these, look at that, 10 in Wisconsin, he took those.

BERMAN: Virginia?

ROMANS: And 13 there, New Hampshire, and then Florida. The only one we're waiting for, only waiting for Florida. A couple of other things here. He lost some territory he had last time around. I don't think it was that big of a surprise to his supporters, he took those other swing states, lost a couple of states, but those were reliably red states until the president took them in 2008.

BERMAN: Absolutely. Everyone considered Indiana safe for Mitt Romney this time. North Carolina was a swing state right up until the end. But most people had it in the lean Romney camp. Mitt Romney only won by 100,000 votes or less, which was a smaller margin than people thought.

ROMANS: In Florida in popular vote he is leading just a bit right now but we're not ready to call it just yet.

BERMAN: We're waiting for new votes from Miami-Dade county. They will open again this morning and presumably start counting again. This is Florida, and they do have issues with balloting.

ROMANS: Yes, 21 electoral votes there.

BERMAN: Soledad?

O'BRIEN: John, thank you. Governor Romney, it took him quite a while to concede. They were looking much more closely at the state of Ohio and until they continued to crunch the numbers and work through those numbers that would ultimately not add up for them they would not concede. But when he finally did get to the podium and he did his concession speech, he was very gracious. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: -- critical point. At a time like this we can't risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people's work.

And we citizens also 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 counselors 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: Time to get to our panel. We begin on my right, Hilary Rosen is with us, Erick Erickson, John Avalon, Margaret Hoover is back, Ryan Lizza sticks around, Roland Martin as well. Let's talk about what happened and where do we go from here. Margaret since you're new to the panel. You just joined us.

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Throw me a hard ball. O'BRIEN: No, no. I watched Margaret all last night. She's taken a quick disco nap and has come back. A disco nap, yes. For the GOP, where do you go now? You heard that concession speech. What did you think about it?

HOOVER: Look, I -- I agree with you. I think Mitt Romney was gracious. It was short. It was sweet. I was sitting next to James Carville last night and he was really almost uncharacteristically empathetic to Republicans and said, look, this hurts like heck. If you've been running for eight years, which Mitt Romney has been doing, this is a heartbreak of a night. So the gracious thing to do is give them a little time to figure it out, get their thoughts together. The Romney camp has said they didn't even prepare a concession speech they were so confident going into the evening.

O'BRIEN: But not just for the particular Romney campaign, Erick Erickson, what about the GOP in general? This seemed to show the exit polling some real flaws in the strategy, if you have a campaign that really is not appealing in any significant way to minorities, if you look at president Obama, and his win with women, some of that messaging from the Democrats about Republicans was very effective. What --

ERICK ERICKSON, REDSTATE.COM: Yes and no.

O'BRIEN: What has to be done?

ERICKSON: The Republicans are going to have to come up with some way to appeal to Hispanic voters. They really are. Mitt Romney got less than John McCain got with Hispanic voters having been all over the map with the issues and finally settled in a position that there's a lot of vocal people in the party who agree with but I don't think a majority of the party agrees with. You've got the setup where the president was able to turn out a space that was there in 2008 and relied on the Democratic Party didn't show up in 2010 and they need to replace with the democrat's face will it turn out in 2014 or not like it did in 2010.

But then there's another one. The Romney campaign they did just whispering to Hilary, they did project orca. They should have called it project Shamu. They spent all this time building this on the ground or whatever, but they didn't do it in the beginning. They didn't organize states in the way they should have and in a way that the Obama campaign did and the Romney campaign said they were full time.

O'BRIEN: There are some folks who said, Hilary, was it that was it that the candidates themselves was not a good candidate was it that the candidate himself was not conservative enough, was it that the candidate himself was perfectly conservative enough but somehow just couldn't galvanize people?

HILARY ROSEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think we're going to hear for the next several days a lot of complaining from Republicans about the Romney campaign, about how they didn't do this right, they didn't do that right. You know, I think fundamentally, it goes back to the point you said. The Republican Party is not aligned with the future demographic of this country right now. And the country knows that. And so you can't really -- you can't change those demographics, it's not a space election. It's America.

O'BRIEN: Let's talk about GOP winners from last night. Who do we look at and say this is a future star?

JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: In Texas, Ted Cruz, new Republican senator from Texas, very conservative.

O'BRIEN: Roland is saying no, no, no.

AVLON: Has the conservative position on immigration, is a Cuban- American, and he's going to be, not to -- he's going to be the star of the cycle, and very ambitious guy. Might reason run for president in 2016.

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: No. No. First of all, not going to happen. No. I'm telling you, look it's not going to happen. Second of all, here's what I always say, whoever is a newcomer, stop putting a star on them until they do something.

AVLON: Yes

AVLON: OK? Same thing with Senator Marco Rubio.

AVLON: No, no, no.

MARTIN: We love to assign somebody a star. Do something first, OK? Look, in terms of --

AVLON: Well -- against Obama Washington 2005 and started running for president.

(CROSSTALK)

AVLON: I just want to say the Hispanic members of the party, whether it's Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Brian Sandoval, Susannah Martinez, those folks are going to have a lot of pressure on them to reach out into their community because demographically the Republican party is in a dead end.

(CROSSTALK)

O'BRIEN: Margaret Hoover, Mitt Romney, what's his future look like?

HOOVER: Mitt Romney has a life besides politics. He has a family --

O'BRIEN: He has $200 million.

HOOVER: He has a lot of options. It's not like he has been a career politician and doesn't have anything else to do.

O'BRIEN: Newt Gingrich? HOOVER: Newt Gingrich I think is going to be joining us.

(LAUGHTER)

O'BRIEN: That's not his future. That's his near future.

AVLON: One point what Erick said. The Republican Party has Hispanic leaders but don't have many Hispanic followers.

ROSEN: But the Republican caucuses have been putting pressure on those Republican and Hispanic leaders to fall in line with them, not the other way around.

O'BRIEN: Still to come this morning, he predicted just days ago that Mitt Romney would carry more than 300 electoral votes but the former House speaker Newt Gingrich was kind of wrong on that one. He joins us live with how the Republican Party can now recover from this big loss. That's straight ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ben Wedeman in Cairo. News of Barack Obama's victory came too late to make it into the morning papers here in the Egyptian capital. This, in fact, was the only newspaper with the American president on its cover, and it does say that Obama is approaching victory in his attempt for a second term. Most Egyptians seem to prefer Barack Obama over Mitt Romney. Many of them saying they felt the Republicans are simply too pro- Israeli.

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Reza Sayah in Pakistan where the U.S. elections got heavy coverage on Pakistani television. The results aired live on dozens of channels. Four years ago many here supported Mr. Obama. Not the case this year. Many wanted change. They wanted Mr. Romney, and that's because they still don't like U.S. policy in the region, especially the drone strikes.

AL GOODMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Al Goodman in Madrid. Spaniards closely followed the U.S. presidential race especially because Spain was mentioned during the campaign as a big problem among European nations, suffering an economic crisis. The jobless rate here is more than 25 percent. So many Spaniards are pleased President Obama was re-elected. He said the world can't let Spain sink.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. You're looking at pictures from Times Square, New York, last night, enthusiastic crowds when victory for President Obama was announced.

Newt Gingrich is a former speaker of the house, 2012 presidential candidate. He joins us in the studio. Nice to have you with us, sir. You were making some predictions and I'm going to throw them out there for you because you were way off, way, way. You said Governor Romney would get 53 percent plus in the popular vote, 300 electoral votes or more. What happened?

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was wrong.

(LAUGHTER)

O'BRIEN: What happened that he didn't get to those numbers?

GINGRICH: I think whether it's Michael Barone or Karl Rove, the whole group of us, we all thought we understood the historical pattern and the fact that unemployment, what would happen. First of all, the president did very, very effective campaign. Second, I think that the country was looking at a different set of things than we were looking at. And I think Republicans are going to have to take a very serious look at what happened and why did it happen, and why were we not more competitive at the presidential level.

O'BRIEN: Could you have won this election? If you were a presidential candidate.

GINGRICH: I have no idea. What I will say though is that I think it's going to be difficult with the media for the next two or three days here. Remember there are two mandates that came out of yesterday. John Boehner and the House Republicans do control the House of Representatives, which is first in the constitution, and which the right to say, gee, we have a mandate, too. And the question for the president's going to be, is he going to really sit down and listen and work to the and move forward, does he really want to follow Romney's admonition, and that's also true for the House Republicans. Or are we just going to continue four more years of what the last two years were like?

I think this is a very serious moment, and again I start -- those of us who were Republican activists and some of the supposedly best analysts on our side in the conservative movement, were just wrong. And we have to think about what does that teach us.

I would also say to the folks, this is not a parliamentary system. Barack Obama's majority goes as far as the White House. And under our constitutional system to get it to work he's going to have to be an immense amount of mutual effort on both parties.

O'BRIEN: Many people have pointed to the minority community that supported heavily Barack Obama and did not support the GOP. What do you do to change that?

GINGRICH: Well, I've said all along you need a policy of inclusion.

O'BRIEN: You were hammered for that. When you talked about immigration on your Newt 2012 you said it should have to be robust and attractive program of legal immigration. And when you talked about that, in those debates, you were hammered for it.

GINGRICH: But I don't think it actually cost me in terms of the primaries. The challenges I had in the primaries were very different. I think you can get people like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio and others, Susannah Martinez, I think you can build a program that is very appealing and very inclusive.

And just for our audience, outreach and inclusion, outreach is when five white guys have a meeting and call you. Inclusion is when you're in the meeting which inherently changes the whole tenor of the meeting. This will be a big challenge for House Republicans. They're a very comfortable majority with a Democratic president they're likely to stay a majority for a long time. The question is, do they want to in a disciplined way create a schedule and a program and include people who are not traditionally Republican, in order to grow a party that in 2016 is competitive.

O'BRIEN: Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, what do they do next?

GINGRICH: Ryan goes back to the house and has a major role --

O'BRIEN: Has one gained anything?

GINGRICH: In the country I think Paul Ryan came across ooze a very likable person. I saw -- I was surprised, I saw that his favorables were much higher than Vice President Biden's. If you had said to me on July 1st we're going to nominate Paul Ryan, he's going to get hammered for his budget ideas and after the debate with Biden he was going to have better favorables, I think that's pretty substantial, too.

O'BRIEN: Mitt Romney?

GINGRICH: I think Mitt better decide what he wants to do. Clearly he's a major figure in the party. He can play a significant role in the party. I think 2016 is probably the next generation. We've got a lot of -- this is the big story here, we have more Republican governors, big margin, than Democrats. Republican governors are doing a better job of solving problems. When you look, this is a point that, was made by a -- by a major political scientist, you look at the three most difficult states in the country, New York, Illinois, and California, in terms of public policy, they're all dominated by Democrats, and they have almost no solutions.

(CROSSTALK)

AVLON: You were talking about the House in the negotiation. You stood on the stage along with the other candidates and said that you would not take a 10 to one deal. Is that a line in the sand that you think house Republicans should stick to?

GINGRICH: I think you can find revenue through royalties on oil and gas. I think you can find revenues through economic growth. I think you can find revenues, frankly, by looking at various federal assets that are being very badly managed. It would be a long, long way before I jump to taxes. Just watch the total disaster in Staten Island New Jersey and New York and ask yourself, is this a FEMA, and is this a department of homeland security you want to throw more money at? Or do we need very fundamental reform before we give them more money.

O'BRIEN: Speaker Gingrich, it's nice to have you with us this morning. Let's go to John.

BERMAN: Thanks, Soledad. Republicans they had visions of ruling the Senate, but some high profile missteps seemed to have derailed those dreams. Up next, Dana Bash with the balance of power in congress, and what it means for actually getting something done in Washington. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Big news this morning in the race for congress, including two Senate races that are still up for grabs this morning. Now to Dana Bash for an update on the balance of power.

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, John. Let's first quickly talk about the house. Not much has changed when you look at the balance of power. Republicans still have control, Democrats are still in the minority and we're watching something really interesting races that have still yet to be called.

But let's look at the Senate -- another very interesting balance of power, because, really it's status quo. Nothing has changed. Democrats are still in control almost with the same number. In fact it looks like at this point Republicans may have lost seats.

Let's look at some of the most interesting races that we were watching this year. Massachusetts, one of the key democratic pickups of the incumbent Republican Scott Brown has lost to his challenger the democrat Elizabeth Warren. And in Indiana, same thing, Republicans lost a seat. Joe Donnelly, currently a member of the house, will go over to the Senate and they picked up that Republican seat against Richard Mourdock. Remember he made those comments about rape and abortion.

And speaking of rape and abortion, that's another heartbreak for Republicans, because in Missouri, they thought Claire McCaskill, the democrat, was very, very beatable until they had a Republican Todd Akin running against her, and he, of course, made those now infamous comments saying that women's bodies could repel pregnancy after rape. That obviously very much hurt him.

In Virginia, Democrats hold onto this seat. It was an open seat left by Jim Webb, and the former Democratic governor Tim Kaine is now going to be the next senator from Virginia. He beat George Allen who was trying very hard to get his old seat back, and he wasn't able to. John?

BERMAN: All right, thanks very much, Dana Bash. As you say, there's still two seats up for grabs, North Dakota and Montana.

Meanwhile pro-gay rights and immigration reform, two issues that propelled president Obama to a winning tally last night. Plus we look at other big signs of the times that they're changing. We'll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMNEY: 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A huge victory and four more years. President Barack Obama wins re-election, and in the end it wasn't even close.

OBAMA: You made your voice heard, and you made a difference.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With a gracious concession, Republican challenger Mitt Romney made a humble request of both parties.

ROMNEY: To put the people before the politics.

KING: No Republican has ever won the White House without Ohio.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the end, the battleground state of Ohio put the election out of reach.

BLITZER: The president of the United States defeats Mitt Romney.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the nation remains a house divided. As the balance of power holds firm on Capitol Hill, a call for unity --

OBAMA: We remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This morning we have every issue covered. Can the White House and Congress work together to fix the economy? Will the partisan gap now close? With the Empire State Building bathed in blue light, this much is clear.

BLITZER: Let the world know that 11:18 p.m. on the east coast of the United States, we projected this win, the re-election of Barack Obama for another four years.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O'BRIEN: Good morning. Welcome, everybody. Want to say welcome to our viewers in the United States and our viewers around the world. I'm Soledad O'Brien.

President Obama is waking up this morning, preparing for four more years after he defeated Mitt Romney on the strength of several swing state wins. What's fascinating is just how he won that battle.

That same divided electorate that gave the president a second term also shows the strength in his coalition on immigration issues, same- sex marriage, and on women's health. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

O'BRIEN (voice-over): The American people are so divided they delivered the House of Representatives to one party, but the Senate and the presidency to the other.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's very clear that we spent $6 billion and we came back to a status quo election. Nothing changed. But "B" it's also clear with this close an election, it's going to be tough to govern when this is over.

O'BRIEN: The division so deep that on the biggest issue, the economy, half the public pushed one way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The economy I think he has to lead us in the right direction.

O'BRIEN: While the rest pushed back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really think we're in trouble.

O'BRIEN: Even a record $710 million in advertising, in twelve battleground states, didn't put people on the same page.

OBAMA: That's why I'm running for a second term as president.

O'BRIEN: But one thing that did budge was the coalition that Obama put together in 2008. It got stronger.

OBAMA: It doesn't matter whether you're black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American.

O'BRIEN: This time the president endorsed same-sex marriage, something once rejected by 38 states, it was embraced last night by two new ones.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will be the first openly gay --

O'BRIEN: Tammy Baldwin will represent Wisconsin. And that wasn't the only seismic shift that concerned Republicans.

ARI FLEISCHER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's not going to make the Republican Party the party that's pro-choice and pro-gay rights. I think you made the Republican Party the popular party. We have a party like that. That's the Democratic Party. The issue is economic issues and Hispanic immigration related issues that Republicans will have to figure out a different way forward.

O'BRIEN: Obama supported the Dream Act and Maryland passed a local version as Latinos turned out handsomely in battleground states. And there were other signs. At times, they're changing.

Colorado voted in favor of medical marijuana. Florida refused to stop public funding of abortion. The Senate will have the most women ever. Governor Romney and President Obama pledged to come together.

ROMNEY: We can't risk partisan bickering and political posturing.

O'BRIEN: A recognition, perhaps, that Obama's coalition may not have gained much ground, but that it spoke forcefully.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O'BRIEN: We're back with our panel. Let's start with winners and losers. Shall we do name association? John Avlon, you're going to start with me -- Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton.

AVLON: Man, VIP, most valuable player, MVP. You know, Bill Clinton's support and impact on this election for President Obama really can't be overstated. Number one surrogate by far.

O'BRIEN: Let's talk a little bit about Chris Christie.

ERICKSON: You know, it's going to be interesting to see when the Republicans meet in Las Vegas next week for the Republican Governors Association. Is there any blowback on Chris Christie? There's a lot of blame for him --

O'BRIEN: Do you think there will be?

ERICKSON: Well, you know, I'm not sure because when you look at the way things broke down nationally it's really hard to say ultimately that Chris Christie actually did the Republicans in when they felt they had it in the bag, and it was certainly Barack Obama's -- and did turn out the way --

RYAN LIZZA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: The guy had a devastated state and he rose above politics --

ERICKSON: And it's still devastated.

LIZZA: I mean, he's one of the biggest winners of this election despite what a small fraction of conservatives say --

ERICKSON: A small fraction of conservatives who will probably do him in if he tries to run for president in 2016 --

LIZZA: Well, that says a lot about the Republican Party if that's true. Who wants to tackle Karl Rove?

ERICKSON: I do, I do. The -- the billions -- I feel like we need to print up a t-shirt that says I spent $6 billion and all I got was status quo. Yes, I think Karl Rove needs to call his donors.

But it's not just Karl. It's epidemic with the Republican consultant class that Barack Obama had the shutout in 2008, and think differently.

You've got a Republican consultant class that's failed to innovate and has revolved around big names to get things done and they have now failed to deliver --

LIZZA: In defense of Rove, the strategy that Rove tried to implement with the first Bush campaign, the second Bush campaign, reaching out to Hispanics, if the Republican Party had kept on that path with McCain and Romney --

ROSEN: -- extend the Rove loss to just money generally in many respects. You know, Barack Obama, in the end, ended up being relatively even on money, because of small donors. Not because of super PACs. Not because of independent expenditures.

And so you have to look at the -- you know, billions of dollars spent on ads trying to say, all right, did that really change voters' opinions? And the exit polls we started out this election very close to where we ended up.

HOOVER: Actually, Hilary, if you look at TV ads, but if you look at all the money raised, soft money, hard money and also super PACs, Republicans outraised Democrats by about $90 million.

ROSEN: Which makes it worse, right?

HOOVER: Exactly, exactly. But I do think if Republicans had won this would be a different story.

ROSEN: The point I'm making, Margaret, is where the money came from, right and that's not unimportant.

ERICKSON: -- is lost here. All of this, because for three years now you've had a number of pundits, and a number of people in the media lamenting Citizens United and how super PACs work. It didn't actually --

LIZZA: At the presidential level super PACs are not going to buy you the presidency. Senates -- and state level Senate, gubernatorial races, House races --

O'BRIEN: OK, so the U.S. Senate, if you're a GOP, like Cornyn.

MARTIN: You feel this morning?

ERICKSON: Math had a big victory yesterday.

O'BRIEN: Math?

ROSEN: And all -- one more point which is really women. You know, and the choice issue, and pay equity and those issues that people said were not going to matter at all.

When you had Planned Parenthood out there spending money on advertising, doing, you know, reminding people of where the Republicans stood, where Mitt Romney stood, you have to say that those issues for women were extremely powerful across the board.

O'BRIEN: Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz who is joining us now, at Obama headquarters. Look at that smile, happy feeling this morning. What's going on with Florida?

We're still waiting on Florida. On our map, Florida is the lone little yellow state. We're waiting on Florida. What is happening in your state?

REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA: Well, I think later this morning you'll see the opportunities to change that from yellow to blue. The numbers have moved in President Obama's direction.

I think at last count when things shut down last night the president was ahead by about 60,000 votes statewide. That there were actually voters still in line at 2:00 in the morning in Miami-Dade County, which is really incredibly frustrating and unacceptable given that we really have the ability to make voting a lot easier and more accessible.

But the Republicans kind of did the reverse in Florida this year. So I think Florida is ultimately going to be called for President Obama.

AVLON: Congresswoman, this is John Avlon. The numbers looked like Florida was trending Romney, but this obviously too close to call, even this morning after this election.

Is this a testament primarily to the ground game of the Obama campaign or to Latino voters, and that gap the Republican Party's trying to contend with outside the Cuban community in Florida?

SCHULTZ: Well, actually, both. Because what we did in Florida, like we did across the country in the battleground states, in the Obama campaign, is we stood up the most stick, the largest, most dynamic grassroots presidential campaign that we've ever seen.

Certainly that we've ever seen in Florida. And Latinos, we actually increased the turnout in Florida, and across the country, from 2008, with Latino voters. With African-American voters, with younger voters, and so because of the ground game, because we emphasized door knocking and phone calls, and just tremendous outreach, look, I think what this election says last night is that, they did when it comes to money -- our average contribution was about $50.

The door-to-door neighbor-to-neighbor campaign beat billionaires trying to buy the White House. We had volunteers knocking on doors until their knuckles bled and phones surgically attached to volunteers' ears.

AVLON: That sounds bad.

SCHULTZ: The grassroots really means something in politics -- which is really rewarding. Hi, Hilary.

ROSEN: Congratulations.

SCHULTZ: Thank you.

ROSEN: Also big congratulations to a race people haven't really talked about yet this morning, which is defeating Allen West, major Tea Partier candidate, Patrick Murphy in that state. You spent a lot of time in that district. Democrats really worked the ground game there. That was a place where the Republicans put in millions of dollars to try and keep Allen West out there.

Tell us about the, the rest of the House, and your kind of view about where this goes and whether you think Republicans and Democrats actually ever get to working together again.

SCHULTZ: Well, I'll start with the last part of your question first, and yes, we absolutely have to get to where we can work to the again. And that's absolutely critical if we're going to continue to move our economy and our country forward.

I think last night, whether it was the defeat of Allen West, or Richard Mourdock or Todd Akin or Joe Walsh, there are, you know, the extremists, the most extreme Tea Party Republicans were not successful last night.

And I think that's what their constituents -- and Hilary, I saw this all across the country as I traveled on behalf of President Obama, they -- voters, Americans want us to work to the.

Countless times people told me, you know, I want us to win but we've got to quit the vitriol and divisiveness and we've got to come together and compromise. I mean I'm hopeful, I know President Obama is hopeful that now that this election is over, that we're going to be able to work together, I mean I hope --

O'BRIEN: Can I ask you a question before we get --

SCHULTZ: -- last night's results.

O'BRIEN: Before we run out of time, quick question, how do Democrats make up that 20-point loss? If you look at the exit polls for white voters, 59 percent to 39 percent, 20-point difference among white voters, Democrats can't sort of give up on white voters, can they?

SCHULTZ: Of course not. But I think, you know, what we can't ignore in last night's victory was that you know the president passed health care reform, Wall Street reform, he rescued the auto industry, and the Republicans threw the kitchen sink at President Obama, and he won. And so voters rejected the extremism, and they also --

O'BRIEN: That's not quite answering my question. But Congresswoman, -- I hear you. I guess what you're saying, but that doesn't exactly answer the question about that 20-point gap, which is an important gap.

We're going to talk about it more with the panel. We thank you for joining us this morning and congratulations. Ahead, veteran of the House, he was asked by the Obama campaign to get into Paul Ryan's head. Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen won his race. He's going to join us next. We're back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. If you're just joining us this morning or maybe had a really, really long sleep last night we should tell you, President Obama has been re-elected.

The president will serve four more years in the White House. Meanwhile, the Republicans have maintained control of the House of Representatives and the Democrats retain control of the Senate.

We're going to go over to Dana Bash now for a closer look at the balance of power.

BASH: It really is status quo. First let's look at where things stand in the Senate. Democrats still have control of the majority, but I want you to look at these two white seats right there.

Those are still white because even now there are two outstanding races in Montana. The Democrat John Tester had a very tough race. We still don't know if he was able to hold onto that seat.

And in North Dakota, Heidi Heidkamp, the Democrat is still running for her political life against the Republican there. So we're going to watch those. It's still not over in the Senate. But let's go to the House. It's not over there entirely, but we do very much know that Republicans still have control of the House of Representatives.

Let's look at some of the more interesting races when it comes to the House. First of all in Florida, look at that, Patrick Murphy the Democrat is giving Allen West, the Republican a run for his money, big time.

Allen West is very well known as one of the most outspoken members of the Tea Party Movement who won two years ago. And we'll see what happens there. It's not looking good for Allen West, but we're not ready to call that yet.

In New York, the Democrat Dan Maffei has won his seat back against another 2010 Tea Party backed Republican and this is part of the story line that some of the more vocal members of the Tea Party have lost their races.

But let's now look at New Hampshire. This is another fascinating story line. Two Democrats won, Carol Shea-Porter and Ann Mcclain Custer. They represent Democratic pickups, but they also represent, John, get this, the fact that the entire congressional delegation from New Hampshire, all women.

It's the first time in history. There are two female senators and there's a female governor.

BERMAN: That's right. And the governor elected last night, to all women in New Hampshire, a big, big story up in New England. Thanks so much, Dana. All right, Soledad, back to you.

O'BRIEN: John, thank you very much. Well, we know there's been no real shift in the balance of power. We want to get right to Maryland Democratic Congressman Chris Van Hollen. We were talking with you yesterday and said we'll follow up and see how it went. Here it is. You are glowing. Smiling since you walked out onto the set.

My question for you now is what happens next with this balance of power that really does not change? How do you move forward in a way that is dealing with things like the fiscal cliff?

REPRESENTATIVE CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND: Well, I think the president made very clear last night in his speech that he was looking forward to working with Republicans. But it's also important to realize that there was a decisive election.

And one of the big issues in this election was whether or not we should take the balanced approach to reducing the deficit. The president's talked about it, combination of cuts but also revenue.

And it's very clear from the exit polling that a majority of Americans recognize that we need to share responsibility in reducing the deficit. That means asking higher income earners to contribute more to reducing the deficit.

So, that was one of the clear messages that was one of the central themes in this campaign. The president won. And I think it's important that Republicans on the Hill recognize that the American people have said, balanced approach is necessary, we get our deficit under control.

O'BRIEN: John Boehner has said 3:30 this afternoon he's going to be holding a press conference to talk about fiscal cliff, to talk about the need for both parties to find common ground. Margaret, you wanted to jump in.

HOOVER: I was going to say, our exit polling, CNN's exit polling actually showed should taxes be raised to help touch the budget deficit and 63 percent of exit pollers said no.

HOLLEN: All the exit polling I've seen shows that people said yes when it comes to people over $250,000 contributing more to reduce the deficit. When you ask people whether everybody should face a tax increase, they say no.

That's not what the president has called for. He has been very clear throughout this campaign. He has asked people over $250,000 to pay -- go back to Clinton era rates above $250,000. It's a clear the majority of the country favors that.

ERICKSON: Congressman, I have to ask you about that. As a Republican, let's say we go back to the Clinton era rates. If we do that, we can't even close this year's budget deficit. Forget the debt. We can't even close this year's budget deficit.

Where do Democrats and Republicans alike start cutting? Democrats and Republicans alike came up with a compromise to raise the debt ceiling. Whether you tell me no or yes, I genuinely believe you all knew the super committee was going to fail. And you all knew you were going to get into this ought automatic cuts. Where do Democrats and Republicans start cutting? We talked about math this entire time. The math on tax increases doesn't add up to close even this year's budget deficit.

HOLLEN: We actually did a trillion dollars in cuts, 100 percent cuts and what the president said at the time is as we move forward, having done 100 percent cuts we need to take a balanced approach. And he has put on the table additional cuts.

For example, let's get rid of some of the big AG subsidies to agri businesses and he has put on the table other cuts. He's absolutely right, if you don't ask higher income earners to chip in a little bit more to reduce the deficit, you're going to whack everybody else, hit our kids' education, reduce our investment in infrastructure, ask seniors on Medicare to pay a lot more so that people with high incomes can pay less.

That was a big, important theme in this election. The president couldn't have been clearer. And so for Republicans to draw a line in the sand and say they refuse to take the kind of balanced approach that every bipartisan commission has recommended suggests that they just aren't willing to compromise.

And I hope that will change, but we face a fiscal cliff. They face a very important question on this fiscal cliff. Are they going to drive off the fiscal cliff with the message that nobody in the country gets tax relief in the last very high income earners get a tax break? I just think it's unsustainable.

O'BRIEN: Final question for you, then we're going to let you go. Paul Ryan, you've been very critical, very harsh on him. Now you have to go back and work with him.

HOLLEN: I've been harsh on his budget.

O'BRIEN: And him at times and you played him, I believe, in the debates.

HOLLEN: I did. We get along well personally, but I do think his budget is an uncompromising document. He has a fundamental choice to make, right? He can help be part of the solution here, really try to achieve compromise or continue to try and be the standard bearer for the Tea Party Republicans in the House.

As Dana said, Tea Party Republicans in the House had a bad night. We did pick -- Democrats picked up about seven seats, I think we're projected to. Obviously we didn't take back the House. One of the messages in the Senate races and the House races were some of the more extreme voices lost.

O'BRIEN: Congressman Van Hollen, nice to have you with us.

HOLLEN: Nice to be here.

O'BRIEN: We appreciate it. Speaker John Boehner says it's back to business for Congress, tackling the impending fiscal cliff starting today. Can Congress work together to prevent us from falling off that cliff before the end of the year deadline? We'll take a look at that ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Good morning. Welcome, everybody. You're taking a look at the picture of the White House. We'll be talking about the impending fiscal cliff which, of course, is connected to jobs.

In that White House, of course, this morning, lots of celebration. Let's talk a little bit about fiscal cliff with Ali Velshi and Christine Romans. We talk about fiscal cliff, but really it's about jobs ultimately.

ROMANS: It is.

O'BRIEN: If we go off the fiscal cliff we lose jobs.

ROMANS: We want job creation, right. Everybody wants that. Near- term crisis right now is job destruction that would happen under the fiscal cliff.

We know that John Boehner has called for a press conference at 3:30 this afternoon to outline the next steps on fiscal cliff. We know this is the first order of business from the House side. The president has to get going on this right away as well. It is a jobs story.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: You don't get jobs unless you have economic growth, which is demand and more people employed. It is directly connected to jobs and your taxes. Those are the two things that happen immediately.

I think Chris Van Hollen made interesting points. There's no question that the problem on taxes and the fiscal cliff lives in Congress, in the House of Representatives and largely with Republicans.

As we were traveling around the country, people do not hold Democrats in congress blameless for this. They have to go in and say it is a new day now. We all talked smack for the last two years.

Americans want a deal. More people will get thrown out if they don't get a deal. Hard liners have been pushed out, but a deal has to be made.

O'BRIEN: Next 30 seconds, talk to me about New York futures.

ROMANS: They are slipping a little bit right now. We'll watch closely.

O'BRIEN: What does that mean?

ROMANS: They're falling a little bit. There's a little less optimism about the status quo and looking for sign that is fiscal cliff movement is happening. You can't start changing jobs and the structure of the economy if you have this crazy congressional malpractice hanging over your head, which is what the fiscal cliff is.

VELSHI: But we were looking like -- at a positive opening now. We're looking maybe three quarters of a point lower, but it's still early. It's not even eight yet.

MARTIN: One issue barely touched on in this campaign, home foreclosure, still a significant issue still. Folks have those high principle payments based upon those crazy subprime loans. The president's plans haven't been that great. That needs to be part of it. It also speaks to jobs.

VELSHI: It's the golden lining over the cloud right now. Housing is working right now because of those low interest rates. At least we're not going in the wrong direction on housing.

O'BRIEN: Our next hour as we continue our conversation in the wake of the Democrats big win last night begins right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A huge victory and four more years. President Barack Obama wins re-election and in the end it wasn't even close.

OBAMA: You made your voice heard and you made a difference.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With a gracious concession, Republican challenger Mitt Romney made a humble request of both parties.

ROMNEY: To put the people before the politics.

KING: No Republican has ever won the White House without Ohio.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the end, the battleground state of Ohio put the election out of reach.