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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Obama Wins Reelection; Interview with Illinois Senator Richard Durbin; Interview with Senator-Elect Tammy Baldwin

Aired November 7, 2012 - 08:00   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. And welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Soledad O'Brien.

Lots to talk about this morning, including the winner, President Obama re-elected. Lots to talk about, including the electoral map. Had to get to 270 votes. You can see 303 for President Obama. We're still waiting on the state of Florida.

There was a victory speech and a concession speech as well from Governor Romney. First, President Obama's victory speech.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Our economy is recovering. A decade of war is ending. A long campaign is now over.

(APPLAUSE)

And whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you. I have learned from you and you have made me a better president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: Governor Romney conceded late in the night, around 1:30 in the morning. Here's what he had to say.

(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 have to reach across the aisle to do the people's work. And we citizens also have to rise to the occasion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: We have reporters covering this story coast to coast for us.

John?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Soledad. As you mentioned, those speeches were well after 1:00 am on the East Coast. You can imagine in Chicago, the probably went on all night long.

My "EARLY START" co-anchor Zoraida Sambolin is in her hometown of Chicago this morning, at a dinner this morning. Probably some weary partiers wandering in at this very moment.

Good morning, Zoraida.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you, John. There were people that came straight from McCormick Place that had been up for 24 hours, trying to convince folks to vote for Barack Obama.

I want to show you the headlines here, "The Chicago Sun Times" has "No Contest". And then, in "The Chicago Tribune", "Re-elected, swing states give Obama a second term."

And the guy who actually delivered this paper, a black gentleman, he said the first time around he voted for Barack Obama simply because he was a black man. But he said this time around when he went to the voting booth, he went and he voted for Barack Obama because he really thought he could change the economy and had done some great things for him. He had a small business and he ended up being able to find a job when his business went under with "The Chicago Tribune". He said it was a union-paying job. He said his family is covered with health care.

So, at the end of the day, he felt this was the right candidate for him, not just because he was a black man.

There was a woman here as well, a 67-year-old woman who had been up more than 24 hours. She had traveled to Wisconsin in order to personally convince people, going door to door, to vote for President Obama. Why? She said because she simply trusts him. She really believes he needs four more years to accomplish what he needs to accomplish.

However, I will tell you, we ran into some Romney supporters, young people that were Romney supporters as well. And one guy in particular really stood out because he is a Latino man. He said at the end of the day that he really felt a connection more to the Republican Party and he really felt that they would be able to move this country forward. When I pressed him as to why, what they could do in order to bring in more of the Latino vote or more of the Latino support for the Republican Party, he said he really had had no idea.

So, you know, some lukewarm support for President Obama from some other folks this morning, saying, you know, we're just going to try four more years and see what happens. This is his adopted hometown. And so, the support here really I think is always going to be there for him.

I have to tell you one last thing. Last night, I was trying to get some sleep because we were going to be here really early in the morning. And the way that I knew President Obama had been re-elected was because of the horns on the cars in this town. So everybody is celebrating this morning -- John.

BERMAN: All right, Zoraida. Thank you very much.

You know, I was in Grant Park four years ago with hundreds of thousands of people celebrating his victory then. There was more euphoria. It seem last night, there was more directed focus on the future, both from the crowd, as Zoraida was saying, and also from the president himself.

That maybe largely because of the state of the economy right now, which voters said was the most important issue to them in this election.

I'm here with Christine Romans in the magic wall to talk a little bit about the economy and the exit polls. CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, on the exit polls, we asked people how the economy was important to them. And until now, really, the conventional wisdom had been this was the strong suit for Mitt Romney.

But I want to dig into the numbers -- 38 percent of the people at the exit poll said unemployment was the most important issue to their family. And look at this, President Obama won this category, which is a surprise. Six months ago, a lot of people thought, if you thought somebody was going to create jobs it was going to be the businessman, right?

Let's take a look at this one. Nationwide, who would be better to handle the economy for you? Pretty much a draw. That was another interesting part of this exit poll.

Also your family's financial situation, is it the same, is it worse, is it better? Forty-one percent said their situation is the same right now. And of those, 58 percent chose the president.

And then, finally, one last issue to show you, who is more to blame for the current economic problems, Barack Obama or George W. Bush? Fifty-three percent of people said George W. Bush. Of those obviously, the vast majority of those went for Barack Obama.

BERMAN: That really is so interesting. Also in the numbers, whenever you talk about who would be better for the middle class, the president seemed to come on top consistently.

ROMANS: That's right, that's right.

BERMAN: All right. Christine Romans, thanks very much -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: All right. Thank you.

I want to get to Senator Dick Durbin. He's a Democrat from Illinois. He's the assistant majority leader and a member of the foreign relations committee. It's nice to have you with us, sir. Appreciate it.

Let's start with what Glenn Thrush at "Politico" wrote. He said this, "Obama's hard-won victory seemed too narrow and too rooted in the Democratic base to grant him anything close to a mandate, much less the popular support needed to break the deadlock of Washington partisanship as he promised during the campaign."

He sounds incredibly pessimistic on this, just a few hours after the president was giving a victory speech. What do you think of that?

SEN. RICHARD DURBIN, (D) ILLINOIS: Let me tell you why I think he's wrong. I believe for the American people, the campaigns ended last night. The question is: on Capitol Hill, will the campaigns end today? We're going to wait to hear from Speaker Boehner.

But the solution to America's problems regardless of who won last night was both parties on Capitol Hill working together. When the Republican Senate leader started four years ago by saying our number one priority was to make sure last night never happened, Obama was never re-elected, it really soured the relationship.

We need a more positive outlook to solve our problems.

O'BRIEN: He says, though, Speaker Boehner, that the American people want solutions and then went on to talk about how Republicans were re- elected to the House and that's an indication that they have as much of a mandate as President Obama has, which reads to me as stalemate yet again.

DURBIN: Let me tell you why a stalemate is impossible. The cliff, December 31st. This was the worst outcome we could dream up. We voted for it. Democrats and Republicans voted for it.

Why? So the super committee would do its work, but it failed. Now, we need something more than the super committee. We need to have Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate working with the president to avoid the cliff, reduce the deficit, cut spending and raise revenue --

O'BRIEN: What do you envision for that?

DURBIN: -- so that we can get our fiscal house in order. Pardon me?

O'BRIEN: Because this is months and months of conversation. So, lay out the vision of what that looks like which, by the way, would be something that both sides agree to. What does it look like?

DURBIN: Simpson-Bowles. That's what it looks like. I was on that bipartisan commission created by the president, 11 of us of the 18 voted for it, including all three Republican senators, two with of the three Democratic senators, myself and Senator Conrad.

It really is the outline we need to follow. It puts everything on the table. It is balanced. It includes revenue.

It really focuses on economic recovery. Make sure this economy is really chugging forward. And then let's get serious about this deficit. But put it in writing. Make it enforceable.

O'BRIEN: There is a major gap if you look at the white vote between what Governor Romney got and what President Obama got. As a Democrat, how do you close that gap or does the Democratic Party become the party that minorities support and the Republican Party becomes the party that white people support?

DURBIN: No. And you saw in states like Ohio where white voters are much more closely aligned -- I should say closely voting. It wasn't a wide split.

One of the issues that Governor Romney had the most difficulty with when it came to white men was his position on the auto industry bailout. There were too many jobs at stake for President Obama to walk away. Mr. Romney said some things at the Republican primary which were popular then. It didn't work very well afterwards. Here's what it boils down to. We are a diverse nation. We should be a nation where both political parties appeal to all of the people in this country.

When the candidate for the Republican Party says, I will veto the DREAM Act, it is like a dagger to the heart of Hispanic voters across America. If you can't help these kids find a legal place in America, then you really sour the relationship.

O'BRIEN: Dick Durbin with us this morning, nice to talk to you, sir. Thank you for being with us -- senator from Illinois.

DURBIN: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Coming up next, he had a few challenges internationally in his first term. Son now what for President Obama? We're going to talk with Christiane Amanpour about the president's global stature over the next four years. That's straight ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We may have battled fiercely but it's only because we love this country deeply and we care so strongly about its future.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm David McKenzie in Kogelo, Kenya. The scenes here were incredible when they found out that President Barack Obama had won re-election. Let's look at some of these amazing pictures.

(MUSIC)

MCKENZIE: They've been spending all night here in this village watching the results come in on CNN. This is the hometown of President Obama's father. There are family members all over the place, existential of Obama-mania around the world.

ALEX ZOLBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Alex Zolbert here in Tokyo. The salary men are heading home in Wednesday evening and they are digesting the fact that President Obama has earned four more years. The news did not move the markets here in any major way, just a slight uptick.

But it is the economy on the minds of many people here. Keep in mind, Japan is the third largest economy in the world and one of the United States biggest trading partners.

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Fred Pleitgen in Berlin, Germany, and it's safe to say that Germans, by and large, are very happy with the outcome of the U.S. election. Barack Obama, according to early polls, would have gotten about 90 percent of the vote here in this country. Nevertheless, there were a lot of newspapers that were quite unsure.

If you look at this one, for instance, they had two front pages. So, if Obama won, they had this one. If Romney one, it would have been this one.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: Some reaction from around the world this morning. It's proof, you know, that we were glued to our television sets last night, watching the election returns. You can bet they were glued at homes around the world as well, ncluding the homes of world leaders.

I'm joined now by CNN's Christiane Amanpour. And Christiane, what are you hearing from these world leaders this morning?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you can see from our reporters around the world how popular President Obama is around the world, and he has been for a long, long time, in Europe, particularly, and in so many other parts. Although, his popularity has plummeted somewhat in the Muslim world. We'll get to that in a bit.

But certainly, world leaders like stability and they like continuity. For the last four years, they've had a relationship with President Obama, and you can see in so many of the tweeted congratulations of the official congratulations through official channels that they're very pleased to be able to continue working with him.

Now, I will say, however, that many observers did look very closely at Mitt Romney. They were looking for a pragmatic, economically successful businessman, but what so many were saying is that we just did not know which Mitt Romney would turn up if he was president.

Would it be hawkish Mitt Romney who spoke very, very hard about Russia, about China, about possibly another war in Iran or would it be moderate and pragmatic Mitt Romney who turned up in the foreign policy debate with Barack Obama?

So, a lot of uncertainty about what Romney would have done in foreign policy. A lot of knowledge and certainty about what President Obama brings to the table.

BERMAN: So, on the subject of the president, one of the world leaders with whom he has had the most complicated of relationships is Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu. At this stage of the game, what kind of influence does President Obama have over what happens in Israel?

AMANPOUR: Well, John, in general, the American president has a huge role to play, because it's such a close relationship, as we all know. And Israelis want to have a good relationship with the United States. To that end, one of the first congratulations that did come in was from the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

And let me quickly read what he said. "The strategic alliance between Israel and the United State is stronger than ever," said the prime minister. "I will continue to work with President Obama in order to assure the interests that are vital to the security of both citizens and both countries. So that's that.

Obviously, President Obama has had a notoriously frosty relationship, frosty personal relationship with the prime minister, but the relationship between Israel and the United States is very solid. And there are very big issues ahead, not least what to do about Iran. We've talked a lot about that over the months and years. And will there be a renewed push for the Israeli/Palestinian peace process?

Again, that is very important and a U.S. president plays a big role as well as, obviously, the both sides.

BERMAN: Christiane, you start talking about the future there. For the most part, this was not a foreign policy election. it was not on the front burner for most of the time. Does that mean we're dealing with the status quo now going forward in terms of foreign policy or are there areas you can see the U.S. taking new action?

AMANPOUR: Well, again, of course, it wasn't a foreign policy election, and that is always so in American elections. And I think you are probably a little bit right there, because it is a little status quo. And if we've seen anything from both President Obama and, indeed, candidate Mitt Romney, there is a sense of retrenched America, a sense of America not wanting to project its power abroad.

Look, the wars are ending. That's a good thing. People are coming home. But also, will America lead in some of the very tricky areas that still are out there? Syria, we've been talking about for the last 20 months. Both President Obama and Mitt Romney said that Assad has to go. If they don't do anything about that, it makes America look a little bit weak.

So, I think that's going to be a big question. And what to do about Iran, I think that will be a huge challenge and how to meet the challenge of a rising China, which is also going through its leadership change this week.

BERMAN: All right. Christiane Amanpour, always a treat to get to talk to you. Great to see you this morning.

We talk about the status quo and foreign policy. What about the status quo on Capitol Hill? Both the House and the Senate maintain the Republican and Democratic majorities, respectively. So, what does it mean for the president's ability to govern going into a second term? Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: -- from last night. Victory celebrations in Chicago. Meanwhile, here in Washington, things feel a lot the same today. That's because they are. Kind of status quo in Congress. I'm here with Dana Bash for a look of the balance of power.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Let's, first of all, start out with the house. Boy, is this status quo. Republicans have 231, Democrats have 190 at this point. But look at those white seats in the middle. It's pretty clear that there are still many outstanding races that we're still watching.

But, let's now take a look at the Senate, because this is where the real drama was last night. Democrats again retain control with 51 plus two independents. Republicans have 45. But let's walk over here, because this is really fascinating. Already what time is it? 8:30 eastern almost? We still have two outstanding races, Montana.

This was a nail biter, and it really is till the very end. The incumbent Democrat, Jon Tester, still we don't know if he's going to win re-election against his challenger, Denny Rehberg. And in North Dakota, same story, (INAUDIBLE) the Democrat is trying to hold on to this open Democratic seat against her Republican challenger, Rehberg.

BERMAN: What are you hearing from North Dakota, because Rehberg was the dream candidate for Republicans.

BASH: I'm hearing from Democratic sources that they believe that it's insurmountable (ph) for him, but we're not calling it. I mean, that's just what they're -- that's what they're saying. He might have been the dream candidate for Republicans, you're right. But you know what, for North Dakota, so is she. She virtually ran against President Obama.

BERMAN: A big, big win for the Democrats. All right. Dana Bash, thanks very much -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: We're going to look a little closer at that one state that hasn't been called. That's because they have stopped counting the ballots. That would be the state of Florida. That straight ahead. Short break. We're back in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Welcome, everybody. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. I'm Soledad O'brien. We have a winner, and it is President Barack Obama who has been re-elected. Take a look at our electoral map. It's been a long day. Let's go right to the electoral map.

If you look to the Senate for the balance of power, 44 Republicans, 51 Democrat. We're still waiting for some races there. Here is how it sounded last night when the president did his acceptance speech. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I believe we can seize this future together, because we are not as divided as our politics suggest. We're not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states.

We are and forever will be the United States of America. And together, with your help and God's grace, we will continue our journey forward and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on earth. (END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: It took a little while before Governor Romney came out and gave his concession speech. They were still crunching the numbers, looking at the state of Ohio. But when he did come out, he was very gracious in what he had to say. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: We're expecting the markets to open in the next hour. Alison Kosik is at the New York Stock Exchange this morning for us. Hey, Alison. Good morning to you. What's the reaction there --

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: -- are you predicting?

KOSIK: Expected sell-off at the open in about an hour. Right now, Dow futures are down 100 points. But you know, it's not all about the election. a big part of the decline actually coming from comments from ECB president, Mario Draghi. What he said is turning the markets into the red.

He said that the Euro crisis is beginning to affect Germany's economy, and the problem here is because Germany is really the checkbook that's holding up all the other European economies that are having trouble right now. And Germany's economy is starting to suffer.

But the election is still in focus here on Wall Street, all eyes focusing on the fiscal cliff. Congress has 55 days to come to a deal on tax increases and federal spending cuts. The ratings agency Fitch, also sent the first warning shot, saying they'll downgrade the U.S. credit rating if we go off that fiscal cliff. Analysts are saying president Obama, you don't have time to celebrate. Congress, you, President Obama have to deal with this fiscal cliff in the coming weeks, because if we do fall off that cliff, the country would go back into a recession, cause unemployment rate to jump. One analyst telling me this morning, Soledad, if there's no resolution on this fiscal cliff, stocks will plummet and the economy will drowned in quicksand.

O'BRIEN: That's just doom and gloom. Alison Kosik for us this morning. Thank you for that update.

We want to take you now you to Miami, Florida still a state in yellow. We have not yet projected Florida. Ashleigh Banfield is there. Yesterday, Ashleigh, you were dealing with long lines yesterday. Today there's a hold up. What's the hold up, Ashleigh? ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Well, Soledad, it wouldn't be Florida if there wasn't a hold up. You're right. And the holdup is the counting, unfortunately. What a strange notion. What do you do in Florida when you wake up in the morning and you know that your state is the only state that hasn't made a decision and the rest of the country moved on without you? You order brunch on Miami beach at the news cafe and you wait and wait and wait until south Florida can count all those absentee ballots dumped on them last night, all 18,000, U.S. post delivering them and then opening every ballot, scanning every ballot, checking, verifying and counting. It's a lot of work.

And they worked all through the night. I've got to be honest with you. I talked to -- that would be a Ferrari driving by. What a surprise. I talked to the county officials about 4:30 in the morning, 5:00 am. They've been up all night. Some had worked 48 hours straight, a lot of them working 24 hours straight. They counted about 50 people in that elections office, absentee ballots all night long. They're not getting to the provisional ballots until Thursday.

So in this close a race, they wanted to make sure that they could get the quickest results as possible. And the quickest results, Soledad O'Brien, mean that you can have your brunch, enjoy the sunshine in the morning, and you can wait until about noon or so when they think they might actually have some numbers for us.

O'BRIEN: All right, then we'll get breakfast, brunch and wait for those numbers to come in.

(LAUGHTER)

BANFIELD: You are not the only one who gets to have diner food.

O'BRIEN: Exactly. Enjoy, Ashleigh. Thank you very much. Interesting, long lines in Miami. President Obama referred to that in his victory speech. He said we've got to do something about that. It was a laugh line in his speech. There was some seriousness in it, too. We saw problems in voting all over the place.

ERICK ERICKSON, REDSTATE.COM: I was an elections lawyer for a number of years. As we have gotten --

O'BRIEN: You were?

ERICKSON: I was. As we've gotten more technologically adept at doing electrics, we've made them a lot more complicated. The problem we have in this nation -- it is a real national crisis. We have a lot of senior citizens who run the polls, volunteer for 100 bucks. They're retiring. People aren't stepping up to do it. It puts a bigger burden on a smaller pool of workers. And the system is breaking down electronically because they bought all these things after 2000. The machines are getting old, software isn't kept up-to-date, people still don't know how to use them.

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: First of all, we have really 50 state situations. You have the different counties. There's no consistent standard. Ana Navarro, if she was here, she would tell you that the problem in Florida, they print out the ballots in three different languages and because they put the entire constitutional amendments on, and the ballot is 10 pages long.

O'BRIEN: I pay my bills with his my phone.

MARTIN: I understand. It took her 22 minutes to vote. She said I'm a lawyer, going through this whole thing. That contributed to the long delays there as well.

O'BRIEN: Do you think it's fixable, Margaret Hoover?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's got to be fixable. Senior citizens running the polls, we've got 65 million eligible millenials who can vote. We should employ them.

ERICKSON: This actually is a constitutional issue. The states are in charge of elections. Congress didn't actually set the second Tuesday after the first Monday in November in 1884.

RYAN LIZZA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: If there were a lot of problems yesterday, there would be pressure on Congress to do something about it. There weren't enough problems.

BERMAN: You called it a laugh line. I don't think it was meant as a laugh line. I think the president was ticked off and I think the response was resounding from Democrats and Republicans. A lot of Republicans were upset at the long lines last night and maybe this is an area where people --

O'BRIEN: He didn't sound mad in his speech. He sounded like, hey, yes, we've got to do something about that.

JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It can be fixed by the spread of early voting.

MARTIN: The 65-year-olds, my mom was a precinct judge in Texas. My dad worked the polls. There are 65-year-olds out there who handle their business now. Let's not dis the 65-year-olds.

O'BRIEN: What are we predicting for Congress? Are we predicting gridlock?

ERICKSON: Yes.

O'BRIEN: Are we going to be able to solve it?

ERICKSON: Absolutely it will be gridlock.

O'BRIEN: Is that a happy yes?

MARTIN: Say it ain't so, Erick. Say it ain't so.

ERICKSON: Every election season we sit around and say the American people want us all to get along. No, they don't.

O'BRIEN: They do. They do. Trust me. (CROSSTALK)

O'BRIEN: Wait a minute. Stop. Stop. The American people do not vote for gridlock. There is no possible way.

ERICKSON: Yes, they do.

O'BRIEN: They don't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Historically, we've had divided government check and a balance. We got the highway system done, Marshall Plan done, everything under Reagan, Clinton/Gingrich. Now we have divided dysfunctional government. Every swing voter I've spoken to hates for it.

ERICKSON: Then why did they vote for it?

(CROSSTALK)

LIZZA: You don't vote for gridlock, you can't actually go into the voting booth and vote for gridlock. And the history of last few decades is voters being much more partisan in their voting, not voting for Republican and Democrats. How do you vote for gridlock?

ERICKSON: They want their cake and want to eat it, too. They want big government and small government at the same time. Voters want gridlock.

O'BRIEN: We'll see about that.

Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, she was the victor, moving over to the Senate. Her election victory earned her two spots in American history. We'll talk about that when we talk to her live. That's coming up next. Back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: You're looking at pictures last night of Chicago, President Obama's victory, his re-election to a second term in the White House. Aside from that election, history was made last night. In at least two states, maybe more, for the first time ever voters approved the right to same-sex marriage. Again, that's never happened before. A little more about the politics of this and how voters opinions have changed over the years, Christine Romans with that.

ROMANS: It's something that's come up 36 times since 1998, John, and voters made history. First, we asked people leaving the polls their opinions on same-sex marriage. Should same-sex marriage be legal in your state? And 49 percent said yes, 40 percent said no. Of those who said yes, 73 percent of those who said yes voted for the president.

Maryland voters, we asked them what their vote would be on question number six, 52 percent said yes. What is question six? Here it is. Here is the Maryland outcome. This is something that supported same- sex marriage, asking voters to support or reject a new law allowing same-sex marriage. Look at this. By a margin of 52 percent to 48 percent, they said yes.

I want to back out and go to Maine on the magic wall. This was a Maine question one on the ballot. Would you support same-sex marriage? Yes came up 53 percent.

There was also another ballot item, amendment one in Minnesota, a no on this one was support of same-sex marriage, and that one passed as well, supporting same-sex marriage. Two of them making history on same-sex marriage last night.

BERMAN: Take the case of Maine specifically. In 2009 they voted on same-sex marriage and they voted against it. Yet last night they voted to approve.

ROMANS: I think people's opinions on this and their views on this are changing more quickly than anything else I can think of over the past 20, 25 years. Exit polls reflect that.

BERMAN: Christine Romans, thank you very much. Soledad?

O'BRIEN: John, thank you.

Let's get to Senator-elect Tammy Baldwin joining us this morning. She is the first openly guy woman elected to the Senate there.

So you're not only a first on that regard but you're also part of a Congress that has the most women ever. What does that mean in terms of what we'll see out of the congress?

TAMMY BALDWIN, (D-WI) SENATOR-ELECT: I do think having a seat at the table matters. And I think that we will see a Senate that is more reflective of America. We're certainly not there yet. But this will be a change that will move us forward and will have the life experience of more women in the United States Senate.

O'BRIEN: Do you feel a personal burden to push forward with a guy agenda?

BALDWIN: You know, what I would say in terms of crashing through that glass ceiling is, you know, if you're not in the room the conversation is about you. If you're in the room, the conversation is with you. And that does transform things.

As I said last night, I didn't run to make history. I ran to make a difference. And my campaign was about the struggle of the middle class, retirement security for seniors, doing right by our veterans when they return home from war. That Wisconsin selected me to face those challenges is historic. But I think it was much more about confronting the very significant challenges that our nation faces right now.

O'BRIEN: Gays have asked for support from African-Americans and Latinos. Do you think now we'll see the flip of that, that we will see gays now saying, listen, we want to pass the Dream act and now we're going to work as a coalition around all of these issues? BALDWIN: You know, I see that increasingly happen. People want -- who see our country and our states move towards full equality in many, many respects. And again when you have legislative bodies that look much more like America, that tends to happen.

HILARY ROSEN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Senator-elect, it's Hilary Rosen. Congratulations.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

ROSEN: You look tired.

O'BRIEN: She sounds tired.

ROSEN: But happy. So -- we've been talking a lot this morning about kind of gridlock in Washington and what makes a difference. You're going to be moving from the House a very bifurcated you know partisan environment to the Senate where there's more hope for collegiality. Give us a quick sense of how you think Republicans and Democrats in the Senate can actually help lead on some of these budget issues. Because Speaker Boehner has been getting a lot of attention these 24 hours, you know throwing down the gauntlet, that their compromise is probably not in the offing for House Republicans.

BALDWIN: You know I look at this, there was obviously intense partisanship, gridlock in the last two years of the Congress.

But moving forward, this election is now past us. And I think the American people and I certainly think that the people in the state of Wisconsin are looking for us to work together. We have very clear challenges facing us with the elements of the fiscal cliff. They want to see us responsibly work to settle those issues.

The President outlined a very balanced approach moving forward. I think that's exactly what we need to do. We do need to tackle our deficit but we need to do so in a way that doesn't short change our future.

(CROSSTALK)

O'BRIEN: Senator-elect --

ROSEN: I just have to say one quick thing. Because you know as a -- as a lesbian, you are a role model to young gay kids all across the country and it is so unbelievably exciting and moving to see you go to the Senate. Thank you.

O'BRIEN: We have a first to report. All right, nice to see you.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Representative Tammy Baldwin who is now senator-elect from the state of Wisconsin. Thank you for talking with us. I appreciate it.

BERMAN: And we do have some news just in. We've been talking about the world reaction to President Obama's election last night. And we have some new reaction from a rather interesting quarter -- the Taliban is now responding to his election.

And for that I'm going to bring back in Christiane Amanpour. Christiane what is the Taliban saying?

AMANPOUR: Well, they are saying what they usually say. And that is, you know, you have lost the battle in Afghanistan. You, the United States, need to pull back and look after your own country. That is their opinion. They've said this before. They've constantly said the U.S. should pull out.

The problem, of course, is not just the statement but what is happening on the ground. And that is that there is an active war still going on in Afghanistan. And the initial goal of the Obama administration was to either defeat the Taliban or beat them to the negotiating table. This has not happened.

And there is a real issue about what the state of play will be. And many people are incredibly worried about what happens once the U.S. leaves. As you know, the U.S. is committed under President Obama to leaving at least by the end of 2014 and there is a huge amount of pressure coming from many quarters to leave even earlier than that. But many are also concerned that the Taliban is still very active and that the whole place could descend into another round of civil war.

So that's the issue going on there. And it will be a big issue for the President going ahead.

BERMAN: You know what's interesting on Afghanistan voters did not have a real choice. There wasn't much of a distinction between the two candidates and Afghanistan like we said took a sort of a backseat to other foreign policy issues, including China. Both candidates liked to talk about China a lot.

And China is going through change of its own right now. They will soon have a new world leader to speak of. And how will that affect this relationship?

AMANPOUR: Well that is exactly right. In fact it takes place tomorrow. I mean, the whole Congress is already under way. And it is huge, it's a once in a decade leadership change and it matters very much to the United States, the relationship between China and the U.S. because obviously of the domestic ramifications, the jobs, trade, et cetera.

Now President Obama has hit China with some trade sanctions. And the business community over there, including Americans who do business over there, don't like that very much. They want to see a much better relationship across the border with China.

Of course, Mitt Romney had threatened to call China a currency manipulator on his first day in office. And that, of course, didn't go well down at all with the U.S. business community there, nor, of course, with the Chinese leadership. So I think that relationship is going to be a very interesting one to look at. Not just because the U.S. under President Obama has declared a shift and a pivot towards the Pacific and we'll see what exactly that means and what that entails. But because this relationship has so much to do with the U.S. economy as well.

BERMAN: You know four years ago during the election, there was a lot of talk of the U.S. role in the world, our image. What others thought of us. Four years later now as we head into the President's second term, how has that changed?

AMANPOUR: Well remember four years ago the U.S. image and influence around the world could not have been lower.

There was a major crisis at the end of President Bush's terms because of the war in Iraq and it was just terrible for the United States.

President Obama changed that. And his popularity, his personal popularity was huge around the world. And with that, he lifted the popularity of the United States.

Now over the last four years, he's remained very popular personally, particularly in Europe and Africa, in parts of the Far East. But in the Islamic world, in the Arab world, his popularity has plummeted. And so that is going to be a challenge as well. Not just because it's a popularity contest but because there are real issues to look at going forward. Iran, one of them, Syria, another. The Israeli/Palestinian process another one.

BERMAN: All right Christian Amanpour thanks again for being with us this morning.

Now it is the key to the White House, and it helped to seal the President's victory last night. Next a live report from Columbus, Ohio.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We are an American family and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: All eyes were on Ohio. That's where we find Carol Costello, she's inside a diner in Columbus. Hi, Carol.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, I had to come inside a diner in celebration of your many diner visits, Soledad. I'm in Tommy's Diner which is in Columbus, Ohio on West Broad Street. One of the more famous diners in the city and sitting between me, Tommy, who voted for Barack Obama.

TOMMY, OBAMA VOTER: Correct.

COSTELLO: And Mike, who voted for Mitt Romney. And they're still talking. And they're still friends. How is that possible, Mike?

MIKE, ROMNEY VOTER: It's tough. It's tough. But after it's all said and done, we're -- we're still friends and we're hoping for a --

(CROSSTALK)

COSTELLO: Well let me talk about -- let me talk about your friendship. Because I think Barack Obama has been elected President, right? But there's still this bitter divide in the country. And if you read social media you really see it. There are Republicans who are unbelievably angry that Barack Obama got a second term.

MIKE: Well, I think they need to put that behind them and work together. And that's what really ticks people off. They get all this bickering in Washington. We don't need that. We need problems solved and solved now. Get this deficit under control. That's a good start.

COSTELLO: So do you think Barack Obama can do that in a second term? Because some people might say he didn't achieve that in the first term.

MIKE: Well, this is going to be his legacy, whatever he gets done over the next four years, so I hope so. And I support him.

COSTELLO: Ok. So you voted for Barack Obama. I'm going to ask you the same question. I mean, why is there this bitterness among some Republicans that Barack Obama got elected to a second term?

TOMMY: Well first, Carol, welcome back to Columbus, Ohio. We used to have Carol here on the local TV.

COSTELLO: I worked in local television for a long time. I love Columbus.

TOMMY: We remember her well. You know I think there is this bitterness in politics today. It didn't use to be this way, I don't think, maybe 20 years ago. I think some of it is the advent of the 24/7 news cycle. Not CNN, certainly, but there are stations out there, networks that do take a very dogmatic stance and just don't want to compromise at all. And I think that fuels a lot of it.

But Mike is saying, my good friend, Mike and we've had a lot of heated discussions down here during the election. But we're friends and in the end we know we have to come together.

COSTELLO: So what does Barack Obama need -- you know, how does he need to show leadership to bring the country together?

TOMMY: Well you know one -- one thing I would do, I told Mike, one thing I would have done if I were Barack Obama, I would have said every month I'm going to have a lunch, a dinner or something with the opposition leaders, just get together routinely. That -- that would certainly help. And he's going to have a big opportunity with the fiscal cliff coming up in the next month or two. And that's a very divisive issue. And it's going to be a good catch to see if he can bring people together.

COSTELLO: Absolutely. Thank you so much Tommy, Mike, thank you so much. And thanks for welcoming me back. I appreciate it.

So you heard it Soled they're still friends even though they voted on opposite sides. You can stay here. It's possible. Bipartisanship is possible. Hope springs eternal for us.

O'BRIEN: Thank you Carol. Well, Mike seems somewhat depressed. But Tommy was talking about hope. What do we think as we move forward? Ryan Lizza.

LIZZA: A lot of history was made yesterday. The most important political story was what happened with the Republican Party. We witnessed yesterday the last campaign that Republicans will run the way that Mitt Romney ran it. In other words, relying on overwhelming majority of the white voters.

Big political story going forward is how the Republican Party adapts to the new reality of the demographics in this country.

O'BRIEN: I know you have a CNN (inaudible) -- we'll excuse you from the table. Thank you Ryan.

Go ahead, Roland.

MARTIN: All these D.C. folks are talking about a mandate, not a mandate. Where I come from in Texas, when you win, you win. You're the president, you lead. You can work with Congress --

O'BRIEN: That's good if you don't have to negotiate.

MARTIN: Here's the deal though. In 2008 he had 365 Electoral College votes, about 10 million and said that wasn't a mandate. Bottom line is, you're the president. You won. You get to lead. That's a mandate.

AVLON: Look, you know, politics is not the purpose of the system. Governing is. You heard those folks in Columbus. They want the country to come together. They want Washington to come together. You saw the real cost that the Republican Party suffered for being intransigent and embracing folks who directed an enormous amount of hate at this President who has been re-elected broadly tonight.

O'BRIEN: Just a few seconds left.

ERICKSON: -- said it's the conservative within the conservative moving having to fight on these issues internally now, trying to get them to shape up. I'm to the left of a lot of conservatives on immigration issues and Hispanic issues. That's going to be an interesting fight within the conservative movement not just the Republican Party.

O'BRIEN: The coverage after this historic election continues. Kate Bolduan is up next.