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President Obama's Agenda; Jared Lee Loughner Gets Seven Consecutive Life Terms; Can Dems, GOP Work Together?; Government: "Don't Break Out The Cheetos"; Post Election Laughs

Aired November 8, 2012 - 16:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: President Obama gets down to business. He's signaling what his priorities are for term two.

Also, a dramatic courtroom confrontation. The former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords stares down the man who tried to kill her.

And now that the voters have had their say, Colorado's marijuana growers and would-be legal dealers face a showdown with the federal government.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Today, we're getting our first inside hints about what's on the president's to-do list now that the election is over. The list includes huge issues like taxes, the deficit, a headline-making overseas trip and a possible shakeup of his Cabinet.

Let's get right to our chief White House correspondent, Jessica Yellin. She's been doing some reporting.

Jessica, what are you learning?


First, the news is that those reports saying that the president is going to be delivering a major speech on the economy or on the fiscal cliff are simply not true, no big speech planned for the coming days. The second piece, I will add to that that the president's team believes that they have laid out pretty clearly where the president stands on deficit reduction and how to avoid the fiscal cliff.

And the next move now is for the Republicans to say where they stand, what they're willing to give and to let negotiations take place to make some progress. The second piece, Wolf, of news is pundits have been saying that the president was very low on specifics during this campaign and it may be true he didn't offer much by the way of detail, but he did outline an agenda. And here it is.


YELLIN (voice-over): While the details may be sparse, President Obama did outline a second term agenda. The first big challenge, deficit reduction. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My plan will cut the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 10 years. I'm going to cut out spending that we don't need. We have already cut $1 trillion.

YELLIN: Specifically, he proposed filling the nation's coffers by reforming Medicare and Medicaid and changing personal income tax rates when the Bush tax cuts expire at year's end.

OBAMA: I'm going to lower taxes for middle class folks. Let's also make sure the wealthiest households pay a little bit more.

YELLIN: The White House has pledged to veto any bill that extends the current Bush tax rates for families making $250,000 a year or more. The president also hopes to accomplish corporate tax reform in his second term. One part of that:

OBAMA: I want to reward small businesses and manufacturers who are creating jobs right here in the United States of America.

YELLIN: The election result could only strengthen the president's resolve to accomplish the next item, immigration reform. He told "Rolling Stone" magazine if he won reelection, the GOP would come on board because they will start recognizing that alienating the fastest growing segment of our society is probably not good politics for them.

He won 71 percent of the Latino vote Tuesday. Senior Democrats tell CNN he's likely to push for comprehensive immigration reform.

The overall message Democrats take from the election?

DAVID AXELROD, SENIOR OBAMA CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: I think people expect everyone to live up to their responsibilities. And one thing that is clear as I have moved around the country with the president is they're hungry for that kind of cooperation. I hope that coming out of this election people will come with a renewed sense of cooperation because it will take that to solve problems.


YELLIN: Wolf, two other big goals the president outlined are energy reform and education reform. Now, given the realities of the political situation in Washington, education reform seems to be more likely to get bipartisan cooperation.

But the president can do quite a bit using his executive authority to achieve some changes in energy policy on his own. You mentioned a foreign trip. That is right. The president and the White House have announced he will be going in about 10 days overseas. He will visit Cambodia and Thailand and Myanmar, where he will visit with the now freed leader Aung San Suu Kyi -- Wolf.

BLITZER: I know the foreign trips are going to be very important.

But what about a trip up to Capitol Hill? He had a phone conversation yesterday with the Republican leadership up there, the speaker, John Boehner, the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell. Is he planning on sitting down with those two Republican leaders any time soon? Is the White House saying?

YELLIN: There's nothing announced for a leaders meeting so far. But I am certain, Wolf, that that will be coming, because there's such important negotiations ahead.

I'm told that the president's conversation with Speaker Boehner was courteous, it was brief. And I'm told that they also discussed the importance of keeping their public statements vague or general enough so that they leave themselves enough private negotiating room to get a deal done to avoid the fiscal cliff, Wolf.

BLITZER: That's probably smart too. Thanks very much for that, Jessica.

Let's dig a little bit deeper right now with our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger. Isn't his responsibility right now though to take the first step, offer a proposal to Boehner, to McConnell, to the Republicans? We assume that the Democrats, Nancy Pelosi would go along and Harry Reid would go along with the president.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think as Jessica's saying, the president believes he already put a plan on the table for $4 trillion -- a $4 trillion budget.

BLITZER: That's been rejected by the Republicans.

BORGER: Rejected.

So I do think what his responsibility is, is to set the tone, as a newly reelected president, set the tone for future negotiations. We all know where all of these people stand on these issues. But the people, 77 percent of the people in this country according to our exit polls think that the economy is doing badly. OK.

So it's up to the president to set the tone to make sure to let the country know -- to reassure the country that he has no intention of letting Congress go over the fiscal cliff. And so I think what he has to do -- and he may do it in a press conference -- or he just needs to say to the American people we are going to get this under control because it's in nobody's interest to let these negotiations go on the way they did for the debt ceiling. I mean, that was an embarrassment to everybody.

BLITZER: That's when they were arriving back at the White House yesterday.

BORGER: Right.

BLITZER: You know, the big problem right now, Speaker John Boehner yesterday says it, they're continuing to say it today, that they can have an increased tax revenue coming in, but not from an increase in tax rates. It's got to be an elimination of loopholes or deductions or exemptions, whatever.

BORGER: Sure. BLITZER: But they're not going to increase the rate on anyone, including millionaires and billionaires. So how do you get around that if the president says you have got to increase that rate from 35 percent to 39.6 percent for families making more than $250,000 a year?

BORGER: So there are a couple of issues here. First is the huge speed bump, which is what you're talking about, which is when the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthy.

BLITZER: At the end of this year.

BORGER: At the end of this year.

BLITZER: They expire for everyone.



BLITZER: Including the middle class.

BORGER: Exactly.

The president has said he wants to keep the tax cuts in place for the middle class, not for the wealthy. That's going to be the first argument they have to decide. I mean, Wolf, in talking to Democrats, some have said in the past why not raise the definition of wealthy for example from $250,000 a year to $1 million a year?

Maybe there's a way to avoid that fight. The other big fight, of course, is the fiscal cliff argument. Nobody wants those draconian spending cuts to take effect on January 1. The Democrats don't want to do it. The Republicans don't want to do it. So in order to preserve themselves -- and I would say this is a matter of self- interest. Don't forget this is a status quo Congress.

Nobody got an overwhelming boost here, Democrats or Republicans in the Congress. So they know for self-preservation they have got to get some kind of a grand bargain done. And everybody knows, Wolf, everybody knows that it includes tax reform. Mitt Romney himself proposed a version of tax reform where you cap deductions for example.

That's something that will automatically be on the table. So they just have to get over this huge issue of the tax cuts and then they can get to the larger macro issues of how do you avoid the fiscal cliff and start dealing with entitlements.

BLITZER: But that would require -- if you deal with the increased revenues through tax reform, it would require the president blinking on the increase in the tax rate for the wealthiest Americans.

BORGER: Well, and that's why I'm saying perhaps there's a way to redefine wealthy. Maybe it's not $250,000. Maybe it's $1 million. Maybe it's $2 million.

BLITZER: That's what Chuck Schumer, the Democratic senator from New York, says.

BORGER: Who knows.

You know, I have to believe when you're staring at the cliff, there has got to be some way for them to avoid it, because they know the repercussions are not just in this country, they're global. They have got to figure it out.

BLITZER: Yes. In our exit polls we asked what is your opinion of the Obama administration? And 49 percent said they were either enthusiastic or satisfied, 49 percent said they were dissatisfied or angry. So I wonder how much political capital -- the country is so evenly divided -- that gives the president.

BORGER: I don't think anybody can claim a clear mandate here.

You have to give the president credit. He got reelected as president of the United States. He's got his progressive base he's got to worry about. But nobody here can claim some kind of overwhelming landslide mandate. People just want to see these fiscal problems fixed. They want to see unemployment continue to go down. And they want to get on with their lives.

BLITZER: I agree. Let's see if they can do it. And the clock is ticking because they only have until the end of December. And we will see if they can. Thank you.

A quick footnote to the election: Mitt Romney's campaign apparently was planning an election night fireworks show over Boston Harbor as part of a victory celebration. "The Boston Globe" reports the Romney campaign contracted with the same firm that handles Boston's Fourth of July fireworks and obtained a permit. But, of course, they ended up with nothing to celebrate.

A dramatic moment in a Tucson courtroom today. The former congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, stares down the man who tried to kill her. We have new details from her would-be assassin's sentencing hearing today.


BLITZER: Important meetings going on at the White House up on Capitol Hill right now. There's an economic potential crisis out there unless the Republicans and the Democrats, the president gets together with the Republican leadership in the House and Senate and works out a deal. Much more on this story coming up, the stakes right now enormous.

Other news right now we're following, powerful and sad words today, as the former astronaut Mark Kelly and his wife, the one-time Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, confronted her would-be assassin.

CNN's Casey Wian was in the Tucson courtroom for Loughner's sentencing today.

Casey, it was an emotional moment. Describe to our viewers what you saw and heard.

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I heard a lot of emotional speeches from victims of this horrific shooting.

And, of course, the folks that everyone were waiting to hear from, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, her husband, Mark Kelly, they were the last to speak. We actually thought that perhaps Gabby Giffords wouldn't stick around to hear what her husband had to say because she left the courtroom briefly during the proceedings. She did come back.

And they came up to the podium, both of them looking Jared Loughner directly in the eye, giving some very emotional statements about the impact that this shooting has had on their lives.

Let me read you part of Mark Kelly's statement. He said, "Gabby and I give thanks for her life, her spirit and her intellect, which are still a force in this world despite what you have done. Mr. Loughner, you may have put a bullet through her head, but you have not put a dent in her spirit and her ability to do good."

Finally, he just said, "Gabby and I are now done thinking about you."

Other victims got up and testified, saying how this has dramatically impacted their life. Perhaps the most moving was Mary Stoddard whose 76-year-old husband, both of them, were shot during this tragedy. Her husband was laying on top of her bleeding to death.

She recounted what she went through, how she told him to breathe, how she heard him breathe and how she knows that he heard her say, "I love you" and that he died in her arms moments later. She also directly looked at Loughner saying, "And then I passed out a few minutes later because you shot me three times as well."

What was remarkable to me though, Wolf, was how many of these victims said they were willing to forgive Mr. Loughner. They said because he has a mental illness, they understand that he needs treatment, but they also want that treatment, that medication, to continue while he's in prison for the rest of his life because they want him to be aware of what he has done for the rest of his life.

The actual sentence in effect, life without the possibility of parole. But what the judge did, he spelled it out. Seven consecutive life terms, one for each of the six people who died, one for the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Giffords, plus 140 years for all of the other injured victims, Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Did any of them, Casey, say they would have preferred to see him executed?

WIAN: Not a single person said they would prefer to see him executed. In fact, the U.S. attorney got up and said that he heard from many of these victims and their families who said they all -- all of the folks he said he heard from were happy or satisfied I should say -- I don't want to use the term happy -- but satisfied with the sentence of life without the possibility of parole. Now, we do have just a few moments ago Congressman Ron Barber, who worked in Gabby Giffords' office and succeeded her in office to fulfill the remaining part of her term came out and spoke. Here's what he said he said to Mr. Loughner in court.


REP. RON BARBER, TUCSON MASSACRE VICTIM: I turned to Mr. Loughner and said "I hold you -- hold no hatred for you, but I'm very, very angry and sick at heart about what you did and the hurt you have imposed on all of us." I told him he must now live with this burden and he'll never see outside of a prison again.


WIAN: Politics not far away from this tragedy, Wolf. Congressman Barber running for re-election in the vote that just concluded, they're still counting the votes here in Arizona to see if he's going to retain that seat.

Also, a lot of the victims advocating for a review of gun control laws, they're very upset about the number of bullets that Mr. Loughner had at his disposal, Wolf.

BLITZER: Casey Wian, an emotional day out there. Thanks very much for that report.

We'll have a quick check of the day's other top stories. Also, the voters have now spoken legalizing recreational marijuana as it's called in two states. Do they have the final say? Much more on that, and other news when we come back.


BLITZER: A stark declaration today from the man leading a gruesome assault against his own people in Syria.

Lisa Sylvester's monitoring that and some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now.

So, what's the latest?

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Syria's President Bashar al Assad is insisting he will, quote, "live and die in Syria". That comes as countries offer him safe passage in exchange for ending the civil war. The conflict is so bad that the head of the International Red Cross today said it is unable to cope with the deteriorating humanitarian situation. Opposition forces say at least 64 people died today alone.

And CNN called the presidential election late Tuesday night and yet Florida still isn't red or blue. Election officials in Miami-Dade County finished counting absentee ballots today and have 2,800 provisional ballots left to process. The election supervisor says they should be done counting by tomorrow afternoon with 97 percent of the state's vote in President Obama leads by 47,000 votes. And could Puerto Rico become the 51st state? Residents voted on the island's status as a commonwealth Tuesday. And for the first time a majority said they favored statehood. It is a nonbinding referendum, but it compels Congress to make a decision about it. As a commonwealth residents are subject to U.S. federal laws but they don't have to pay some federal taxes.

And you won't have to watch the news for your next dose of Vice President Joe Biden. He's going to be on next week's episode of "Parks and Recreation". He'll play himself when Amy Poehler's character visits the White House. Her character has a huge crush on the vice president once saying her ideal man would have, quote, "the brains of George Clooney and the body of Joe Biden." So Joe Biden apparently quite a few fans including Amy Poehler's character.

BLITZER: He may be on a TV show, the vice president of the United States, but I'm in the new James Bond film.

SYLVESTER: Are you really?

BLITZER: You didn't know that?

SYLVESTER: I did not know that.

BLITZER: Yes. It's coming out this week. You'll have to go see.

SYLVESTER: That is really enough to see it.

BLITZER: Daniel Craig, James Bond, and Wolf Blitzer.

SYLVESTER: I know, like this, right? Daniel Craig and you like this.

BLITZER: You'll have to see it.

SYLVESTER: You know, you've always been very held highly in the scheme of my eyes. Now just a notch higher.

BLITZER: You didn't know this? I've been telling everybody for --

SYLVESTER: I did not know that. I did not know that. But now all of our viewers know that as well too. So, reason to go see the movie.

BLITZER: I want them to tweet me when they watch the film because this acting thing, maybe I've got some potential.

SYLVESTER: I like it. I like it, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you. The election is over and now it's time to get back to business. But can Democrats and Republicans put partisanship aside and come together to solve the debt crisis? Our political strategists, they are weighing in next.


BLITZER: The president and leaders on Capitol Hill have just weeks to figure out a deal to avoid what's called the fiscal cliff. If they don't, experts worry the country could go right back into a recession. The pressure is on.


REBECCA JARVIS, CBS: The clock is ticking. Investors are looking ahead to what a possible package of tax increases and spending cuts could mean to the economic recovery.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we will se compromise. Already you've seen the president reach out to the other side. John Boehner yesterday making comments that they also want to work together.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: What's unclear at this point is what else will the president do beyond making phone calls? Will he be inviting the leadership here to the White House? Will they be having retreats elsewhere? What is clear that already up on Capitol Hill, the leadership is talking about wanting to get things done.

AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, ECONOMIST: Hopefully, there will be some room for compromise, but I fear there's still one more celebrity death match left in that old kind of Tea Party viewpoint.


BLITZER: Let's get straight to our own Kate Bolduan. She's got an excellent panel with her -- Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's correct. As they're always excellent whenever I'm around if I do say so myself -- just kidding everybody.

The question today is: can Washington work together to fix the debt crisis? As we know that is generally an unanswerable question when we're looking at Washington working at all. But we're going to attempt to answer this today.

So you heard in a snapshot, Ross, the president has reached out to Republican leaders. We've heard speeches from Harry Reid as well as John Boehner, everyone's talking about and describing as congenial, conciliatory, what do you make of it?

ROSS DOUTHAT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, I mean, I think the big thing that changed is that the president won re-election, right? So his leverage over this process is much, much, much -- I can throw on some more muches if you want -- larger than it was during the last time we had these kind of negotiations.

So, on the one hand, that in a sense makes it more likely you get a deal done. On the other hand, if I'm sitting in the White House right now -- I'm thinking, well, we should start where we were the last time we had these kind of negotiations and add on an "I won the election and if I do nothing, taxes will go up" bonus, right? I mean, I think the White House -- there's a delicate balance the White House has to strike here between sort of leveraging their increased leverage and obviously still getting the kind of deal that would prevent, you know, looming apocalypse that will be upon us otherwise. ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: I think two things happen. One is the president got re-elected and two is, we Republicans got beat. We got a big beating on Tuesday night.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So you actually think there was a message sent? Because what a lot of people are saying, you know, still kind of doing the post mortem from the election is that it's still a status quo Washington.

NAVARRO: It's a status quo Washington if you look at it from the, you know, from the bird's eye view and if you look at it from where it was. But I think there were messages sent through this election.

Certainly messages on, you know, wanting immigration reform, wanting I think more compromise and this is also going to set the tone. What is it going to look like? Will President Barack Obama in a second term have the power to compromise?

Is this the choice he's going to make now that he's at his cross roads? Will John Boehner be able to hurt his cats? That's the big question. What can he do with the Republican caucus?

Will he be able to tie them to a compromise? Because I think it's more likely for President Obama and Speaker Boehner to reach a compromise, but then can that actually come to fruition?

BOLDUAN: That's the big question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Or we throw them all of the cliff.

VAN JONES, FORMER OBAMA SPECIAL ADVISOR: I think a couple things. One is, numbers just came out showing that more people voted for Democrats than Republicans.

The redistricting really hurt Democrats this time, but if I'm Boehner and I'm looking out at the country, actually it turns out more people voted for Democrats than Republicans for Congress.

The redistricting holds that reality at bay only for so long. I think it's going to be a very important moment for Republicans to figure out how they move, but the president has a problem. And the problem is his base.

This whole fiscal cliff -- every time I say fiscal cliff I want to smash my head on the table because this one word has gotten everybody to sort of just go crazy. And there are worse things than going over the cliff. I just want to say that.

Here's something that would be worse. A ten-to-one deal, ten-to-one cuts versus $1 of revenue. There are worse deals out there for the American people where you devastate Medicare, devastate social Security, devastate Medicaid in order to get a dollar of tax increases.

We don't want that. So the liberal base that's now very concerned that we're going to get a bad deal, not a grand bargain but a grand swindle. So the president has to both deal with his base and deal with Republicans.

MARGIE OMERO, PRESIDENT, "MOMENTUM ANALYSIS": But voters show polls -- one thing polls are very clear about is that people want action. They want the president to come to the table. They want Congress to come to the table.

And even a majority of Republicans in a poll taken in "National Journal" just a couple weeks before the election, a majority of the Republicans, about two-thirds of Americans overall said we want everyone to come together.

The problem for both sides is when asked in a follow-up, well, if they don't come together, whose fault is it? Then it's everybody's fault.

So even though polls show people think Republicans have been less willing to compromise than Democrats, ultimately everybody's in the same boat. Everyone's going to be part of a dysfunctional Washington at least in voters view if they don't come to the table.

BOLDUAN: Let me ask you about one of the deals, Simpson-Bowles there all the talk once again. They've got this big campaign they're pushing to fix the debt campaign. They think they've raised by some reports something like $35 million since July.

Ads, they're really pushing this trying to be out in front of it as they really have been. But the last time we talked about Simpson- Bowles so much was the debt ceiling fight. And that we know went nowhere. So is this going to end up going nowhere? Are they going to be the White Horse?

DOUTHAT: I don't think it goes as far as Simpson-Bowles. I think you get something smaller, more temporary that does do a trade of new revenues, first-time spending cuts and so on.

The thing with Simpson-Bowles, the reason that everybody liked to talk about it in newspaper columns and shows like these, Republicans didn't like Simpson-Bowles because it raised taxes well above the deal Obama and Boehner were working on. Democrats, I'm sure Van has some choice words for what Simpson-Bowles did for Social Security.

JONES: Flushed it down the toilet bowl.

DOUTHAT: The other thing with Simpson-Bowles is that it actually doesn't reform Medicare so you're doing all of these things -- paying this huge political price.

But Simpson-Bowles basically has an asterisk next to Medicare where it says well, we'll hold Medicare spending to this without changing the structure of the program in any way. So it's too much for a political deal, but in the way too little to be worth that big cost.

NAVARRO: There doesn't need to be a lot of posturing, but at the end of the day both sides have so much at stake. If President Obama can't come up with a deal, can't get a deal done, it's not a good omen for the rest of his legislative agenda. George W. Bush became a lame duck president when his social security plan failed. So he's got things he wants to do. He better start by getting this one done.

OMERO: He needs to start thinking about that legacy in that second term now.

BOLDUAN: All right, everybody standby. We're going to have much more of our unsolicited advice for some poor unsuspecting targets coming up.


BOLDUAN: We're back in THE SITUATION ROOM with some unsolicited advice. Today, I'm going to start with Van.

JONES: Well, you know, my advice is for the African-American community. We are -- people celebrating, people very happy because we performed very, very well. We were key in Ohio to the victory, but we're in danger now.

We have a community that is politically successful, but is policy irrelevant. Nobody's talking about what we've got to do to help black people and it's an economic real trouble. The past four years you haven't heard from the African-American community.

We've been sort of quiet. We wanted to make sure the president did well, didn't want to cause problems, but we're in free fall economically. I think it's important for us to come forward now with an agenda that can help everybody.

We need jobs for youth agenda that can help disadvantaged kids and the black community should be loud and proud about that. My concerns is that we wind up being indispensable to the Democrats and get nothing out of it, irrelevant to the Republicans and you know, wind up in a situation where we're part of the political life of the country, but left out of the economic life. That's not good.

BOLDUAN: I think it's sent -- there were many messages and lessons to be learned from this election. I mean, do you think --

NAVARRO: He's -- I think Van's got a good point because we still see Hispanics. Latinos seem to me to be as much more of a swing vote by Republicans and Democrats than what you see with the African-American community. And I think the African-American community has to step up and become sought after and courted. Let them work for your vote.

JONES: I agree 100 percent with that.

DOUTHAT: And here's one actually small, but kind of interesting statistic is that while Mitt Romney was underperforming John McCain among Hispanics, he actually won more of the African-American vote than John McCain did.

Now, he won, you know, 6 percent instead of 4 percent, but he actually got up to like 8 percent or 9 percent among 18 to 29-year-old African- Americans, which is the group that's hardest hit by unemployment. Again, these are tiny numbers --

NAVARRO: Mitt Romney underperformed a light post with Hispanics. Don't get started on that.

JONES: A Jack Kent Republican would be very welcome right now to create some sense of competition. We have -- it's a big of our country 10 percent or 11 percent of the country right now in economic free fall and neither party taking it seriously. That's bad.

OMERO: It's not as if the Republicans didn't work for the African- American and Latino vote, they actively rejected it. That was the sense I got. They actively used that as a way to run up the score with white voters and really created a corrosive toxic discourse that I think hurt everybody.

BOLDUAN: What's your unsolicited advice today, Ana?

NAVARRO: Well, my unsolicited advice is for --

JONES: Hold it up.

DOUTHAT: How do you say that in Spanish - an extra exclamation point.

NAVARRO: Actually say yeb or bushito. He will respond to either in Miami. In full disclosure I should say he is my friend, I work for him, I campaign for him and he's my tenant. But Jeb Bush is the type of Republican that really needs to get off the sidelines and lead right now, be a vocal voice in the party. He's a pragmatist.

He's not subjected to pledges. He's got great ideas, big bold ideas. He's not afraid to speak. There's a little bit of Chris Christie in him where he can say things he wants to say.

He can play such a big role in having the Republican Party understand what they have to do with minorities, what they have to do with Hispanics --

JONES: I love this. She is passionate.

BOLDUAN: She's passionate about everything.

NAVARRO: And you cried when Barack Obama --

JONES: I cried.

NAVARRO: I would be in tears.

BOLDUAN: So 2012 wasn't the year for Jeb, do you think 2016 is?

NAVARRO: I think it is. I intend to go stage a sit in the minute I get back to Miami. Anybody who wants to join me, Biltmore Hotel.

BOLDUAN: What's your advice, Ross?

DOUTHAT: So my advice is for President Obama and also for all Democrats basking in their victory. You should send a thank you note to Howard Dean. Because if you look at the roots of this Democratic victory, we've been over the numbers and it's clear turnout was huge.

Turning out democratic constituency more than people expected and, you know, the electronic internet side of the campaign was huge. All of this goes back to Howard Dean's grass roots campaign in 2004, which was the first time that you had the tech community really getting involved for the Democratic campaign.

All of these sort of modern internet age political strategy started there and Dean has been sort of a kind of forgotten man in the Democratic Party.

JONES: For some.

DOUTHAT: For some. He would appreciate a thank you note whatever he's doing today.

NAVARRO: Frankly, haven't forgotten but that's just me.

BOLDUAN: Shocking. Margie, what's your advice?

OMERO: So my advice would be to elected officials of both parties. And that is how do we continue talking to women and about women's issues? It's not simply women aren't a subgroup, a niche group, and they are the majority of the electorate. I think it was great that women decided the election for the president.

It's the first time since 1996 that a president won by winning with women and losing with men. But I think it's not simply about abortion. It's not simply about birth control, women issues really about talking to women about how policies affect their daily life.

And how what the candidates are doing, what elected officials are doing can really help improve their day-to-day situation. And I think the economic debate that we're having right now is a good way.

A good exercise for getting rid of the jargon and process and political wrangling that's part of our language and really speaking in -- with a common touch, a way people can understand.

BOLDUAN: I think explaining your story or explaining your position from Washington out I think is something that politicians are horrible at in general. People that don't live in Washington or near the beltway, they don't understand half the words we use I think are hilarious.

DOUTHAT: Fiscal cliff.

BOLDUAN: You do hate that.

NAVARRO: We saw at least two Senate candidates on the Republican side commit great gaffes with the subject of rape that possibly cost them those seats.

DOUTHAT: Not possibly.

NAVARRO: All right, we've got to take them to biology class and put them in some sort of 2012 political sensitivity language class on how to speak about some of these controversial and difficult issues.

DOUTHAT: I think you're absolutely right though that the biggest mistake that Republicans could make right now, I mean, look obviously the Republican Party needs to not nominate Todd Akin for the United States Senate in Missouri again.

But the Republican Party's, the gender gap is driven by economic issues if not as much more than social issues. Say we won't nominate Richard Mourdock again and we won't talk about rape and everything will be fine isn't going to close the gap.

NAVARRO: It's OK to talk about rape, but talk about it in a way that's not offensive to women and a good half of the population.

BOLDUAN: All right, thanks, you guys, great advice today. I will be keeping my unsolicited advice to myself -- Wolf.

NAVARRO: She saves it for Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you. We'll get it from her later, guys. Thanks very much.

Colorado's voters have spoken, but in legalizing the possession of marijuana, they've also set up a showdown with federal agents.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every store that sells marijuana here is violating federal law. Federal government could come in. They could seize assets. They could charge people criminally. They could send people to jail for scores of years. They have chosen so far not to do that.


BLITZER: Up next, how long will the truce last? Stay with us.


BLITZER: So voters in Colorado have spoken legalizing marijuana for recreational use by a ten-point margin. As CNN's Ed Lavandera reports, it might not be that easy.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the kind of story that makes headline writers salivate.

GOVERNOR JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D), COLORADO: I can only imagine, you know, what Jay Leno and company are going to be saying over the next week or two, right? There will be lots of jokes. I'm sure there will be plenty of snack foods discussed.

LAVANDERA: After Colorado voters approved of legalizing marijuana, the state's Governor Mayor Hickenlooper could only warn those not to bring out the Cheetos and gold fish just yet. The fact is no one knows what will happen next. HICKENLOOPER: It's hard to imagine the chaos that would result if state-by-state you had one state legalizing it and one state not.

LAVANDERA: But that's exactly what's happening, 17 states have already legalized marijuana for medicinal use. And Colorado and Washington State are the first to approve selling the drug like alcohol.

The vote has put these states on a collision course with the federal government, which still says possessing marijuana is a crime.

SAM KAMIN, UNIVERSITY OF DENVER LAW PROFESSOR: It simply can't go on the way it is. It can't be a big industry and a federal crime at the same time.

LAVANDERA: Sam Kamin is a University of Denver law professor. He says as more and more states legalize marijuana for medical purposes, the federal government look the other way.

KAMIN: Every store that sells marijuana here is violating federal law. Federal government could come in. They could seize assets, they could charge people criminally. They could send people to jail for scores of years. They have chosen so far not to do that.

LAVANDERA (on camera): Colorado already has a lot of experience regulating marijuana. There are more than 500 license medicinal marijuana clinics across the state and then there are the cultivation rooms.

Where all of this marijuana is grown, hundreds of different strains and flavors, all of this happening right in the heart of the city of Denver.

(voice-over): The Colorado amendment would allow anyone over 21 to possess up to an ounce of pot. It would allow licensed production and weed sales would be taxed up to 15 percent.

The profits then slated to help pay for the construction of public schools. Federal prosecutors and law enforcement aren't saying much, only that they're reviewing the ballot initiatives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Colorado voters are clearly just fed up with marijuana prohibition.

LAVANDERA: Mason Tvert was part of the group that pushed to legalize pot in Colorado. He says it could generate nearly $50 million a year for the state.

(on camera): This law's just going to cause chaos. What do you say to that?

MASON TVERT, CAMPAIGN TO REGULATE MARIJUANA LIKE ALCOHO: I think that's just absurd. Take marijuana out of the underground market. Let's stop giving all the profits to cartels and gangs and start putting those profits toward Colorado businesses. And let's start generating tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue that could be benefitting our state as opposed to, you know, going overseas or going towards criminal activity.

LAVANDERA: It's an awkward time. Voters have essentially passed a smoky bong to the federal government and it needs to figure out what to do with it next. Ed Lavandera, CNN, Denver, Colorado.


BLITZER: After that warning to residents not to break out the Cheetos and the goldfish too quickly, the Colorado governor received a special delivery, an attorney and marijuana advocate and his daughters dropped by his office leaving bags of the snack foods with his assistant.

The election results are giving the nation's late-night comedians plenty to laugh about. You don't have to stay up late to catch all the best jokes. We have some of them right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Frankly, folks, I am stunned. I really thought Romney would win. Now I'll never get to see Mitt's inaugural ball and his first dance with Rafalca. At last, my love has come along --



BLITZER: Election night was a gold mine for TV's late-night comedians. Check it out.


STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE COLBERT REPORT": Ladies and gentlemen, a Colbert report is ready to project that CNN has projected that Animal Planet has predicted that the winner of the 2012 presidential election is Barack Obama.

Now Obamacare is here to stay. Sure a single illness won't wipe out your life savings, but at what cost? A lower one. And now you'll have to wait for hours in line for medical care instead of immediately not getting any.

JON STEWART, THE DAILY SHOW: But this 5-minute segment from last night's Fox News election coverage taken at the precise moment that their own in-house election return research squad announced that Ohio and thus the presidency would be awarded to Barack Obama, I believe this piece of footage will unlike us live forever.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: Do you believe that Ohio has been settled?

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWSW: No, I don't. Look, if we are calling this on the basis of 74 percent of the vote being in and when 77 percent is in secretary of state web site I got the director of the Ohio campaign for Romney on the other end of the line refreshing the page every few seconds --


ROVE: It's going to be a Republican victory. This is a historic Republican county. Their target is 64. They're at 59 with basically the early vote counted. It's going to continue to edge up, big swatches of Butler County, Delaware County and Warren County, all of which are Republican counties that have big chunks of their vote out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better or is this real?

STEWART: Did you catch that right there? That was it. That was the moment. Did you see it? Did you record it? Did you TiVo it?

You can play it back and forth all day long like I did today. Here's what happened. I want to get it straight, Karl, very quickly, are you lying to yourself or to the millions of viewers? Because you're lying.

DAVID LETTERMAN, CBS: This is Fox now. It was shortly after 11:00 announcing that Obama in fact had won re-election. Watch this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With Ohio in his corner, we can project that Barack Obama has been re-elected president of the United States. Fox News will something -- something who cares.

LETTERMAN: A big night for the Democrats, Obama won the electoral vote and popular vote. Mitt Romney on the other side won the unpopular vote.

JAY LENO, NBC: It turns out it's not all bad news for the Republicans. I guess seems depression is covered by Obamacare and some more good news, the president announced today he is not going to raise taxes on the entire 1 percent, just Donald Trump.

JIMMY KIMMEL, JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE: The Fox reporter in Miami, a guy named Blake Berman, was at the Obama rally in Chicago. Now, Will I Am from the Black Eyed Peas was there doing an interview. He was standing right next to him. Unfortunately, the reporter got him confused with not one but two other music performers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Blake Berman has some info for us at Camp Obama, Blake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not necessarily info, but just kind of giving you a little bit of what you see here. That's Wyclef Jean giving an interview. He is one of the many surrogates you could say -- sorry? Who is it? Wallay (ph).

KIMMEL: Keep going, keep going. You'll get to it eventually.