Return to Transcripts main page


Democrats Win Governor's Races in Virginia & New Jersey. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired November 7, 2017 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:00] JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Four years later, Wolf, it is Chris Christie's legacy that has Democrats so heavily favored in New Jersey as we get ready to count the votes, Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: All right. John, thanks very much.

We have a key race alert right now. Take a look at this -- the CNN projection. CNN projects that Phil Murphy, the Democratic candidate for governor of New Jersey will be elected the new New Jersey governor. Phil Murphy, the Democratic candidate, will succeed Chris Christie as governor of New Jersey, a major win for the Democrats.

Jake and Dana, this is something that was anticipated especially because Chris Christie and Donald Trump in New Jersey right now not all that popular.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It's a blue state. Four years ago, I was covering Governor Christie's re-election and it was -- it was a staggering night for his numbers. He won 60 percent of the vote. But, you know, four years is several lifetimes in politics and right now, it is tough for New Jersey Republicans.

And I heard several commenting that they think it's going to be tough for several years in part because of Chris Christie ending his term as unpopular as he is.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there's no question. Look, the person who is his lieutenant governor was the one running. The two of them weren't exactly thick as thieves, but she still had to deal with the fact that the governor, Chris Christie, is -- was a kind of an albatross, a political albatross around her neck.

Having said that, I think you're right, Jake, that what New Jersey has done has gone back to the kind of natural way of things because it is a blue state, and Chris Christie in recent history has been an anomaly.

What we're going to see now is a Democratic governor who is a Goldman Sachs executive --


BASH: -- who is a -- you know, former ambassador under a Democratic president, under Obama, to Germany, and he is somebody who is going to follow in the footsteps of another Goldman Sachs executive who didn't end his term and end his career as New Jersey governor very well.

And so, the question is, whether he's going to have a different kind of a forecast and, obviously, he's done so well right now that the voters have a lot of confidence.

TAPPER: It's a good news for Democrats who are looking for any good news in what has been an abysmal year with Democrats in the worst position they've been for several generations.

We should also take a look at the fact that, the lieutenant governor or the Republican who we are projecting is not going to win this evening, she ran the kind of nationalistic light campaign that we've seen Ed Gillespie in Virginia and others run, talking a lot about crime, talking a lot about MS-13, talking a lot about sanctuary cities. Republicans are trying to figure out if this is a way for them to win in the future, and we're seeing that not in New Jersey at the very least.


BASH: The one thing also to keep in mind and this is a reminder of, that you were mentioned -- you're mentioning talking about covering Chris Christie four years ago, and it was such a landslide and we were all talking about how a Republican won so big in a blue state and also talking about 2016, looking ahead at that point to the presidential race and thinking, how can anybody possibly you know come up against him?

Well, look what happened in that a presidential election. So, it also shows how quickly things change in politics.

BLITZER: Yes, Phil Murphy, the Democrat will be the next governor of New Jersey.

Anderson, over to you.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Wolf, thanks very much.

Ryan Nobles is standing by at a Gillespie headquarters in the commonwealth of Virginia.

Ryan, what's the scene there?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's not a very positive one for Republicans here in Virginia. They do not feel encouraged at all by the numbers that are coming in. In fact, I've been in contact with the senior Republican adviser. This is someone who has direct knowledge of the campaign and is also looking very close at these numbers.

And this person described this to me tonight as a total Dems sweep. He said crushing numbers. And he also said that it is over.

This adviser also telling that this is a referendum on Donald Trump and his presidency. This is completely a national result and likely Dems who are federal are the only ones turning out, meaning that these are voters that are coming out in big numbers basically in opposition to Donald Trump.

So, this is an important development in this race tonight. We did not expect that this was going to be a race that we could call so early tonight, not that we've called it yet. But right now, I can tell you, Anderson, Republicans here in Richmond not encouraged at all by what they're seeing with these vote totals.

COOPER: I just want to make sure, that was a Republican says you can say that stuff to you?

NOBLES: Yes, and this is a senior Republican adviser. This is someone that's in the room who is seeing these numbers come in. This is not somebody far down the chain. This is somebody that understands what's happening with this race and he told me tonight that it is over.

COOPER: OK. Well, at this point, we should just point out, it is too early for us to call certainly as we continue to look at the votes coming in, still a lot of votes to come in.

[20:05:05] Let's go to the panel.

Certainly the news for Democrats good in New Jersey, still to be determined in Virginia.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, and they're optimistic. I've been talking to somebody in the Northam campaign who is very optimistic this evening.

And he said something interesting to me. He said while the Trump is the inescapable backdrop to all of this, races are about candidates and you know hard to say that, but they -- but it is about candidates and you had in Northam an attractive, a doctor, a pediatrician, running against a former D.C. lobbyist, and this is not the year for lobbyists.

Yes, he was also chair of the Republican National Committee and he worked for George W. Bush and he was a senior adviser to the Romney campaign. So, people weren't quite sure who he was because he was running a Trump campaign but he was an establishment Republican lobbyist and Northam is just a very attractive candidate.

So, you know, this is coming from a Democrat, in the Northam campaign, says yes, it's about Trump but if you look at the exit polls, only -- at this point, only 33 percent say they came to vote to oppose Trump, 47 percent said Trump not a factor. So, we can't forget that.

COOPER: David, how do you see that?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, I would -- I would say -- I would say you have two candidates who weren't particularly compelling, especially to the basis of their parties, and it really was about Trump. It was whether Ed Gillespie by embracing some of the cultural issues that Donald Trump is champion could rally his base without losing votes in northern Virginia, and on the other side, whether all of this energy we've heard Democrats expressed would translate into turnout.

And I think one of the things that we've seen in these early numbers is a very strong turnout in northern Virginia, to the point where some Republicans in Virginia tell me that they're really a little bit concerned about the Virginia House. They have a two-to-one margin in the Virginia House, but they expect to take heavy losses tonight in the Virginia House.

So, I think it has -- this has been a race about Donald Trump and the news isn't particularly good for him tonight.


NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: You know, I think that's right. I mean, and you know, most of the Democrats I talk to in Virginia not so as bullish on Northam as the folks you talk to you. I mean, he --

BORGER: They work for him.

HENDERSON: Yes, yes, right. I mean, especially down the stretch, he seems to sort of lose whatever sort of momentum he had, the early polls he was -- he was doing well. He seemed to get really tripped up on a lot of the cultural issues, often seem to unsteady on his feet in a lot of the debates.

But I think -- I mean, we're going to see everybody talks about demographics, right, demographics being destiny. I think one of things we want to look at in this race particularly is the African- American vote is about percent the last go-round I will see if it's percent this go-round Northam had some challenges, right, in terms of race, in terms of whether or not to embrace of a lieutenant governor candidate who is just in Fairfax. We'll see what that did if anything to the African-American vote.

Bt I think overall, we're seeing how difficult it is often for Democrats to run in this culture war environment, of a kind that the Donald Trump has created this go-around around the NFL, around statues, the Robert Lee statues, around sanctuary cities --

COOPER: And that's what Ed Gillespie embraced really in the final --


COOPER: We got to take a quick break. Stay with us, as we follow the results in the Virginia governor's race. What it could mean for the president and we're less than an hour away from president's speech near the frontlines of North Korean nuclear crisis.


[20:12:30] BLITZER: Welcome back.

We have a key race alert right now in Virginia. Sixty-one percent of the vote is in. Ralph Northam, the lieutenant governor, the Democratic candidate, building up his lead over the Republican Ed Gillespie right now. Northam has 51.2 percent to Ed Gillespie, 47.6 percent. He's ahead by 56 votes.

Let's go over to John King here at the magic wall. You're looking at some key counties. If you're Ed Gillespie, the Republican candidate, can he -- what does he need to do right now? Can he come back?

KING: Can he come back? No is the short answer as you look at this and I don't mean -- that we haven't counted all the votes yet, but if you look at this, he's doing what he needs to do in these small rural counties, running it up with big numbers.

But, Wolf, look most of the vote is in these rural counties and it's not a lot of votes. If you're looking -- we're winning with 68 percent of the vote, you're winning here with 80 percent of the vote, there's just not a lot of votes out here for Ed Gillespie.

And here's what's happening if you look at the race -- doing what he needs to do here, but look at this -- for a Republican to win statewide in today's Virginia, the population growth up here in the D.C. suburbs, you have to either win or break even, just barely lose Loudoun County, he's losing by 20 points almost in Loudoun County.

You have to do better in Fairfax County. You're not going to win Fairfax County for the Republican, but you can't get blown out like that.

Republicans to win statewide in Virginia, they'll tell you, you probably have to win Prince William County. Again if you lose it, it has to be 50-49, not 60-39. So, in the vote rich D.C. suburbs, Ralph Northam is running it up.

This is also key, down here in Richmond, Democratic base, the capital city, African-American turnout, the Richmond suburbs one more quick one for you, Wolf, down here. Ralph Northam lives in Norfolk. We don't even have any votes from Norfolk yet. He's winning in Virginia Beach. The Republican won here four years ago. This map is filling in in a big Democratic way.

BLITZER: Looks like a very, very big night out for the Democrats, John. We've got a major projection right now.

And CNN projects that Ralph Northam, the lieutenant governor of Virginia, will be elected governor of Virginia, beating the Republican candidate Ed Gillespie. The Democrats continue to win in Virginia. Ralph Northam will be the next governor of Virginia.

Let's go over to Brianna Keilar. She's over at Northam headquarters right now.

The projection has been made, Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, and there's a delay here, Wolf. So, it's about to be made and you're going to hear this crowd going wild right now, but they were going wild earlier when you asked John King, could Gillespie come back from this and he said no. There were a lot of nerves coming from Democrats backing Ralph Northam and that was because they thought the social issues, Confederate monuments, might actually play in favor of Ed Gillespie.

[20:15:08] And in the end, they feel like it did it that he would have benefited if he'd stuck to more of an economic message. And then in the end, sort of going towards war, the culture wars, and some of the positions back my President Trump didn't do Ed Gillespie well. But they were certainly worried that it could be the reverse, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Brianna, stand by. We're going to get back to you.

I want to go over to Jake and Dana.

A big win for the Democrats in Virginia and in New Jersey.

TAPPER: Democrats have not had a good night in quite some time and this is going to be good for them, not only of course did they pick up that governor's race in New Jersey, which CNN is projecting and that was eight years of a Republican in that seat before that. Now, of course, in a very competitive state, there commonwealth rather of Virginia, CNN projecting the Ralph Northam, the Democratic lieutenant governor, will win.

And it has to be seen to a degree I think as a rejection of President Trump, who is the strongest prevailing political figure in the country. If you look at who turned out according to the exit polls and how often people who supported Trump voted for Gillespie and how many how often people who oppose Trump voted for Northam. That is a very strong sign of a rejection of Trump.

But also the campaign that Ed Gillespie which Dana and I were talking about earlier is pretty much up until the last two months known as a member of the Republican establishment, somebody who worked for George W. Bush's White House, somebody who was the Republican National Committee chairman but in the last couple months ran a campaign -- at least when it comes to the television ad campaigns -- that was very much devoted not to a message of jobs and not to a message of tourism in Virginia or education, but a message of culture wars and issues that divide people. Especially in Virginia where there was a horrific murder by a white supremacist of a protester in the Charlottesville riots.

So, I do think to a degree this has to be perceived that way. It's just one state. It's a Democratic-leaning state. This is not the entire nation but it's a good night for Democrats and I think a rejection to a degree of Trump and perhaps even more than Trump Trumpism.

BASH: Exactly, that's exactly what I was going to say. I'm not so sure how much we can say it is a rejection of Trump per se since he didn't win there.

TAPPER: Or campaigned.

BASH: Or campaigned there -- very much work --

TAPPER: For Gillespie I mean.

BASH: Excuse me, he didn't campaign for Gillespie. He did some robocalls, but last year, a year ago, it is one of the those blue states of late that he didn't turn red and -- but the -- but the question that you and I started talking about going into this evening is whether or not a Gillespie win would allow and really propel other Republicans who are going to be on the ballot next year to wrap themselves in the cultural Trumpism.

TAPPER: Yes, and talk about MS-13.

BASH: About MS-13, and about immigration and so forth. And so, the fact that Ed Gillespie who was not a natural Trump-like candidate at all did try that in the last few weeks and it didn't win will probably make a lot of Republicans who don't naturally fit into that think twice about it.

But I do also think we should look at the Democratic side because the question has been whether or not Democrats can get their act together and whether they can have a win. And the answer tonight is yes, and they did it with a candidate who was not the liberal darling, who wasn't the -- for lack of a better way to say it -- the Bernie Sanders kind of candidate. That kind of candidate, Tom Perriello, lost in the primary.

So, they -- the Democrats won with a more moderate version of a candidate and that also could be a suggestion to the party as they are really trying to find themselves. They're having a real identity crisis, that in a purple state, that's the kind of Democrat you run.

TAPPER: And remember, Wolf, there were five -- I believe five -- House seats special elections or six possibly and Democrats won one of them and lost five, five in the competitive seats.

So, since Donald Trump won Democrats have had bad election night after bad election night. Finally, Democrats have a good election night.

BLITZER: Not tonight. Important -- two important wins for the Democrats right now. Democrats have one of the political races tonight in Virginia and New Jersey, the gubernatorial contest. Two more races by the way to go and a major address by the president of the United States in Seoul, South Korea. It's all coming up.


[20:23:33] COOPER: And there you see big wins for the candidates -- Democratic candidates both in the state of New Jersey, as well as in the commonwealth of Virginia.

Let's go back to our panel.

David Chalian, I mean, it should be too much of a surprise that the Democrats will win in both states. DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Right. So what I think we're learning is tonight is that some old rules of politics actually still apply. You have a woefully unpopular Republican president who's at the lowest in approval ratings in modern history at this point in the presidency, and you're having a voter reaction to that. It's actually not that complicated.

COOPER: You think this does have something to do with Trump --

CHALIAN: Without a doubt. So, just take a look -- a third of voters, 33 percent of voters that went to the polls today in Virginia, said they went to the polls in opposition to Donald Trump. Obviously, those voters overwhelmingly, 98 percent of them, voted for Northam. Only 17 percent, half the amount of those that went in opposition, went in support they overwhelmingly went to Gillespie, but they were a far smaller share.

So, there is clearly a Trump factor here. He's underwater by 13 points in Virginia. There's a Trump factor in New Jersey, as well as a Chris Christie factor.

But some old rules apply, if you have a really unpopular president of one party, the other party is responding.

BORGER: And here's another rule. This was Northam's race to lose right and he didn't lose it and good for him, but he didn't lose it, right?

COOPER: David?

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So, to echo what Gloria said earlier, you know, amazingly, political races are about the candidates.

[20:25:03] BORGER: But I didn't let Trump off the hook.

URBAN: But to echo Gloria's point and put an emphasis on it, I don't see this as being a huge victory for the Democratic Party. They just forestall defeat and now, they're going to have an internal war because Ralph Northam, as everyone points out, pretty right -- you know, what used to be called a blue dog Democrat, went to VMI, served the military, voted for George Bush twice, you know, is a right-of- center Democrat who beat the Sanders/Warren candidate.

And so, when Democrats sit around congratulating themselves tomorrow, they've got to think about, who do we -- who do we pick as our candidates in the future?

COOPER: Van, is there a lesson here for the Democratic Party?


It is true that my wing of the party got beat in this one and yet, this was the first real test for the resistance. If we've lost here, this was going to be a complete disaster and you're going to have a Democratic Party fall apart and there was a real danger that anti- Trump revulsion could have curdled into anti-political revulsion and people would be so outraged in fact they wouldn't even come out.

What we showed was this party is maturing now under the weight of this Trump presidency. You got a party now that's starting to mature. Yes, we can have our differences, all the stuff with Donna Brazile, whatever. But we still showed up when it mattered and that's a big deal for us tonight.

COOPER: We got to take a break. We only have two and half hours more to discuss this.


COOPER: We are closing in with President Trump's high stakes speech about the North Korean nuclear threat. We're going to go live to the Korean Peninsula for that with new information on President Trump's remarks and also how Kim Jong-un may respond if you will. It's all ahead.


[20:30:38] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back in Virginia, a major win for the Democrats tonight John King. How did they do it? The Democrats won in Virginia. They did it relatively easy it looks like.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Sometimes politics is complicated, sometimes it's basic arithmetic. You turn out votes where the people are. Well, that's what the Democrats did in the population centers, in the Washington D.C suburbs that had become more and more Democratic. A more Latino, more young people, more college educated, more women, more Democratic voters in the past 10 or 15 years.

Look at this Loudoun County used to be a swing county, 59 percent for the Democrat Ralph Northam. A Republican cannot win statewide if you're getting beat by almost 20 points in Loudoun County, Virginia just doesn't happen.

Fairfax County, this one has moved much more Democratic. And again look at it, 66 percent to 32 percent. The Republican cannot expect to win Fairfax County but you can't get beat by 30 points because of the number people who live in these parts.

This one here, few of the Republicans, this is most disappointing. Prince William County, as you start to go close in suburbs, further out suburbs, this is more of ex urban area. So, they are getting much more crowded.

Now, this used to be farms, now it's an ex urban area. We get out here again, for Republican to win statewide in Virginia, you want to win Prince William County if you -- to lose it's got to be 50-49, just so to have a chance, 60 to 38. So it's not happening.

And glad we did what he needed to do down here, we're still waiting for some of this rural counties, running up pretty big numbers down here, just not a lot of people. Well, you see the numbers, there are 6,000 votes. You're getting 75 percent of the vote with 6,300 votes. But then the come back up here you're getting 59 percent of the vote, that's 53,000. Just the people leave up here, the math is just overwhelming for the Democrats. Other places, they needed to turn them out, they did down here in Rowan Oak. You move down here in Rowan Oak City, overwhelming numbers there.

In the part of Southwest Virginia where Democrats could be competitive, you come over here in the capital city, Richmond, overwhelming margins there. We still have a lot of votes to count. That's how we were able to call this race where the votes are still out. Most of the areas are Democratic centers. Big numbers there, big numbers in the suburbs around Richmond, an area Republicans have to be competitive into statewide.

And Ralph Northam lives down here in Norfolk. Norfolk always goes Democratic, that he is winning by big numbers there and the votes are just starting to come in. So his margins are going to get even bigger. This, Virginia Beach area usually goes Republican and for governor did four years ago, Ralph Northam winning there. He practiced his medicine down here in Norfolk. So he is very familiar with the shore area here.

If you just look at the map and then made this point earlier, Democrats did what they needed to do after a very competitive primary they put it together. After a very competitive primary Republicans are going to be looking down here and looking at the turnout numbers. And Gillespie got the margins, the high percentages out here. It'll be interesting to study over the next few days the vote totals in this election compared to four years ago. Republicans will be studying that quite a bit.

BLITZER: A big win for Ralph Northam, the lieutenant governor will become the next governor of Virginia. Go ahead.

KING: One other quick point, he is getting 51 percent right now with 70 percent of the vote in. Hillary Clinton got 50 percent of the vote. This is a huge win for Democrats, so let's not forget, this a state and is trending blue. She won it four years ago for President. Ralph Northam is essentially matching those votes.

BLITZER: So, she leads on those in Washington D.C. suburb is where a lot of people move in recent years. Anderson back to you.


John just said that the Republicans are going to be studying what happened in Commonwealth Virginia for -- in the days to come. I assume Democrats are going to be as well, what's the lesson for Democrats?

JENNIFER PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Democrat should be, and they have celebrated tonight. We certainly needed a moral victory so thank goodness for tonight.

However, Ralph Northam didn't run a campaign that was burning Trump at the state. He -- of his most memorable ads is when he talked about working with Trump. He is a moderate. He voted for Bush twice, he fit the district. So in this battle within the Democratic Party, one of the take away here is, we need the candidates who fit the district not who meet litmus task that are on the progressive wing of the party. So, that's part of the reason why he won and that's what we should be looking for to run in districts around the country.


PSAKI: We agree. I don't know if you want to see the outcome. But --

SANTORUM: No one's really talking about how Republicans are looking at this. And I think what the line will be certainly from the conservatives as well, you know, Ed was a lobbyist, Ed was moderate. You know, he was -- he's someone who just embraced Trump at the end, that's when he started to get momentum. And so, we have nothing to learn from this, that, you know, we're fine.

COOPER: Do you think that's true?

SANTORUM: I don't think it's true, I think -- I don't think it's true for two reasons. Number one, Ed actually fit the state very well. And, you know, he's not a hard core conservative, but he is conservative on a lot of issues that can sort of scare me. So, he's pro life, I mean, he's a pretty good conservative. He's an establishment.

[20:35:09] And people, sometimes mix an establishment with conservative. Sometimes they think if you're an establishment guy you're not a conservative. No, Ed was an establishment guy but he was also a conservative. And he embraced a lot of Trumps issue.

COOPER: It sound very close in the Senate race in the past --

SANTORUM: Yes, he did. Like I said, he is a good candidate. He fits the state people know him. Maybe he was a little out of character doing some of that stuff at the end that may have hurt him in places like Loudoun. I mean, seeing those numbers in Loudon sort of surprise me. And that may have hurt Ed trying to be someone who he really isn't.


DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The story tonight though, one party was going to be saying, well if we had nominated someone from the other fashion we would have done better. And we're going to hear some of that here.

If Northam had lost you would have heard that from Democrats. But on this question of Trump, one of the most interesting things in this exit poll is when you said issues matter most to you in your vote for governor, by far and away, the most important issue was healthcare. But healthcare wasn't an issue in the governor's race. And that tells me that a lot of people were motivated not by the state issues as much as --


PSAKI: And let me add to that.

SANTORUM: This is the point I wanted to make which is the Republicans should take from this race. That the underlying issues and does it made it really hard for Ed Gillespie to win. Yes, it was Trump's, you know, Twitter, and all that kind, but they didn't get healthcare done. They haven't got taxes done. And in fact the reports on tax is in the last week have not been favorable. I mean, the tax goes -- got beaten up pretty badly. And he doesn't look like he's effectively governor.

I think that is the hope if I'm a Republican. And if I can get my act together here, actually, get some things done then the base will turn out again things with you.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I hope you actually learn to something else too, which is that sometimes throwing these nasty device, and putting it down on the table to try to super charge or jump start something, actually, is not good for the country, it's not good for the state, and it's may not for your party. Because the sad thing is, you did have a decent Republican who decided the only chance he had was to become an indecent Republican and didn't work for him. That's important for Republicans to pay attention to across the country.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, that's where the immigration issue comes in just to add on what David was saying. Not only did 37 percent to leave healthcare was important, but only 13 percent. But immigration was important. And we know that this race got pretty nasty on the issue of gang violence, for example. And also sanctuary cities, was a big issue in this campaign, which the Democrat kind of flipped on in the end. But --

JONES: Kind of.

BORGER: -- did flip on in the end. But that that was an issue that made a lot of noise and political ads. But the voters cared more about what was going to happen with their healthcare, whether it was Republicans caring about what's going to replace for Democrats.

COOPER: When the President makes a robocall and says you vote for Ed Gillespie there would be no more crime. Does that -- I mean, does anyone actually -- I mean, obviously that's not factually going to happen.

SANTORUM: I think everyone now understands the President speaks differently than most politicians or maybe even most people. And so, yes, when he says these hyperbolic things, people take -- you know, they take it with a great resolve. They understand what he means and they just discounts the rest.

BORGER: But the left go --

COOPER: We'll take a quick break. We'll have more of this. We'll going to see President Trump soon in the South Korean National Assembly Kim Jong-un may be watching as well. Recovering a physical moment in an urgent nuclear stand out live, we'll be right back.


[20:42:54] COOPER: Well, the President is in South Korea but he just tweeted about the race in Commonwealth, Virginia. He said, "Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for. Don't forget Republicans won four out of four House seats with the economy doing record numbers. We will continue to win even bigger than before!" And he is expected to make a speech. Where certainly (INAUDIBLE) mentioned this.


COOPER: But he did make robocalls of the last --

AXELROD: Yesterday.

BORGER: Why they didn't support him and say it was great and crime would be down and he'd be --

COOPER: He said there would be no crime.

BORGER: Oh right. I forgot.

AXELROD: He's very focused on his upcoming speech in --


BORGER: For any Republican who wonders whether this guy will have your back.



BORGER: Sorry.

URBAN: I think the President -- what you said earlier, right? That Ed Gillespie wasn't out strong in full force for President Trump during the campaign. He didn't help and left a finger. And I think Virginia voters didn't forget that, Republican voters didn't forget it and they didn't show up to support Ed.

COOPER: And do you think he should have embraced the President?

URBAN: No, I'm just saying that -- I think the largest extent right, you look at those far flung counties where he won up 80 percent of the vote and, you know, I'm just going to say like in Pennsylvania, that's how we won. In Pennsylvania was, all those counties that people had forgotten, 500, 700, 350, all those extra people showing up put the President over. That's what Ed Gillespie needed to do to win Virginia and he didn't do it.

AXEFROD: He actually got the same turnout in of wrong numbers that past gubernatorial candidates --

URBAN: But you can't do that.

AXEFORD: -- what happened was there was a surge of voters in Democratic areas --

URBAN: Right you can't do that and win.

AXEFORD: -- this is -- if we're drawing lessons from this, this would make me very uncomfortable if I were a Republican running in 2018 because this is what people feared, that somehow this resistance as it were, would translate into votes and it translated into votes today.

JONES: And I got to tell you, it was not obvious that that would happen. I mean, part of the thing is whether you talk to the actual base you have a lot of people who sometimes seem like they don't know the difference between tweeting and organizing. That this whole thing that happen inside Democratic Party where there's a lot of social media, there's a lot of complaining, there's a lot misunderstanding, there's a lot of anything, like guys, are you knocking on any doors, are you doing the actual work. And those are real concern that this thing was just going to be a marching movement, it's not a voting movement and that's a big, big deal with the American.

[20:45:20] COOPER: And we should also -- and we're able to report the Democrat been wining, the Lieutenant Governor in Virginia and the Attorney General in Virginia.

PSAKI: And another area to watch --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: History made there in the Lieutenant Governor

URBAN: Just to talk to David, you know, what he needed to do, I wasn't saying that what you needed to do in Virginia is play the old hand book that you've been -- the play book, take it out and dust it off to win. You need to do -- you need to exceed, that's what you're going to do in Pennsylvania to win, it's Trump to do for the first time in 30 years they're the out performance historic numbers in those outline --

COOPER: But it wasn't the balance for Gillespie that if he did embrace the President too much. It would drive away more.

URBAN: Well, that's the problem, right. So Ed Gillespie couldn't be too hot or too cold, right? If he was too hot, the folks in Northern Virginia loud and fair facts run the other direction. If he's too cold the folks in the out going --

PSAKI: But he ran the Trump play book on messaging.

BORGER: Right.

PSAKI: He ran against -- he treated Northam like he was --

COOPER: It was Trumpism without Trump. PSAKI: Trumpism without Trump, he wasn't -- let me finish. He ran as if Northam was supporting pedophiles and he was supporting gangs. Those were his Anderson. They were very powerful and strong though they were mean and harsh and nasty. And Northam was on his back most of the race trying to say I don't support pedophile, I don't support gangs. That was a lot of what he had to say.

URBAN: And Northam wore a military uniform and was served in military, went to VMI, he was a pretty writer senator Democrat and so people were able to see through that.

COOPER: Santorum, I'm wondering what you think of what David is saying?

SANTORUM: Yes, look I think this is -- you're giving way too much credit to the actual race, I mean this is a -- this is not a presidential race that people have on their mind that is really going to drive turnout like you have a presidential race. I think -- I say, but I agree actually on this one. And then I think there's the fundamental issue here is what's going on in the country, is the base -- which base is motivated. And right now I think it's clear. Dan is right, the Democrats were motivated --

URBAN: I said that the folks in the ex-urban in the rural counties didn't show up for Ed.

BORGER: So let me ask you --

SANTORUM: But it's not Ed's fault. That's -- I mean you're blaming it on Ed and I just don't think it's Ed's fault. I think the bottom line is Donald Trump is not delivering on what he said he was going to deliver on and that's the problem. And he needs to deliver. If there's a message for Republicans they better get that message that they better start passing stuff and looking like they can govern.

BORGER: So here's my question and I'll ask it to the two Republicans, would it have made a difference if Donald Trump had gone to the state of Virginia. Would that have help Ed Gillespie get over the line? As the President said?

URBAN: No, I think just pure demographics, right. The numbers in Virginia, it's a purple, you know, state just put it mildly. You look in the D.C. excerpt you're not going to win Loudoun and Fairfax. It's no coincidence that Donald Trump gone to Trump national right in Virginia 15 times. And Ed Gillespie has been the nominee.

BORGER: That helps.

URBAN: But --

COOPER: Never got the rest of it.

URBAN: They didn't appear together at once during those 15 visits to Virginia, so no coincidence.

JONES: There are some dangers for Democrats. I just like to point out and I'm curious to see if you agree with me on this. It does seem that our response, whenever these culturally devices, this has become culturally devices, I don't know a better word for it.

When they come up our response is basically to either to duck or call names, and that we don't yet to have a good way to talk about sanctuary cities, and talk about how they are actually are public safety measure. In other words, if you have a bunch of immigrants who feel like they call the cops the deportation police are going to show up, they'll not going to call the cops for anything.

I don't know if we're defending some of these things adequately. But we take more -- all you have to do is duck or call names. We may not -- We may be surprised by the strength of some these cultural issues down the road.

PSAKI: I think that's fair and that's true I think --

COOPER: Sorry, the strength in this cultural issues for Democrats?

JONES: Against Democrats. In other words, did not do --

SANTORUM: I hope you make these arguments. I think they're losing argument. So please engage those arguments.

PSAKI: But I think the challenge in --

SANTORUM: stop calling names.

PSAKI: -- which I bet you'll agree with me on, one of the challenges we have within the party now is one of the lessons people learn from 2016, is that unless you are 100 percent anti-gun, unless you're 100 percent for abortion rates, unless you're 100 percent defending sanctuary cities, you can't be a part of our party and that's not a winning method for strategy either. So, I guess I'm agreeing with you and --

COOPER: So for you that the key for Democrats is tailoring to the state, to the --

PSAKI: I think the key for Democrats is getting out of Washington, D.C., listening to what people are saying in Districts and States across the country, figuring out and who we are and what we stand for. We can be for healthcare and equality without saying there has to be this --

COOPER: We got --

URBAN: (INAUDIBLE) around this, we've been a different race, different tone, different message, different --

PSAKI: And he would have lost. He would have lost.


[20:49:48] COOPER: We're going to take a quick break. So for tonight election was also (ph) not going well for President Trump. The question of course is, how is he going to do when he delivers a major address on North Korea's nuclear threat. We're standing by for his speech at the South Korean National Assembly. We'll be right back.


COOPER: And welcome back I'm Anderson Cooper. This is Special Edition AC360. We are watching the live pictures from the South Korean National Assembly where President Trump is about to deliver a big speech on the North -- the nuclear threat in North Korea. What he says, how he says it. We may have serious implications for the security of the United States and the Region. Wolf Blitzer is standing by with that, Wolf?

BLITZER: You know, Anderson the President says North Korea is a worldwide threat and demands an international response. This speech tonight is his best opportunity while he's in Asia to lay out his best plan for Kim Jong-un and his rapidly developing nuclear weapons program. They'd say President Trump will turn up the heat on China and Russia to try to isolate Kim's regime while also emphasizing the importance of the U.S. alliance with South Korea.

North Korea's warning President Trump against using any war like rhetoric. Well the President taunt the dictator, he's called "rocket man" in the past, or will he continue to tone down his language as we heard from him earlier in the day.

Let's go to our CNN White House Correspondent Jim Acosta. He's got new information on all of that just outside the National Assembly where the President will deliver this major address.

[20:55:10] JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. And I talked to a Senior Administration Official who helped to work on this speech. This official says that the President is expected to avoid some of those rhetorical flourishes that Britmanship language like "rocket man" and claiming he could totally destroy North Korea that we've seen from the President in past speeches about the communist regime.

But according to the Senior Administration official Trump being Trump, one can't predict that. So this official is saying that right now you can't really guarantee 100 percent that the President is not going to engage in that kind of rhetoric during this speech to the Korean National Assembly.

Now, we should point out this official also said the President as you mentioned, Wolf, he is going to lay out the contrast between the two Koreas. He is going to, once again state as he has stated throughout this trip that the United States has the back of the South Koreans that the U.S. would come to the defense of the South Koreans during any kind of military attack from the North, but at the same time, this official said, they need help from China. They need help from Russia. And so we should expect to hear the President talk about that as well.

Wolf, one thing we should note, earlier this morning the President attempted to make a very dramatic trip up to the DMZ that separates North and South Korea before this trip. South Korean President Moon was there waiting for him, for the President arrive because of foggy weather here Seoul the President had to scrap that trip. So it's unclear whether or not the President who was looking for some drama in that symbolic trip up to the DMZ will be looking to object some of that drama into his speech at the last minute. We've seen this happen before where officials have told us well we think we know what's in the speech but then the President ad lib something at the last second. That could happen in this speech to the South Korean National Assembly, Wolf.

BLITZER: We'll watch it very closely together with you Jim Acosta, outside the National Assembly in Seoul. Jake, we've been hearing about a different tone from the President over the past day or so.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: That's right. It's difficult to tell with this President and this administration how much is strategic in terms of the mixed messages and how much is purposeful versus how much is just ad libed and borne from the chaos that President Trump, I think it's fair to say in some cases like a certain competition of different power around him.

He has had some very, very harsh rhetoric at the U.N., terms like "fire and fury," terms like "rocket man." But since he's been on this Asia trip, Wolf, he has taken a much more measured approach talking about how he wants diplomacy to work. He hopes to God he wants it to work. And so I think it's fair to say that we don't know exactly what we're going to get tonight.

But let's bring in the Former Director of National Intelligence in the Obama Administration, Retired Air Force General James Clapper. What are you hoping to hear from President Trump tonight at the South Korean Assembly and what are you hoping to God you do not hear?

JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I'm hoping -- I think as everyone -- most everyone is, that he will adapt a more conciliatory tone as was indicated in his press conference. So the fact that he wants to make a deal, I think that's a message that will be heard in North Korea because what we've done to this point is basically a lot of threats and our insensitive is will be less punitive if you do what we tell you to do.

So the fact that he's kind of throwing an olive branch out here, and I hope that tone and content is continued in the speech. Also might comment, and I think it's regrettable he didn't get up to the DMZ. I think it would have been instructive for him on two counts, one just to experience, see the geography, experience the feeling up there, and as well to get educated on the very dense urban landscape that exist, that Seoul lives as a megalopolis that spreads all the way up to the DMZ.

However, I was on a helicopter that's straight on the North Korea and that's not a good place to fly and to get lost in. So they're being -- discretion, it been a part of valley.

TAPPER: But he tried to get there. But --

CLAPPER: He got -- TAPPER: The teleceptor mission was turn back.

CLAPPER: Because of the weather.

DANA BASH, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Do you think that there's a message because you mentioned the failed attempt because of the weather to get to the DMZ. Do you think that Kim Jong-un is because he reads messages, he kind of seizes on things. Do you think he'll do that on this?

CLAPPER: Well, I do think. I think it would have been useful assuming there were no inflammatory rhetoric while he was up there. But just to go up and see it and observe it, great message to the Republic of Korea reassurance to them. And a great message to the troops both U.S. and Republic of Korea. So, and not to mention, as I said earlier, I think it would be instructive for him.

BASH: I was actually there earlier this year with Vice President Pence and you could see that kind of recognition in him no question. You mentioned that the President was more conciliatory in his tone earlier today. The question, though, is whether or not he will be that way in terms of policy. He said we're making a lot of progress. What do you think he meant?