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Doug Jones Wins Alabama Senate Seat; Interview with Randall Woodfin; Roy Moore Not Conceding. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired December 13, 2017 - 00:00   ET



[00:00:31] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: It's the top of the hour.

And of course, breaking news -- the voters have spoken. CNN projects Democrat Doug Jones wins a stunning victory in the Senate election in Alabama. This is a special CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon. Thank you for staying up with us. An incredible victory for the Democratic candidate in one of the reddest of red states. I want you to listen to this joyful reaction at Doug Jones' headquarters.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: He will be the next United States senator from Alabama. He beats Roy Moore in this really, really exciting contest. Doug Jones comes from behind, takes the lead and now (INAUDIBLE). He will be the next senator -- the first time in 25 years.


LEMON: The Senator-Elect Doug Jones saying this in his victory speech tonight.


DOUG JONES (D), ALABAMA SENATOR-ELECT: This entire race has been about dignity and respect. This campaign -- this campaign has been about the rule of law. This -- this campaign has been about common courtesy and decency and making sure everyone in this state regardless of which zip code you live in is going to get a fair shake in life.


LEMON: Jones defeating Republican Roy Moore, an accused child molester endorsed by the President of the United States, and make no mistake, the leadership of the GOP is breathing a sigh of relief tonight that they may be rid of Roy Moore.

Though Moore did not concede tonight and instead said there could be a recount. But this tweet from Republican Senator Jeff Flake says it all. It says, quote, "Decency wins."

And here's what a source is telling CNN about the vote tonight -- devastating for the President. President Trump re-tweeting, "Congratulations to Doug Jones on a hard-fought victory. The write-in votes played a big victory," he said.

But a win is a win. The people of Alabama are great and Republicans will have another shot at this seat in a very short period of time. It never ends.

But now get used to it because it's something you haven't heard in more than 20 years. Alabama has a Democratic senator, Senator Doug Jones.

So let's get right to it now.

Joining us -- Alex Marquardt is at Doug Jones' headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama for us. Alex -- take us there.

A huge night for Democrat Doug Jones. He just won this seat formerly held by Jeff Sessions. What can you tell us? What's it like there?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don -- I will let the music do the speaking for me. If you listen to what's going on behind me, the deejay has just put on "We are the Champions".

The party is still very much going on here at Jones headquarters. The candidate has since left. But if you look over here his followers, his fans, his voters are still here relishing the moment. They are not going home.

This is the moment they have been waiting for, for a very long time-- 25 years since Alabama last elected a Democratic senator. Now, they likely don't know that Moore has not yet conceded. Now, they likely don't know that Moore has not yet conceded but they likely don't care.

Now, we should give credit where credit's due. There was a huge get out the vote effort by Doug Jones in the final leg of this race.

But really the reason -- the main reason that Doug Jones was able to win tonight was because of Roy Moore. So many Alabamians found him so uniquely repulsive and embarrassing that they couldn't go out and vote for him.

Now, coming into tonight's election I was speaking with the senior- most members of the campaign. They said that it was neck and neck, that it was very tight and they didn't know how it was going to turn out.

For most of the night Moore had the lead, but the Jones campaign was confident. They knew that the big metropolitan hubs whether it's Mobile, Montgomery, Birmingham and Huntsville -- that those places would deliver and deliver they did. And they delivered a lot sooner than expected.

A huge eruption of cheers taking place when CNN, which is playing in the background, projected this victory for Doug Jones.

Now, the Jones campaign has not responded to the fact that Moore has not yet conceded. That will likely come tomorrow morning. It cannot be overstated what a big deal a Democrat has been elected here for the senate in Alabama -- Don.

[00:05:04] LEMON: And I can second that having lived in Birmingham for a while. You're absolutely right.

Let's talk about that recount that they're asking for. Now, I want to go to Kaitlan Collins. She's at Roy Moore's headquarters in Montgomery, Alabama. So Kaitlan, they're asking for -- Moore is asking for a recount. Explain what's going on.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, the Roy Moore campaign is hanging on for dear life at this point with the candidate refusing to concede this election to Doug Jones despite it being called for him.

And he came out on stage here on what was supposed to be his victory night party and told his supporters to wait it out and let God take over.

And he was following his campaign chairman Bill Armistead who had been on stage shortly before him talking of recounts and citing an Alabama law that requires a recount if there's a victory -- the margin of victory is within half of a percentage point. Doug Jones is up higher than that, so it's unclear how that would help. But Roy Moore told his supporters to go home and sleep on it -- Don.

LEMON: All right. Thank you -- Kaitlan. I appreciate it. Let me get to John King. John is over at the magic wall. John -- I have been watching you all evening.

It was close, it was close, it was close and then all of a sudden Doug Jones is called. What happened?

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: What happened, Don, was profound, significant Democratic intensity and turn out and just enough Republican doubts or you might say Republican disgust.

Let's look at it as we go through. Number one, you see all this blue right here. You said you lived in Birmingham. You know how important Jefferson County is to a Democrat statewide in Alabama. You know how long it's been since a Democrat won a Senate race in Alabama.

Look at the margin here in Jefferson County -- 68 to 30.2 right there. Doug Jones starting by building up a big lead where he needed to in the biggest metropolitan area and the suburbs of Birmingham.

Come down to Montgomery, 72 percent to 27 percent right there. Again, doing what he needs to do in areas where you have an African-American base of the Democratic Party. You cannot overstate the impact of African-American voters right here.

It's called the Black Belt in Alabama -- that's because of the top soil, the rich topsoil. But the African-American electorate whether it was in Montgomery, Selma, Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, up here in Huntsville -- huge for Doug Jones. That was the big margin.

Democratic turnout -- look at these lopsided margins. Selma, it's relatively small county, came in at just the right time though. Just when Doug Jones was a little bit behind -- 75 to 25 in Dallas County where Selma is. That put Doug Jones in the game. And then look at this. I want to show you something. This is Shelby County. These are the suburbs just outside Birmingham. You know this area very well.

Roy Moore won with 55 percent, 56 percent of the vote. But let's go back in time when he last ran for chief justice -- 63 percent of the vote here.

So his performance in the Republican suburbs is down. One of the reasons for that -- obviously some of them crossed over to vote for Doug Jones. But Don -- as we go through with a recount here, a margin here -- 21,000 votes -- 22,783 write-in ballots.

There is no question some of these will be disqualified. We need to see exactly who they're for. But there's absolutely no question that Republicans who just couldn't do this and instead did this helped Doug Jones to history tonight.

LEMON: Mr. John King -- thank you. Great work all evening -- I appreciate it.

I want to bring in now CNN political analysts Joshua Green, April Ryan and Kirsten Powers; also CNN political commentators Matt Lewis, Paul Begala, Simone Sanders, Ed Martin, and Ana Navarro.

Good evening or good morning depending on where you are.

Simone, I want to go to you about this. How did -- how did he pull it off? African-American voter turnout, was that the key?

SIMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean absolutely. So it's a combination.

So one, I'd like to say this is a good day to be a black woman in America. And I'll be gloating for the next 24 hours just so --

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean it's a good day to be a woman in America of any color.

SANDERS: I wouldn't just say just a woman because 65 percent of white women in Alabama cast their vote, not for Doug Jones. And I think that's significant. And so what happened was, you had a surplus of African-American voters. But that just didn't happen over night.

You had a coalition of over 27 groups in Alabama coordinating. And they were not coordinating about a specific candidate. These were independent expenditures that said we're going to turn out black people with black people on the issues.

And that work was then supported by yes, the work of the campaign, the work of other outside national groups, folks like (INAUDIBLE) USA, a senate majority PAC. We put nearly a million dollars into a black digital program. That's how it worked. LEMON: But for 30 percent of the -- for 30 percent of this, of the people who showed up to vote to be African-American in a special election that -- is that the unprecedented?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's extraordinary in Alabama. Most of the modeling in the polling -- and we've talked to the Jones campaign and people helping. They were modeling it on that 25 percent.

It got higher. In fact 30 percent is extraordinary. And this -- Doug Jones owes this victory to a whole lot of people but mostly the African-American --

LEMON: He said I want to thank first of all African-Americans.

BEGALA: Yes, he did. Yes, he did.

And think about this in terms of our history. A man accused of preying on teenage girls is defeated by a man who convicted Klansmen who murdered teenage girls. They arc of the moral universe is indeed long and tonight it went for justice.

[00:09:58] LEMON: Yes. Let's go to the White House -- Ed, a supporter of the President.


LEMON: So he gave a full-throated endorsement of Roy Moore. A source close to this says tonight's result -- devastating for the President, saying, quote, "This is an earthquake. This is a huge embarrassment."

MARTIN: Well, look -- I mean I think the quote he was using was "hard fought". Doug Jones as you said -- and Simone -- I listened in the greenroom before talking about how they did it. And like you said it was not Doug Jones only but all these outside groups, and it was great.

And I think look, I said from the beginning we ought to have -- I thought Roy Moore deserved his chance to run, and if he won he should be seated and be there and he lost. And that's how the system works. He lost fair and square in a hard fought race.

I think most people can see come again when we elect, well probably -- David French, no fan of the President saying we'll replace him with a Republican next time around. But hey, it's a hard-fought win.

The President has got to say now, wait a second, what happened. I want to point out -- Paul and I talked about this. In 2009 when Scott Brown won his race Obama had to pass Obamacare through the House because they lost the senate. Brown was going to block it.

I think what's going to happen now is the President is going to let -- force through this tax bill -- and I'm saying again on this show, I've said it before the tax bill will be a disaster for Republicans because it's a bad bill.

SANDERS: It's a big thing.

MARTIN: And if they force this through now in the next 24 hours to change the subject, you watch what will happen in 2018 when the base really looks up and say we don't recognize that as why we elected Trump.

So it's a -- it's a tough day, but it's what races are about. It's great for America.

LEMON: You agree it is a tough day. And what does this mean -- what does this mean for Steve Bannon?

MARTIN: Look, I mean I think Steve Bannon will be the first to tell you that all that stuff gets overplayed and everybody --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Karl Rove, Paul Begala --



JOSHUA GREEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those guys are geniuses. And I think Bannon's going to be back --

MARTIN: Not at all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What does this mean for that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope so. Stay in the game Steve Bannon. We need you.

GREEN: It's not a good night for Steven Bannon. He put in more to this race, to this candidate, to rescuing Moore's candidacy when it looked like he was going to get pushed out by Mitch McConnell, by Sean Hannity, by just about everybody in the Republican Party.

He flew down to Alabama, repeatedly said this is my candidate. Republicans need to vote for him. I think that helped revive Moore's candidacy. But clearly we can see that the conservative voters in the state of Alabama rejected him. And that hurts nobody more than Steve Bannon.

LEMON: Here's what the President tweeted tonight. "Congratulations to Doug Jones in a hard fought victory. The write-in votes played a very big factor, but a win is a win. The people of Alabama are great and the Republicans will have another shot at the seat in a very short period of time. It never ends" -- exclamation point.

What's your reaction to this tweet, April? Can he separate himself from this loss? He's basically a two-time loser when it comes to the Alabama senate race.

APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, he is. You know, this President took the high road in his tweets. But he took his jab. But he took the high road. He had to in the midst of all of his tweets of late. He had to do that. But at the same time, there is a disconnect because apparently he must be angry because he did not talk to the candidate to know that the candidate was not going to concede tonight. So something -- there's a disconnect somewhere.

But I also want to go back to the Steve Bannon thing and also I want to say something about Selma.

Steve Bannon put himself in a position to be kingmaker, he lost. This President is now reassessing who Steve Bannon is to him because the President wants to win. He is this brand of winning.

He looks like a loser tonight, a big loser -- one of the biggest losers ever. Essentially his candidate was fired. So, you know, and then --

LEMON: He and the President have been recruiting more Roy Moore-like candidates for other races.

RYAN: Yes, in Alabama, a state with --

LEMON: The reddest of the red states.

RYAN: The reddest of the red states, but a state with a history of some of the things that Roy Moore was talking about rejected him tonight. It may have been close but it was rejected.

And what was interesting, as John King says the Black Belt. He calls it Black Belt because of rich soil, but in that Black Belt is Selma, Alabama.

And I remember traveling to Selma, Alabama a couple of years ago with then President Barack Obama for the anniversary of Bloody Sunday. That town, if you made the picture of that day in black and white, it would still look like it was the 50s and 60s.


RYAN: The only thing that's different is immigration. They said no Moore will change and that was significant tonight.

LEMON: Yes. I want to know what the idea of this recount. Is it real? Or is it -- I see Ed Martin shaking his head. We'll get his response and others when we come back.

Don't go anywhere.


LEMON: Here's our breaking news at this hour. CNN projects Democrat Doug Jones has won the special senate race in Alabama though Republican Roy Moore is not conceding tonight saying there could be a recount.

Joining me now is the mayor of Birmingham, Alabama -- Randall Woodfin. Mr. Woodfin -- thank you so much, Mayor. You must be feeling great after the stunning --


LEMON: -- result.

WOODFIN: I am. This is a great night for Alabama. I'll tell you. Doug Jones' victory represents the best of Alabama. This is a great night not just for Democrats -- not just for Alabamians but for America.

LEMON: Mayor -- why do you think the people of Alabama ultimately decided to elect Doug Jones instead of Roy Moore?

WOODFIN: Don -- to be honest with you as I took a look at this race, you know, one thing is this is already an uphill battle not just for Democrats but just for a special election that it boils down to turn out.

But when it came down to the messaging and the issues facing Alabamians what was under assault was values and integrity and just over all decency. And I think Doug Jones represented the best of that.

And it wasn't necessarily anti Roy Moore. It was more pro-Doug Jones -- having somebody not just representing and fighting for Democrats but fighting for all Alabamians. And Doug Jones represented the best of that.

LEMON: What about the potential -- the potential embarrassment of having a man who allegedly preyed on teenage girls in his 30s as a senator? Do you think that motivated people to take a stand?

WOODFIN: Don -- honestly, I think you have to go deeper than that. We have to remember Roy Moore wasn't kicked off the Supreme Court of Alabama once. He was kicked off the Supreme Court of Alabama twice as an elected official.

Here's a person who can't uphold the constitution or uphold the laws of Alabama or the United States of America. Why will we, as Alabamians, give him a third chance?

LEMON: What do you want the President of the United States to take away from this win? I'm sure you may have seen his tweet. We'll put it up. He said congratulations to Doug Jones and then said, you know, he went on to say that Republicans will have another shot at the seat in a short period of time, it never ends.

What do you want the President to take away from this win?

[00:19:55] WOODFIN: Well, I think the President needs to be on notice that as Americans we appreciate decency. We want and need respect from the Oval Office. We want a president that represents all people.

You can't have people running for office whether it's the senate, gubernatorial races or even at the President level talking and doing things that don't represent all of us. I think this race reflects not just what's right in Alabama, but it sends a notice to anybody that's running for office or any existing elected official that we as residents and voters demand more from our elected officials -- or those who say they want to represent us.

LEMON: The Moore campaign is not conceding there saying that they're contemplating a recount. What do you think of that?

WOODFIN: I would tell them good luck. I don't think that's necessarily needed. I can imagine this is not his first time losing a race, so it may be hard for him.

But let me tell you what's good for everyone else. Doug Jones was the man to win this race. And I am so proud of my state. I am so proud that not only America was watching but the entire world was watching the results of this election. And we have sent a message to the entire world that we know how to get things right here in Alabama.

LEMON: Mayor Woodfin -- best of luck to you in my old home city there in Birmingham. Thank you for joining us here on CNN.

WOODFIN: Thank you -- Don.

LEMON: Thank you.

WOODFIN: Thank you -- Don.

LEMON: Absolutely. Now, I want to bring in CNN's Kaylee Hartung. She's in Montgomery, Alabama. Kaylee -- I understand the secretary of state just finished speaking there.

And I have two questions for you on this recount. Is it consistent with state law? And is it likely to change the results here?

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don -- we should make it clear currently at this moment there is no plan for a recount. A lot has to happen before that process would move forward. Secretary of State John Merrill telling me his first priority here is to follow the Alabama letter of the law.

I got my hand right here -- a handout they just gave us all of the Alabama code that outlines the rules for an automatic recount or an on-demand recount.

So before we get to that stage first, some things need to be taken care of. Provisional ballots, write-in ballots, any military ballots need to be counted and then certified. That will happen no sooner than December 26 and no later than January 3.

Once those votes are counted and the final results of this election certified, then if we were within one half of 1 percent of a difference between the candidate's vote totals, then an automatic recount would happen or a campaign here could request a recount. They would then have to pay for that recount.

As the secretary of state said he would be happy to take either campaign's money and proceed with that. They have the resources to do that but that recount would have to be requested and we are not yet there -- Don.

LEMON: All right. A lot more to go and to do here. Thank you very much -- Kaylee Hartung -- I appreciate it -- in Montgomery, Alabama.

I want to bring back in Josh Green, April Ryan, Kirsten Powers, Matt Lewis, Paul Begala, Simone Sanders, Ed Martin and Ana Navarro.

Ed -- I relied on you heavily last time, but this time, what do you think of the recount? That's what I want to know.

MARTIN: I think most candidates -- I ran for office once -- when you see a loss you want a recount. You want to fight. Hillary did it when she lost to Trump. People want to -- I think it's just -- he'll get over it in the morning. I think he'll come back.

I don't think the margins are going to change to make it automatic, so I think they're wasting money and I think they'll move on.

LEMON: Let's talk about the Republican Party.


LEMON: All right.

LEWIS: It's a great night, by the way, to be a conservative.

LEMON: Why do you say that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, because look, I think that there's a battle going on in the Republican Party and within the conservative movement, between the forces of nationalism and populism and Bannonism versus thoughtful Ben Sasse, Marco Rubio conservatism. And tonight was I think if there's a silver lining, if you're Republican, a big silver lining is you don't have Roy Moore in there embarrassing.

Look, I think as Alabama as the mayor pointed out, I think made a calculated decision not to be branded as the state of Roy Moore. It's about dignity, about decency -- well, the conservative movement should think about that branding as well. And I think tonight helps them.

And by the way, I would just add this, you know, as much as I agree that the African-American vote huge and very important obviously, the margin, you know, some of those -- I think a lot of Republicans and Senator Shelby among them -- Alabama Senator Shelby writing in names --

LEMON: Right.

LEWIS: -- not voting for Roy Moore helps to make that decision.



LEMON: Go ahead -- Kirsten. What did you want to say?


POWERS: Yes. I was just going to say I do think a lot more of -- some of it's the write-in obviously, but the African-American turnout was -- it was actually higher than it was for Barack Obama which is pretty remarkable. I mean only by a point or two but considering that a lot of people used to look and say what's going to happen when Barack Obama is gone.

And this isn't even a presidential election. You don't normally see presidential election type turn out. And so I think it was, you know -- I guess you could say that, you know, that perhaps there were some conservatives who wrote in. But it looks like the white vote pretty much was going for Moore overwhelmingly.

[00:25:04] LEMON: Yes.

MARTIN: But I mean that was --


LEMON: When you look at it -- it was Cory Booker, John Lewis, the President -- the former President Barack Obama and Vice President giving robo calls.

MARTIN: Look at the messaging, too.

LEMON: Sir Charles Barkley.

LEWIS The Charles Barkley messaging. We don't want to look like a bunch of idiots down here anymore, right? Cory Booker goes down there says look, I don't want people to think of New Jersey as "Jersey Shore". We don't want people to think of Alabama as Roy Moore.


LEWIS: It was about the image and the branding. And I think Doug Jones very astutely settled on this message at the very end. And I think this message pulled him over the finish line.

LEMON: I'm just getting responses, Ana, from Republicans on Capitol Hill and especially senators. And they said the GOP mood is kind of stunned, some of them; kind of horrified; and definitely relieved.

Several senior GOP aides, including a few who are still working on the tax overhaul negotiations say they're stunned right now and they're trying to get their heads around what happened.

Others are relieved that he won't be part of the conference. What do you think?

NAVARRO: I think it's a huge night for Republicans in the senate. I think it's a huge victory for Mitch McConnell who, Steve Bannon by name was going after and trying to make this into a base versus Washington battle.

And look, it's a huge victory for the country, frankly -- for Alabama, for the country. We would have been sucked into this circus atmosphere.

They were going to have an ethics investigation of him immediately. It would have been something that would have lasted months, that would have distracted the attention, that would have distracted from the agenda, from the policy, from important discussions. They've avoided what is a disaster.

And also having this guy around their neck in campaign season like an albatross and telling every woman in America, every millennial in America, every Hispanic in America every African-American in America, every gay in America -- this is what the Republican Party stands for.

Today they can say, no, that's not what the Republican Party stands for. Maybe it's what Steve Bannon stands for but it's not --


LEMON: I found it very interesting though -- I found it very interesting that Roy Moore could unite Republicans, could unite gays, lesbians, blacks --


LEMON: I mean he united a lot of people, and I don't think it was about right versus left. I think people were just saying this is not what they want America to be.

POWERS: It was right versus wrong.

MARTIN: Right. Don -- I've got to tell you --


MARTIN: -- something Doug Jones was saying on the campaign trail.

I've got to tell you Don -- to contrast with Ana, I was getting texts all night as it happened people saying I'm done with the GOP. Out in the part of America where I'm from that voted for Trump and saw this, the saw McConnell the opposite. He abandoned the guy.

I'm not saying -- I'm saying the election counts, we worked hard, happy to have the results. I think Ana's right about we don't have the Roy Moore hearings --

SANDERS: You definitely have the Roy Moore --

MARTIN: But here's the facts. When McConnell and Cory Gardner abandoned a candidate, whatever the reason you've got there like they did, they pulled their money out, you have Simone and her team doing smart stuff with money and --

LEMON: Why are they done with the GOP?

MARTIN: What's that?

LEMON: Why are they done with the GOP? Why are -- MARTIN: Because people are looking up and they're saying I'm not

going to trust this party. They were talking about Mitch McConnell.

SANDERS: Look, they had a --

MARTIN: Mitch McConnell is going to pay a price and so is Cory Gardner. The grassroots is not tolerating the party. Trump had to do -- Trump didn't want Roy Moore first. He wanted Luther Strange first.

SANDERS: But then he went all in --

MARTIN: Right, right. That's what you do when you're --

SANDERS: Here's the thing. No, no, no, no --


SANDERS: You don't get to spin this like that.

NAVARRO: Look, they had a choice -- they had a choice as to whether --

MARTIN: I'm not spinning anything.

NAVARRO: -- they had a choice as to whether to abandon a candidate or abandon morals; abandon a candidate or abandon decency.

MARTIN: Give me a break -- Ana. Come on.

NAVARRO: Abandon a candidate or abandon their convictions.


NAVARRO: Please don't do this. It really annoys. You know, I don't -- I really don't interrupt you. And you do this and completely -- I'm so through with you (INAUDIBLE) and you're smirking and you're laughing. I'm not in the mood for this today.

MARTIN: Make a point. Make a point.

NAVARRO: Oh, happy day -- I've made my point.

MARTIN: Ok. Good.

NAVARRO: This is my point -- Don.

LEMON: Hold on.

NAVARRO: Oh, happy day. Oh, happy day. Oh, happy day. Get over it.

MARTIN: The Democrats and the moderates like you enjoy that, but for -- I'm telling you that the Republican Party --

NAVARRO: I am a Republican. I am a traditional Republican. You are always going against me. You're always making every --

MARTIN: I thought you weren't going to interrupt.

NAVARRO: Well, don't attack me personally. I don't attack you personally.

MARTIN: I didn't. I attacked your position. Your positions are not in the Republican Party mainstream.

NAVARRO: Oh hell, yes they are. That was in the Republican Party before Donald Trump was.

MARTIN: Are you going to let me finish?

NAVARRO: No. Not if you continue lying and making this an ad hominem attack at me. I will not allow it.

LEMON: Ok, one at a time.

NAVARRO: Oh, happy day. Oh, happy day.

MARTIN: Listen.

SANDERS: They went all in for Roy Moore. So here's what I'm saying.

NAVARRO: All Republicans were not in for Roy Moore.

SANDERS: Well, this is what I'll say though. The Republican -- you have Donald Trump who's the Republican standard bearer. He's the Republican president of the United States. You've got RNC, the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee going all in for Roy Moore.

Then they decide oh, my goodness, we're going to pull out and they jump right back in ceding the moral ground. So I don't care if Roy Moore did not win tonight because whether he -- even if he would have won it would have been a win for Democrats because you have --


[00:30:01] NAVARRO: What you just said about the senatorial committee is inaccurate.

SANDERS: I just --

MARTIN: Exactly.

SANDERS: Ok, they didn't put their money back in.


MARTIN: I don't think so.

Not a nickel. They stayed out.


MARTIN: They stayed out.

POWERS: Cory Gardner stood firm.

SANDERS: But the RNC did and so --

LEMON: The RNC did but not the --


SANDERS: So for anyone to argue tonight that, oh, Republicans have now escaped the disaster that is Roy Moore is absolutely incorrect because you had your president and the RNC not only putting their money, doing the robocalls, and these things matter and voters will not forget.

MARTIN: Wait, I'm trying to make a different point to Ana.


MARTIN: I'm saying that Mitch McConnell and Cory Gardner are going to pay a price for abandoning the Republican Party candidate. I'm talking about the party. Everybody knows they quit. The RNC went out and stayed out for four weeks --


JOSHUA GREEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: But the point he's making is a valid one. The Bannon wing of the Republican Party is very upset tonight. Just had a Bannon ally text and say, there will now be an even more vicious war inside the Republican Party. It goes to precisely Ed's point, Republicans are going to blame Mitch McConnell and Cory Gardner --


RYAN: I talked to the NAACP tonight. And what they call that alt- right, they call it white supremist (sic). So this -- there is -- it's not about the issues of abortion. It's not about same-sex marriage. It is about us versus them, the other. They don't like women, they don't like minorities --

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Can I just point out the absurdity of what Steve Bannon is saying. Steve Bannon and Donald Trump endorsed a candidate who is a very bad candidate and allegedly --


Explain why.

LEWIS: And that candidate loses.

And now it's Mitch McConnell's fault?


LEMON: Here's what I'm going to say. Hold on, everybody. We've got an hour and a half left here or more on CNN. We're 24 hours here. But let's just really think about this.

The reddest of the red states, Alabama, that I've lived in, the reddest of the red states, Steve Bannon, the President of the United States and the RNC got behind a candidate who was so bad that he lost to a Democrat in Alabama.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Alleged pedophile, racist.

LEMON: That's the reality.







LEMON: It's really a stunning night in Alabama and for the country as well. Democrat Doug Jones beats Republican Roy Moore, winning the race to be the next senator from Alabama. I want to bring in now Beth Clayton, she's a contributor to "The Voice of Alabama Politics," who's also a columnist for the Alabama political reporter.

Good evening or good morning. Thank you for joining us, Beth.

Why do you think Alabamians ultimately sided with Jones?

BETH CLAYTON, POLITICAL WRITER: You know I think this all came down to Alabama values and it really shows we're not going to put up with the kind of politics that Roy Moore is selling. We're not going to put up with somebody who doesn't know what the age of consent is.

I mean this is just ridiculous. And if you take out all of the allegations from women -- and whether you believe them or not, this is man who's defied two Supreme Court orders. And we're simply just -- we know who Roy Moore is and we're done putting up with his nonsense. We're over it and the voters spoke tonight.

LEMON: The final push and endorsement by President Trump clearly was not enough.

What message do you think the voters are sending the party?

Or are they sending the president a message?

CLAYTON: I don't know. If you're looking to hear some pushback against the president, Alabama might not be the place to look. But I think the Republican Party here in Alabama has got some reckoning to do in the morning because the fact is, their party was split and a lot of people, like prominent Senator Shelby, wrote in different people instead of voting for their party's nominee. And there are a lot of Republicans within the party. I've been

hearing from them tonight, who were saying, we've got a fight to fight because you just cost us a seat in ruby red Alabama. And they are aggravated, let me tell you.

So I think the Republican Party here has some reckoning to do internally because they let this man become their nominee and they cost themselves this election. I don't know that we would have been able to compete quite as strongly if they had had a real candidate, who had said, you know, I'm going to have a record to run on. So the Republicans here, they're going to have a hard time coming up, you know, tomorrow morning.

LEMON: Well, the president is saying they're going to have a chance to take the seat back in a short while.

CLAYTON: Yes, in 2020, yes, it'll be on the ballot and we'll fight them for it again in 2020. And we know how incumbents get re-elected. And I'll be there, fighting tooth and nail for Doug Jones again then because, regardless of who he's up against, Doug Jones is a man of integrity and he's the man for the job.

And I think the whole nation is about to see exactly what he's made of because he really is -- he was a mentor to me for the past 10 years since I've gotten involved in politics. He's always been there. He's always been someone who will invest in people who can't give anything back to him.

And that's the kind of leadership we need in Washington. And the people of Alabama see that. Roy Moore's, he's used Christianity, he's used the Republican Party, he's used all of this as a crutch for years. That's why he's never won a race in his own hometown.

And Doug Jones is not that kind of politician because he's not a politician at all. And that's the kind of people that we need to have more in Washington because, frankly, the politicians that have been there a while aren't doing the job all the time.

LEMON: Beth Clayton, appreciate your time. Thank you.

CLAYTON: Thanks.

LEMON: And when we come back, this is the first time in more than 20 years that a Democrat has been elected to the Senate here in Alabama. We're going to discuss just how big a shake-up this election is for Alabama. We'll be right back.





LEMON: Voters of Alabama making history tonight, bypassing a controversial Republican candidate, Roy Moore, and electing Democrat Doug Jones to the United States Senate.

A source close to the White House telling CNN the election result is "an earthquake" that is devastating for the president, who threw his full support behind Roy Moore. Back now with my full team here.

Mr. Begala, I have to ask you, what kind of Democrat is Doug Jones?

Because he's going to be one of the few from red states.

BEGALA: Right. well, he's an Alabama Democrat.


LEMON: Where does he fall in line with the Democratic -- ?

BEGALA: Well, his background is a prosecutor. He was -- my old boss, Bill Clinton, in fact, made him the U.S. attorney. And the thing he is most famous for was prosecuting the Ku Klux Klansmen who murdered those girls at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.

He brought them to justice. But he will stand very strong, especially for civil rights and women's rights. That's who's elected him now. You know, Alabama put him in but the --


BEGALA: -- people of Alabama who voted for Doug Moore (sic) were disproportionately people of color, women, younger voters.

And I think he's going to stand there for them. The first test will be if they haven't run through the tax bill yet. I think Ed mentioned this earlier. They are going to try to rescue that tax bill before Doug Jones shows up. So they have a two-vote margin. As soon as Senator-to-be Jones is sworn in, they're down to one vote, in which case every senator can cut some kind of special -- they'll try to ram that through. I think it's bad politics and bad policy to do but they'll try.

But then I think you'll see Doug Jones speaking out for the kinds of issues that he's talking about tonight in his speech. He said, we want to get something done. We want to find common ground. We want you to talk -- and the talked about common courtesy and decency. Common courtesy is not very common in Washington these days. I think we could use some.

LEMON: Do you think that they'll get this tax bill done before he gets there?

BEGALA: I do. But I have to say I don't think it's going to help them. It's not popular. It's not. So they're going to try to ram it through. Here's what's going to happen. It's going to be three steps. They're going to ram this thing through, then they're going to have a catastrophic midterm election. Then the president's going to be primary. Jeff Flake announced practically tonight on his tweet, right, when he said, "Decency wins," so this thing -- the civil war we saw in the last 30 minutes between Ed and Ana, that's just a -- I'm just going pop popcorn and sit back and watch.


LEMON: I mean, I just wonder if Roy Moore regretted riding a horse to -- because, you know, "and the horse you rode in on," after he lost, I mean, that's what everyone is saying, like you rode a horse and then we told you to get out of here.

I mean, but it's kind of weird that he --


LEMON: -- what century are we in?


LEWIS: -- sort of poking fun at it. Apparently he's not that good at it, either. (INAUDIBLE) bucked him off --


LEWIS: -- bad optics. That's even than wearing like a helmet and a tank.


LEMON: There it is. There's Sassy and...

NAVARRO: As I said earlier, when your views are from an era before motorized vehicles, it's quite appropriate to ride in on a horse.


SANDERS: She's not lying. One could argue that Roy Moore shared the same type of ideas that some people that would have likened themselves to the Confederacy shared. So this is not a stretch.

LEMON: April, I know you have some news but can you hold it please for just one second?

Hello, Mr. Barkley, Charles Barkley on the phone. How are you doing, sir?

CHARLES BARKLEY, PRO BASKETBALL STAR: I am in heaven right now, as we call Alabama. It's been a great night.

And, Don, thank you for having me on last night.

LEMON: Yes, absolutely. Listen, and we appreciate the message and you speaking directly to the American people. Did you -- listen, I know you were down there and you were hoping it would happen.

Did you actually think that he could pull this off?

BARKLEY: Great question. I was really nervous. But I believe in people from Alabama. I got to admit that. I told Doug last night, we campaigned -- I said, Doug, I believe these people want to change.

I think -- you know, and it's interesting because, if you ask somebody a question on camera and then when they get in the booth because, if you go back to look at the numbers, there's no doubt in my mind there were a lot of Republicans who voted for Doug Jones tonight.

So, man, I'm just proud of the state of Alabama because, as I told all these people in Alabama, CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, all these networks who are in power to see a political like idiot. They weren't there because they were concerned about a little election in Alabama.

They wanted to see if we were stupid enough to vote for Roy Moore. And I'm just so proud of the people of Alabama for rising up. And, man, it's just a great night for me and being from Alabama.

LEMON: Listen, Charles, what I love about you and I think what most people do is that you speak your mind and but you get a lot of criticism for it. And I don't think you care about that.

What you said I think is true, you said directly to Democrats, and I think you said it to Doug Jones as well, that they had to stop taking certain people's vote for granted. Talk to us about that.

BARKLEY: Well, Don, there was this beautiful black woman on television tonight. I was watching your coverage earlier tonight. I don't know. She had a beautiful red outfit on. I just want to give her some love. She said something.

LEMON: Nina Turner probably.

BARKLEY: I don't remember right offhand, so I don't want to say but she said something I said tonight. These, you know, they come out, these Democrats -- and I'm an independent Democrat. I'm a combination of both. And I said they only want to worry about black people when Barack Obama is running for president or Doug Jones is running for Senate.

They take our votes for granted. They always have. We need to start calling these Democrats out as black people and poor white people, because they're in the same boat because people always want to make this thing about Democrat, Republican; liberal conservative.


BARKLEY: It's about rich against poor.

Poor people get screwed in America. We're in the worst neighborhoods. We have the worst food. That's the problem. But so they wanted all the poor white people to come out tonight and they wanted all the black people to come out. But they never do anything for us when they're in office. And I love Doug. And I told Doug, all these black people out here, they're betting on you because you just can't get their vote and just disappear. We need to hold these Democrats accountable because they have done an awful job, an awful job of taking care of black people and poor white people, plain and simple.

LEMON: What did he say to you?

BARKLEY: Well, listen, I know it's a complicated system but all you can do is try. Listen, I tell people all the time, they always, like I say, America, these politicians do a great job of dividing and conquering. But it's really just about rich people against poor people.

These politicians got to do a much better job for these poor people. I mean, you even look at Donald Trump's new tax plan. I'm a rich guy. It's going to benefit me. Listen, I'm not selfish. I think the rich people should pay more taxes. We shouldn't be getting more tax benefits. We should pay more in taxes.

So we just got lucky and got the American dream. But I challenge Democrats, even though we won tonight, quit taking the black vote for granted.

And also, if you look at the numbers, we got really young, educated people in Alabama, who probably were mostly white. We got to help them also. We can't just let the good ol' boy network keep running things the way they've been doing for a long time in Alabama.

LEMON: Charles Barkley, I don't have to tell you this, keep speaking your truth and thank you for coming on CNN. Thank you, sir.

BARKLEY: Hey, no, Don. Thank you. I called you personally and said, hey, please have me on. I want to thank you. Hey, you guys, keep up the great work at CNN.

LEMON: Thank you, sir. We'll see you soon.


NAVARRO: He should run for DNC chair.



LEMON: Charles, are you still on?

Did he hang up?

What did you say?

BARKLEY: No, I'm here. What you know?

LEMON: Ana Navarro was talking to you.

What did you say?

NAVARRO: Baby, I want you to run for chair of the DNC. I mean, you have spoken such truth. Tell me. Talk to me.

BARKLEY: Hey, Ana, first, Ana, I love you and I want you to keep fighting the good fight. But I'm going to ride this working-one-day- a-week thing out right now.


NAVARRO: How's your horseback riding?


BARKLEY: Hey, Ana, let me tell you something, I'm not -- I hate to name drop. So last weekend I was shooting a Capital One commercial. So I was on a horse.


BARKLEY: They had me, Sam Jackson and Spike Lee on horses for these new Capital One commercials that are going to run during March Madness. I'm not very good on horses.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looking forward to it.

LEMON: We don't know if he's Western or English or maybe he doesn't ride with a saddle.

Charles, thank you. Always a pleasure, my friend.

BARKLEY: Hey, guys, hey, keep up the great work. Thanks for having me.

LEMON: All righty. We'll be right back.





LEMON: Democrat Doug Jones defeats Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race tonight. Back with me now, my political team.

Every time I say that, I can see you flinching out of the corner of my eye.

I think this is a pretty important question.

How long do you think Jeff Sessions is going to be the attorney general?

LEWIS: Man, I wish Jeff Sessions had actually run for --


LEMON: Do you think that that's a possibility, that he could come back and -- LEWIS: I think it's within the realm of possibility.

BEGALA: Well, it's not up until 2020, so maybe in 2020 --

LEMON: For his old seat?

BEGALA: He -- Doug Jones will now fulfill the rest of --

NAVARRO: There are great Republicans in Alabama. We've been seeing this guy, the secretary of state, Merrill, on TV. Look, if Republicans in Alabama had nominated a potted plant, it would have probably beaten Doug Jones by double digits. They just happened to pick a pedophile. There's bridges you just don't cross.


SANDERS: But, again, it's not just that he was a pedophile. Roy Moore was a bigot, was a sexist, was a homophobe. He was removed from the bench twice. He was just fundamentally unfit to serve in the United States --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's something bigger going on.

LEMON: You're looking for the word alleged.

BEGALA: The Republicans in Virginia nominated a traditional guy, worked for George W. Bush, a lobbyist, the head of the RNC, had none of Roy Moore's problems. And the Democrats there beat him like a rented mule. So there's something going on. What's happening in my party --


LEMON: Let me get Kirsten in here.

BEGALA: The progressives and the moderates are coming together. People of color are coming out like they've never come out before, better than they did for Barack Obama.

LEMON: Everyone deserves their moment to celebrate. Democrats can celebrate tonight.

But should they be overly confident that this will mean something for '18 or '20?

KIRSTEN POWERS, "THE DAILY BEAST": I think it's hard to extrapolate anything from Alabama because it is a unique situation. And Moore was a uniquely bad candidate and, you know, I think, as Symone was pointing out, there were a lot of problems with him even before the accusations about the girls. He was only up, I think, by 6 points when those accusations came out, which, in Alabama, is very, very close as a state. But Trump won by 28 points.

But I do think there is something here where, when Trump won, it seemed like he had this following of people who had total buy-in to Trump. And they were going to do whatever he wanted. He could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, this whole thing.

And then you see he endorsed Ed Gillespie and Ed Gillespie not only got beat but got beat badly. And the Democrats won a lot of seats in the legislature in Virginia. And Virginia is not a blue, blue state necessarily.

Then you go into Alabama and you have a Democrat winning. Even if the Democrat had lost by 4 points, it still would have been revolutionary. Democrats just don't give you a run for the money in Alabama.

So I do think it says something about Trump. You know, he endorsed Luther Strange. He loses. He endorses Roy Moore. He loses. He endorses Ed Gillespie. He loses. It says something about his influence.

LEMON: Do you think he knows that?

Do you think they know that, meaning 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and everyone who works there?

GREEN: At some level, I'm sure Trump does because we see it reflected in every Twitter eruption he has, where he blames somebody for the misfortunes that his presidency seems to be causing.

I do think that we can draw lessons from tonight and from the election in Virginia last month, which that is Trump is an unpopular figure. He's at 48 percent approval rating in Alabama. And the one commonality between these two states is the partisan turnout differential.

Democrats as a party are highly motivated to come out in all sorts of places. Republicans, by and large, are not. And that's why we're seeing these cataclysmic upsets.


LEMON: We have a lot to talk about. Stand by, I got to get to the top of the hour.

NAVARRO: You mean, you're not going to let April give her news?

LEMON: No, April's going to get her news but hold on.

RYAN: Thank you, Ana.

LEMON: Stand by --


LEMON: -- Ana Navarro.

RYAN: Thank you, thank you.

LEMON: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon. It is the top of the hour, just 1:00 am here on the East Coast.