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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Cities Erupt In Celebration After Biden Named Winner; President-Elect Biden Calls For Unity In Victory Speech; Trump Has Not Reached Out To Joe Biden. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired November 7, 2020 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: Folks, the people of this nation have spoken. They've delivered us a clear victory, a convincing victory, a victory for we the people. We've won with the most votes ever cast some presidential ticket in the history of the nation. 74 million.
Well, I must admit it surprised me. Tonight, we're seeing all over this nation, all cities in all parts of the country, indeed, across the world, an outpouring of joy of hope, renewed faith, and tomorrow, bring a better day.
And I'm humbled by the trust and confidence you placed in me. I pledged to be a president who seeks not to divide, but unify, who doesn't see red states and blue states, only sees the United States. And work with all my heart with the confidence of the whole people to win the confidence of all of you. And for that is what America I believe is about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Jake, this was certainly the kind of speech that at least half of the country had been so anxiously waiting to hear for four years.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: That's right, more than half of the voters at the very least. Let's check in with Arlette Saenz who is with the Biden campaign in Wilmington, Delaware. Arlette, what's the latest?
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, things have wrapped up here as the Chase Center as the crowd heard from the President Elect Joe Biden, for the first time a message of unity is what he was projecting this evening, acknowledging the disappointment of people who may have voted for President Trump but telling them to try to give each other a chance.
He also talks about the need to move away from demonization that you've seen play out in politics over the past few years.
And as Joe Biden spoke here in his native Delaware to a hometown crowd, he also started to look forward a bit to what these next few weeks are going to look like. He specifically in that speech, mentioned that he would be announcing his team on Monday to address the coronavirus pandemic. We are told that that is really going to be the central focus of the opening days of this campaign.
During the campaign, Biden center so much of it on the need to tackle that crisis. And he has made clear that he wants to get immediately to work not waiting until he's in the White House to start addressing these issues.
He has talked about how he wants to start reaching out to Republican and Democratic governors to hear about the needs that they are -- need to have addressed in their states as the coronavirus pandemic is still raging across the country.
Now, over the course of the campaign, Joe Biden spoke very little about the tradition -- about the transition, he's superstitious and did not want to get ahead of himself. But in these coming days, he will be diving in to that transition work as he and Kamala Harris prepare for their path to the White House over these next few months.
Now, one thing that still remains unclear is whether there has been any outreach to or from the White House, the Biden campaign, his advisors have not addressed that at this moment. But that is something that we will be watching whether there is any type of communication between him and President Trump in these coming weeks as he is putting this transition together.
TAPPER: Yes, I mean, this is about the governance of the United States of America. 330 million people doesn't have to do with anybody being petulant. Arlette Saenz, thanks so much. Appreciate the reporting.
Let's check in with Kaitlan Collins, who's at the White House. And Kaitlan, you heard what are Arlette just said the Biden team not really addressing whether or not they have heard from the outgoing President of the United States. Can you shed any light for us?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we can tell you that there has not been any outreach. The President has not made any calls to former Vice President Joe Biden and it because of course, if the President hasn't made any calls, that likely means that Vice President Mike Pence hasn't made any calls to the senator as well.
So no outreach yet from the president. We actually have not heard from him in several hours since he returned from his golf course earlier, which is where he was when CNN made the call that Joe Biden was projected to win the presidency.
And then the president drove back to Washington in a motorcade that wove through streets that were filled with thousands of people cheering the fact that Joe Biden has won and Donald Trump has lost the presidency and will not be reelected to a second term.
So that's why it was so notable in that speech there is you listen to Joe Biden he did not mention Donald Trump and he did not mention any call coming from President Trump to talk about his victory here.
And that's so different, Jake, because I went back and re read what Donald Trump said in 2016 the night that he was elected. And right out of the bat, he opened and said, I just got a call from Secretary Clinton, he congratulated her in turn on her hard fought campaign. None of that tonight, Jake, because the President has not called Joe Biden.
And this comes as the president is publicly and falsely saying that he won the election. We know that is not the case. And Jake, I'm told it privately, the President has also acknowledged that this is the outcome of the election, and he has lost. But he's not saying that publicly. And instead, he's encouraging his attorneys to move forward with these legal challenges, knowing that it will delay potentially the formal certification of these election results.
TAPPER: Yes, we had Republican election attorney Ben Ginsburg look at the lawsuits and complaints. And as of now, they all seem to be without merit, without with the one exception of the one having to do with ballots in Pennsylvania that came after the election that have not been included in any count. So it just seems like a lot of frivolousness.
To what end, Kaitlan? I mean, it doesn't matter if he accepts or is in denial, he's going to be leaving that building. It's just a question about whether or not he wants to look like a sore loser, and a petulant child, or whether or not he's going to be a man, an adult.
COLLINS: And his advisors are realizing that the question is, can people successfully break through to the President, because this is a president who has long run on this pattern of creating a lot of noise about something as he did, you know, at the start of his political career, when he promoted the birther conspiracy about President Obama, he basically can create a lot of noise around something that makes people believe what he's saying, even though there's no evidence around it.
And it's kind of following a similar pattern here where the President is challenging the result. It's going to allow some of his supporters to also question the legitimacy of Joe Biden. And that's a dangerous thing. And of course, the President's allies realize that people who work in this White House realize it, I'm sure the Vice President Mike Pence, someone who has been a long time in politics also realizes it.
But by doing this, the President can delay the formal certification of the results. He can cast doubt on Joe Biden's victory and for the president who obviously does not want to lose. That is what he's going to do. And so he will, at some point, Jake, have to come to terms with reality. He will have to actually leave the White House. He can't deny that, but he can go and not grant Joe Biden, you know, the public acceptance of his victory, which is likely what he's doing. It's definitely what he's doing right now likely what he's going to continue to do for the next several days.
TAPPER: I guess we shouldn't expect anything different. Kaitlan Collins, Thanks so much. Appreciate it. And Abby, before we came back from break, you and I were talking about the fact that I saw a tweet from a writer at reason magazine who said that he thinks in many ways. Perhaps Joe Biden was the only Democrat that could have beat Donald Trump to give Donald Trump his due. He is a political force.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
TAPPER: Despite acting the way or maybe because of acting the way he acts 70 million people voted for him. It was an election that was it was not in an immediate landslide, as a lot of Democrats were hoping it would be, it took some time to count the ballots, and some of the states were pretty close. But Biden, it seems to be in many ways was the right person at the right time?
PHILLIP: Yes. And I think the Democrats four years ago, widely believed that they underestimated Donald Trump. And they didn't do that this time around understanding that what Trump did four years ago was really change the political landscape for the Republican Party.
I think a lot of people believed that the demographic change in the country, even Republicans believe this, if you read their autopsy report, after the Mitt Romney lost in 2012, they believe that the demographic change would force the party to appeal more to more diverse constituencies. And what Donald Trump did was say, No, we can just bring out more of white America white, working class America.
And I think that has changed the dynamic for a little bit of time. And Joe Biden is a candidate who was chosen by black voters, I should say, chosen by black voters to take that on directly. Someone who a lot of black voters I spoke to in the primary believed was the only person in that primary who could adequately speak to people in the upper Midwest --
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
PHILLIP: -- in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and beyond. And maybe it turns out that that was the case because we're sitting here talking about President-Elect Joe Biden.
BASH: We were talking on what was election night, however five days ago about the fact that Joe Biden was likely I think you said it Abby, with Joe Biden was likely to build a different coalition than any Democrat had before. I mean, most winning candidates have unique Coalition's.
And Biden did that in such a way that he really was a unique figure who could build back at blue wall because he was so relatable.
And David Axelrod was saying, he remembers in 2008, because he had such Biden had such a connection and those areas they parked in, in those areas, it because it's genuine.
TAPPER: So I want to play just a little bit from President-Elect Biden's acknowledgement, appreciation, thanks for his victory, in which he acknowledges what you just mentioned, Abby, how the black community got him there, take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: The African-American community stood up again for me. They always have my back. And I'll have yours.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So there's, I would say in addition to that, in addition to having the black community having his back, which is obviously a huge part of his victory. There are a couple other things that made Joe Biden the candidate who could beat Trump, and there are a lot of people who thought that maybe a fresh face like Pete Buttigieg, or a progressive like Warren or Sanders might be able to do a better job.
In this theory of the case, it's only Biden. A couple other reasons. One, in this -- according to this theory of the case, Joe Biden is such a known quantity. He's been in politics for 47 years. He was vice president for eight including Barack Obama's vice president.
Therefore, the demonization, the attacks from Trump failed to stick.
TAPPER: People thought they knew him. They felt that they knew them. They knew Joe Biden. And you couldn't make him into this sleazy, disgusting, leering gross purse.
BASH: There's something else, though, is that Donald Trump couldn't get out of his own way to, to attack Joe Biden in such a way that it would stick. What I mean is, every time the campaign would try to define Joe Biden, which is code for attack, Joe Biden, in political parlance, the President would mess it up by doing something on his Twitter feed or at a rally that would distract from the very message that they were trying to do in order to make Joe Biden unpalatable for people as an alternative to Donald Trump, even those who didn't really like Donald Trump, for whatever reason. It didn't work for that reason. And I think the fundamentals I think you're right, that it he was just undefinable in that way.
TAPPER: Another thing that I think was made Joe Biden so special for this moment is Donald Trump, President Trump has a lot of political gifts. One of them is not empathy. He comes across as cruel. He can even as in the first debate come across as emotionally abusive at times.
The difference between a guy like Donald Trump and a guy like Joe Biden, on the issue of compassion and empathy was so stark, that there was nowhere to go, if that was a quality that was important to you. Other than Joe Biden.
Joe Biden has a stutter. His campaign -- the Trump campaign, Trump's daughter in law would make fun of it. Joe Biden would go and embrace people with disabilities. Donald Trump would make fun of them. And in fact, somebody from the disabled community just reached out to me on social media, and said, this is the first time he'd ever heard a President acknowledged the disability community in a speech. I don't pay attention to these things. This is not a community that gets a lot of attention as a political force.
The disabled community, although they're out there, it's a -- if you follow the hashtag Crip The Vote, you can see there, they're out there and they're very active. And Joe Biden said in his speech, we must make the promise of the country real for everybody, no matter their race, their ethnicity, their faith, their identity, or their disability. Something I didn't even notice.
TAPPER: But the disabled community heard it. And they're there and they vote and they have family members and they vote. And how does President Trump treat the disabled community? He makes fun of them. He makes fun of them.
PHILLIP: I think typically, we think about politicians with long histories as a liability, because it makes it in some cases easier for them to have a long rap sheet. But for Joe Biden it actually function in a completely different way in this selection because it was easier for him to say and actually the Democrats did this repeatedly during their convention.
They talked repeatedly about these personal stories of Joe Biden with one person, Joe Biden with that elevator conductor at the New York Times bestseller.
PHILLIP: You know, Joe Biden --
TAPPER: Didn't get the endorsement of the Editorial Board got the elevator conductor there.
PHILLIP: Not in the primary.
TAPPER: Yes, right, not in the primary.
PHILLIP: But you're right. But, you know, going back to our conversation about why Joe Biden may have been perfect for this moment, it's because it's hard to demonize somebody whose life story is sympathetic, and who has a history that is backed up by photographic evidence and video evidence and testimonials and people after people after people willing to come forward to say, this is the person I knew and the Trump campaign, they were stumped by this.
The Republicans really preferred that the President talk about policy and fracking and taxes and the economy. And not all of this other character stuff. That was clearly not as effective because Joe Biden was inoculated in some ways, because his story seemed to be well known to people. His tragedy and his triumphs seem to be -- people seem feel felt like they knew it. And it was hard for the President to get around that. BASH: One thing that if I may want to go back to what Kaitlan was reporting on about the kind of tooing and froing inside Trump world right now about getting him to the place where he can concede the fact that none of us remembers a time in our political coverage, where the losing candidate doesn't give at least at least a speech or even a phone call.
And I'm just again, taken back to that night in November of 2008, when John McCain made that concession speech, and a friend, Mark Salter was just reminding me, I remember reading it one of the books about the fact that that was so powerful, not just about him and his character, but about what that means about what American democracy represents that when McCain would travel around the world, people would recite that speech back to him because they were taught that this is what democracy should sound and look like.
PHILLIP: Pretty amazing.
BASH: It's amazing.
BASH: And the fact that we don't even have a phone call right now, even if it's not a concession, but just that acknowledgement, like, Hey, you know what? You got -- looks like you've got more votes than me. I'm not quite there yet. Let's see what these lawsuits play out. I'm just kind of, you know, spitballing here, but nothing is telling.
TAPPER: President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris calling on Americans tonight to unite in the wake of a bitter and hard-fought election. We're going to take a look at the celebrations across the country tonight as our special coverage continues.
BLITZER: Fireworks over Wilmington Delaware was a big finish to President-Elect Biden the celebration of his election victory his speech seeking to inspire and unite the nation.
Meanwhile, huge crowds of Biden's supporters were inspired. They gathered in the streets of many major U.S. cities to share this moment they had been hoping for.
Let's check in with our reporters first let's go to Gary Tuchman in Atlanta. So, I see they're still partying, they're still celebrating where you are Gary.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the jubilation here in the Midtown section of Atlanta is intense. This is Atlanta's biggest dance party tonight in the streets. Here in Midtown. It's also it's the longest dance party. This has been Glanford 10 hours after CNN projected Joe Biden.
This morning people started gathering out here. This is a impromptu spontaneous party with no guestlist, no start time, no end time. And people just started pouring into the streets. When this when this began there were cars still in the streets.
Hey, you guys, you guys. Let the viewers hear me. OK. You can yell and scream. But don't say that, please. There hasn't been any violence. It's been very peaceful people have enjoyed themselves. And that's an important thing to point out, Wolf.
Like I said, there are a lot of cars and trucks moving through in the beginning, the police close the streets. We haven't even seen any police here. It's been going on for 10 hours. Everything has been quiet and peaceful, relatively speaking, people have been celebrating.
What was really interesting, when Joe Biden and Kamala Harris spoke, everyone got very quiet. And they started gathering at the restaurants on the street that had their TVs on and people started watching the speech very quietly.
And when the speech is done, they all came back out and started celebrating. People here take a lot of pride that the state of Georgia could possibly end up going blue, and they voted and what could be a very important election to change. What's happened in the state the last time a democrat one was Bill Clinton in 1992 before that native son, Jimmy Carter in 1976, and 1980. And these people have a lot of pride that their votes could mean that Georgia turns blue and a lot of pride that Joe Biden is going to become the president of the United States.
One other thing I want to point out too, there's no social distance in here. That's not cool. Most people have been wearing their mask was 90, 95 percent. Now it's less, that's not so cool, either. But the fact is, there's been no violence, and that's certainly an important point.
BLITZER: Yes. They should be wearing masks for sure. All right, Gary, thanks very much. Adrienne Broaddus is in Chicago for us. So Adrienne, what was it like and what is it like over there?
ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Wolf. I can tell you this is a vibrant party. This is a celebration that has turned into a parade. Take a walk with me. I want you to see what we are experiencing. That is the soundtrack of victory. And it has been going on here throughout the night. We're on Michigan Avenue. Many of you at home might know this as the Magnificent Mile.
Take a listen just for a quick second. And we've heard those horns blowing throughout the day. And people have been attracted to this area, perhaps because of what is behind us. Take a look at what's behind us. Trump Tower. Inside it houses, condos and a hotel outside of Trump Tower throughout the day. We've seen people waving the flag and blowing their horn a lot like this.
[22:25:12] I'm not going to fight Wolf with the sound of victory.
Earlier in the day, I spoke with a 90-year-old woman who is a civil rights activist. She told me it is a blessing to see and witness this in her lifetime. She also talked about the significance of Harris. She says too often, black women work in the background. But now, black women are in the front.
And I spoke with some young girls earlier said, growing up, their parents often tell him, you can be whatever you want to be. But that's something they really didn't believe until now. And a moment ago, a man walked by me and said tonight, America is great. Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes. So a lot of happy people over there in Chicago. Adrienne, thank you very, very much. Let's go to Philadelphia right now. Shimon Prokupecz on the streets of Philadelphia. Shimon, what's happening there?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Wolf. Philly is certainly doing it right tonight. It's just been a party all day. Of course, Philadelphia playing such a key part in this election. And that is not lost on anyone here tonight.
I just want to show you this here, Wolf. There's a DJ here. This is a rolling DJ. We've been walking now for blocks and many of the people who've been following along and dancing. That's been the atmosphere here all day. People are out celebrating.
Tell me what's been like for you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today's been good. Everyone's behaving. Everyone is happy. We're community. Humans are tribal creatures. This is a good way to display a love. Life is not that bad. We're doing pretty good.
PROKUPECZ: (INAUDIBLE) Kamala Harris is the next Vice President. How does that make feel?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Honestly, it doesn't matter who won right now. It's the fact that we're together.
PROKUPECZ: Unity is the key right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Unity is the key. Whoever you voted for we're together. It's a tribe.
PROKUPECZ: And that's what a lot of people out here tonight certainly have been doing and saying they want to be together. And they want to be out here and we're seeing that, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Shimon. Thank you very much. Shimon is in Philadelphia for us. Let's go back to Dana.
BASH: Thank you so much, Wolf. And like to bring in Kate Bedingfield, who is the deputy campaign manager, was the deputy campaign manager for the Biden campaign. First of all, congratulations, Kate. Nice to see you. KATE BEDINGFIELD, BIDEN DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Thank you. Thank you.
BASH: OK. So first --
BEDINGFIELD: Nice to see you too.
BASH: -- describe the feeling in the campaign and specifically, from the president elect himself. I noticed that the beginning of his speech, I don't know it was an ad lib or what but he made mention of what we just reported on from cities across the country, the people spilling into the streets, is celebrating. Was he expecting that? What was his reaction behind the scenes?
BEDINGFIELD: No, he certainly wasn't expecting it. But he was incredibly encouraged and gratified and humbled to see it, you know, he was really moved by it. And we've been really excited. And inside the campaign, it's obviously incredibly thrilling to see this kind of excitement and energy and outburst and for everyone to feel so joyful about the fact that we are now going to finally turn the page on this presidency, that we're going to move forward in the spirit of unity, and that we're going to put the, the ugliness of the campaign season behind us and get to the hard tasks in front of us.
But the fact that we're seeing people pouring out into the streets spontaneously all day to celebrate, it's just an incredibly exciting moment for the country. And the President Elect was really humbled and really gratified to see it.
BASH: And as he and the Vice President Elect both said, now the hard part begins. And there's so many hard parts, it's not even clear where to start. But what he can try to do in the short term is begin to bring people together rhetorically, and in other ways. How is he actually going to turn the rhetoric into action, even before he takes the oath?
BEDINGFIELD: Yes. Well, I think you saw him start to do it tonight. You know, he got into this race 19 months ago, making a promise to bring the country together. He talked about the need for us to unify for us to work together to overcome the challenges that we face as Americans and tonight in his first address to the nation as president elect, you saw him start to do that. You saw him talk about the fact that we can come together we're not always going to agree on everything.
Of course, we're not but we can start to see each other again, we can start to hear each other again. And that that is going to be the guiding principle of the way that he's going to lead.
I think it's clearly what Americans want. We've seen, you know, the Biden-Harris ticket has gotten the most votes of any ticket in the history of presidential politics. People overwhelmingly, you know, came out and said, this is the kind of leadership we want. This is what we want to see happen. We, as a country, we have always been able to come together to overcome challenges. And these challenges we're facing right now are no different.
So I think you saw Vice President Biden, now President-elect Biden, and Vice President-elect Harris, really lay out a commitment tonight to the American people that that's the way they're going to govern. And I think that's exactly what the American people are looking for.
BASH: So we have been reporting from our White House reporters and others about the fact that the current president has no intention of conceding anytime soon, has not called your boss. Has there's been any communication at all between anybody in Trump world, anybody in the campaign and anybody in yours?
BEDINGFIELD: There has not. And obviously, we would, you know, we would hope that in this moment, this incredibly important moment for the country, that President Trump would choose to do the right thing, to do the thing that presidents have done for, you know, since our country was founded. Obviously, the peaceful transition of power is a core bedrock principle that our democracy is founded on. And, of course, we would hope and I think it would be a good thing for the American people to hear from President Trump. But that's his decision.
Obviously, President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris are going to be focused on talking directly to the American people, starting to do the hard work of coming together, starting to do the hard work of tackling this virus as they move into the transition. So they're going to stay focused on the future and on what they're going to do as president and vice president.
BASH: So as the president-elect said tonight, he got the most -- he considers it a mandate, the most votes for any candidate for president it seems in history. But the current president got 70 million, which is a lot of people who said that they wanted him to stay in for a second term. How is beyond, again, beyond the rhetoric, how do you think that there are concrete ways for the president-elect to show that he's listening to their concerns?
BEDINGFIELD: Well, by speaking directly to them, by listening, by not dismissing them out of hand. I think you saw him do that throughout the campaign, you know, throughout the primary. There were doubts from, you know, from the pundit class about whether, you know, Joe Biden, trying to appeal to a broad swath of the country was really the right way to go. But for him, you know, that's fundamentally the way he believes that's a core conviction that he has, that it is the obligation of a president to not just be president, for the people who voted for him.
So, you know, throughout the campaign he has talked about, if he's elected, he's going to listen. He's going to reach out. You know, he is going to make sure that people who didn't vote for him and who disagree with him feel hurt. It doesn't mean they're going to agree with every policy, it doesn't mean that they're going to agree with every decision.
But he fundamentally believes that treating people with dignity, that treating people with integrity is the start of that process. That's how he's always conducted himself, and that's how he'll conduct himself in the White House.
BASH: He cut many a deal with the current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell when he was vice president, and when he was a senator as well. Had the two of them spoken?
BEDINGFIELD: They have not, but I expect that they will. And certainly, as you say, he has a working relationship with Senator McConnell and anticipates working with him as we move forward, and as he takes the White House.
BASH: And our understanding is that as a candidate, President-elect Biden was careful not to engage with world leaders, one president at a time. But now that he's president-elect, is he going to begin to reach out?
BEDINGFIELD: He will begin to do that in the appropriate transition process. You're absolutely right. Obviously, he believes, as you say, one president at a time. But now that we have moved into the transition process, yes, he'll begin to reach out and to have those conversations. Obviously, you know, he believes a big piece of what he can accomplish as president is to restore America standing in the world.
And, you know, as you heard him say tonight, for us to once again, not just lead, you know, by the example of our power, but by the power of our example on the world stage. So, you know, re-engaging with the world, rebuilding our alliances, that's going to be an important part of his presidency. And that's something that he'll start to do as we now move into the transition.
BASH: So, Kate, what happens tomorrow? He wakes up tomorrow and?
BEDINGFIELD: I hope be with his family, will take a minute to enjoy some time with his family. He's been on the campaign trail for 19 months.
And then, you know, he'll continue to make calls and the hard work of going into the transition will begin. But tomorrow, he's going to take a moment to enjoy being with his family, a hard-earned day with his family.
BASH: OK. And I can't let you go without calling out your mask, with a 46 on it. I saw others wearing it. A quick trip to the manufacturer there where did that come from?
BEDINGFIELD: We want it to be ready. We're incredibly proud of President-elect Biden, incredibly proud of Vice President Harris, and we were eager to show it off tonight.
BASH: Very 2020. Kate Bedingfield, you have been with now president- elect for a very long time, and I want to say congratulations to you. I know, for you and a lot of people on that campaign, there was a lot that you gave up in order to put your focus with what resulted tonight. Congrats. BEDINGFIELD: Thank you, Dana, I appreciate it.
BASH: Thank you. Wolf? Jake, you look so different. What do you think?
BLITZER: I thought it was very impressive what was going on. This was the kind of speech that is a traditional speech that the president- elect of the United States gives after a tough campaign. And I've heard it before. We've covered these kinds of situations before, tough campaign. But once you are the president-elect, you want to unite the country, bringing everybody together and do the best that you can, Democrats, Republicans, liberals and conservatives.
One thing, Abby, you know, we -- Dana asked Kate what the president- elect going to do tomorrow. Tomorrow morning, I assume he'll go to church. He's a devout.
PHILLIP: Yes, that's my guess.
BLITZER: He's going to go to church and thank the Lord for what has happened.
PHILLIP: Yes, I would think so. He's actually been to church. It seems pretty frequently, especially as you've gotten closer to the election. It's a touchstone for Joe Biden. It's a place where he goes because he is a devout Catholic, but because it has a lot of resonant meaning for him and his family, for all the loss that he's experienced. And it'll also be, I think, if you're the Biden campaign, you're thinking, the day after you give a speech like this, what do you signal to the American people about who Joe Biden is. And I think it would be an obvious choice for him to go to church first.
BLITZER: He will be the second Catholic President of the United States after John F. Kennedy. Americans hear for the first time from Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as president-elect and vice president-elect both calling on the country to unite. Our special coverage continues right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT-ELECT: For all those you who voted for President Trump, I understand the disappointment tonight. I've lost a couple times myself, but now let's give each other a change. It's time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again, listen to each other again. And to make progress, we have to stop treating our opponents as our enemies. They are not our enemies. They're Americans. They're Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: President-elect Biden earlier tonight. What a strange next couple of days, it's going to be. I mean transitions are always odd, but this one in particular. I want to show a picture from November 10th in 2016. This was awkward.com, President Obama inviting then President-elect Donald Trump to the Oval Office.
Awkward, yes, but traditional and that is what traditionally happens. Do you foresee a meeting like this happening?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: No.
COOPER: It's November, what, 7th? So that was November 10th.
BORGER: I really don't. But Donald Trump is somebody who wouldn't even unveil the president's portrait inside the White House. So graciousness is not something that I think comes naturally to him. And I think Biden is all about relationships, and he doesn't burn bridges. And he believes you can't expect loyalty unless you give it. So it's -- they're completely different human beings.
And there's no doubt in my mind that if the roles were reversed, Trump would be in the White House meeting with the President.
COOPER: And by the end of the today, though, you know, the train has left the station.
BORGER: Yes. This thing is moving. There's momentum to it. Other Republicans, you know, other world leaders have reached out. At a certain point, President Trump, the calculus, I assume, would be what sets me up for whatever this next chapter of my life is going to be. Does being the person who never met with the president, who didn't go to the inauguration, who, you know, leaves with a bag of grievances that I was, you know, rob. Does that set him up for his career and, you know, television or podcasting or whatever?
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I mean, I think -- first of all, I think that the notion that he was not treated fairly, and that the selection wasn't fair is central to his narrative, you know. And we've discussed before, I don't think he can -- he's not going to leave a loser. He's going to leave as someone who was robbed. And grievance is so central to his political project.
But that, I think, yes, whether it's running the resistance from some television outlet, which I think is the most likely thing or anything. I think that he will leave on that basis. So we're not going to see a picture like that. But I think the Biden people and the vice president himself, the president-elect, is handling it exactly the right way. The train is leaving the station.
And what it says is that, these institutions of our democracy, even if Donald Trump sustains them, they have power. They have meaning and they're going to go forward with or without them. I just want to say one other thing.
I said a long time ago, that elections, presidential elections are MRIs for the soul, whoever you are. There's -- you looked at so closely, people know who you are by the end. Joe Biden benefited from that. People saw his soul in this campaign, and he's a good soul. And that's what they wanted in their president right now.
[22:45:00] And just one shout-out, I don't have a long list, Van, so just give me one. Mike Donilon is a strategist who I've worked with in the past. He was involved in the in the Obama campaign, been with Biden for years. I think he's written most of the words that Biden has spoken, written words with Biden -- spoken with Biden. And has -- I think part of the message discipline of this campaign, even when it was hard during the primary was because of their relationship and Mike's brilliance. And that has paid off tonight, and he deserves to get some credit.
RICK SANTORUM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Before we get to Van's Oscar nomination speech.
COOPER: It's coming.
SANTORUM: It is coming. I just want to say that, you know, what we're hearing from that Trump White House is that, the President is willing to concede if certain conditions are met. And the answer is what conditions that he's comfortable that he is run the race through the tape, which is that, you know, that that this race was conducted fairly, and that, you know, we've they've pursued all of the allegations. And, you know, all you need to do is pick up your phone, and you'll see allegations and allegations and allegations. His legal team is telling him they have a case. And so, the President's going to follow through with that.
But I think the idea that somehow, you know, as was suggested the other day, that we're going to have to transport the President out of there. That's just ridiculous. But time is going to be necessary for the campaign and the lawyers to run the traps.
You know, you look, Georgia's 9,000 votes, Arizona is 19, Pennsylvania is 37, and there's still votes to be counted. There's -- and now the projector say, well, we know what those votes are, oh, President Trump has a right to see what those votes are.
AXELROD: I got an email 10 minutes ago from the Trump-Pence Committee. They're trying to steal this election.
NAKARED: They're still saying it.
SANTORUM: No, I understand that. My point is, the question is he convinced they haven't done that?
SANTORUM: That's my point.
COOPER: I understand the President feels he needs to be convinced. Is the President just an adult enough to actually call the president- elect and say, just that? To say, you know what, congratulations on the race, you won. You know, I want to play this out in the courts. But I, you know, and that's what we're going to do. As opposed to a press release, saying the election has been stolen. He's going to continue to go on Fox saying that, you know, I mean, there's ways to do that, that are adult and there's ways to do -- SANTORUM: There's ways to do things, and then there's Donald Trump's ways of doing things. And Donald Trump does things not the way Joe Biden would or a whole lot of other people who have occupied that House or, you know, the Congress.
COOPER: So for you, for Joe Biden, for President-elect Biden, moving forward at the end of this day, what are your final thoughts for?
VAN JONES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I mean, I guess, you know, for me, this is a little bit of morality play. You got to remember, we got a whole generation of kids who saw their parents get completely obsessed with politics. Somebody said, mommy, how long are you going to be watching the mob show, talking about John King, you know. And those kids are trying to figure out how the world works.
They're trying to figure out what's right and what's wrong. And, you know, to Axelrod's point, I think it should be clear to every kid that the guy you want to be like is the Joe Biden guy. The guy who when you when you're nice to your opponent. The guy when he wins, he's trying to be good. The guy you don't want to be like is the one that's a sore loser, that won't shake the other guy's hand, that seems to be more concerned about himself than the rest of the team.
And to me, that's the most important thing. But we'll get to policy, we'll get to all of that stuff. We'll get executive orders. We'll have all that kind of stuff. But this weekend is a great weekend to be a parent, as I said before, and for all young people are watching this stuff, it turns out that sometimes nice guys finish first.
BORGER: And can I just say one more thing about Biden. When you think of this sweep of his life and where he is now, one of his former staffer said to me, and it just stuck with me. She said to me, the worst thing that you can imagine happening to you, which is losing a child, has happened to him twice.
And yet, he survived. He persevered. He found a purpose, which he always talks about. And you have to think about him that maybe the next political step is not what he's all about right now, at this point in his life. Maybe it's about getting things done.
And you have to think about that when you think of Biden in the political world. So will he make deals, will he anger some people on the left. He has a purpose. He's been through a lot. He's not a young guy.
JONES: Yes, he is. That's who he is.
BORGER: And there's the sense that that matters because of where he is and where the country is.
AXELROD: That's a great point because he has the freedom if he chooses to seize it, of someone who has no other race in his future, who doesn't feel -- who doesn't have to be making those long-term calculations, and who can take risks for the greater good. And if he takes advantage of that, you know, great things can happen.
COOPER: I also think it's important, just, I mean, you know, one of the messages that the Joe Biden said tonight was about, you know, this is sort of the agreement error of demonization. And I think that's something that all of us should think about, not just in the political world, but just, you know, we've so gotten used to feeling it's OK to kind of say things to other people in ways. And I want to take responsibility.
A couple of days ago, I said, a cruel thing about a used words I shouldn't have toward the President, and got a lot of pickup and people thought it was funny and stuff. But I've been spending the last couple days just feel bad about it. Terrible bad, because it's just, a, it's not who I am. And it's not who I want to be. I don't want to be that person.
Other people can be that person on, you know, Comedy Central or whatever, but that's not my job. And it's not the citizen I want to be. So I just feel like all of us, and I feel bad about it. And I think all of us and I am personally going to be thinking a lot about in the days ahead, in the weeks ahead about the words I use and the tone that I want to set in my own life for my own child.
AXELROD: Yes. We got to find the humanity in each other. And you'll want -- that is a strength of Biden. You know, the ability to put yourself in someone else's shoes and try and see the world through their eyes and their experience. That's what you have to do if you're a legislator, and you're trying to work with people who have different views to get something done, is you have to try and figure out what is their perspective, what are they -- and he has a he has a gift for that.
And for, you know, the empathy thing is not just about comforting people. It's also helpful in dealing with people.
COOPER: Let's go back to Wolf and Abby.
BLITZER: All right. Anderson, thanks very much. You know, it's been an incredible, very long, Dana and Abby. Five --
BASH: We were sitting. You had to stand for like five days straight. The Ironman of television.
BLITZER: We work, we work, but that's -- it's a privilege to be able to cover a story.
BASH: It's sure is.
BLITZER: It's a blessing, indeed. But let's look ahead, give us a final thought what you're going to be looking for?
BASH: You know, it's kind of along the lines what I was trying to ask Kate Bedingfield, which is rhetoric matters. But there are things that Joe Biden and his team can do to make moves towards the 70 million people who said that they wanted President Trump to have another term. And how they actually act on those is going to be very interesting for me to watch, not just this week but, you know, from now until Inauguration Day.
BLITZER: He said a lot of the most positive things about seeking to cooperate, work together, bring the country together. Yes, we have differences but we need to unite. And that's easier said than done.
PHILLIP: Oh, absolutely. And it's so difficult even now because of this environment that we are in. The country is in the middle of a pandemic that is getting worse by the day. The economic crisis is severe. And frankly, there's still only one president, but that president feels absent and he is silent, and seems to be cloaking himself in conspiracies, and it's creating a vacuum.
That is different for Joe Biden, that it might be for any other president in waiting in history. He has to fill that vacuum now, which is why we're going to hear him on Monday rolling out a coronavirus taskforce. One thing that I was surprised to find was that, the Biden campaign didn't also roll out an economic task force, because of these twin problems that this country is facing. So we will see if that will come in the future.
But this is an unprecedented time for a president-elect. And there is no time really to wait till January 20th. And you sense that the Biden campaign, and now the Biden transition, believes that that is the case.
BLITZER: We know, because of our reporting, that over these past several months, the Biden team already has had a transition team getting ready for what obviously is now going to happen. They've been working very hard on this so they will be ready.
BASH: Which is required, it's not that they are being presumptuous, right? That's required.
BLITZER: A lot of them have a ton of experience working in the White House elsewhere in the government, so they know what they're doing. We'll watch it all very, very closely.
We're going to have much more on this truly, truly historic night. Our special coverage continues. That's coming up next with Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon right after a short break. Thanks very much.