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CNN INSIDE POLITICS

Republicans Celebrate Election Triumph

Aired November 6, 2002 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington this is INSIDE POLITICS with Judy Woodruff.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN HOST: Thank you for joining us.

Well, call it what you will. A Republican a tidalwave, or a blowout. You've probably heard all the metaphors by now, but many people are summing up Election 2002 and the new political dynamite that -- dynamic, I'm sorry. I'm going to take off my glasses now that I'm looking at this script. The political dynamic it created in one word: Bush.

We begin with our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Minnesota, an icon fell.

WALTER MONDALE (D), MINN. SENATE CANDIDATE: This was a sweep. We could feel the undertow here in Minnesota.

CROWLEY: In Georgia, a war hero was forced into retirement.

In Missouri, a widow must find another way to carry on her husband's legacy.

But wait, there's more. A Democratic dynasty was shaken in Maryland. A Republican dynasty was stirred in Florida.

GOV. JEB BUSH (R), FLORIDA: And I want to thank -- I want to thank our great president of the United States for coming down and lending a hand (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

CROWLEY: Holy cow what a night for George Bush. All that and SEC chairman Harvey Pitt quit in the middle of it and nobody noticed.

On some nights, some guys get all the breaks.

But from the White House, the word came forth: no gloating.

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECY.: It is a big victory candle, and the president thought that the most appropriate way to mark the day was would be with a touch of graciousness.

CROWLEY: Democrats did win governorships in some of those big industrial swing states and may hang on to that South Dakota Senate seat, But there is little else to cling to.

TERRY MCAULIFFE, DNC CHAIRMAN: If the Republicans had an edge over us yesterday it was tactical rather than ideological.

CROWLEY: Which is strategic talk for Democrats who once said George Bush had nothing to do with these elections now say he had everything to do with it.

They may be too stunned to see it, but there is a pony in here for Democrats. The balance of power tilted to Republicans mostly in races with the smallest of margins.

The country remains evenly divided. George Bush is the breeze that blew Republicans over the line. And being the majority party is not as neat as it seems.

SEN. TRENT LOTT (R), MISSISSIPPI: The majority leader is not ruler. The Senate is a place where it's very hard to, you know, get movement and bring together leaders and members of both parties.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CROWLEY: Not good enough. From now on, this has to be a no- excuses administration. The president got what he said he needed to do the job. Who do you think is going to be blamed if it all falls apart?

For George Bush, this election was not so much a mandate as a chance -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Candy, we heard the Democratic party Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic party chairman, say this wasn't an ideological win for Republicans. It was a tactical win.

Would the Republicans disagree with that?

CROWLEY: The Republicans -- I think, really, we have bipartisan agreement here. That when you have a very close election, things can move the numbers. And what moved the numbers most in the states where it mattered most was George Bush.

Having said that, what the Republicans also did was get their ground game together. I mean they got walloped in 2000 on the ground when the Democrats towarded it out. Well Democrats have -- Republicans have learned a thing or two and they were able to get their voters out and do it in a pretty impressive fashion.

WOODRUFF: So they wouldn't agree with the ideology part either?

CROWLEY: Well, I mean I, you know -- look, I think they'll say, Well, it's because the American people believe in George Bush's agenda and the American believe this and that.

I think the exit polls will tell us a little more. But what we do know is it's still really, really divided country. And it's awfully hard to see any kind of mandate in a country that seems so evenly split.

WOODRUFF: All right. Candy, I started to call you Candy "real vote" Crowley.

You helped us understand what was going on.

Thanks, Candy.

CROWLEY: Well, that's good. Yes.

WOODRUFF: Thank you.

Well, in some ways, as Candy suggests, President Bush emerges from this election with more than -- more even more political capital than he had two years ago when he, himself, was on the ballot. Now he has to decide how and if he wants to spend that capital.

Here's our White House correspondent John King -- John.

JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Judy, a very interesting initial White House strategy here. Last night they thought the president would come out today, perhaps even have a formal news conference. Instead they decided this morning to keep Mr. Bush out of the public eye today. Let the American people digest the results, let the winning candidates celebrate.

Mr. Bush is in the Oval Office. He has been making phone calls all day, including to some of those Republicans winners who didn't know they had won until the early morning hours.

But Mr. Bush told the senior staff at the meeting this morning the burden is now on the Republican party and this White House to govern, and there will be no gloating.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEN MEHLMAN, WHITE HOUSE POLITICAL DIR.: Obviously, the election results made history. I don't know if it's a transforming event or not. I think that what's important, is what the president does for the country and ultimately, presidents are judged by their accomplishments and they're judged by their policy, not their politics.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KING (voice-over): The White House strategy is to skip the bragging but nonetheless treat the midterm results as a new mandate for the president's agenda.

FLEISCHER: There's no question that last night's results increased the likelihood of getting things done for the American people.

KING: Congress returns for a brief lame duck session later this month and the White House will push two priorities: legislation creating a new department of homeland security and a compromise on terrorism insurance.

And when the new Republican-controlled Congress convenes in January, the president's list is much longer. Action on stalled judicial nominees, an HMO patients bill of rights Democrats say is too modest. An energy bill that allows drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and an economic package that includes making permanent the 10-year Bush tax cut passed last year.

KEN DUBERSTEIN, FMR. REAGAN CHIEF OF STAFF: The president won across the board last night. Now he has to work ways to deliver. There is no safety net anymore. There's no Democrats to blame.

KING: There is no disputing the president's unprecedented campaign push was a major factor in the historic Republican gain, helping tip close races, like Missouri's Senate contest.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: See, that's what I'm looking for. Some allies. Somebody who we can count on to do the right thing for America.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Mr. Bush also well aware though here at the White House that the Republican margins in the House and the Senate are still quite modest, that he will need Democratic support. Plans in the works all day so far unsuccessful getting through but the president is trying to call the House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt, the Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle. He wants to promise them he will work in a bipartisan fashion, Judy, and he's trying to invite them down here to the White House for breakfast early next week.

WOODRUFF: John, two questions. First, just quickly, when you say they're not gloating, I think that's partly because there are so many other people pointing out what a great night it was for them.

KING: That is right. The president woke up this morning and said, Jim Talent didn't learn he won until the early morning hours. Norm Coleman didn't either. Let them celebrate today. The White House also believes there is going to be a civil war in the Democratic party.

No reason for the White House, the Republicans to go after the Democrats when it appears the next several days, weeks and perhaps longer, the Democrats will fighting amongst themselves.

WOODRUFF: And John, another question about the economy. The Federal Reserve Board lowered the prime rate -- or prime interest today by a larger margin than most people expected. A full half a point, saying that they're worried about the economy.

What are they saying at the White House about the economy?

KING: Well, Judy, publicly they say nothing at all about Federal Reserve actions because that is the policy here. But they say here is though that a rate cut like this should help boost consumer confidence a little more. Largely a psychological impact, they hope, not all the past prior rate cuts have done that.

But what they say here at the White House is if President Bush gets a lesson from this election, make no mistake about it, that he needs to focus more and more on the economy and they promise he will do so. They also say a Fed action like this, more proof the economy is struggling, is yet another reminder that this president escaped the bullet -- dodged the bullet if you will. That they believe here at the White House the Democrats could have done a better job had they been more coordinated in using the economy against the president in the midterm election.

WOODRUFF: We are hearing that from more and more corners. All right, John, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

KING: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Well, as John was saying, the president may be reaching out more to Dick Gephardt, but some Democrats on Capitol Hill aren't feeling quite as generous toward the House's top Democratic leader.

Our Congressional correspondent Kate Snow is with us now. She's been following what's already become a power struggle after this election -- Kate.

KATE SNOW, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, not a big surprise, Judy, that Dick Gephardt, on the day after losing a number of seats in the House, more than anyone has even expected, would be taking some heat. No surprise that he would be getting some criticism and some are blaming him for that loss.

But several Democrats say they are actually encouraging Gephardt not to seek re-election as Democratic House leader. That internal election in the House scheduled for next Thursday, the 14th of November. Mr. Gephardt has spent the day talking with family and advisers here in Washington, trying to map out his political future. We're told by his aides that he is not sharing publicly what he's thinking.

But at least a few Democrats saying that they think he should make a public announcement. Democrat Harold Ford Jr. telling CNN that Gephardt is like a baseball manager, he says, who everyone likes a lot, has a lot of respect for but he's lost the last four big games. It's time for him to step aside. Ford says he has deep respect for Gephardt, but in light of yesterday's losses, people are, he says, deeply concerned that the Democratic leadership is --quote -- "adrift." That sentiment shared by another Democrat from Florida.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PETER DEUTSCH (D), FLORIDA: You know what? Again I think there's a consensus in the caucus. In fact, I don't think there's a member in the caucus that doesn't feel exactly the same way I do -- that Dick Gephardt cannot run for president of the United States at the same time as being Democratic leader. It is irresponsible, not just to the members of the caucus, but really irresponsible to the people of the United States of America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SNOW: Now both Congressmen Deutsch and Congressman Ford tell CNN that if Gephardt tries to run for minority leader next week, they think he will face a challenge. Another House Democrat who didn't want to be named told CNN, I don't see how he could possibly run for both the leader position and for president.

But allies of Gephardt and other Democratic aides here on the Hill, Judy, will tell you, that they say these are just a few voice of many Republicans there are -- excuse me, many Democrats -- there are more than 200 Democrats in the House. They say there are just a handful of Democrats upset. They insist that no one would be able to mount a serious challenge to Dick Gephardt should he decide to run for leader.

That's the big question mark, though, Judy. Again, he hasn't shared publicly what he's planning on doing. A lot of speculation that Mr. Gephardt may simply get out of the way of this leadership race and prepare himself for potentially running for president down the road.

WOODRUFF: Fascinating how this gets started so quickly. The ink is not even dry on election results and already all this going on.

All right. Kate, thank you very much.

Well, some people are not ready to put the midterm election behind them.

Up next: the parties move on to the Big Easy where Republicans hope to keep making things hard for Democrats in a Senate runoff.

In the shadow of Mount Rushmore, another Senate contest may be heading into overtime. Our Jonathan Karl has been taking notes on the South Dakota scene.

Plus the party chairmen returns so we throw election predictions right back at them and watch them kickoff the political battles ahead.

This is "INSIDE POLITICS," the place for campaign news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: In Louisiana, Democrat Mary Landrieu did fall just short of the 50 percent of the vote that she needed to avoid a runoff in a few weeks. CNN's David Mattingly is with us from Baton Rouge on what is, David, the first day of her next campaign to get re-elected to the Senate.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Judy.

Republicans have their majority in the Senate but both parties still want a victory here in Louisiana in a very big way. And based on what we saw last night, it seems that the Republicans strategy here in the Louisiana is already paying off.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D), LOUISIANA: This is a great showing, last night, for Louisiana Democrats.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): The Democratic incumbent U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu emerging as the clear leader from a field deliberately crowded with Republican candidates.

But four points short of an outright majority and forced into a runoff. That's exactly how Republicans had it scripted.

SUZANNE TERRILL (R), LOUISIANA SENATE CANDIDATE: Thank you, Louisiana.

MATTINGLY: Recruited by the national GOP relatively late in the campaign, challenger Suzanne Terrill now anticipating the same high- powered visits from President Bush, the same national strategists and the same national money that has already delivered key Republican upsets.

TERRILL: I expect President Bush this morning. He called and he offered help, but most importantly, he recognizes that this is our campaign, and this is our campaign about Louisiana.

MATTINGLY: But nationally, all eyes remain on Landrieu, who is now trying to succeed where other Democrats have failed. By painting Terrill as a Republican rubber stamp and positioning herself as a moderate who has cooperated with the president on issues of education, tax cuts and defense.

LANDRIEU: This is what her vote is going to look like. Suzanne Haik-Terrill voting pledge, 100 percent with the Republican party.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MATTINGLY: And in spite of Landrieu trying to downplay the national interest in this race, strategists from both parties say they plan to actively be involved. A Republican strategist tells us based on what they saw last night, they believe that Landrieu is vulnerable and they would like nothing more than to unseat another Democrat in the Senate.

A Democratic strategist, however, tells us, and we're quoting here, Judy, "the cavalry is on the way." So this race is just beginning.

WOODRUFF: Well, we can't wait. We love nothing more than to cover these campaigns and it looks like we've got a really hot one in Louisiana. Thank you, David.

Well one week after Walter Mondale became the Democratic candidate for the Senate from the state of Minnesota, his short political career is over.

Mondale conceded the race to Republican Norm Coleman just a few hours ago. The former vice president acknowledged yesterday's strong showing by Republicans. Coleman, who won 50 percent of the vote, promised to make the most of his ties to President Bush.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NORM COLEMAN (R), MINN. SEN.-ELECT: Having gone through this -- this fire, this wall of fire, to be here at this moment, I also need to have him sign an I.O.U. The president has come to Minnesota and has an interest in us now, and I intend to utilize that to help us deal with the major problems that we have.

MONDALE: I think the president won a big victory here. Normally a president in his first midterm, as you know, goes the other direction. But this was a sweep. We could feel the undertow here in Minnesota. He will claim a mandate. I think the public will accept that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Walter Mondale also praised the late Senator Paul Wellstone, the man he replaced on the ballot, the man who, as we know, was killed in a plane crash in Minnesota just about 10 days ago.

Mondale called this campaign one of the most unbelievable moments in Minnesota history.

Analysis from Bill Schneider and Ron Brownstein coming up, ahead on INSIDE POLITICS.

But first: Jeb Bush was the Democrats' No. 1 target, but he came through with a victory. I'll discuss all the big races with the two national party chairs next.

But first, let's turn to Rhonda Schaffler. She's at the stock exchange where she is just about every day for an update on the markets.

Hi, Rhonda.

RHONDA SCHAFFLER, CNN SR. FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Judy.

A busy and important day for Wall Street. Investors had trouble making up their minds today before, in the end, choosing to buy. This session began with enthusiasm over the Republican sweep of the election.

That subsided in anticipation of a decision on interest rates, and that decision turned out to be a shocker. The Federal Reserve cutting rates by half a point in an effort to boost the economy. The reaction was volatile and then stocks rallied in the final hour of trade. The Dow Jones Industrial average closing out 92 points. Defense and drug stocks, which are considered to do well under Republicans, were especially strong.

The Nasdaq gained 1 and a quarter percent on the day. And after the closing bell, tech bellwhether Cisco reported a profit that was slightly better than expected. That could potentially set a positive tone for trading tomorrow.

Back to that rate cut now. In a statement, the Fed said spending, production and employment growth have stalled because of the weak economy. It also cited growing nervousness over a possible war with Iraq.

In addition, the Fed said the risks of the economy are now balanced between weakness and inflation. Analysts say this neutral bias signals that further cuts are unlikely any time soon.

That's the very latest from Wall Street. More "INSIDE POLITICS" ahead, including a second look at the technology CNN used to call winners in last night's close races.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCAULIFFE: I think we're going to pick up several Senate seats. I think we're going to get the six seats we need for the House. We're going to win a slew of governorships. I think what's going to be proven tonight is the Democratic "get out the vote effort," which we are known for, is going to show that we did it again, we matched and exceeded some places our 2000 presidential efforts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Terry McAuliffe, the chairman of the Democratic party, commenting yesterday on INSIDE POLITICS. He was joined, as he is again just now by the Chairman of the Republican Party Marc Racicot.

Gentleman, it is good to see you again. I know you've gotten little sleep so we really appreciate your being here.

Terry McAuliffe...

MCAULIFFE: Yes.

WOODRUFF: ....playing that soundbite was maybe a little mean, because the predictions you made, except for the governors, didn't come true.

What went wrong for the Democrats?

MCAULIFFE: First of all, it wasn't mean. Listen, as the party chairman it's my job to get people excited, motivated. We still had polls open. And listen, I'm always hopeful. I'm the eternal optimist. We did well on governors, Judy. We picked up a bunch of governor. We netted four new ones. We're in parity, 25-25.

And but for a couple instances -- obviously, you know, Jean Carnahan only lost by one tenth of 1 percent. A few thousand votes would have made the difference there.

And then the unfortunate death of Paul Wellstone, we could be having a different conversation today. But, you know, we gave it everything we had. The DNC put out three times more resources than we've ever done. We were out there fighting. We came up a little but short in the Senate and some of the House seats. But governors was a good win.

WOODRUFF: Marc Racicot, we heard Terry McAuliffe say over the last 24 hours -- I know I heard him say somewhere that this was not an ideological win so much for Republicans as it was a tactical win. Do you buy that?

MARC RACICOT, RNC CHAIRMAN: Well, I don't know what he means by tactical, but I don't believe that there's a significant ideological change that has just precipitously occurred overnight.

The fact of the matter is these races were close as we said all along. They were close in Minnesota, South Dakota, in Missouri, in Georgia, a number of different places. So I don't think that reflects necessarily there's been a huge change in the thinking of the American public.

I do think they looked at how we approached these races and made decisions on that basis.

WOODRUFF: Terry McAuliffe, there are a number of analysts out there today saying what went wrong for the Democrats, as they failed to prevent an alternative, they failed to unify and to agree on an alternative set of ideas, whether it was the economy or Iraq or anything else.

MCAULIFFE: Judy, there's no question, we had a difficult time getting our message out after 9/11. You know, with the whole discussion in September about Iraq, which went on, as you know, for six weeks. I think we had a tough time getting out.

These elections were localized. The candidates talked about them at the local level. I think now as we prepare for 2004, unfortunately -- and everybody watching TV is probably cringing as we get ready for the next election. It will be about a national message. And we, Democrats, got to be very tough in getting our message out there.

Now the president has control of the House and Senate. It's now his responsibility to get this economy moving again, and we as Democrats got to be out there with our alternative. We want to work with the president with -- the right direction, what we believe for the sake of this country. But when we don't, we got to be out there with a strong voice.

WOODRUFF: Marc Racicot, how are things different for the Republicans now? Is it going to be that much different for the president having control of both the House and Senate on the part of Republicans?

RACICOT: Well, it will allow -- he asked the American people to allow him the opportunity to work with people who were willing to move things forward for debate, discussion and ultimately for decision. I mean, nothing that has introduced has remained unaltered. Even when you have a Republican be house, certainly they put their stamp on issues, but at least they've heard them, they move them forward and that's what was missing in the United States Senate.

I think that really is what happened yesterday, is the American people didn't perceive a message. And what they perceived of this president is that No. 1, he's credible and No. 2, he was trying hard to move forward to address issues important to them.

I think how it changes, Judy, is that it allows for those ideas to be advanced into the marketplace, not only in the House of Representatives but in the United States Senate to get things done. And that's what he wanted to do and I think that's what the American people want done.

WOODRUFF: Quick question to both of you. Last question. Louisiana. What is going to happen in the Senate race there -- Terry McAuliffe?

MCAULIFFE: Mary Landrieu is going to be re-elected, the great senator from the great state of Louisiana.

WOODRUFF: And Marc Racicot?

RACICOT: Well, we're going to work hard to be of assistance to our candidate there. We'll of course follow her lead and do as much as we possibly can under her guidance and direction.

But we feel strongly we have a very, very competitive race that's available to us.

WOODRUFF: Even though Ms. Terrill was so far behind? Twenty- some points behind?

RACICOT: Well, when you take a look at the fact that the presently existing incumbent did not exceed beyond 50 percent. In fact, was close, but nonetheless, there's a lot of room there for our candidate to grow. And when we do analysis and polling, we find that that race, without all of the other candidates in tightens up very, very quickly.

WOODRUFF: All right. We're going to leave it there, gentlemen. Great to see you both.

MCAULIFFE: We're going to bed.

WOODRUFF: Go take a nap. Go to sleep for the rest of the day. Thank you both. We really appreciate your joining us.

MCAULIFFE: Thanks, Judy.

RACICOT: Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Thanks a lot.

Still ahead, a question: Did South Dakota's Tim Johnson get by with a little help from his friend, Tom Daschle?

Our Jonathan Karl will tell us what's happening in that Senate showdown.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. BOB RILEY (D-AL), ALABAMA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: ... said early on, "You know, don't put too much pressure on yourself or on this campaign, because God already knows who the next governor is going to be." If that being the case, I wish he hadn't strung it out quite as long.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Bob Riley isn't the only gubernatorial candidate who may feel this election is dragging on too long. Governor's races still are undecided in Alabama, Oklahoma, Oregon and Vermont.

There's more INSIDE POLITICS ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Voter turnout in South Dakota was a whopping 71.5 percent statewide. Now, that is nearly as high at the state's record midterm election turnout of almost 74 percent. That was set in 1994.

South Dakota's nail-biter Senate race helped to generate voter interest, we're sure. And the contest may not be over yet. The final unofficial vote total show incumbent Democrat Tim Johnson with a 527- vote lead. Republican John Thune says he's going to let the canvassing process go forward and then decide whether to seek a recount or a legal challenge.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN THUNE (R-SD), SOUTH DAKOTA SENATE CANDIDATE: That's not an option, like I said, an avenue I want to pursue unless it were absolutely necessary. But, again, until the numbers are confirmed, the canvassing is completed and that process is finished, I just don't think, at this point, you can rule anything out.

I think you have to allow this process to work and make sure everything was done accordingly, and according to the law, and, obviously, that the math adds up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: So, there could be a recount. All right, Jon Karl is in Sioux Falls, where we know he's been covering that Senate race almost literally around the clock -- hello again, Jon.

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Judy.

Well, that canvassing process that you talked about will take until Tuesday. And at that point, they will have official results. We now only have unofficial results in this Senate race. And, at that point, John Thune can decide whether or not he will request, as he can, a statewide recount.

Now, although there may not be a clear winner yet in that Senate race, there has been a clear winner here in South Dakota. And that is, in an age of voter apathy and low voter turnout elsewhere, the clear winner here was the Democratic process.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(voice-over): If there's anything to be learned about the results here in South Dakota, it's that these folks take democracy seriously.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There you go. There it is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.

KARL: And this person, cold but determined, displayed the incredible endurance of the ground troops on both sides. Of course, there was also a barrage of negative advertising, an especially relentless assault, because airtime is so cheap here, $850 for a 30- second spot in prime time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)

NARRATOR: Senator Tim Johnson voted to cut the amount of arsenic in our water. Congressman John Thune did not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: But if negative advertising is designed to suppress voter turnout, it did not work in South Dakota, maybe South Dakotans know how to work the remote.

SEN. TIM JOHNSON (D), SOUTH DAKOTA: People can turn on their television sets again without having their mute button next to them.

KARL: But even with a mute button, South Dakota voters couldn't hide. CNN caught up with some pheasant hunters outside the town of Mitchell. These guys were good shots. But not even out in the field could they avoid the barrage of get-out-the-vote phone calls, including a call from a former first lady.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In between one of your calls to me this morning, my cell phone rang. I thought it was you. And I got a recording. "This is Barbara Bush."

KARL: The big names didn't always make a big difference. First lady Laura Bush drew crowds in Dell Rapids. They sure loved her, but it's unclear that she scored any votes for John Thune.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's wonderful. This is neat for South Dakota and for our children. And it's just wonderful.

KARL (on camera): And do you think that it affects how people will vote on Tuesday?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I don't. No.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KARL: Well, there you have it.

Turnout, by the way, was also much higher than usual on South Dakota's Indian reservations. And although the tactics of the Democrats on those reservations may yet face legal challenge, if Tim Johnson hangs on to that narrow lead, it will be because his margin of victory was provided by Native Americans here in South Dakota -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Just one more fascinating twist in this fascinating story.

All right, Jon, we're going to wait until Tuesday to see what this canvassing result is. Thanks very much.

Well, our senior political correspondent -- analyst, not correspondent -- analysis Bill Schneider is with us.

All right, Bill, talk about the historic significance of this election and these remarkable results.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, what's historic is that Bush had coattails in a midterm. He's not supposed to have coattails in a midterm. He's supposed to have coattails in a presidential election. But he didn't when he got elected.

Instead, he had them now. This is when he picked up his mandate. He put himself on the line in this election. And he managed to do something remarkable, I think. He defeated widespread economic anxiety in the country and even a considerable amount of war anxiety by going out and campaigning in some 40 states, by relentlessly campaigning for Republican candidates, by raising millions of dollars for his colleagues in the party, and taking a risk that, if this election had gone badly for the Republicans, it would have seriously damaged his political standing.

WOODRUFF: So, does this completely break the deadlock left over from the 2000 elections?

SCHNEIDER: I would say provisionally. That is, there was a huge sweep across the country. Look how massive it was. In the Northeast, Massachusetts elected a Republican governor, Rhode Island, Maryland. New York and Connecticut reelected Republicans. In the South, Democratic governors in South Carolina and Georgia were unexpectedly defeated. So it was really was a nationwide sweep. Provisionally? Well, that's because it all depends on what happens with Iraq and what happens with the economy.

Remember, the last time the Republicans had a big victory like this was in 1994. And they blew it shortly thereafter, because the Congress went too far and assumed a bigger mandate than they had.

WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Schneider, thanks very much, a man who also stayed up most of last night.

SCHNEIDER: Oh, yes.

WOODRUFF: OK, thanks very much, Bill.

We look at the politics of family next, a husband and wife who squared off for a judgeship in Kansas. We'll tell you who won and if the couple is still on speaking terms; also, our Ron Brownstein on the president's campaign marathon and a look ahead to 2004.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Checking the headlines now in our "Campaign News Daily": Convicted Ohio Congressman James Traficant lost a bid to win his old seat back, but he did manage to win a sizable amount of support. Traficant finished third with more than 27,000 votes. He ran his campaign from federal prison in Pennsylvania, where he is serving an eight-year sentence for bribery and tax evasion.

Congress will have two brothers and two sisters among its members come January. Cuban-American Mario Diaz-Balart won the Florida District 25 House seat. He will soon join his brother Lincoln, who already represents the nearby 21st District in Miami. And California Democrat Linda Sanchez won a newly drawn House district southeast of Los Angeles. She joins her sister, Loretta Sanchez, who won a fourth term representing Orange County's 46th District.

In Kansas, marital bliss appears to have survived the race between county Judge Steve Becker and his wife, challenger Sarah Sweet-McKinnon. Becker, who is a Republican, got more than 13,000 votes to the Democrat McKinnon's 5,600 votes. Afterwards, McKinnon said she thinks voters have -- quote -- "picked themselves a pretty good judge." Would that all marital disagreements would work so smoothly and so amicably and quickly.

Well, the big wins for Republicans Tuesday hold lessons for both the winners and the losers in the midterm elections.

With me now to talk about all the midterm fallout and a look ahead to 2004: political analyst Ron Brownstein of "The Los Angeles Times." All right, Ron, as you look back at the fallout from last night, at these results, what does it say, first of all, for President Bush and his party?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, Judy, I want to say you deserve the marathon award for still being standing after last night.

Well, for President Bush, I think the lesson here is that, where he is strong, he is very strong. One of the fundamental storylines of his presidency from the beginning has been Bush's enormous appeal to and hold on the Republican base. And we saw that again yesterday, particularly across the South, where he appeared to inspire an enormous Republican turnout that reversed a half-decade of Democratic recovery across the region, with these governorships in South Carolina, possibly Alabama and Georgia, and the sweep of the four open seats in the South, a decisive sweep.

All of that says to me that he is going to be very formidable in that he region in 2004, as he was in 2000. Similarly, in the Midwest states, where he had gained ground in 2000 relative to Bob Dole in '96, he continued to show strength, as did Republicans in Minnesota and Missouri.

It says to me Democrats are going to have a thin margin for error, because, right now, absent some change in the environment, the places where he was strong, he is still very strong.

WOODRUFF: All right, given that -- and I think not too many people are going to disagree with that analysis -- what about the Democrats? In a way, the deck was completely reshuffled for Democrats last night.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, I think the paradox here is that, because Bush is so strong, it is going to increase pressure on the Democratic '04 candidates to confront him more directly.

I think the prevailing wisdom among Democrats, the dominant line is going to be that this election was a failure. And it wasn't a total blowout like '94. But, by historic standards, they lost seats where they should have gained them. It was a failure because they did not articulate a more comprehensive and coherent critique of the Bush agenda, particularly on the economy, and offer an alternative.

I think it will put a lot pressure on the '04 candidates both to be bolder in their own ideas and more confrontational in drawing lines with Bush. I think you're going to see that very quickly from anyone thinking about running next time.

WOODRUFF: Ron, any one or two Democrats are clearly benefited by last night's results?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, if they had a governor, if Jennifer Granholm had been born in the U.S., born in the USA, I think there would be a lot of discussion of her. There's going to be a lot of desire, I think, for a fresh face. Obviously, this may free Dick Gephardt to run for president. Being minority leader for another term probably isn't very attractive to him. Maybe it gives a second look to John Edwards, who does have a fresh face and does have a hold on the South, or rather a foothold in the South, where Democrats clearly have a lot of work to do.

But, by and large, I think it's going to really shake up the whole field and force them to more aggressive and bolder in both presenting ideas, to move forward in this debate, because, Judy, if you look at it, the Democrats have run under the same agenda three cycles in a row. And it really hasn't captured the House for them: prescription drugs, HMO reform defending Social Security.

They need some new ideas. And they also need an economic message that holds this all together, which is something they didn't have in 2002.

WOODRUFF: All right, Ron Brownstein, thanks very much.

Just ahead, we return to election night: how CNN counted the votes and called the winners and the technology that made it all possible.

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WOODRUFF: As you certainly know by now, the Voter News Service exit polls, they said, were declared unreliable on Election Day.

CNN was prepared, however, to call the tight races with a system of our own. Our methods included technology from a company called Spatial Logic, which illustrated how every congressional district voted by party. Red is Republican. Blue is Democrat. And, as the night went along, a red tide was covering much of the country.

CNN made its projections based on our RealVote system at our New York decision desk. It was staffed by a team of data analysts and it was anchored by our own Candy Crowley.

All right, Candy, one of the first big call of the night, as chance would have it, was from none other than Florida. And here's how it was made.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: Democrats called Jeb Bush their No. 1 target. It looks as though they have missed. CNN now projects that Jeb Bush has been reelected and will be reelected as governor of Florida and that he will beat Bill McBride -- back to you all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Candy Crowley is with me now from New York.

All right, Candy, was there any nervousness when that call was made?

CROWLEY: It's funny. There really wasn't.

Here it was and it was almost serendipity. It's Florida. Of all the places to first test of the RealVote system, which is -- the shorthand is that CNN had its own system in place after the 2000 election. One of the complaints was, well, no wonder all the networks got it wrong, because they were all using the same information.

So CNN set up its own system to match up against this other and compared to the Voter News Service system. And we put it in place in 10 states, Florida being among them. So, when the VNS told us that their exit poll data they were worried about, we had this other method of actual votes.

And I could hear it. And I watched them and I talked to them. And there's all these mathematicians and probability theory people. And they're taking these numbers, putting them into the computer, and they're coming up with various statistical analysis of what it said.

I have to tell you that they were positive. These are not people who are moved by the journalistic pressures of deadline, competition. They're moved by numbers. And when they said, "We're going to call Florida," they were aching for it, because they knew it cold. So that instilled confidence in me. I have no idea what statistical analysis of models are, but I knew that they knew.

WOODRUFF: Candy, it's the day after the election, but I'm still interested in knowing exactly how this Spatial Logic system works. Can you explain it in layperson's terms?

CROWLEY: I can.

It is attached to the same information that is coming into Voter News Service, which is the consortium of the networks. And, later on, we also included the CNN information. So, what would happen is, it's almost real-time, because, when a precinct reporter calls in and says, "OK, I have 98 votes Democratic and 32 votes Republican," almost immediately, that information is loaded into that map that you saw.

And if it is a Democratic sort of majority in that district, then it turns blue. If it's Republican, it turns red. And this changes as often as the votes come in. So, it would get darker -- as an area turned more Republicans, it got darker red. Sometimes it would go back to blue, just depending on the vote count that we were getting in from various precincts and the total vote counts that we were getting in from other places, the Associated Press, for instance.

WOODRUFF: All right, Candy Crowley, it is fascinating stuff.

CROWLEY: That's right.

WOODRUFF: And just think what they're going to have in election '04.

CROWLEY: Exactly.

WOODRUFF: OK, Candy, see you back in Washington. Thanks very much.

Well, as our Kate Snow reported a little earlier, Congressman Harold Ford of Tennessee is suggesting that Dick Gephardt step aside as House Democratic leader after the party's election loss.

The Tennessee Democrat joins us now on INSIDE POLITICS.

Congressman Ford...

REP. HAROLD FORD (D), TENNESSEE: Good afternoon.

WOODRUFF: Good afternoon. And thank you for talking with us.

FORD: Sure.

WOODRUFF: What is it that Mr. Gephardt has done that you think warrants his moving on?

FORD: Well, it's a lot like when you have a manager for a baseball team. Dick is one of the most beloved members of Congress on either side, particularly our side of the aisle. He's been the hardest-working, the biggest money-raiser, and the most passionate voice in the House for the Democrats for at least the short period of time I've been in the Congress, six years.

But unlike a manager who's won a lot of games, Dick has not been able to produce the victory to really put us into the majority and to really help us to shape the kind of message needed to not only lead Democrats in the House, but lead Democrats nationally.

WOODRUFF: Well, what should have been the message going into this election?

FORD: Well, I think we had enough material there on the economy. And, in all fairness to politicians, the focus or the attention on the sniper -- and thank God they caught them -- the attention on Iraq and the resolution, we passed that.

There was still a period of time for Democrats and for others to draft and put together a coherent message and convey that message. And we simply didn't do a good enough job. The other forces working against us -- clearly, the president on Air Force One traveling a great deal, the fact that they stayed on message, Republicans did, so well contributed heavily to that.

WOODRUFF: But don't you have real...

FORD: So I just think it's now time to infuse a new set of ideas and new faces into the leadership. This is not meant to force Dick out, by any means.

But, by the same token, I think it's a realization -- and I'm not alone in saying this -- it's a growing realization that we need some new focus and some new people and some new ideas at the top of the chain on the Democratic side of the House.

WOODRUFF: Well, let me -- I want to ask you, who are you talking about as a replacement?

But, before I do, just very quickly, isn't there legitimate, honest disagree among Democrats about what should be the right tack on the economy, about what to say about tax cuts, for example?

FORD: Sure. And those kinds of discussions and debates need to occur.

One of the great things about our party is a diversity, racially, ideologically, gender wise. We are a party rich with ideas. And this is not to suggest that Democrats in the House, somehow or another, are inferior to Republicans. Far from it. There are great number of ideas, strong ideas, rich ideas. And I just happen to believe, if you allow some new faces and new folks to bubble up and allow those ideas to percolate and find their way into the mainstream within our leadership, better things can happen for us.

And, again, I have the greatest respect for Dick Gephardt, was prepared to support him as speaker. But after four tries, I think you have to give someone else a shot. And I'm not alone in saying this, I might add.

WOODRUFF: All right, who do you have in mind? And are you interested yourself in seeking the leadership position?

FORD: No, I've not expressed an interest.

I will say this, though. If Mr. Gephardt, or Dick, decides to run again, he should be prepared to face opposition. I think the caucus deserves, the Democrats in the House, that is, deserve to hear an alternative and deserve to hear another set of ideas and what another approach would look like.

WOODRUFF: Do you have someone in mind?

FORD: Well, it's my understanding that both Martin Frost and Nancy Pelosi have indicated or expressed an interest in being leader, provided that Dick steps side.

Again, I don't want to -- I am not in any way trying to pressure Dick Gephardt to do anything other than what's in his best interests. But I want him to know -- and I think it's only fair -- that, if he seeks reelection, he should be prepared to face some opposition from some of us in the Democratic Caucus.

WOODRUFF: All right, Congressman Harold Ford, I have got a lot more questions, but we are going to have to let you move on.

FORD: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: And we thank you so much for talking with us. Congratulations, I should say, on winning your own race there in Tennessee.

FORD: Thank you very much.

We had some Democrat success here last night. We elected a governor and a new congressman here in Tennessee.

WOODRUFF: There were some Democratic successes around the country yesterday...

FORD: There were.

WOODRUFF: ... despite what we're focusing on today.

Thank you again, Congressman Ford.

FORD: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: That's it for INSIDE POLITICS on this day after the election -- lots of stories to follow.

I'm Judy Woodruff. Thank you for joining us.

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