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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
America Votes 2006; Dems Win Control of Senate; Bush's Challenge; U.S. Troops Respond; Rumsfeld Resigns; '08 Leaders of the Pack; The Evangelical Vote
Aired November 8, 2006 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: On Capitol Hill...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), CALIFORNIA: Democrats are not about getting even.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: So what is on the agenda for the Democrats?
Tonight, a look at what the party hopes to accomplish with its newly gained power.
Across the country and around the world, this is a special edition of ANDERSON COOPER 360, "America votes 2006."
Reporting tonight from CNN election headquarters in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for joining us in this hour of 360. It has been a good day for the Democrats. And tonight it may have gotten a whole lot better.
The "Associated Press" is reporting that the Democrats have captured the Senate with a win in Virginia.
For more on the breaking news, CNN's Ed Henry is in Richmond tonight; and Dana Bash is in Washington, checking their sources.
Dana, let's start with you.
(BEGIN BREAKING NEWS)
DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Well, Anderson, you mentioned that the Associated Press is declaring Jim Webb the winner.
CNN policy, we should note, I guess, is that we do not declare a winner when the margin is less than 1 percent, and the person -- the candidate trailing has the opportunity for a recount, which is the case in Virginia.
However, from our sources, we understand that all indications are that Jim Webb, the Democrat, is likely to become the next Senator from the state of Virginia. And what that means, of course, is a seismic shift here on Capitol Hill.
We obviously already know about the House. But that would mean Democrats would take control of the U.S. Senate.
Now, what we understand from a source close to Senator George Allen, who actually spoke with the Senator late this evening is that he says he does not want to drag this out.
And what they understand in the Allen camp is that the canvassing or review of the votes that they are going back and looking at in Virginia is showing that there isn't much of a change, meaning the Democrat Jim Webb is still in the lead.
So what this means is that we might actually have perhaps a concession from George Allen tomorrow. And we do know that the Democratic leaders, Anderson, are already planning on having a press conference tomorrow here in the capitol to declare that they have taken over the majority here in the Senate.
COOPER: Ed Henry, obviously this is a major development. There had been some concern that this could take days, weeks, months.
ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Down here in Richmond, the capital of Virginia, we've been talking to election officials who thought they could take up to a week for the first stage of all of this.
The review that Dana was reporting about where they basically go county to county and check everything out. That is going so quickly because they're not really finding any major fraud that would stop them. They're also not finding any new votes for George Allen that were not counted the first time.
And the Allen camp is admitting quite candidly that they're just not chewing into the 7,000-vote lead that Democrat Jim Webb has right now.
And on the Webb side of it, we're told this evening that Jim Webb will be having a press conference tomorrow about noon in northern Virginia where he will declare, once and for all that he believes he is the winner. He's operating as a Senator-elect. In fact, his staff is referring to him that way. He's already making plans to get an office in the capitol.
And when you look at the Allen side of this for some context, just a few months ago he was being talked about as not just a contender, but a very serious contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.
That has all crashed and burned, that infamous Makaka moment and so on. The miscues that he had that really dogged him in this campaign.
And it's really remarkable how far he -- his star has faded. And finally, I think what you hear from some Republicans is part of the reason why he doesn't want to drag this out, perhaps, is he's still young. He still harbors political ambitions potentially. And being the statesman here and maybe getting out, not dragging this on could help him rehabilitate his political image down the road -- Anderson.
COOPER: And Dana Bash, a primer on this for folks who don't follow it maybe as closely as some. Taking control of the Senate, what does that allow the Democrats that it wouldn't -- they wouldn't have gotten by just controlling the House?
BASH: It's a very good question. Essentially, what it means, is a couple of things. First, we've been talking about the agenda that Nancy Pelosi and the House has laid out, things like raising the minimum wage, changing or rewriting the Medicare prescription drug plan, reforming and addressing health care, for example. Those are things that not only the House could do, but also the Democrats could do. What it means is that they control the agenda, they decide what is debated in the United States Senate. That's number one.
Number two is, when it comes to nominations, that is something that only the Senate has to deal with. So the president's judicial nominations and other people he wants to be in the administration, that has to go now through perhaps a Democratic-controlled Senate. They also will have subpoena power or least the ability to call votes for subpoenas on anything inside the administration.
So it changes it dramatically. But it would be a razor-thin margin and as we have seen, over the past several years in fact, you need 60 votes pretty much to get anything through the Senate. So it does not mean the end of gridlock at all.
COOPER: Dana Bash, Ed Henry, working your sources tonight. Guys, thanks very much.
(END BREAKING NEWS)
COOPER: Jim Webb and George Allen are just two of the players whose political lives are taking dramatic turns.
With the dust still settling and it's time for reality check on just how decisive the mid-term elections were. Take a look.
COOPER (voice-over): The president is taking the blame.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As the head of the Republican Party, I share a large part of the responsibility.
COOPER: But his party is paying the price.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just a few minutes ago I called the new Senator-elect from Pennsylvania.
COOPER: And on Capitol Hill, the shift in power is seismic.
NANCY PELOSI (D), CALIFORNIA: Tonight is a great victory for the American people. COOPER: For the Democrats, it was a landslide victory in the House of Representatives. Needing 15 seats, they picked up at least 29, including 28 Republican-held seats, giving the Democrats control of the House for the first time in a dozen years.
And in the Senate, the "Associated Press" reporting tonight that Democrats also have won the majority. That, after Democratic challenger Jim Webb held onto his razor-thin lead over incumbent George Allen.
In raw votes it was closer in the Montana Senate race.
SENATOR-ELECT JON TESTER (D), MONTANA: Thank you very much. Thank you.
COOPER: Where Democrat John Tester, an organic farmer, was declared the winner over Conrad Burns. But late today, Burns, the longest serving Republican Senator in state history, said he is refusing to concede.
SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: The great state of Missouri has spoken!
COOPER: Down in Missouri another nail-biter, but also going blue. With Claire McCaskill unseating Jim Talent.
The same fate came to three other incumbent Republican Senators, conservative Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania and moderates Mike DeWine in Ohio and Lincoln Chaffey in Rhode Island.
In each contest, the message was clear.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The one indispensable person for this Democratic victory was George W. Bush. Six out of 10 Americans today reject his leadership in the exit polls. And the war is central to that.
COOPER: From the politicians to the proposals, Americans also used the midterm elections to vote on measures that could have far- reaching implications.
Let's start with the minimum wage. Yesterday, six states decided to raise the wage above the federal rate of $5.15 an hour.
Then, there's the contentious issue of same-sex marriage. Voters in seven states voted to ban the unions. Arizona rejected it.
South Dakota could have become the first state to criminalize nearly every type of abortion, but a clear majority defeated the bill.
And Michael J. Fox campaigned for it, and Missouri agreed, paving the way to provide funding for embryonic stem cell research.
As the elections end, a new era begins, and challenges for the parties and the president.
COOPER (on camera): Well, CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeff Greenfield has been closely watching the races and the results. He joins me now.
So the "A.P." is reporting Jim Webb winning in Virginia. What does this mean for the Senate?
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: Well first, for Jeffrey Toobin's sake, I'm the senior analyst, he's the senior legal analyst. But we're all seniors because that's how old most of us -- not you -- are.
Let's do this very quickly. This is the old Senate. No it wasn't, sorry. This was the old Senate. I'm sorry. Here was -- here's where we are now. Let's start with that. Until tonight, 50 Democrats, 49 Republicans in the new Senate.
When Virginia was called by the powers that be, a Republican-held seat for James Webb, that tilted it to 51-49. That's where we are now.
Now, assuming I can make this magic work, which I can, may I show you the House? We had 232 Republicans, 202 Democrats in the old House, with one Independent. What happens with the new House, 229 to 196. There are about 10 races where it's too close to call. Basically 28 to 30-something pickups for the Democrats and a majority.
COOPER: So what does this all mean? I mean, having control of the House, having control of the Senate?
GREENFIELD: All right. Let's focus in on one key aspect that I'm not sure everybody gets. When you control the House and the Congress, all the committee chairs go to your party.
In the House of Representatives it means, for instance, that the House Ways and Means Committee does taxes. It's going to be chaired by Charlie Rangel of New York. Clearly on the liberal wing, it means that the people who like cutting a lot of taxes for upper income people are going to have a much harder time.
It means, for instance, that the government of Operations Committee, or the Government Reform Committee is chaired by Henry Waxman of California, who has been pummeling the Bush administration on corruption and the abuse of government.
If we go into the Senate, what it means is that, for instance, Judiciary Committee, the chairman, that's where the Supreme Court nominees and all federal judges are vetted, that's Patrick Leahy. Very committed to civil liberties, very suspicious about the Bush administration's use of executive power and very suspicious about the kind of judges that Bush wants to put on the Supreme Court and the federal bench. That's just one example.
COOPER: So it could mean gridlock, it could mean compromise?
GREENFIELD: We saw under Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton where a divided government produced genuine results.
When Reagan was president with a Democratic House, we had Social Security reform that saved that system for another 25 years.
When Clinton was president with a Republican Congress, we had welfare reform. We had a balanced budget because there was an understanding that neither side could get everything they wanted.
And in the documentary I did for this network about conservatism, a lot of conservatives have said you know what? Maybe divided government was better for us because it kept government -- each side balanced the other. Maybe we don't want any party, even ours, to control the whole system. Now, we may have a test of that come next January.
COOPER: Maybe the founding fathers got it right after all.
GREENFIELD: Well, I'm sure the founding fathers got it right. I think...
COOPER: Maybe we're getting it right.
GREENFIELD: That's the point. I think we've come -- we've gone a long way to screw up what they had it mind. Maybe we can start getting back together.
COOPER: Let's hope so. Jeff Greenfield, thanks very much.
GREENFIELD: Oh, thank you.
COOPER: I have no doubt the founding fathers had it right.
Here's another angle. Independent voters make up some 26 percent of the national electorate, and they played a pivotal role in changing the Congress President Bush is going to now have to work with.
Here's the raw data for tonight. Yesterday, Independents voted for Democrats by a 59 percent to 37 percent margin. That is the biggest vote they've given one party since exit polling began about 30 years ago.
President Bush, meanwhile, has lost the House. It looks like he may have lost the Senate tonight. And he got rid of Rumsfeld today. It has been a rough couple of days for the president, to say the least. And he still has a few years left in the White House.
CNN's John King now takes a look.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States.
JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is a new beginning of sorts, two years from the end, and he thought it best to start with a joke. GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Say, why all the glum faces?
KING: The president knows the lame duck label is floating around, and doesn't it like. His goal the morning after a mid-term election rebuke, to make clear he gets the message, that he's not done. So Donald Rumsfeld is out.
BUSH: The timing is right for new leadership at the Pentagon.
PELOSI: Thank you all very much.
KING: Outreach to Democrats suddenly is.
BUSH: I'm confident that we can work together. I'm confident we can overcome the temptation two divide this country between red and blue.
KING: Mr. Bush suggested compromise on a top Democratic priority, raising the minimum wage. And he voiced hope more Democrats in Congress means more support for his views on immigration issues.
DICK GEPHARDT (D), FORMER HOUSE MINORITY: He doesn't have to be a lame duck. If you get a couple of wins under your belt, for both sides, then you can go ahead and do the things that are a little harder.
KING: Starkly different views about whether to keep the Bush tax cuts in place are on that harder list. So is what to do about what the strain baby boomers are putting on Social Security and Medicare.
BUSH: If we do not have Republicans and Democrats at the table for entitlements, nothing is going to happen.
KING: The next campaign is already underway and could prove an obstacle to compromise on those bigger domestic challenges. But the turnaround in Mr. Bush's tone was striking. The reason, no secret.
BUSH: It was a thumping. But nevertheless, the people expect us to work together. That's what they expect.
KING: If that spirit of goodwill breaks down, even a weakened president can hold significant sway.
FORMER SENATOR ALAN SIMPSON (R) WYOMING: When you're talking presidential power, if you really want to see a president with teeth, it's a president who's going to veto legislation that is passed by the Congress.
KING: Iraq was the biggest campaign divide and will now be the biggest test whether Mr. Bush gets a fresh start.
He bought goodwill by making the personnel change the Democrats wanted.
BUSH: ... to be the next secretary of the defense. KING: He gave no hint of the major policy shifts his critics also want.
BUSH: To our enemies, do not be joyful. Do not confuse the workings of our democracies with a lack of will.
KING: The debate over timelines and troop levels will intensify once the power shift becomes official in January.
Testing Mr. Bush's commitment to bipartisanship...
BUSH: This isn't -- you know, this isn't my first rodeo.
KING: And his skills and influence navigating a divided government.
COOPER: It is such a fascinating time right now. I mean, there is such a clamoring for whether change or something to be done in Washington, not for gridlock, and yet gridlock is a real potential.
KING (on camera): There are a lot of people predicting total gridlock. All indications are today, I think, that that would be an over-exaggeration. There is huge pressure on both sides. The Democrats, to prove they can govern after being in the wilderness for 12 years. This president, to prove he's not a lame duck.
So I do believe, and the president hinted today, you'll get a minimum wage compromise. What will the president get out of that? Maybe tax credits to expand health care access, not the bigger plan the Democrats want. Immigration is something that could be done almost in a blink. The president has to deal still with his conservative base, but they don't run the House anymore.
So, a few thing likes that. The big one, Social Security, Medicare.
All the people running for president in 2008 will say, whoa, whoa, whoa, making Bush's tax cuts permanent. The Democrats aren't willing to do that. The Republicans actually want it as an issue in 2008. But on some things that are some modest, some not so modest, actually can get things done.
COOPER: You know, this is a president that used to say, you know, that he was a uniter, not a divider. And yet that doesn't seem to be in the DNA of this administration, at least it hasn't in the last several months or years.
KING: He was a uniter, not a divider, until he became the decider. And he decided to run a part -- strategy, excuse me, based on his base. He had the majorities in both Houses of Congress and decided he could get things done. And he did not reach out to Democrats much. Not at all. It would be a mistake to say not at all. They got No Child Left Behind, the education bill with Teddy Kennedy's help. They got the Medicare Reform Bill that the Democrats don't like, with a compromise again with Senator Kennedy and other Democrats' help. So he has done this a couple of times in the past.
On foreign policy, he has totally ignored the Democrats and that is the biggest pushing divide right now. Iraq, perhaps Iran and North Korea. So the president has a lot of repair work to do.
COOPER: The election strategy of finding wedge issues of trying to appeal to the base, did that just not work?
KING: The results tell you it did not work. They thought putting the same-sex marriage initiatives on some of the ballot would drive up turnout. It drove up -- turnout was actually pretty good. They just didn't get the votes they needed to win in most of those states. They thought the president coming out -- the White House thought, not all Republicans thought -- the White House thought making the president very visible at the end, talking about Iraq, trying to say again, elect the Democrats and you will get higher taxes. But more importantly from the president's objective, they will make us weaker. That was the president's argument. It worked in 2002. It worked in 2004. It flatly failed in 2006.
COOPER: We're going to talk with David Gergen, also Andrew Sullivan about this a little bit later on.
John King, thanks very much.
Left, right or central, last night was certainly a big one. And so is the Rumsfeld announcement today. Up next, more perspective on it all from David Gergen, who's seen it all from the inside. That story is next.
And later, how evangelicals did and didn't vote. How it affected the race and whether or not conservative Christians still have the same faith they once did in the Republican Party. We'll look at the numbers.
And live reporting from Iraq on what troops there think of their old boss and the man chosen to be their new boss. Trying to get some early reaction.
Across the country and around the world, this is a special election edition of 360.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: The election has changed many things in Washington, but it has not changed my fundamental responsibility, and that is to protect the American people from attack.
As the commander in chief, I take these responsibilities seriously. And so does the man who served this nation honorably for almost six years, as our Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Now, after a series of thoughtful conversations, Secretary Rumsfeld and I agreed that the timing is right for new leadership at the Pentagon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That was President Bush, acknowledging today that voters sent a message on Iraq. But simply changing personnel gates for Rumsfeld could be a whole lot easier than changing policy on Iraq. And that is assuming the president even wants to change course on the essential policy.
For some perspective on that and some of the other major fallout from last night, we're joined again by our friend, former Presidential Adviser David Gergen.
(BEGIN BREAKING NEWS)
COOPER: First, the developments out of Virginia tonight. "A.P." reporting that Webb in fact has won in Virginia, which would mean that the Democrats take control of the Senate. Obviously, a huge deal for the Democrats and for the country.
DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: Absolutely. It's turned what looked like last night into a dramatic victory for Democrats into an historic victory for Democrats.
To really put an end to the period of conservative dominance in our country. You know, American politics tends to move in cycles. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., the historian, and his dad identified this. We move from about 15, 20 years in one direction, a more conservative direction, and then we move for about 15, 20 years in the other more progressive direction.
COOPER: Which is the amazing thing about this country...
COOPER: ... that it rights itself.
GERGEN: It rights itself.
COOPER: Like a ship attacking in the...
GERGEN: Right. And people who get, you know, get in charge, start doing some things and they do some good things. But they also get a lot of opposition building up, they make mistakes.
And here I think what happened was, that in effect, the American people entrusted the conservative with the Republican Party to run the country. And now they're saying, hey, you guys didn't run it very well.
And as a student told me today in class, it's like Donald Trump, "You're fired." That's the story we've been watching. And they fired the Republicans and said we're going to turn it over to the other side.
I think from a Democratic point of view, Anderson, it's healthy. It's healthy when -- if a team is entrusted with a lot of power and they make mistakes, you move them out. The Democrats got entrusted with a lot of power, and in 1994, Newt Gingrich and company came in. It was a cleansing election. This was another cleansing election.
COOPER: It also forces both sides, Democrats and Republicans, to redefine themselves, look at themselves anew and reinvent themselves.
GERGEN: Right. Right. Every American corporation has to - you know, is in this highly competitive environment, especially the global corporations, where they have to keep reinventing themselves.
In politics, it's easy to get complacent and then arrogant. And arrogance really crept into the Republican Party, as it had into the Democratic Party. This comes along, it's like a thunder bolt. It really tells, hey guys, you know, we're in the 21st century. You've got to manage this war better. You've got to be more honest with us. That's good for the Republican Party. It's good for our politics.
COOPER: Arrogance was certainly one of the charges leveled against Donald Rumsfeld over last several years, particularly in this last year by some of these former generals who actually had to deal with him. What happens now in Iraq, though? Because, I mean, it's one thing to replace the secretary of defense, but I don't get how the Democrats now actually try to influence what happens on the ground in Iraq. Bush is still commander in chief. How do things change?
GERGEN: Now that they have the Senate, apparently, they have a lot more power together with the House and the Senate to push. You've got a lot of heavyweights in the Senate who are very good on the airwaves. They're very good at making their arguments.
COOPER: So it's a bully pulpit?
GERGEN: It's a bully pulpit and you're also taken more seriously when it's the United States Senate, the deliberative body.
I mean, think about the Armed Services Committee. John McCain was about to become chairman of that this January, replacing John Warner. Now it's going to be Carl Levin instead of that. That's a major, dramatic change to have that Democratic Senator Joe Biden running a foreign affairs. That's a big deal to have Joe Biden in there. So that's part of it.
But the bigger question to me right now, is the president seriously interested in working with the Democrats? Or does he cling to the notion that victory is what he's about?
If I may just make a brief analogy. In it -- we faced this in the Korean War. When General Douglas MacArthur said famously, there is no substitute for victory. And he believed that very strongly. And he wanted to go and punish Chinese and go across the (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And Harry Truman as president said, no, no, no. We've got to settle. We're not going to win this, let's just settle. And in effect, the question is, is George W. Bush MacArthur? Is he still playing that? Or is he more like Harry Truman? And I don't think we know the answer to that yet. He keeps talking about victory today. He says we need fresh perspectives in ways of looking at the war. But he didn't change his views at all about what the objective is. It's victory. John McCain says we must prevail in Iraq. COOPER: Well, it seems like, and the choice does seem that stark, it seems like either you recommit -- I mean, General Batiste earlier was talking about getting the country on a war footing, you know, 100,000 folks, whether they're NATO or whomever, to secure the borders. Either up the anti...
COOPER: ... and you invest -- which John McCain has talked about -- or you go more with the Democrat, we pull out, redeploy, whatever you want to call it.
GERGEN: That's right. That's fundamentally the choice. Do you escalate in order to try to secure it, give it one more big try.
COOPER: And I don't know if the country will go with an escalation.
GERGEN: Only 20 percent of the people in the country right now support putting more troops in there. Do you put more troops into Baghdad as McCain says? Should we escalate? There's been conversation before the elections privately in Washington about putting 100,000 more American troops in there for six months to a year, not that we have a lot more troops to put in. That's one route.
COOPER: And politically, that message was not sent yesterday.
GERGEN: No, no, no. It was exactly the opposite message. Had the president prevailed yesterday, I think he would have gone that route. But now that he's lost, he's going to be under a lot of pressure. And the Baker Commission, especially with Gates in there, filled with pragmatists, I think are likely to push him more toward the disengagement.
GERGEN: We'll have to see and we'll have to then see, is he willing to do that? Is he willing to say, OK, I'm not really for victory.
COOPER: Yes, you know, I didn't think anything could get more fascinating than yesterday's results. Today just such a dramatic day. It really, really was.
GERGEN: We're in a moment of real political high drama in the United States.
COOPER: And a deadly moment and a very serious moment.
COOPER: And not a moment for just sort of throwing stones, but a moment for...
GERGEN: Absolutely. And we owe it for our troops to come up with sound answers.
COOPER: 150,000 U.S. forces right there right now.
David Gergen, thank you very much.
(END BREAKING NEWS)
COOPER: Up next, how troops in Iraq are reacting to change at the top? Two live updates on that from Iraq.
Plus, never too soon to look ahead to the next election -- oy, the big one, 2008. How some of the people being mentioned as presidential contenders did and where they plan to go from here.
David already talked about John McCain a little bit.
You're watching 360. Stay tuned.
COOPER: Well, November is shaping up to be another deadly month for American forces. We wanted to know how they are reacting to the news out of Washington, the big change in the Pentagon.
So, two live reports tonight. Starting with CNN's John Roberts, who joins us now by phone from a military camp near Baghdad.
John, what are you hearing from troops?
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on the phone): Hi, Anderson. It really was a shock to the troops here. They were expecting nothing of this kind, particularly after last week President Bush reaffirmed his support for Donald Rumsfeld, saying that he's going to be staying on at the Pentagon until the end of his term.
Some of the commanders that I talked to likened this to relieving a commander of duty in the middle of a war. But, you know, upon further reflection, they sort of looked at in a pragmatic sense to say, well, you know, Rumsfeld has been a lightning rod for criticism, not only among politicians, but among retired military people.
I asked, I said, well do the retired military people really reflect the sentiment inside active duty? And they said, well, yes, to some degree that they do.
Active duty people don't talk about the chain of command. They don't voice their opinions in terms of what they think of the upper commanders. But once they get out of the military, they sort of give voice to what is the pervasive feeling throughout the forces. So, in looking at it from a standpoint of perhaps with Rumsfeld gone now, the attention will be focused back on the fight as opposed to on the man.
However, that sentiment isn't spread throughout the entire military. One other commander that we talked to said, well, you know, the grass is always greener on the other side, but let's see if the new guy can make any difference.
And one young fellow, an enlisted man I talked to, was looking sort of at the idea of fulfilling duty when it comes to Rumsfeld. He said to me, quote, "It's B.S. that he's stepping down. Whatever happened to finishing the mission?" -- Anderson.
COOPER: You know, a lot of people make the mistake and think about the U.S. military as a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) institution. It, of course, represents the society which it protects. And there are lots of different viewpoints within the U.S. military.
But as John, rightly pointing out, a lot of soldiers very reticent, and understandably so, to talk about things that might reflect poorly on the chain of command.
John Roberts reporting from a base outside -- well, near Baghdad.
Another view now on the daily reality in Iraq for troops and Iraqis alike. For that, let's turn to CNN's Michael Ware, who is live in Baghdad, as well.
In terms of the strategy on the ground, there's not a lot of options out there.
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are a few different alternatives that are being discussed within the military community. I mean, there's varying options on troop levels, on tactics here on the ground, on different degrees of engagement, be that with the Sunni insurgents or be that with regional players, particularly Syria. So there are a number of schools of thought.
But the ultimate question here, Anderson, for the G.I.s on the ground, for the commanders, for the Iraqi government, and for America's rivals, is how are these changes back home in the states going to affect the battle. That's the one and only question.
What's clear is that now with the shift in balance in the political structure or the political power within the Congress and with the resignation of Secretary Rumsfeld and the nomination of Bob Gates, is what will the change be?
America has definitely now entered a period of strategic uncertainty. What's going to be the policy? How's it going to be shaped? And who now is going to be leading it -- Anderson.
COOPER: Michael, President Bush, saying today in this press conference that the enemies of the United States should not mistake our Democratic process, should not mistake a difference of opinion with weakness.
There is that concern, especially here in the United States, that our enemies will view the United States as somehow now weak, going wobbly and perhaps even on the verge of an all-out pullout.
WARE: Well, I will not be surprised in the least, Anderson, to see, particularly the Iraqi insurgents trying to capitalize on not just the election result, but also Secretary Rumsfeld's resignation in their information operations, or their propaganda campaign. Almost certainly they're going to try and seize upon this.
So there really is a great degree of uncertainty now that is settled over the war. And while American resolve is beyond question, what now remains in doubt or unanswered is how that resolve will be executed. What's the strategy? Who's got it? And how's it going to be implemented?
One thing's clear, nothing's going to change on the ground overnight. It's like trying to turn an oil tanker at full steam at sea. It doesn't turn on a dime -- Anderson.
COOPER: Those questions being asked both in Iraq and certainly here at home.
Michael Ware, thank you very much. Michael, live from Baghdad tonight.
There had been a lot of outspoken critics of the war in Iraq, of course. Tonight, we hear from one of them, Democratic Congressman John Murtha. He talks about a number of topics, including the Rumsfeld resignation and what the change in balance of power in Congress means for his party.
Plus, there's already talk about the 2008 presidential race. We'll have a look at who's likely to make a bid for the White House. I think you can guess some of the big ones right there. When this special edition of 360 continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: It's been quite a time. It calls to mind the statement by Winston Churchill, something to the effect that I have benefited greatly from criticism. And at no time have I suffered a lack there of.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well that was Donald Rumsfeld on Iraq today.
When it comes to Iraq, Democratic Congressman John Murtha is a long time critic of President Bush and outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
He has been calling for a phased pullout of American forces. Now he's in the running for House majority leader or barring that, chairman of the defense subcommittee. Either way, he'll now have more clout to go with this criticism.
I talked with him earlier tonight from his district in Pennsylvania.
Congressman Murtha, when you first heard that secretary Rumsfeld was stepping down, what went through your mind?
REP. JOHN MURHTA (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Well, the voters have made a difference. There's no question in my mind. I've been on 140-some shows in the last year talking about a number of things in Iraq -- mismanagement, mischaracterization, overly rosy picture.
But until the public spoke, it really didn't make a difference. "Army Times" spoke out, and I think that made a little bit of a difference because they felt the military had lost confidence in the secretary.
But is that going to change the policy? I think we have to wait and see. From the rhetoric I heard, when they made the change of command, when the president announced it, I'm a little worried that it's going to stay going the same direction. So I have to wait and see if we're really going to have a bipartisan solution to this very difficult problem.
COOPER: What makes you think it's going to stay the same direction?
MURTHA: The policy, of course, comes from the White House. It doesn't come from the secretary of defense. So just changing the secretary of defense doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to get a change in direction. And we need a change in direction. That's what the public said. That's what the public's demanding and that's what the Democrats are going to work towards. And we want to work with this president, trying to come to a bipartisan solution.
COOPER: President Bush indicated he thinks history's going to judge Secretary Rumsfeld kindly. A man who modernized the Pentagon, who fought this first war, the 21st century. How do you think history will judge Don Rumsfeld?
MURTHA: I think it's the opposite. I think the military leaders have lost complete confidence in this secretary. He didn't listen to people. He didn't ask for suggestions. He went to war when we didn't have a national security threat. He went with insufficient forces and he had no exit strategy.
You know, winning is not a strategy. Victory's not a strategy. Democracy's not a strategy. That's a goal. And they demonize anybody that opposes their policy. And I do not think this secretary's going to go down as one of the best secretaries in history. I think he'll go down as making a lot of mistakes and painting an overly optimistic picture about what was going on in Iraq. COOPER: How do you define success in Iraq?
MURTHA: I'll tell you how I define success. Stability in the end, but it can only be achieved by the Iraqis themselves. No mat what we do now, since we've lost the confidence of Iraqi people, we've lost the confidence of the American people, and there's a very few people going back over and over and over again, and there's not near enough forces to really bring the thing under military control.
We can't win this militarily now, since we've lost the hearts and minds of the people. So I'm convinced the first step towards stability is to redeploy our troops to the periphery so that something happens that affects our national security or the national security of allies, they'd be prepared to go back in.
COOPER: Finally, do you think this war has set America back in the same way that the Vietnam War set America back in terms of foreign policy, in terms of the way America is perceived in the world?
MURTHA: Absolutely. All the polls that I see, credibility has gone down to well below 50 percent. We have lost credibility in all the periphery. We've lost credibility in Europe. Everybody I talk to, every poll that I see shows the United States with less credibility because of the mistakes that we've made in Iraq.
And I would hope this administration would sit down with some experienced people like Secretary Baker, who was opposed to this war in the first place; General Scowcroft, and some other people from Congress, and try to work out a solution on how we redeploy and let the Iraqis -- give them the incentive to take over this civil war and stop this civil war.
COOPER: Congressman Murtha, appreciate it. Thank you.
MURTHA: Nice talking to you, Anderson.
COOPER: Well, the results of yesterday's elections, they are still making headlines. But many in political circles are already talking about the race for the White House.
Coming up next, the front-runners in the '08 presidential election.
And role did the evangelical vote play in these midterm elections? Did conservative Christians help or hurt the GOP? That and more, when this special edition of 360 continue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: You know, last week the vice president said, regardless of the outcome, the administration would go full speed ahead in the same direction. Well, I think that the American people have said, not so fast!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Senator Hillary Clinton, last night, declaring victory in election 2006. So, what about 2008, you know, when we all choose a president? Did she come out of last night better or worse if she decides to run? And what about the other potential candidates?
With that, CNN's Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley reports.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Out with the old, in with the new, on to the next thing.
REP. SHERROD BROWN, (D), OHIO SENATE-ELECT: As Ohio goes in '06, so goes the nation in '08.
CROWLEY: It's a touch early to put Ohio in the Democratic column for '08, but across the country assorted politicians are dissecting the end trails of '06, with the Oval Office in mind. Not that anyone running for president will actually cop to it.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS: It's something that I've got to spend some serious time thinking about.
CROWLEY: Roughly 10 percent of the U.S. Senate is thinking about running for president, along with a couple of current and former House members, and several governors.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I haven't made that decision yet.
CROWLEY: Most of them say that. But check out the visual here. Flag to the left of him, flag to the right. You can kind of picture this guy in the Oval Office. And that's the point.
McCain's ambitions are complicated by the '06 results, with much of the country wanting a plan to get out of Iraq. He thinks the way out is to put more troops in.
McCain's lead position in the tough guy category has been challenged by Rudy Giuliani, his honor, the in-your-face 9/11 New York mayor. He's been frequently areas west of the Mississippi and south of the Mason-Dixon, where so far they have politely ignored that he is pro-gay rights, pro-choice, and pro-gun licensing.
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER MAYOR, NEW YORK: When things aren't working, you need new people.
CROWLEY: The Democratic Senator from New York capped her re- election celebration Tuesday night to the tune of, "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet." But Wednesday morning, she still ain't showing anything.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When will you address the question of whether you will be running?
CLINTON: You know, I am going to relish this victory.
CROWLEY: Hillary Clinton is the political world's most reluctant bride. She hasn't set foot on the presidential trail, running from Iowa to New Hampshire, making her all the more appealing.
The latest CNN Opinion Research Corporation poll shows Hillary in dead heat with Republican front-runners John McCain and Rudy Giuliani.
Warning sign, her negatives are twice those of potential Republican rivals, though she fares better than John Kerry whose unfavorables are 51 percent.
Senator Clinton's pull is so strong, she's in a class all her own. The other class in her party is the not Hillaries. Generally less controversial, more centrist options like Former Vice Presidential Candidate John Edwards or Indiana Senator Evan Bayh.
(On camera): From rising stars to familiar faces, from the right and the left and everywhere in between, you're going to need a scorecard to keep up. But the game is on.
Candy Crowley, CNN, New York.
COOPER: The game is definitely on. Here's the conventional wisdom -- evangelicals are the rock solid slab of the Republican base. Are they now though? Coming up, why more than a quarter of evangelicals who turned out yesterday switched sides even though they support the war in Iraq. That's next on 360.
COOPER: Well, fully one quarter of the voters who turned out yesterday were white evangelicals. They are a huge block that helped elect President Bush twice. And Republicans were counting on their support in the midterms. And for the most part, they got it. 69 percent of white evangelicals voted Republican yesterday. But well over a quarter supported Democrats for reasons that seemed to catch some party leaders off guard.
CNN's Tom Foreman takes a look.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): One of every four voters was a white evangelical. And exit polls showed two-thirds of them still believe in the Iraq war. But in too many other areas, religious leader says Republicans let down their faithful followers.
RICHARD LAND, SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION: I think that they felt that particularly, the Republican leadership in the Congress had not kept their promises. A seven-fold increase in earmarks in pork barrel spending since 1998 is not why they sent Republicans to Washington. Nearly 50 percent increase in government spending since 2001 is not why they sent them to Washington.
FOREMAN: The Republicans lost many people of faith who are politically moderate and who overwhelmingly dislike the war.
Look at Pennsylvania. Staunch Christian Conservative Rick Santorum kept his evangelical base.
SEN. RICK SANTORUM (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Karen and I and the kids just want to thank God.
FOREMAN: But the Democrats mopped the floor with him because huge numbers of moderate Christians flocked to their party. Democratic leaders made the switch easier by talking up their faith recently.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS: I think we make a mistake when we fail to acknowledge the power of faith in people's lives.
FOREMAN: Christian groups have warned for months that scandals and a sense of a lost moral compass could hurt the GOP. But did the Republicans listen?
RICHARD LAND, SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION: Not enough. They didn't listen enough.
FOREMAN: Christian Leader Tony Perkins issued this statement about the election. "This should be a clear message to both parties that values voters vote values, not party."
(On camera): Religion did matter. Seven states approved laws against same-sex marriages. And religious groups launched several efforts to restrict abortion rights in various states. They lost, but waged respectable fights.
(Voice-over): So the president tipped his hat even in defeat.
BUSH: The faith and community based initiative is a vital part of helping solve intractable problems here in America and I would hope that I could work with Congress to make sure this program which has been invigorated, remains invigorated.
FOREMAN: Likely it will. More than 75 percent of Americans consider themselves religious and they will be deciding again in two years which party most values their vote.
Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: So the question is, what are the lessons there for both parties in all of this? Earlier I spoke to Andrew Sullivan, "Time" magazine contributor and author of the new book, "The Conservative Soul."
COOPER: Talking about evangelicals and what happened last night, you know, you have a Senator, conservative Senator Rick Santorum, very popular among evangelicals. He went down in a big way last night. What is the message that they should take away from last night's results?
ANDREW SULLIVAN, "TIME" MAGAZINE COLUMNIST: I think many evangelical Christians thought they had gotten too close to power, the people they were dealing with were not really faithful, that they needed to get a little further distance away from Caesar and to focus on saving our own souls, rather than bossing other people's lives around.
I think that's a change of heart among many evangelicals. The suspicion that they were had by some of these people, which I think is a good thing for Christianity, for religion and for politics and for Republican politics. This is a great opportunity for the Republicans to come back to the center, to their principles, to balanced budgets, to a prudent foreign policy, to stop the spending, control the border. Those are simple things, conservative things they have to get back to.
COOPER: What about Karl Rove in all of this? I mean, you know, analysts predicted that the key for Republicans was energizing the base. And I mean, you can argue that the Republicans kept their base, but independents voted against them. What happened to Karl Rove's strategy?
SULLIVAN: Well it means that, in the end, you can't scare your base every time. I think that they'd run out of things to whip up the base into a frenzy. And the attempt to do so against considerable diminishing support for certain issue like stem cell research or gay marriage or abortion. Notice in South Dakota, the abortion ban was turned down by the voters. It meant that the independents and the moderates were hearing all this rhetoric designed to stir up the base and they were turned off.
So the strategy ran aground this time very badly. Rove is not a genius. He's never been a genius. He got -- he didn't get a majority of the popular vote in 2000. He squeezed a 51 percent victory in 2004. He's been teetering on the brink of it since. And the base strategy now shows him not to be a genius, but to be a real failure as a political strategist.
COOPER: So politics of fear doesn't work as much as it did before, do you think?
SULLIVAN: I don't think so. I don't think people are -- they're not fools. They've seen these tactics. They saw them for what they were. And they didn't bite this time. And a lot of people didn't bite. A lot of moderate common sense conservatives in the Midwest especially, in the Rocky Mountain West said, uh-uh, we've been had once already. We're not falling for this again, Karl.
COOPER: Andrew, thanks.
SULLIVAN: You bet, Anderson.
(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: And we'll have more of 360 in a moment. Stay with us.
COOPER: Tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING," the O'Brien twins are looking at the fallout from Secretary Rumsfeld's resignation and what it means for the war in Iraq.
And will there be bipartisanship in a Democratic controlled Congress or will the president be a lame duck for the next two ears?
That and more, tomorrow, on "AMERICAN MORNING," starting at 6:00 a.m., Eastern.
"LARRY KING LIVE" is next. His guest is Bill Marr (ph).
Thanks very much for watching us tonight. We'll see you tomorrow night, same time, same place. Good night.
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