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CNN ELECTION CENTER
Big Night For Barack Obama and Democrats
Aired November 4, 2008 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And we can make these projections now that the polls have closed in those states, Iowa, a huge win for Senator Barack Obama. This is where it all started for him when he won the Iowa caucuses, seven electoral votes. Senator McCain made a fight in Iowa, but Senator -- Senator Obama will carry Iowa.
Utah, it's a win for Senator McCain, those five electoral votes in Utah. Utah was never, ever in doubt. It's a very, very red, a Republican state. And, as a result, Utah will go for Senator McCain. So will Kansas. It's a traditionally Republican state, as well, six electoral votes. Kansas, with 15 percent of the vote already counted in that state, that will go for Senator -- Senator McCain.
There are no projections we can make right now in Montana and Nevada. We are going to have to wait until more votes come in. And then we will be able to make a projection in those states.
Here's the current map, based on all the projections we have made so far over the past few hours. Senator Obama has 206 electoral votes, our projection, to 89 for Senator McCain. Remember, 270, that's the number. He's getting very, very close to that 270.
The blue states are Senator -- Senator Obama's states. The red states are Senator McCain's states. The yellow states are states that have closed their polls, but we haven't been able to make a projection yet. These other West Coast states, they haven't closed their polls yet. California and the others will be closing their polls at the top of the next hour, 11:00 p.m. Eastern.
But it's getting very, very close for Senator Obama, Anderson. And the climb for Senator McCain, you know, it's hard to see how he gets to that 270.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: So, when he gets to 270, what do we do?
BLITZER: We report that.
COOPER: Fair enough.
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: We leave.
COOPER: But, in terms of governance, I mean, the -- the amount he actually gets makes a big deal -- makes a big difference.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely.
COOPER: I mean, it's not just about -- if he's going to win and wants to lead the -- most effectively he can, he wants to get more than just 270.
GERGEN: Yes. Yes. But, just to be clear about this, now, with Iowa in, and one more piece of the puzzle in, all he needs now are two out of three very safe states. Like, California is not going for John McCain. That's 55. He has got 206 there now. He's -- he's -- he's very -- he's just -- you know, he's basically got this.
But I think the point is, he's now looking like he's going to sail well past 300. We don't know where it's going to wind up past 300, but that is a big victory for a Democrat. We did see up on the board 25 percent of people voting and the actual vote count was still very, very close, 50-49.
John King, looking at his numbers, I think, will argue to you a lot has not come in. A lot of New York State has not come in. California clearly hasn't come in. I think the Obama margin of victory is also now going to go up.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: He wants more than 50 percent of the popular vote.
GERGEN: Oh, he's going to get more than 50 percent.
BORGER: That hasn't been done by a Democrat since '76.
GERGEN: It's big. It's a big deal.
BORGER: So, it's important for him to get that. He will bring in more congressional seats, if he can do that. And he wants to do that in order to govern.
BILL BENNETT, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: But it also depends in part on his -- on his moral compass and his political compass. How does he want to govern? Does he want to govern as the leader of a movement, a new Democratic movement? Does he want to unite the country? Is he going to tact to the center? Is he going to tact to the left, if he becomes president of the United States? Will he stand up to Pelosi and Reid? There will be a lot of, you know, galloping herd to the left. Where will he stand on this? And this will depend in part who he brings with him. It also depends on what's inside them. I'm kind of betting that he will stand against them if he's president.
COOPER: His supporters will says that -- that he's consensus- builder with an eye towards governing. His critics will say he doesn't have a track record of doing that?
BENNETT: Well, I'm a critic, but I -- my sense is that he will try to do, as often as he can, the right thing and govern toward the center, if he's elected president. That is my sense of him from listening to him.
MARTIN: He has studied Ronald Reagan immensely.
And, so, this whole notion that, will he be more like Clinton or Reagan? He understands how Reagan transformed the country. That is the model that he's going to use as president.
COOPER: Tara Wall, you wanted to say?
TARA WALL, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Let me just say that, after Ohio, I just got some inside information from a GOP insider, basically saying that this thing is over for McCain. That was the last of...
COOPER: He's probably been watching CNN.
WALL: Yes. So, I think that the writing is on the wall in many ways, after Ohio, for -- for the McCain campaign and the GOP.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Back to this point that Bill raised.
A lot of us are prisoners of our own experience, right? And when the Republican majority took Congress in 1994, they took office in 1995. Newt Gingrich was handed that gavel by the most extreme, conservative wing of his party. And, so, he governed for that conservative wing.
Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid were given their majority by moderate Democrats, and they have had power in two years, and they have not gone off on any liberal extreme. This is a sort of a trope that has come out from conservatives all the time. The political physics are such that the Democrats' majority seems to be building on moderate Democrats, not on ultra-left, far-left liberals. I mean, the Udall cousins running in the Southwest United States, Kay Hagan, the new senator, now we have declared, from North Carolina, these are centrist Democrats.
And, so, the political physics for this election are very different than from 12 years ago, when Newt Gingrich took power -- 14 years ago.
COOPER: What do you see the role Republicans in the House and the Senate being? I mean...
ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think -- I think Paul has actually got a pretty good case here.
The Democrats -- we now know what it takes to elect a Democrat in America, if Obama pulls this off tonight. And it's not just a hugely unpopular president, an unpopular party, and an economic meltdown. It takes a Democratic Party that says, hey, you know what? Oil drilling may not be such a bad thing. By the way, tax cuts for mainstream Americans, that's a good thing.
We have seen a Democratic Party that, by the way, the president's security bill, the FISA bill, we're kind of for that. That's what Barack Obama has done. He has moved to the center.
WALL: Although there may be some pushback.
CASTELLANOS: And the one thing I think Roland made a good point about is that -- is that Barack Obama has been very careful in this campaign not to scare America. He's been very comforting, reassuring, moving toward the middle...
CASTELLANOS: ... the Biden choice as well. That seems to be how he governs. If he does that, Republicans, I think, are going to meet him in the middle.
WALL: It will be interesting to see how he governs, given that he's had a virtually liberal voting record. He was -- he ran liberally during the primaries and had to move to the center during the -- the national election against McCain.
So, I think it is going to be interesting to see if we're going to see the more liberal senator, the now what could be the more liberal President Obama, or a centrist President Obama, and how he will even have to work with Democrats in the Senate.
I mean, Nancy Pelosi is not a fan of extending the Bush tax cuts, whereas Barack Obama has said that he is. So, I think there will be a little bit more pushback than we might anticipate.
JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm a little bit shocked here by the entire conversation.
The Republicans are on target to lose somewhere between 12 and 14 Senate seats in a two-year period and somewhere around 50 to 55 House seats. It's look it's going to come in about 25. If I was a Republican right now, I think I would be, like, as opposed as trying to tell Barack Obama how to govern, I would be looking inward myself.
And the Republican Party is getting a drubbing tonight the likes of which we have never seen. This is a two-year cycle in which this party has been hammered. And I think -- I think Obama and the Democrats are going to be...
CASTELLANOS: You don't think the Democrats are moving toward the middle?
CARVILLE: Well, I think the Democrats, A, are moving toward leadership.
I think that -- sure, I don't think we're an ideologically rigid party, like the Republican Party. I think that's Paul's point.
COOPER: Well, you could make the same argument about the Republican Party, that, over the last six years, certainly, in terms of economic issues, they have -- I mean, the amount of spending, the amount of blowing deficit, talk about fiscal -- you know, fiscal responsibility, restraint, has not been the hallmark of this administration.
CASTELLANOS: We broke our brand.
CASTELLANOS: That was the thing Republicans were not supposed to do.
And we -- we, I think, created the impression -- and rightly so -- that what we went to Washington to change, we instead became. And, in doing that, we represented nothing, you know? If America wants spending, it's got Democrats to do that.
CASTELLANOS: We're supposed to be the other guys. So, yes, we hollowed it out.
CASTELLANOS: But now it's interesting, now that both sides are again talking fiscal responsibility. So, again, I think it's a very centrist agenda.
CARVILLE: I don't know how to bring this up, but when there was a Democratic president was the most fiscally responsible time. There was a $5 trillion budget surplus.
CASTELLANOS: With a Republican Congress.
CARVILLE: When Bill Clinton left office. There was a Republican -- I want to go back to tonight, because the interesting thing here is, we still have a lot to do in the Senate.
The Minnesota Senate is going to be critical. If Al Franken wins that, the Democrats are on schedule to pick up eight seats. Now, whether or not Georgia is -- it seems to be a pretty tough sledding there for Democrats. But, if you pick up eight seats, and you picked up six last time, that's 14 in two years. That -- that is a significant number.
And I don't think we can lose sight of that, just like -- and I think the Democrats are on schedule to pick up somewhere, 25, plus or minus two, House seats. That's on top of 30 in 2006.
CARVILLE: I think the country is trying to say something here. I really do.
WALL: Well, but, also, the country has also said, though, there is some culpability -- as much as we talk about the administration's failures, there's culpability with Congress on how the nation feels about congressional Democrats.
CARVILLE: And I think that that was one of the mistakes McCain probably didn't spend enough time talking about, was the failures there and their culpability in the bailout, the financial mess.
WALL: I think there's a...
BEGALA: They spent tens of millions of dollars making the case that Speaker Pelosi and Harry Reid, combined with a President Obama...
WALL: Not enough time.
BEGALA: Maybe not enough for you, but they spent plenty.
BEGALA: They made the argument. The voters rejected the argument.
If you want to keep making, it's very good for the Democrats.
BEGALA: But, again, I have been a part of a party that lost. And what you do is, you go away and you think hard and you rigorously reexamine.
WALL: Well, I'm sure that will happen, yes.
BEGALA: Carville and I wrote a book that was very critical of our party. It cost me some friends.
BEGALA: My expectation is, the Republicans will do that, and it will be a bloodbath.
WALL: I'm sure that will happen.
BEGALA: But my hope, as a partisan, is that they just continue on pretending that nothing bad has happened.
CARVILLE: I have got to make one point here.
If the Democrats -- if the congressional Democrats are held in such disrepute, why are they going to pick up seven or eight Senate seats and 25 House seats?
CARVILLE: Can somebody just look at the election returns and see what the public is saying?
WALL: I'm talking about the sitting members right now that Americans are not happy with and who have lower favorability ratings than the president.
BEGALA: Tim Mahoney is in trouble in Florida, but he had a terrible scandal.
CASTELLANOS: The good news is that it's not over that. All we need is nine votes on the Supreme Court, and we can pull this thing off.
COOPER: Let's go back to Wolf. We have another projection. BLITZER: And CNN projects that Arkansas will go for John McCain and its six electoral votes, Arkansas widely expected to go for the Republican candidate, and it does -- 13 percent of the precincts in Arkansas have now reported in, 55 percent for McCain, 43 percent for Barack Obama.
So, Arkansas, put that in John McCain's column right now.
We're expecting some more projections. They're coming up, some important ones as well.
Stay with us. Our coverage will continue right after this.
BLITZER: You're watching what's going on at Times Square here in New York City. There's a big screen there, CNN right there. A lot of folks have gathered in Times Square. And they're applauding because they're seeing themselves right now.
We're watching what's going on in New York. We're only a few blocks away from where they are.
Let's update you right now, what we know. In the popular vote for president of the United States, 34 percent of all the precincts in the United States have now officially reported. And look at how close it is, Senator Obama, with 50 percent, Senator McCain with 49 percent. More than 50 million people's votes have already been counted, and just under a million, 991,022-vote lead for Senator Obama, with 35 percent of the popular vote in.
And, as nice as the popular vote is, it's by no means as important as this electoral vote right now, the race to 270. That is the number you need to be elected president of the United States. In the states that we have projected Senator Obama winning, he's already at 207.
Senator McCain is already at only 95. It's a significant advantage for Senator Obama. And he's won two of the most important states that we have projected so far, both Pennsylvania and Ohio. Those are states where Senator McCain fought fiercely for that.
Let's go to Soledad O'Brien and Bill Schneider. We will get some more insight on what is happening on this historic night -- Soledad.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, a moment ago, your panel was talking about the changing face of the electoral. And, of course, it's Latino voters that are really making up that change and the changing face.
We wanted to dig down and take a look at how Latinos are voting so far, exit polling information coming in, updated all the time here.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: And let's look at -- in the United States as a whole, let's look at Latino voters. This line is blue, meaning they gave the edge to Barack Obama, but how much? Sixty-seven percent for Obama, 30 percent for McCain.
What's interesting about that is, Bush, last years -- four years ago, got 40 percent of the Latino vote. McCain is getting 30 percent of the Latino vote.
O'BRIEN: He has lost 10 points there.
O'BRIEN: Let's take a look at two states that have large Latino populations, two states, by the way, that we have not called yet, Arizona and Florida.
Start with Arizona for me, please.
SCHNEIDER: Arizona, that's up here. It has not yet been called. Let's look at Latino voters in Arizona.
There they are, a blue category, 61 percent for Obama, 36 percent for -- for McCain. That's his home state. He's doing a little better among Latinos in Arizona, but he is not carrying them.
SCHNEIDER: You mentioned Florida. Let's go to Florida. We haven't called that. That's still gray.
Latino voters in Florida typically vote Republican. They did four years ago, but now they're for Obama. Look at this: 57 percent for Obama, 42 percent for McCain. A lot of Latinos, not most, but a lot of them in Florida are Cuban Americans, historically Republican. That's why McCain is doing as well as he is. But, four years ago, Bush carried the Latino vote in Florida.
O'BRIEN: Latinos had -- had an interesting debate in that whole, would Latinos vote for African-Americans? We had that back and forth, many people weighing in on that. What does your analysis of this data tell you
SCHNEIDER: It tells me they will, and they have, and they are voting for an African-American candidate.
The big problem Latino voters are having right now, the reason Barack Obama is doing very well, 80 percent of Latino voters disapprove of President Bush. In fact, in the electorate as a whole, 72 percent of voters disapprove of President Bush.
That is like a boulder standing in the road in front of McCain, because look at this. Among voters who disapprove of President Bush, first of all, in every state, they're obviously voting for Barack Obama. And, in the country as a whole, two-thirds are voting for Obama. That is 72 percent of Americans, two-thirds of them for Obama. Bush was the big obstacle to McCain in this election.
O'BRIEN: President Bush as the boulder, as Bill Schneider says.
O'BRIEN: Wolf, back to you.
BLITZER: Soledad and Bill, thanks very much.
I want to go over to John King and Campbell Brown, because getting more information on what is going on, in terms of the balance of power and other issues in this -- in this race, for not only the White House, but to control the White House as well -- Campbell.
CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, that's right, Wolf.
We looked at the map overall a few minutes ago. And, clearly, it looks like a very uphill -- uphill climb for John McCain, if not entirely impossible, for him to get to that 270 number first, before we go to balance of power, right, John?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Almost impossible, Campbell.
And I want to show you a couple of things that I find quite striking. And I want to go to the state of Pennsylvania, as we this fills in. Remember, we talked earlier about, could Barack Obama win here? That was a big question. He's winning there, but he's winning big.
But I want to come down here. This is where races are increasingly won. Presidential politics in the United States, big statewide races are won in the suburbs. This is Bucks County, just outside of Philadelphia. Barack Obama is winning 57 percent to 42 percent.
We come here, Montgomery County. These used to be majority Republican registration counties. Barack Obama is winning 56 percent to 43 percent. Down here as well, Delaware County, 59 percent to 40 percent. This is a Republican suburb here, Chester county. We're still waiting for the results there.
But you cannot be a viable national party if you're getting beat almost 60-40 in the suburbs and then getting beat 60-40 among Latino voters. It's simply -- you cannot sustain yourself as a viable national party. And it's not just happening in Pennsylvania. It's happening in other places when you go out.
And this is one of the places we're particularly waiting for, Saint Louis County just outside of Saint Louis. Missouri is very close right now. We're waiting for this. This is a Republican county, St. Charles County, a big suburban county in here, exurban out here.
And John McCain is winning by a narrow margin out there. But -- I hate to sound like a broken drum -- we will go back in time, and look again, and George W. Bush had 60 percent of the vote, just shy of 60 percent of the vote, out there. When you come forward now, John McCain getting 54 percent of the vote.
It might seem like a small number, but the margins in the suburbs increasingly going the Democrats' way. Add in the Latino vote, and that will factor in as we get more results out in the West. And the Republican Party is going to look at these numbers tomorrow and think, how do we rebuild, because we have a long, long way to go?
We're going to come back and talk about balance of power, but I want to go to Wolf right now, because we have another projection -- Wolf.
BLITZER: CNN projects the state of Texas will go for John McCain.
It's a big win, Texas, 34 electoral votes. The state of Texas, with 33 percent of the actual vote in Texas now counted -- 34 percent -- it has just changed -- 54 percent for McCain so far, 45 percent for Obama. But, based on our analysis of the exit polls and the actual numbers coming, where they're coming in from, these 34 electoral votes in Texas will go for John McCain.
I want to go to Dana Bash right now. She's over in Phoenix at the Biltmore Hotel.
Dana, it's -- despite Texas and 34 electoral votes, it's looking exceedingly grim, shall we say, for John McCain right now.
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It its absolutely looking exceedingly grim. You're right.
And, in fact, they know that very well inside the McCain campaign. I just sent a couple of e-mails to some of McCain's senior advisers, asking, do you, at this point, see any path to victory? And the answers I got -- got were, no, no from these advisers.
They know at this point -- at least they believe -- that there really isn't a path for John McCain to get to the White House at this point, given the reality of those two big battleground states, Pennsylvania and Ohio, going for Barack Obama, and the way the projections are looking for some of these other key states that John McCain has been fighting very hard, and as has Barack Obama.
So, that is the -- the mood and the feeling and the reality inside the McCain campaign right now. It's looking pretty tough. And I can tell you that John McCain is now here at the Biltmore Hotel, along with his running mate, Sarah Palin. In fact, they're in the Barry Goldwater Suite here, watching the returns.
Interestingly, the Barry Goldwater Suite named for a man who also ran for president from the state of Arizona. So, they're sitting, and they're waiting, and they're watching. And, as you can probably see behind me, we have moved out to the lawn here at this -- at this resort. This is where John McCain, at some point this evening, is going to come out and address the people who are just starting to coming through security and get out onto the lawn and wait for John McCain to come out at some point -- Wolf.
BLITZER: It's interesting, Dana, that the three biggest states in the United States, New York, Texas, and California, that these candidates barely spent any time there, except to do some fund- raising...
BLITZER: ... because it was obvious to all of them where they were going. It was the fourth largest state, Florida, where they went and spent a lot of time in those states.
BLITZER: They basically ignored New York, California, and Texas.
All right, Dana, stand by. We're going to be getting back to you.
And we can make another projection right now. In Mississippi, the state of Mississippi and its six electoral votes, John McCain will carry this Southern state of Mississippi. Almost half of the votes now are -- have been counted in Mississippi, 57 percent so far for McCain, 43 percent for Barack Obama.
It's a significant advantage in Mississippi. This was widely expected, that Mississippi would in fact go for John McCain. It has. But it's still, as we have been saying, an enormous -- an enormous uphill struggle for John McCain.
If we get the map up and show the tally right now of the electoral votes, what's -- what's -- what's on the map right now, we see that John McCain has 135 states (sic) that we have projected he will carry, 207, though, for Barack Obama. Those are the blue states. The yellow states, we have not yet been able to make a projection. And these white states, they haven't closed those polls.
We will take a quick break. More projections are coming. Stand by for that.
CNN.com is where you should also go to get all of the real-time votes as they come in, and a lot of other information as well.
We're here at the CNN Election Center. We will be right back.
BLITZER: The candidates basically are now where they're supposed to be. They're getting ready to make some speeches, Anderson.
We will, of course, bring it all of that live once Senator Obama, Senator McCain speak. We will see what's going on. And, in about a half-an-hour, five more states, with 81 electoral votes, will be closing.
COOPER: And we're told that John McCain is on the scene at the Biltmore Hotel in Arizona, along with Governor Sarah Palin. Barack Obama, we're told, is on the way to a hotel, not to the park yet, so still a lot of develop tonight, but still want to talk to our panel a little bit.
We talked a little bit before about what this says about where America is and the face of America. I mean, there is a generational divide here, a generational difference that we have seen throughout this campaign.
GERGEN: I think this is the passing of an old order. And it's still very large. It's still very significant.
And the white population in this country, after all, and the white participation in this election was about 75 percent. It was 77 percent in the last election. Obama appears to have done better among whites overall, but he did not win the white vote overall, according to demographic -- I mean, the exit polls we have.
I think what we see, Anderson, is a new coalition, a new order emerging. It isn't quite there, but with Barack Obama, for the first time, it's won. It is the Latino vet we just heard about. It is the bigger black vote the came out. Very importantly, it's the youth vote, the 18-to-29-year-old.
That group -- Rock the Vote is putting out the word tonight the youth vote appears to be up significantly. In places like Virginia, they were 17 percent of the electorate. Four years ago at this time, they were about 21 percent of the electorate. They voted very heavily for Obama, very much -- that crowd we saw at Manassas last night.
COOPER: And, I mean, the youth vote has made a difference for Barack Obama since the beginning, back in the caucus states.
GERGEN: All the way along.
GERGEN: All the way along.
And this is -- and, I mean, it's so interesting. Bill and I and Jeffrey, I think, all go back -- back to the '60s when the youth were rebellious, and there was a youth movement. And this time it's a youth movement but within the system, trying to change the system from within, and it's very powerful and a hugely important part of this coalition.
TOOBIN: In the '60s, all I was rebellious about was my bedtime.
GERGEN: Jeffrey, you're a man of wisdom. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gravitas.
MARTIN: Anderson, here's an interesting generational piece. That is, we often talked about age and race and gender of this campaign. But when you took somebody who really is the first post- civil rights movement baby to become president, it is, when you think about it. Jonathan Alter (ph) calls it Generation Jones, in between Baby Boomers and Generation X.
It's the passing of a torch because, in many ways, the nation says we can now entrust this generation with the country. The same as in 1992 with Bill Clinton. And so it is vital when you look at that, and the appeal of an Obama because he is 47, he does sit right between those critical generations, Baby Boomers, Generation X. And being Generation Jones, I think it is important because it appeals to both of them at the same time.
BORGER: There's still remnants off the old, because you see, the confederate states, the white voters, white male voters in the confederate states will, you know, go 2-1.
GERGEN: That's what Peter Hart said.
BORGER: This is exactly what Peter Hart said in his poll, and then you have the union states, who have the north vote, which white voters will go for Obama, so you still have that divide.
But the difference is the movement of the electorate out west, the changing demographics of states like Colorado, and the Hispanic vote in Colorado and New Mexico. It's a different country and the danger, and Bill Bennett will -- I'm sure will want to talk about this, for the Republican Party is becoming the monochromatic party, the party of older voters and the party of small America.
COOPER: I remember eight years ago, four years ago, I remember Don King was out for the Republican Party, talking about reaching out African-Americans. And you had so many talking about the Latinos...
MARTIN: I understand.
COOPER: I didn't want to say that to Don King, you know, because...
MARTIN: It was a joke.
BENNETT: Sometimes we pack a little too much into these analyses. We say we strain the soup a little too thin sometimes. Let's wait and see.
BORGER: Am I straining? Am I straining?
BENNETT: No. All the comments together, I think are trying to make the conclusion that is so clear about this radical change. I don't know if it is. I don't know if it's that or this economic cataclysm or the incredible ability of this candidate. We'll wait and see.
But let's resist the temptation to talk about Republican Party as just old white confederate man. It isn't. It's more than that. Indeed, the Republican Party has a lot of work to do. And let's resist talking about blacks and Hispanics, as if they're all progressive liberals, because they're not. But there are -- yes, there are cultural divides in our society.
The task -- the reason I was talking about Obama and what he will do as a president is not as a Republican to have some special complaint. He's the president of the whole country. And now the question is does he talk to all of us or does he talk to us as groups of factions, as Madison originally said. And that is the task to bring us together.
Lord knows what happens in two years. You know, there are people who are hoping that, if Obama is president, he blows it, he goes far to the left and then Republicans get their way back. I hope he keeps us safe. You know, it's still a very dangerous world. I hope he unites the country.
COOPER: Even if he does win, isn't the message, didn't he run against, at least ostensibly run against the notion of factions in this country?
BENNETT: I am hoping the better angels in Obama's nature will govern rather than this breaking down of the electorate.
GERGEN: Good question. Will House Republicans be willing to work with him?
TOOBIN: For Republicans, it doesn't matter because there are not enough of them to matter. But let's talk about some issues here. I mean, he ran on some issues: ending the war in Iraq, doing something serious about global warming, expanding health care. Yes, those are pretty liberal issues, but those are things he committed to.
And I don't really think it's a center right country. I think those are issues that he ran on and looks like he's going to win on.
BENNETT: Will he pull the troops back in 30 days or 60 days or 90 days? I bet you he doesn't. I bet you he doesn't.
COOPER: A great discussion. We're going to have more. We've got to go to Wolf there -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Anderson, thanks very much.
I want to update our viewers on four very important Senate races that are going on. Important as the race as the White House is, obviously, that's very important, control of the Senate and the House of Representatives also important. The Democrats will retain their majority in both, but how big of a majority will they have?
Let's go to Georgia first. Right now, the incumbent Republican Senator, Saxby Chambliss, he's at 56 percent to Jim Martin, the Democratic challenger, at 40 percent. That's with 75 percent of the vote in. We haven't projected a winner in Georgia yet.
And remember, if one of these candidates does not get over 50 percent, there has to be a runoff in the state of Georgia on December 2. But right now, Chambliss with 56 percent.
Minnesota, that's another race we're watching. Norm Coleman, the incumbent Republican, has 40 percent so far to Al Franken, the Democratic challenger, the former comedian, with 43 percent. Thirteen percent of the vote has been counted so far. There is a third party candidate, the independent Dean Barkley, a former Senator.
Let's go to Mississippi right now. This is the seat that Trent Lott vacated when he gave it up. So far with 56 percent of the precincts reporting, Roger wicker, the incumbent Senator, he was named to replace Trent Lott as 56 percent. Ronnie Musgrove, the former governor, the challenger, the Democrat, has 44 percent. We haven't made a projection there yet.
In Louisiana, there's a Democratic incumbent, Mary Landrieu. She's seen as the only Democrat this time who was even vulnerable, by all of the estimates. Right now, with 62 percent of the precincts reporting, Mary Landrieu, she has 50 percent to John Kennedy, the Republican challenger, 48 percent.
We have not been able to make a projection in Louisiana.
I want to go to Campbell and John, because they're looking closely at this very important balance of power in Congress.
BROWN: And we have more toys to share, I think, Obi Wan. Let's take a look. If it works. Here, John, what better visual do we have to talk about balance of power than we have our virtual Capitol, maybe?
KING: We're going to bring the virtual Capitol in. No, no, no. See, you have to trust me. You have to trust me.
BROWN: Oh, it's you. You have to snap your fingers.
KING: All right. OK. We're going to try to take a closer look at the balance of power. And as we do so, Campbell looks a little lonely at that table. So let's see what we can do to help her out there. Look at that.
BROWN: Very impressive.
KING: There we go right now.
BROWN: Very impressive.
KING: And the big fight, of course, as Wolf just outlined going through those battleground Senate races, is the battle for the Senate. So let's give you a little board up there, where you can see the fight for the Senate right now.
And what we're going to do here is we're going to take these races here and we see what's on the board. If it's filled in, in the middle, that means we have called it. If you look at those states up there. Where, you see white in the middle of the tiles, those are your key races.
And Wolf was just talking about one of them. It looks like Georgia incumbent Saxby Chambliss right now is running in the lead. The key question there, can he get over 50 percent? We'll continue to watch those results there. Otherwise there is a runoff. That is one of the races the Democrats had hoped, Campbell, to win, if they can get to 60. But we'll keep watching that one. Saxby Chambliss in the lead at the moment.
A critical race that we have to wait a while to see, the Alaska Senator, Ted Stevens. He is the longest serving Republican in the United States Senate, convicted just last week of seven corruption charges. The Democrats believe the Anchorage mayor will win this race, but a long way to go before we're counting the votes in Alaska, so we'll wait on that one.
Here is what Wolf was just talking about. Democrat Mary Landrieu is the vulnerable Democrat, the only vulnerable Democratic incumbent. We're watching the vote count in Louisiana.
A big factor there, we've talked about the African-American vote coming up for Obama all over the country, the post-Katrina population. This is the first time we're getting a good look at that in a presidential race, and the African-American population down a bit there.
This of course, another race many people are watching: the former "Saturday Night Live" writer and comedian Al Franken, now a liberal radio host, against Norm Coleman. This a key battleground race. I'm going to come back, leave this race up.
If you look right there, you see 54 right now for the Democrats, 36 for the Republicans. You go through these races and one the Democrats do expect to win is this race out in Colorado. We're waiting for more races there. But I'm going to hypothetically give this one -- and remember, hypothetically -- give this one to the Democrats and say that gets them up, you see the numbers up there, to 55. It's getting hard to get to 60. And that is the key issue.
Assume for the sake of argument Al Franken holds this out. And again, this is a hypothetical at home, folks. Don't -- the other party doesn't like it when you start giving these away, but even if you do that one, that's 56. Assume that Alaska race we talked about goes for the Democrats. That would be 57. It's getting very hard now. And if Mary Landrieu holds on, again another "if." We'll do that. That's a plausible way to get to 58. The question now is, can you get to 60? There's a good race out in Oregon. Gordon Smith is the Republican incumbent. I heard Jeff, I think, talking about it earlier, saying he's essentially saying, "I want to work with Barack Obama." We'll see how that one turns out.
This is a difficult race for the Democrats. They were hoping former governor, Ronnie Musgrove could pull that one out. It looks like Senator Roger Wicker is holding on at the moment. We'll keep watching that.
But the bottom line, Campbell, if you look here, 58, I can get the Democrats there without taking too many leaps of faith. It's hard to get to 60 when you look at these other races on the battle.
And one other thing we want to show you. Some of you might have noticed if you're paying very close attention, we have a yellow ring around this Connecticut tile. This is Joe Lieberman. He is not on the ballot. The question is, will Democrats let him stay in their caucus? Because...
BROWN: I was going to say, do we count in Joe Lieberman as part of the 60? Seems a little bit ridiculous, given some of the things he's been saying about Barack Obama and Sarah Palin over the last few weeks and the way he campaigned for John McCain.
KING: There are many Democrats who, regardless of the number, would like to kick Joe Lieberman out of their caucus. That's what would happen if they did, or if he chose to leave the caucus. Then you could swap. Well, you watch there. If you watch that number, we could do this. Joe Lieberman stays with the Democrats. Or this if Joe Lieberman goes with the Republicans.
That will be a question, I suspect, will not be answered tonight but will be answered between now and January when the new Congress comes in.
But this is what we're going to watch throughout the night. And again, pretty easy to get the Democrats up to 57, 58. They would need a wave out in the western states in some races they're not expected to win to get to the 60 number. Still, looks like, without a doubt, the Democrats will have a bigger majority in the Senate.
We also expect, and we haven't focused much about it, but I'll switch and show the House lineup. We also expect a bigger majority in the House. This is the current lineup in the House, 236 for the Democrats, 199. Those races come in a little more slowly because our focus is on the presidential race and on the Senate races. But you can expect a bigger majority in the House and somewhat bigger majority in the Senate. Sixty looks like it might be a tad out of reach at the moment but we've got a lot of votes to count still.
BROWN: And for those people who have been worried about the possibility of one party controlling Congress and the White House, the last president to do that, of course, was...
KING: That was Bill Clinton. And... BROWN: Jimmy Carter. Jimmy Carter. Bill Clinton had Democrats in the House and in the Senate?
KING: Very briefly.
BROWN: Very briefly. Didn't go so well.
KING: No, it didn't. There was the health-care plan in 1992 out of the box, in '93 out of the box. And 1994 is the year. Republicans are going to be thinking a lot about 1994 tonight as they look at this map and figure out how do we recover from what looks like is going to be a fairly devastating night for the Republican Party?
BROWN: And we should say, a lot of races that John showed you we have not called yet, so these are hypotheticals, as we're trying to get to those numbers. And we'll be updating as we have more numbers throughout the night.
Let's go back to you, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Thanks, Campbell. Thanks, John, very much.
Remember, at the top of the hour, five more states will be closing, including California. At stake, 81 more electoral votes. We'll see if we can make projections at the top of the hour. That will be interesting to see what's going on.
You can go to CNN.com and do what John King was doing. Take a look at those Senate races, those House races. If you have some specific interest, see where they stand right now, go there. We'll take a quick break. We'll be right back.
COOPER: And welcome back to this very exciting night. You're seeing a live picture of Grant Park in Chicago, thousands of people assembled there awaiting Barack Obama, awaiting the final election results on this night, which looks very good for Barack Obama at this point.
As you can see, the crowds are excited. They're watching us at Grant Park there. You can see them reacting to the fact they're being shown right now. Again, they are awaiting the arrival of Senator Barack Obama. There are a lot of luminaries in the crowd, as well. We're joined now via hologram with Will.i.am, who is live in Grant Park. Let's see if we can beam him in now.
Here we go. Will, thanks very much for being with us. How is this night for you?
WILLIAM "WILL.I.AM" ADAMS, HIP-HOP ARTIST: This is great. You know, we're at the eve of a brand-new day in America, and it feels good being here in Chicago. All this technology, I'm being beamed to you like it's "Star Wars" and stuff.
COOPER: Yes. And it looks like exactly like in "Star Trek," when they would beam people down. That's what it looks like right here.
ADAMS: Yes. This is -- it's a beautiful time here in Chicago. It's a beautiful time in Los Angeles. My mom texted me, telling me how proud she is of me and, you know, lending my career to inspire people to go out and vote and being a voice for young people.
COOPER: We're doing this -- we're doing this interview with you this way, because it's a lot quieter than having you in that crowd. It's very hard to hear in this crowd, and we appreciate you being with us.
You have been instrumental, really, in this campaign. You've produced a video which you performed, and you got a lot of other people to perform in, "Yes, We Can," that really got an enormous amount of play. How did you come up with that? How did that happen?
ADAMS: Well, when inspiration calls, you know, you answer it. And I was inspired by Barack Obama's speech in New Hampshire. And what I wanted to do is I wanted -- I wanted teachers that teach that speech in the school, because I remember growing up reciting Abraham Lincoln's speech and Martin Luther King's speech and John F. Kennedy's speech. And I wanted that speech, the way it hit me, how it inspired me, I wanted kids to recite it in schools.
So I turned the speech into a song and I put a melody to its words and called a lot of my good friends with the help of Pantera Sera (ph) and Mike Joigovich (ph), who helped direct the video with Jesse Dylan. And we put that video and song together and put it up on the Internet and the rest is history.
COOPER: There is -- there is so much division right now in this country. We're looking at the popular vote right now. It's very even in the popular vote, though Barack Obama is way ahead on the Electoral College map. After tonight, whoever wins, do you think this country can come together?
ADAMS: It's important that this country come together. And it's important that the eyeballs that have been on this process, that we continue to stay involved in what happens to America.
Just because the news doesn't cover it doesn't mean that we don't take responsibility in our own communities and our own schools to push so whoever is the president executes the things they promised since they've been campaigning.
COOPER: Will.i.am, I appreciate you being with us tonight via hologram. Thanks very much and have a great time tonight.
ADAMS: Thank you.
COOPER: All right. We've got a lot more ahead, a lot more holograms ahead and, a lot more importantly, a lot more election results. We'll be right back.
BLITZER: We're only six minutes away or so, seven minutes away, Anderson, from polls closing on the West Coast in California and four other states. Eighty-one electoral votes. Potentially, we could be making some major projections at the top of the hour.
COOPER: We also have views, images from really around the world, where we are watching people watching this around the world right now. There's a lot of excitement.
BLITZER: We have viewers here on CNN and CNN International in 240 countries around the world right now. Take a look. They're watching us in Sidney, Australia. There they are. They're watching what's happening here in the United States, a nice time difference. But they're applauding in Sidney.
In Los Angeles, they're watching. They're getting ready to close the polls in California in a few minutes. We'll see if we can make a projection there in New York. You're looking at this picture here. This is in Harlem, where there is a lot of excitement potentially, the first African-American to be elected president of the United States, very excited in Harlem.
And look at this. They're even watching, there's a watching party in Kenya right now, Barack Obama's father, as all of our viewers know, he was from Kenya. Barack Obama went there, visited there. So they're rooting for Barack Obama in Kenya, as well.
All of this part of the international audience that's glued right now to see what happens here in the United States.
Let's walk back to Anderson. He's got the best political team on television. They're watching it. They're glued to their TVs, as well, Anderson.
COOPER: We are. It's -- it's definitely getting close. I mean, we're now moments away from the 11 p.m. hour. It could be a very significant hour.
GERGEN: This could be it. This could be -- it is a bewitching hour. We've got California with 55. Sixty-three. California's got 55. He only needs eight more. You've got Washington, Oregon, Hawaii.
Wouldn't it be particularly fitting if Hawaii was the state to put him over. His grandmother just died, so important to him as a state; so important to his origins. There's something really nice about that.
COOPER: Bill Bennett, I know you have to take off at 11. Your thoughts at this hour?
BENNETT: Well, it's been a very interesting campaign, hasn't it? Really, really interesting campaign. And you know, if Barack Obama wins the presidency, I will pray for Barack Obama. I will pray for this country.
But you know, John McCain could have taken an easy life, you know, after all he's been through, could have lived with his wife and, you know, just celebrated the good life, the luxury life. Incredible obstacles he faced this year in this campaign.
The electoral vote looks like it will be pretty one-sided. Looks like the popular vote may actually be pretty close. I just -- remember, he said, "I would rather lose an election than lose a war." Looks like he's about to lose an election.
But thanks, in large part to his efforts, looks like we're not going to lose a war. So just a salute to him. All the commentators, all the people commented on tonight, no one -- and no one in the history of running for president has given more to his country than John McCain.
MARTIN: Well, in September 2003, Congressional Black Caucus. And I'm walking around talking to people. And Anderson, really, this skinny guy with big ears reaches out his hand and says, "Hey, I'm Barack Obama, running for the U.S. Senate." At the time, there were no blacks in the U.S. Senate. I was kind of like, "OK, right."
Then all of a sudden, to think five years later that this guy clearly is about to give a speech as a president-elect of the United States, the 44th president, is stunning, is absolutely stunning. The path that he has traveled. And it's amazing how he maintained himself from that period to now. It's truly stunning.
BENNETT: He couldn't get into the 2000 convention. He couldn't get on the floor and he couldn't rent a car. This happened in George Bush's America. May I just say that as a last comment? It's a joke, guys. Sorry, sorry.
TOOBIN: Can I just say something?
If John McCain doesn't win tonight, and as it looks like he won't, it will be the fifth consecutive presidential election where the candidate with the better war record lost. You know, when you think about military heroes as great politicians, you know, '92, George Bush Senior; '96, Bob Dole; 2000, Al Gore; 2004, John Kerry; and now John McCain. All these war heroes, they get the nomination but they don't win. Now, I don't know what conclusions you draw, but it is peculiar.
GERGEN: It's generational.
BORGER: Generational. By the way, another thing that stood in John McCain's path was his age. I think when you look at these exit polls, in many ways you can see, as Bill Schneider and Soledad said earlier, that age may have been more of a factor than race in this election.
And -- and I think when you have a younger electorate and you have a 72-year-old presidential candidate who chooses somebody that 60 percent of the people don't think is qualified to be vice president, should anything happen to him, you -- you've got a problem there. But may I say something about John McCain? I've covered him for such a long time. He's an honorable man. And you're right. He could have found other things to do.
He came back from the dead in his primary campaign. And he's somebody who fought this out, and it was a tough road. And he did not run a great campaign. Let's be clear about that. You would agree with me on that.
COOPER: We're going to have a projection -- I'm sorry, we're going to have a projection now -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And this is a big one. Senator Barack Obama will carry the state of Virginia. This is an important win for Senator Obama. Thirteen electoral votes. Ninety-two percent of the precincts in Virginia have now reported, and Senator Obama will carry the state.
Right now, take a look at the actual vote: 51 percent for Obama, 49 percent for McCain. He's up by 61,820. That's with 92 percent of the precincts of Virginia. It hasn't gone Republican in what, some 44 years, since 1964. That was the last time Virginia went for a Democratic presidential candidate. It was for LBJ back in 1964.
But now, Virginia and its electoral votes, we project, will go for Barack Obama.
We're only a few seconds away from the top of the hour, when these states will be closing. There are some big ones, especially California, the largest state in the United States, with 55 electoral votes. Hawaii, that's where Barack Obama was born. It will be closing its polls. Idaho, Oregon and Washington state, both of those states have been going Democratic in presidential contests in recent years.
So in a few seconds, those states will be closing their polls and, presumably, we'll be able to see what's going on and make, perhaps, a major projection at that point.
This is a moment that a lot of people have been waiting for. This is a moment that potentially could be rather historic.