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Election Night in America

Aired November 2, 2010 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And CNN now projects that Rand Paul, the Republican candidate in Kentucky, the Tea Party favorite will become the next United States senator from Kentucky beating Jack Conway. You see four percent of the vote in Kentucky has now been counted, but based on that, based on the exit poll numbers, based on other information, we are projecting Rand Paul, the son of Ron Paul, the congressman, is the winner in Kentucky.

You see that check. We project he will win. We also project in Indiana not a huge surprise, the former senator Dan Coats will become the next senator from Indiana beating Brad Ellsworth, the congressman. He will succeed Evan Bayh, the long time Democratic senator from Indiana. That represents a pickup for the Republicans in the United States Senate.

We also project a winner in Vermont, Patrick Leahy, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, re-elected for another six years. This is not a huge surprise. Lynn Britton (ph), his opponent was widely expected to lose. Patrick Leahy will win.

We also project Jim DeMint who is certainly a favorite of the Tea Party movement, the conservative from South Carolina, will be re- elected for another six years in South Carolina. He beats Alvin Green (ph). He was that candidate who seemingly came out of nowhere to get the Democratic nomination in South Carolina, but Jim DeMint will win.

Let's take a look at some of the actual votes that have already come in with five percent of the votes in Indiana in -- you see Dan Coats. We project he will be the winner, 54 percent to Brad Ellsworth, 41 percent. He's ahead by 11,000 votes, with only five percent in, but based on the exit poll numbers right now, we projected that Dan Coats will succeed Evan Bayh in the United States Senate from Indiana.

And in Kentucky these are actual votes that have been counted in Kentucky. Rand Paul we project he will be the next U.S. senator from Kentucky. He has got 55 percent to 45 percent in the early balloting, in the early counting that's going on in Kentucky. Rand Paul will be a big winner in Kentucky.

Let's go over to John King. He's got the latest balance of power, because we see a shift.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: We're starting to see a shift, Wolf. Let's bring up the Senate races. These show you all the Senate races on the ballot tonight. You just made the Kentucky and the call in Indiana. The red states are held by Republicans entering the night. You see Indiana. That was held by a Democrat entering the night. That's why the balance of power shifts.

Let me bring this up for you. This is where the balance of power stands coming into the night, 59 Democrats, 41 Republicans. But here's what's on the ballot tonight. And we're going to assign the races you just signed over right there and we'll bring this up. We bring up this scenario.

And as you see, Indiana now in the Republican column. Kentucky will stay in the Republican column. We're going to go a bit further in this scenario and project based on all the (INAUDIBLE) polls and the consensus of our analysts that Florida will stay Republican, Arkansas will stay Democratic. Based on what we know so far and what we project so far, this is what leaves you here some toss-up states.

And let's go just a little bit further here. The Democrats were leading comfortably in California at the end. So let's project for this hypothetical that they hold that seat. The Democrats also are leading comfortably in Connecticut at the end. Let's project -- again this is a hypothetical -- we'll wait to see how this plays out -- that they get that state.

Now what do you have left? One, two, three, four, five, six, seven toss-ups and the Republicans at 44 under this scenario, which means this Wolf, as confident as the Republicans are that they will get the House tonight, if those two races, Connecticut and California, go the way we think they're going to go, Republicans would have to be perfect, seven for seven in the remaining toss-ups to get to 51.

That would include President Obama's old seat in Illinois. Let's for the sake of argument give it to the Republicans. Again, if you're in Illinois and you're watching, this is a hypothetical we're having here. Wisconsin, same deal, the Republicans are confident there, but this is a competitive contest. For this hypothetical we'll turn this one over.

Even if the Republicans get those two seats, 46-49. One, two, three, four, five big races including Harry Reid's race in Nevada. A very contentious and close race in the state of Colorado. A fascinating race where you have a very popular Democratic governor of West Virginia, Wolf, running neck and neck with a conservative Republican, even though Joe Manchin is very popular, people are worried about do we really want to send him to Washington.

So we'll watch these toss-up races throughout and I could play this scenario out so many different ways to narrowly get the Republicans the majority to narrowly have the Democrats keeping their majority. There are even reasonable scenarios, Wolf that gets you to 50/50, which would mean the vice president Joe Biden would spend a lot of time on Capitol Hill.

BLITZER: He would have to break that tie because as vice president, he is also president of the United States Senate. Stand by, John. I just want to let our viewers know you can see how the balance of power is changing in Washington at the bottom of the screen the Republicans needed a pickup. And that pickup of 10 in the Senate, for example, to become the majority, they just picked up one in Indiana.

So now you see nine there. They need a net pickup of 39 in the House of Representatives. We're getting the results of various House races on the East Coast. That number will change over the next minutes and hours. You can always monitor what's going on there. You can always watch, get more information at as well.

A fascinating night, Anderson, already starting with a pickup of one for the Republicans. It was expected in Indiana, but the Democrats I'm sure are getting nervous. I don't think they're very happy Evan Bayh decided to retire.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, we also have more polls closing in 7:30 Eastern Time in Ohio, West Virginia, as well as in North Carolina. I want to talk to some of our super size members of The Best Political Team on Television here. The gang's all here. What are you looking for, Eliot, tonight? What is your own kind of cheat sheet here? What should viewers at home be looking for?

ELIOT SPITZER, PARKER SPITZER CO-HOST: Well first of all, turnout. Do the angry voters actually show up? Do they swamp the polls? Those who are basically sending a visceral scream of anger to Washington saying you do not understand us, our anxieties, and what we're seeing in Indiana perhaps gives us a beginning of a message, the answer is yes, Kentucky Rand Paul. Not a surprise in Kentucky.

President Bush got 59 percent. John McCain got 57 percent. No surprise that that state goes clearly red, but I think if we begin to see a surge of that angry tide of voters, forget it. And the Democratic Party simply will not survive in either House. My guess, they actually hold on by one or two in the Senate, lose the House big- time and I think we have a fundamental shift of power.

COOPER: Candy Crowley, the polls don't close in Nevada until 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time, but we have heard that turnout has been low. How do you read that?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well the problem is everybody looks at it. I mean you heard Jess say well they think these are shift workers and after their shift is over, they're going to go vote. You would assume that those union workers would, in fact, vote Democratic, but they've -- you know, the Reid camp has said well there were so many Democrats who used absentee balloting who went for early voting, but I don't think you can necessarily assume that all those Democrats went and voted for Harry Reid.

I think you could assume that some of them did. But what we've seen over time is that a lot of these Democrats are angry. So assuming that just because there was a huge Democratic vote going into it, that those are going for Reid I think is a fairly big assumption.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're seeing some actual turnout that's decent and probably bigger from the last midterm is among Latinos. The National Association of Elected Latino Officials (ph) is projecting (INAUDIBLE) a million more Latinos voting this time than the last midterm election.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That would help Harry Reid.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Could help Harry Reid, could have an impact on a lot of those races where immigration is either on the ballot or has been discussed in the race.

COOPER: I just want to hear from other folks at this table, some tips for viewers at home. What are you guys going to be watching for, Paul Begala?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well 2008 answered the question was America ready for a black president. 2010 will answer are we ready for an orange speaker? People look -- they are. (INAUDIBLE) makes a point. There's -- there's movement out there. There is, but candidates will matter.

They will. Rand Paul -- it is a Republican state -- Eliot makes a good point. Rand Paul showed extraordinary resiliency as a candidate. He was opposed by the establishment in the primaries, then he had a I think a very difficult interview starting out as a general election candidate where he seemed to question his commitment to civil rights. Then he had the scandal about his college pranks. He overcame all that and apparently, according to our predictions, wins in a landslide. Candidate talent and resiliency matters.


WILLIAM BENNETT, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: First of all, I love the music. John Adams, isn't it? Very Tea Partyish, very nice, nice -- good idea for -- good idea for CNN -- I'm looking at the numbers and you know is it anger? There's some anger. It's interesting. People tend to say when Republicans and Independents go for Republicans, it's anger.

When they go for Democrats it's change. I think they were pretty angry at Bush. I think this is about change as well as anger. But these early states are going to tell us a lot. I agree with John.

COOPER: James, what are you watching for?

JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: I'm watching West Virginia. I think Connecticut will be OK. But either -- if either Connecticut or West Virginia go Republican (INAUDIBLE) we're going to have -- the Democrats are going to have --


CARVILLE: They're going to have a long night --


COOPER: Because Joe Manchin has been so popular. He won with 70 (ph) percent of the vote last time --

CARVILLE: No and you also get -- you're scratching up against losing nine or ten Senate seats if you lose West Virginia. That's a possibility, but if you keep West Virginia, the mass starts working more in the Democratic favor. I don't think the Democrats can afford to lose either West Virginia or Connecticut. Those are the two I'll be watching closely.

I hope we win Pennsylvania. But I think in projections you can afford to lose that. And Washington State is another one that later in the night you're going to be looking closely at --

COOPER: Polls close, we should point out, in West Virginia in about 20 minutes Eastern Time. I was going to bring you results as soon as we can. Mary, what are you watching?

MARY MATALIN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: The Indiana results were interesting. Obama won that state. That was one of the new blue states; he won it by one percent. The margin that Coats got should help with the three bellwether seats there Indiana to (INAUDIBLE) looking at, which won in '08 they won on conservative principles.

They're going to swing back to Republican. The state is going to swing back to Republican. And it's those kinds of dynamics that's going to change the dynamic in Washington, not these individual states if -- I hope we do well in West Virginia. (INAUDIBLE) governor with 80 percent approval. That's not a bellwether the way Indiana is the bellwether that it is proved to be.

COOPER: Donna Brazile.

DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: I'm going to watch Illinois. I want to see if the Obama coalition of 2008 returned to the polls or did they stay home or did they vote for the Republican Party. I will also look at the Republican margins to see if it's a mandate or just a little shift in voters' preferences and then I'll look at the Tea Party margins in terms of comparing it to the regular Republican margins.

COOPER: Erick.

ERICK ERICKSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I'm going to look at Indiana nine. As soon as that comes up, that's Barron Hill's (ph) district. He's a Democrat in a district that John McCain won with like 50 percent of the vote plus three voters or something like that. He's a Democrat who voted for health care. He voted for the stimulus.

He's basically been AWOL (ph) in the district since then, not wanting to have town halls. And if the Republicans can pick him off in that district, I really think you're going to see the shift and definitely very early tonight we'll see whether or not the Republicans get the House.

COOPER: It's like having 13 political rain men here.


COOPER: Gloria. GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: If you just step back, it's such a bad environment for the Democrats. The just holding on to the Senate tonight will seem like a major victory for them. Two years ago Barack Obama was at 62 percent in the polls. "TIME" magazine declared the Republican Party all but extinct, and look at where we are now. The voters have not gotten what they asked for.

DAVID GERGEN, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm looking for the first and most important thing. Does the House switch sides? That rarely happens with a first term president. It would be very important if the Republicans take the House. If they take it in a big way, that's even more important. It becomes a story.

COOPER: Is that even a question though whether -- I mean whether or not they're going to take it?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think we know yet.


GERGEN: I think what we've seen so far is it looks -- so far the two Senate races we've seen, Indiana and Kentucky, have fit the polls if anything Republicans have done a little better. So it does suggest a wave is coming, but I don't think we ought to lose sight of how important it is that the House switches sides.

KATHLEEN PARKER, PARKER SPITZER CO-HOST: Well no, I think we kind of know that it's going to be -- that the House is going to the Republicans. I think that's pretty clear. But I think what's interesting is it going with the Tea Party Republicans or is it going with the establishment? And what --


PARKER: Well what we see is, you know with Rand Paul, obviously, this is a Tea Party victory. And actually DeMint is a Tea Party victory even though he's establishment. He's been around for a long time. He switched and aligned himself with the Tea Party folks himself. But Dan Coats is very much an establishment figure, even though he's sort of slipping in with what "The New York Times" called an honorary -- as an honorary virgin, meaning not -- you know he's not an incumbent. He has lots of experience with -- in the Senate, in the House and so there -- and there are several of these who will --


PARKER: -- be elected most likely --


PARKER: -- right -- but who are used to working within Washington and used to being -- know how the deals are made. And they're not going to necessarily have to deal with the Tea Party to the extent I think some people have thought. COOPER: Is anybody else curious just to see how many votes Alvin Green (ph) actually gets?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Alvin was (INAUDIBLE) a state fair and he was not even campaigning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I read that article. He's not even campaigning at the state fair, but he seemed to have a good time.


SPITZER: Can we put out one other number that's huge in this election, every election. Sixty percent of the public says the nation is going in the wrong direction. That's sort of your most critical bellwether measure. The public is and Bill -- I know Bill doesn't like the word angry. The public is angry.

They're saying we are just fundamentally upset with the way this nation is going, economics, politics, foreign affairs at every level. That is what leads to the tsunami. And David is right. I think the House will go and it will be a seismic shift.

COOPER: We've got a lot more ahead, obviously North Carolina, Ohio, West Virginia, polls closing in about 15 minutes or so. We're going to bring that to you live. Our coverage continues. We'll be right back.


BLITZER: Polls have closed in much of the state of Florida but not all of Florida -- all of Florida. The polls will be closed at the top of the hour, but some early results, official results are already coming in from Florida for the U.S. Senate. Let's take a look. With only one percent of the vote in Florida in, Marco Rubio, he is way ahead right now with 68 percent. Charlie Crist, the former Republican, the current governor now Independent with 19 percent, and Kendrick Meek, the Democratic candidate, only 12 percent.

But this is very, very early, as you can see. Only one percent of the vote in. For the governor's race in Florida, also only one percent in. Rick Scott, the Republican is ahead by 2,900 votes, 5,380 to 2,408, 67 to 30 percent. Let me stress it's very early in Florida. All the polls in that state don't close until the top of the hour.

We've already projected that Rand Paul the winner in Kentucky, 13 percent of the vote has now been counted in Kentucky. He's got 56 percent so far to Jack Conway, the Democrat, 44 percent. And in Indiana we've also projected that Dan Coats, the Republican, former senator and now future senator eight percent of the vote in Indiana is in, 56 percent so far for Dan Coats, only 39 percent for Brad Ellsworth. It looks, John King, like there could be an uphill struggle for the Democrats tonight. KING: It's a very uphill struggle when it comes to the House, Wolf. Most Republicans and almost most Democrats will tell you the House is gone. The question is battle of control for the Senate. And as we watch these results come in, especially from these early states, here's something I want everyone to watch at home.

This is the presidential map from 2008. The blue states are the Obama states. The red states are the McCain states. Remember this area tonight right in here, from Pennsylvania and Ohio, across the Midwest. The rust belt (ph) has been very good to the Democrats in recent years. The Democrats are expecting to take a pounding including in those House contests tonight.

I want to go in and take another little step. Let's erase this a little bit. It's a race -- going to bring you over to current. Here's the state of play coming into the night in terms of House races. Now I'm going to bring up Pennsylvania for a minute. Here are some of the Democratic, the key Republican targets are these blue Democratic districts right there.

Remember that one -- excuse me for stepping across -- and remember this one up here. OK, let me go back in time now. Watch these districts right -- these are these targets right here. We're going to go back in time to 2008 to the Democrat primary. These are Hillary Clinton areas. One of the reasons Republicans are confident tonight is that they believe President Obama and the Democrats have lost the faith of white, blue collar working people.

Many of whom are reluctant Obama supporters to being with because they backed Hillary Clinton in the primaries. Again, let's fast- forward to 2010 and what we watch tonight. Let's go next door to the state of Ohio. A very similar dynamic plays out. Let's bring up the House races here and let's come off -- let's show you where we are tonight.

Entering the night -- this is entering the night -- Democratic district here. Another Democratic district here, another Democratic district here. All targeted by Republicans tonight in the state of Ohio. Again, we'll turn off the telestrator (ph). We'll go back in time to 2008. What happened in those areas in the Democratic primaries? Oops I turned them off. I'm sorry.

I got to go back to them -- they're here, and they're here and they're here. Obama did carry down here in the Cincinnati area, but again, right across this swath right here where you have smaller town, rural white collar workers, Hillary Clinton territory. So one of the things the Republicans are targeting tonight are those areas "A" where John McCain did well in the presidential election but also where Hillary Clinton did well in the presidential primaries in 2008.

They believe that is a weakness of this president. Wolf, that's where they believe the anti-health care, anti-spending and essentially too liberalism -- too much liberalism in Washington is a message that sells. We'll watch it as these polls close early in these early states. BLITZER: Nine minutes when the polls will be closing in some more states 7:30 p.m. on the East Coast. North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia, and West Virginia, John, is going to be a critically important state for the Democrats if they're going to hold onto their majority in the United States Senate. They need Joe Manchin to win in West Virginia.

KING: And it's a touch race for Joe Manchin in the sense that it is a state, if we go back to the presidential race of 2008, this is a state had Al Gore won West Virginia back in the day -- remember back in 2000 -- he would have been the president of the United States. He did not carry West Virginia. That's when it began its Republicans shift in presidential politics.

Now Joe Manchin, a very popular Democratic governor when the late Senator Robert Byrd passed away. He was the logical candidate, but all of our reporters who have visited that state said they find people who say I love Joe Manchin. I just don't want to send him to be with the liberal big spenders in Washington and so it is a -- that could be the crucial race. If Joe Manchin can hold onto this state, West Virginia tonight then the Republican math of getting a majority in the United States Senate becomes not quite impossible Wolf, but almost.

BLITZER: John, stand by. We're going to get -- come right back to you. I want to put some more results that are coming in right now from Indiana. Take a look at this. In the second district in Indiana right now eight percent of the vote is in. And the Republican candidate, Jackie Walorski (ph) ahead by 56 percent against Joe Donnelley, the Democratic incumbent. We'll see if that becomes a pickup in Indiana for the Republicans.

These are the -- part of the CNN 100 most competitive races that we're watching, 91 of whom are controlled by Democrats right now. Also in Indiana we're watching this contest in the Eighth District, Larry Bucshon and Trent Van Haaften, right now the Republican is ahead with 23 percent of the vote counted, 54 percent to 41 percent. And in this race, this is a really important race.

It could show us a trend, 15 percent of the vote in Indiana, Baron Hill (ph), the long time Democratic incumbent congressman from the Ninth District in Indiana. Right now he's behind to Todd Young, 54 percent to 41 percent for Baron Hill (ph). If Baron Hill (ph) loses and that vote has just changed -- you see 19 percent of the vote now in 55 percent for Todd Young, the Republican challenger. The incumbent Democrat Baron Hill (ph) with 40 percent. So it's -- it's early, but John, it's showing a trend that these Democrats are in trouble right now in terms of the House of Representatives.

KING: Exactly right, Wolf, and this is a defining state, a defining early state in the fight for the House. And this is the results coming in so far you see except for the capital, Indianapolis there, the urban area you see a lot of red on the map. We want to stress this is early. But all three of those House races you just mentioned are key targets. This is the district that left vacated by Brad Ellsworth. He's the candidate who just lost that Senate race. It's a conservative area down here. That's one Republican pickup. They are very confident about that one. This is the Baron Hill (ph) district right here you just mentioned, 54-41 in the early return. Republicans consider this one a bellwether. They believe that if they get this district, then they're on the path to getting roughly 45, 50 or even more seats nationally.

If they lose this district, they think it will be a tougher night. They still think they can get a majority. But this is one of the handfuls of races Republicans are watching around the country. The National Republicans saying this is a test for us. If we are winning this district in Indiana, then we're going to have big numbers across the state and across the country. The other one is up here. This is the Donnelley district. This is up where Notre Dame is Southbend (ph), Indiana right up in here.

You see the district right here, Congressional District Two. Joe Donnelly had a relatively easy race last time, but you see the Republican candidate in the early count right now, 56 percent to 39 percent. We want to emphasize these are early, but you see the county data starting to fill in on the map here. And if you zoom back out on nationally again in these early states we're starting to see some data come in, Wolf.

Those Indiana races, three of them targeted by Republicans. The Baron Hill district considered their bellwether district there. We'll watch those results come in because based on that it's not that they're in Indiana. It's the small towns. It's the rural areas. It's the past election campaigns. The Republicans knew -- they know those polls close early. They are studying those. If they can pick up three in Indiana, the Republicans are on their way to a huge night.

BLITZER: Yes, they're well on their way. All right, John, what about -- less than five minutes now until the polls close in three more states, North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia. We'll see if we'll be able to make some projections. We've got coverage continuing of this special day in the United States. We'll be right back.


BLITZER: Welcome back. You're looking at these live pictures from Broward County in Florida. They're actually counting ballots right now. They're counting absentee ballots. They're counting early voting ballots and they're counting ballots that were cast today. All of us remember what happened in Broward County back in 2000 and in Palm Beach County, in Miami Dade County. There were some serious problems in the Gore versus Bush race, as all of us remember, but they're going through methodically counting those ballots in Broward County.

Broward County, by the way, is Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Florida and other communities in South Florida. We're watching that very, very closely. We're only -- what -- about 45 seconds or so away from 7:30 p.m. on the East Coast where polls will close in three more states. In North Carolina, in Ohio, and in West Virginia and we're going to see what's going in those three states.

Remember, we never make projections until the polls are closed throughout the state. We don't make projections if there are any polls still open in a state. But at the bottom of the hour in a few seconds I think we'll be able to make a projection, maybe more, we'll see what's going on specifically in Ohio. This is a state the president has already visited 12 times since he came to the White House. Stand by. We're getting ready to make a projection.

All right, we can project that Rob Portman (ph) will become the next United States senator from the state of Ohio. He beats Lee Fisher. Lee Fisher is the lieutenant-governor. This is the seat that George Voinovich, the Republican has held. He's retiring after two terms, so it will stay in the Republican column. This is not a Republican pickup, but Rob Portman, he was the budget director under President Bush, special trade representative as well. He's coming back to Washington as the United States senator from Ohio. Another Republican wins in Ohio.

We cannot at this point make projections in North Carolina or in West Virginia. North Carolina and West Virginia, we're still going through numbers, going through exit polls, going through other information. We're watching West Virginia, a very closely.

Some of the raw exit poll data -- I want to explain carefully what this is. We together with the other television news networks and the Associated Press, we went to all -- a lot of these polls across the country, polling stations and asked people as they were emerging after they actually voted a series of questions. There's a long questionnaire. One of the questions being who did you vote for, and it's not precise by any means. It's still, very, very early but it shows a little bit of a trend. Based on early, raw exit poll data information, we can get a better appreciation of what's going on right now, and this is the first time we're showing this raw exit poll data on CNN. Joe Manchin, who is the governor, the governor of West Virginia, he's ahead 52 percent to 45 percent over the businessman John Raese. This could easily change. This isn't all the exit poll data. It's some of the exit poll data that has come in. It shows a 52 percent to 45 percent lead for Joe Manchin. He's been a very popular Democratic governor of West Virginia. This is the seat that's long been held by the late Robert Byrd. If Joe Manchin does manage to hold on and keep it for the Democrats, it would be significant that it would not be a net gain for the Republicans.

Let's go to Anderson Cooper with the best political team on television. I want to stress, Anderson, this is raw exit poll data. It could clearly change. It gives us an indication of what's going on, but it's not conclusive and can clearly change.

COOPER: We're only showing it because the polls there have showed.

SPITZER: Joe Manchin is extremely popular, but if he becomes the United States senator, he will not help the White House get the agenda through. He's run against the White House on energy, on coal, on health care. He's suppose who -- PARKER: Who hasn't?

COOPER: He shot the bills. He put out a campaign commercial in which he shot with a rifle.

SPITZER: It's one thing to win as a Democrat, and it's another thing to legislate like a Democrat from the White House. Very different.

BORGER: If Joe Manchin were to lose, this would be evidence of a huge, huge wave, because Barack Obama is so unpopular in the state of West Virginia. He may not. It looks like he may not.

CROWLEY: If Manchin should win, it's not evidence there won't be a wave.

BORGER: Exactly.

CROWLEY: I think the other thing that comes up with Manchin's position on some things, is when you talk to Republicans, how do you deal with the pea party people? Aren't they their own inside the Republican party? Listen, the Democrats coming back have been running against some of this stuff, so there are coalition possibilities when they come back in January.

GERGEN: If Manchin wins, to go back to James Carville's point, it's significant. It probably means the Republican don't have a chance to pick up the Senate. It is a significant race. We are all watching. I think if you look overall at what we've seen so far, to Candy's point, the wave seems to be bigger in Indiana than we anticipated. Rand Paul is running above the polls. Those three Congressional races that John King looked at were running well in the Republicans' favor. It looks like you could have a big wave and not get --

BORGER: It may mean people are voting straight Republican in that state, right?

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: President Obama only won Indiana by 1 percent. What was the driving issue in Indiana in 2008? The economy. It's no shock in 2010 it's the issue there. He spent time going there talking about manufacturing jobs and how to bring jobs back to that kind of state. It's not surprising you would see if the economy is the most important issue you would see this vote take place in Indiana.

CARVILLE: Look, I think in history if every time the House changed the Senate changes with it. There's been no instance where the House changes and the Senate didn't. Also there's been no instance where somebody picks up 10 Senate seats, which the Republicans have to do. We have a historical conflict that's going on here tonight. But, you know, if the Democrats lose six, even seven Senate seats, then it's going to translate into not the 70 house seats that some people were predicting but more like 50. It's going to be some correlation here between the two. It is interesting, because we have two historical facts that are at odds with each other here. COOPER: Do you put much faith in the exit polls you saw in West Virginia?

CARVILLE: The exit polls honestly have been very pro-Democratic in the last cycles. Every time we get exit polls, the Democrats all get excited and then they turn out not to be as good.

BRAZILE: As one Democrat who experienced the exit poll blues back in 2000, do not put any hope in the exit polls.

CARVILLE: They claim they've gotten better at it, et cetera, et cetera. By the way, when you look in the paper to understand this, when you see the exit poll tomorrow, it's 100 percent accurate because it is adjusted for the actual turnout and the actual vote. So the exit polls at 6:00 or 7:00 may not be.

COOPER: How many of these Joe Manchin Democrats are there running against President Obama?

ERICKSON: I think you've seen probably more -- you've seen more ads of Democrats campaigning with pictures of George Bush than Barack Obama here across the nation.

BRAZILE: It's not about --

BILL BENNETT, NATIONAL RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: It's Barack Obama's policies. They're repudiation of Barack Obama's policies.

BRAZILE: It's a repudiation of an economy that is not growing jobs.

BENNETT: I understand the economy is the most important issue, but why do people not want to be associated for Nancy Pelosi? Because she's responsible for the economy? They don't think so will. An even number of Americans think George Bush is responsible for the economy as Barack Obama. It's the policies they don't like. I hope Democrats keep missing that point because we'll get more in 2012.

BRAZILE: What we're not missing is the fact that 53 percent of voters dislike both Republicans as well as Democrats. I think Republicans are once again over-reading the results and not looking at that people want jobs.

BEGALA: The media tries to make this about Barack Obama because he's famous and we know his name and all that. As Mary pointed out, he carried Indiana by less than 1 percent. Looks like the Republican will win there. He lost by 14 in Kentucky and the Republican wins there. He lost West Virginia by 16. They hate Barack Obama in West Virginia. He lost a general election in a landslide, and it may be that the Democrat wins there. He broke with Obama on cap and trade, but he didn't run as the most anti-Obama guy in West Virginia. That was the Republicans' job. You can't just read this as a referendum on Obama.

MARTIN: Bobby Brighton in Alabama made it clear he's not voting for speaker Nancy Pelosi. He's highly critical. He thought black voters would turn out from him. Dissing the president not doing well with black voters here, but this is what happens when you have conservative Democrats and trying to get them re-elected. It's difficult in this climate to think you'll win. It's no surprise you see them running away from the president and Speaker Pelosi.

ERICKSON: The issue is you have a number of races around the country where you have Democrats distancing themselves from Pelosi and Barack Obama. Were this 2006, Paul would say it's a referendum on George W. Bush. This year it's not a referendum on Barack Obama. When you look at the exit polls, this is a referendum on everybody. People hate Washington, D.C. right now they dislike it.

CARVILLE: In 1994 you earned a spot and everything was a spot. Every Democratic candidate morphed into Bill Clinton. Now he's the most desired person on the campaign trail. I understand after 1994 the Democrats won the popular vote in three out of the next four presidential elections. This is one election that has an electric right. It's a time when the economy is not good. I would be careful about reading too much into it in who gets morphed into what.

BENNETT: Remember the prediction of 40 years of unbroken Democratic rule? Remember that prediction? Somebody made that prediction.

CARVILLE: We've won the popular vote in three out of the last four elections, four out of the last five. I think if you took the 2012 election, we'll do pretty good. By the way, the Republicans are less popular in exit polls than the Democrats.

COOPER: We're going to have more with the panelists. Wolf, take it right now.

BLITZER: Anderson thanks very much. Six states closed at seven another three at 7:30, at the top of the hour in 20 minutes or so, 15 states plus the District of Columbia will close, including all of these states from Alabama down to Tennessee with a lot of states in between. All the polls will be closed in Florida, in Massachusetts. Big part of the country will already have their voting done at the top of the hour in 20 minutes or so.

Let's look at Florida right now. What's coming in? We have not been able to project any winners in Florida yet. All the polls in that state won't close they say until the top of the hour. But for the Florida Senate race with 17 percent of the vote now in, 17 percent of the vote in Florida in, you see Marco Rubio, the Republican tea party favorite, with 50 percent, Charlie Crist, the independent former Republican, the governor, with 29 percent and Kendrick Meek, with 20 percent. So you're getting a trend of what's going on. Marco Rubio with 17 percent of the vote in, he's ahead. For the Florida's governor race it's much closer. With 12 percent of the vote counted, Rick Scott the Republican with 51 percent, Alex Sink the Democratic with 46 percent, a difference of about 38,600 votes. You can see about 700,000 ballots have been counted in Florida.

We're watching the counting going on in Broward County right now. You can see some of the new technology that was brought in. We hope they fix the balloting, the counting in Florida. It's very, very important that they get it right. A lot of us remember what happened back in 2000. Let's hope no more hanging Chads in Florida this time. Much more of our coverage coming up.


BLITZER: The house Democratic leadership there in Washington. Nancy Pelosi the speaker, Steny Hoyer, the majority leader, Chris van Holland. He is the Democratic congressman who has been in charge of trying to get Democrats elected to the House of Representatives. We expect to hear from Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House. Once she speaks, we'll bring you the remarks live. We're getting closer and closer to the top of the hour. Jim DeMint, the senator from South Carolina, he has been re-elected we project beating Alvin Green, the Democratic nominee. He will speak shortly, Jim DeMint, and we'll monitor what he's saying. He's one of the leaders of the tea party movement across the country, increasingly influential in Republican circles.

We're only 14 minutes and 40 seconds or so away from the polls closing in 15 states plus the District of Columbia. We're waiting to see will we be able to make a projection in Connecticut, for example, Richard Blumenthal and Linda McMahon. They're in a tough battle. Will we be able to make a prediction in Delaware, Chris Coons and Christine O'Donnell? In Pennsylvania we're anxious to see if we can make a prediction there, Joe Sestak and Pat Toomey. Anderson, there's a lot of states closing at the top of the hour and we're going to get closer and closer to knowing if this is going to be a wave, tidal wave, tsunami or nothing?

COOPER: We're watching results out of West Virginia.

PARKER: I want to get back to the question of whether this is a referendum on President Obama. Nobody wants to say anything critical about him, so we'll say we love President Obama.

BORGER: Wait a minute.

PARKER: It is a referendum on his agenda. It is clearly a referendum on his agenda. If you look at his poll ratings, I mean his approval rating, in January of '09 he was -- had a 75 percent approval rating. People loved him. OK? If you watch as his approval rating declines, every inverted peak corresponds to a specific agenda item, to the stimulus, to health care. I think this is very clearly --

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is an exit poll question. Who is most to blame for the current economic problems? And we know people are going to the polls and they're focused on the economy. Here's the answer. Number one, ding, ding, ding, Wall Street bankers at 34 percent. Number two, George Bush at 29 percent.

CROWLEY: The question is do you like Barack Obama doing, not who is to blame for it? You vote on is he doing the right thing to correct it.

BORGER: They don't blame Obama for the economy. They blame him for everything else.

CROWLEY: That's not the point.

BENNETT: It's sort of off the point. It's true people blame the wall street bankers and George Bush, but how do you get out of it? Barack Obama has come forward with a series of proposals which the public hates. They really don't like them. Conservatives don't like them and Republicans don't like him and independents don't like them. CNN's last poll on health care, you had 47 percent of the American people saying get rid of it, repeal it, get rid of it. 23 percent are happy with it. This thing was forced down our throats.

COOPER: Do you think President Obama gets that message, Paul?

BEGALA: We'll see. We'll know tomorrow when he has the press conference. The U6 rating for unemployment which is unemployment plus all the detached worker, people who have fallen through the bottom, have quit looking, loosely attached, it's some economists think a more accurate reading, 17 percent. 1 in 6 Americans are either out of work entirely or barely hanging onto a job or have given up entirely. That's what's driving this. They may or may not like health care. When one out of six Americans is looking for a job, they're going to be mad at the party in power.

BENNETT: They don't think his way is going to make more jobs.

MARTIN: They also don't think the Republican way. Here's the deal. What they're voting on, hey, flip at coin. Anybody can fix this.

BENNETT: I think it's better.

COOPER: I want to show the viewers what's going on right now in Washington. Nancy Pelosi is about to speak.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We cannot go back to the same failed policies that is got us into this mess, and we cannot turn the Congress back over to the special interests. That's what the speaker has been fighting for and what the president has been fighting for and that's what the volunteers right now all over this couldn't have bee country have been fighting for and that's what our great majority leader Steny Hoyer has been fighting for on issue after issue after issue. I'm very proud to call him my friend.

COOPER: We're going to wait until Nancy Pelosi actually starts speaking to bring that to you.

SPITZER: I want to pick up on what Paul was saying, Paul Begala, who was so correct. When George Bush was president and Barack Obama took over we were losing 700,000 jobs a month. We are now net positive. We are creating jobs. It is not enough. The public is going to be so angry until that rate and Paul was right. When you look at the real unemployment numbers, it's 18 or 19 percent, not the 9.6 that's reported but what the public needs to understand is the policies of George Bush drove us into this.

BORGER: They understand that.

SPITZER: What the president is doing is, in fact, fixing it. It takes four years, six years, eight years.

BORGER: They understand that. I think the American public does not blame Barack Obama for the economy. They're angry at him for everything else. They didn't like the stimulus package. They didn't like health care reform. They understand that the economy was bad.

SPITZER: Let me ask you this question. Every Republican, every conservative who is running against the stimulus, go to them and say name the dollars going to your state or district, the project you want to cut. Their answer is nada, nothing, zip. That is the hypocrisy of the Republican Party here.

GERGEN: There are other views here. Listen, Eliot, it is true. You can argue the economics and it's true. But this is about what's happening in this election, what's driving voters. And if you think that they're not driven by the fact that the stimulus program -- we spent over $800 billion. We were promised 8 percent unemployment. We are now well over 9 percent and have been stuck there. If you can passing health care in the teeth of public opposition didn't fuel --

SPITZER: David, that's why -- and I will say this on national TV. I said to David Axelrod in the middle of the campaign, do not bring in Larry Summers. Do not bring in Tim Geithner. Do not embrace Wall Street. You'll doom your presidency. You'll look like the status quo. And that's what they look like.

COOPER: We have to get in a break.

BORGER: They passed financial reform.

COOPER: We have to take a break. Our coverage continues. We've got a lot more ahead. We'll be right back.


BLITZER: Under six minutes now until the polls close in 15 states and the District of Columbia, including in Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, all the polls in Florida will be closed. Pennsylvania, Missouri, we're watching all of this. We'll see if we can make projections at the top of the hour.

Let's go to Florida right now because we're going to take a look at actual votes that are coming in from the state of Florida. Actually before we go to Florida, we'll listen to Nancy Pelosi. She's speaking in Washington, D.C. I think she's still speaking. Let's listen in briefly.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: I thank all of you for what you have done. These hundreds of thousands of volunteers are our VIPs, our volunteers in politics. They are the guardians of our democracy. They are saying that this election will not be bought by special interests, but will be earned by convincing the American people and convince them they will that we are -- have taken the country in a new direction under the leadership of our great president, Barack Obama, we have taken the country in a new direction. We are not going back to the failed policies of the past. We are fighting for the middle class. Thank you for being part of that fight. I join our distinguished majority leader, Steny Hoyer, in calling upon people to get out and vote. He has been so much a part of advancing this agenda as people are walking precincts, every step they take, advances agenda to improve the lives of America's working families. Let's go out there and continue to fight for great Democratic victory. Thank all of you. Onward to victory.

BLITZER: That's Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, at least for now. We'll see if she's still the speaker of the House when the new Congress is sworn in. Right now, the Democrats face an enormous struggle in maintaining that majority in the House of Representatives. The Republicans need a net gain of 39 out of the over 435 races in the House of Representatives. If they get that net gain of 39, Nancy Pelosi will be the former speaker of the House. John Boehner will be the next speaker of the House, the long-term Republican Congressman from Ohio.

Let's take a look at some of the votes still coming in. All of the polling stations in Florida will be closed at the top of the hour. But right now with 25 percent of the vote in, many of the polls closed in parts of the state at 7:00 p.m. eastern and almost an hour ago. Right now, Marco Rubio is significantly ahead with 25 percent of the vote in. He's got 51.1 percent to Charlie Crist, 28.4 percent. Kendrick Meek, the Democratic candidate, 19 percent. You see Marco Rubio doing very, very well in Florida right now. On the gubernatorial side, this is a much closer race between Rick Scott, the Republican, Alex Sink, the Democrat. Right now with 22 percent of the vote in in Florida, Rick Scott has 51.5 percent; Alex Sink, 45 percent. Scott is ahead by 82,827 votes. It's just changed, 22 percent of the vote in; Scott, 55.1 to 45 percent for Alex Sink. Almost 85,000 votes ahead for the Republican candidate. Remember, relatively early. We don't know which precincts, which parts of the states the 22 percent of the ballots already counted are coming in from. But we'll watch it. 2 1/2 minutes -- less than 2 1/2 minutes until the top of the hour. Maybe we'll be able to make some projections. Anderson, it's going to be exciting at the top of the hour.

COOPER: No doubt, a lot of exciting states to come up. Mary Matalin, at 8:00, what are you hoping to see?

MATALIN: We're flowing past some important things going to this previous conversation about blaming Bush and all of that. Rob Portman winning in Ohio, a state that Obama won by 4 1/2 points, a big bellwether state, Portman worked for Bush so was the anti-incumbent narrative would have applied to him. The anti-Bush narrative would have applied to him. That race was 50/50 going into it. We're all talking about Manchin and looking backwards at blaming Bush and all that, it was a significant victory. And that, I think, will be -- that and the Indiana seats are more telling than the West Virginia seat or even the exit polls at this point.

MARTIN: Especially by the fact that the president has spent a lot of time in Ohio.

COOPER: We're looking at pictures of Jim DeMint. Obviously victorious tonight.

MARTIN: That was a tight race.

COOPER: Let's listen in for about a minute.

SEN. JIM DEMINT (R-SC), SOUTH CAROLINA: Thanks for coming out. I really don't know what to say. But, folks, thanks so much for not just tonight. So many of you have been with me for a number of years now, been behind me. So many of you have told me, keep fighting, we've got your back. It's just exciting to be with you here tonight and see what's happening not just in South Carolina but all over the country.

I want to first thank my wife and family. Debby is here with me. Debby is here. Tim and Marcy and Craig and ginger and the rest of the family, the grandkids are out in the audience here. Those are the ones we're fighting for. Gresham and Natalie, thank you so much. Great Americans, you're going to be great for South Carolina for years to come and hopefully you can take over when I'm gone if you're still interested in the job. I appreciate a lot of my finance chairs here who helped raise money all over the country. It's been really, really important. And, folks, I've had some great staff, I don't know you know --