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Election Night in America

Aired November 7, 2012 - 01:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Very sad moment for the Romney family, for Paul Ryan and his family. They worked, obviously, very, very hard but they did not succeed. They lost tonight.

The president of the United States and Joe Biden, they have been reelected.

You see Mitt Romney there. He's there with his five sons, his five daughters-in-law, 18 grand children. I don't know if all the grandchildren are there. It's pretty late after 1:00 a.m. right now on the east coast of the United States.

Those five sons worked very, very hard for their dad. Paul Ryan worked very hard as well.

Momentarily, we'll be hearing from the president of the United States. He'll have a very different speech. He will not be conceding. He will have a victorious speech because he was reelected rather impressively in the electoral college, I must say.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, they worked hard. There they are on the stage over there in Boston, the headquarters. We could see how painful in their face, Ann Romney. How difficult this has been for the evening. It started off they had high expectations. All of their aides were pretty pumped going into this night. But if didn't work out well from the Romneys or the Ryans.

We'll wait to hear from the president of the United States very, very soon -- Anderson.


David, it is remarkable when you think about it. After all the years of campaigning, all the hundreds of millions of dollars, all the speeches, it boils down to that, making a speech and walking off the stage, and it's over for Mitt Romney.

GERGEN: And walking basically out of -- off the national stage. He doesn't have a place right now. And parties aren't kind usually to the people who --

COOPER: You don't see him having a role in the Republican Party?

GERGEN: Well, I think -- I thought -- you know, Paul Ryan will. He's going to be a key figure. COOPER: He's still in Congress.

GERGEN: He's still in Congress. He's chair of the Budget Committee in the House. So he was either going to be the negotiator for a President Romney, or he's going to be one of the chief negotiators for the House of Representatives for President Obama. So he'll have a role. But there's no formal roles.

Now I kept waiting in the speech, was he -- it was a very gracious speech. And I think we've really got a sense of the fundamental decency of a man which has come through more over the last two weeks. But he had no mention about how he might work with President Obama. There was nothing about that. You sort of wait for that. Are you going to -- you know, and sometimes in the past, say, when Franklin Roosevelt beat Wendell Willkie. Wendell Willkie and just -- Wendell Willkie became a real partner in helping him.

COOPER: But as you say he has no real role because --

GERGEN: I don't think he has a role.


BORGER: And he didn't have a role after 2008 either when he -- and he wrote a book and then he, you know, he started running again.

GERGEN: It'll be -- that was an important civic life. But --

BORGER: He will.


BORGER: In a charitable --

GERGEN: And he may go back to Bain.

COOPER: We've got new voices joining us on the contributor table.

Paul Begala is with us, Ana Navarro, Ari Fleischer. Van Jones remains.

And, Paul, I just wanted to get your thoughts. We haven't heard from you.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: You know, your heart goes out to Governor Romney and his family. You know? I've been there. You know, I've won and I've lost. Winning is better. And I thought he handled this the most difficult of political tasks with real grace.

I was really struck that he spoke so authentically about family and friends and staff and volunteers and donors. And all the other people, because you know, it's his name on that sign. He gets all the glory. Now he's going to get all the blame. It was not there. I think David Gergen alluded to this. Was the agenda he might continue to push. If he really were a movement leader the way Ronald Reagan was, the way Paul Ryan probably is, he would have, you know, made a case for a collection of issues that will live on. And that's usually standard fair in a concession speech. That was -- it was very personal and wonderful speech but it didn't have that --

COOPER: All right. We're just getting a photo now of President Obama and Vice President Biden, their wives. A the tweet that they had in fact won, that's the first photo were being released. And I saw online and I haven't verified this, but a tweet went out under Barack Obama's Twitter account. Apparently it's now been the most returned tweet ever.

And it's a picture of him hugging Michelle Obama after the announcement was made. But I think it's an older photo.

Ari, your thoughts?

ARI FLEISCHER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well no, and you know, Paul picked up on something very important here. It was not a concession speech from a movement leader. And if you remember going back throughout the primaries. I kept talking about this in the primaries with the other ideological leaders of the party who are stepping up and then being defeated, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, (INAUDIBLE), but Mitt Romney was a very strong resume, background, businessman, Olympic fixer, personal candidate, not the movement and ideological candidate.

COOPER: And we should point, Michele Bachmann is in a very tight race right now. And we're still watching it closely.

FLEISCHER: Right. And so -- you know, the interesting thing about my Republican Party is we -- we don't nominate the most conservative in the Republican primary. We haven't done it for the last three primaries in a row. Romney, McCain and George W. Bush.

But our party starts to do some careful analysis, but I would urge Republicans to take a deep breath and take some time. If the Democrats after 2010 said the sky was falling, they went in here tonight just by suffering the biggest loss since in 1938 in a midterm election, 63 House seats and seven Senate seats. Take your time, take a deep breath, start the conversations.


COOPER: Ana Navarro, Republican strategist.

ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Anderson, I think what we heard today was an unprepared speech. I think he really thought -- that the Romney campaign really thought he was going to win today. I do believe, though --

COOPER: He had told reporters earlier that he only had one version of a speech. NAVARRO: He only had one speech. And so, you know, four years ago I was standing there when John McCain gave his speech in the Belmore Hotel in Phoenix, and we knew he was going to lose. He had days to process that. He had days to write a beautiful concession speech.

I think this was a surprise and it's going to take some time for him to process it. It was very gracious for a quickly written speech.

COOPER: And there you see a very different mood right now. Obviously the Romney -- Obama supporters, very excited to hear from President Obama.

Let's just listen in for a moment.


CROWD: Fired up.

OBAMA: Ready to go.

CROWD: Ready to go.

OBAMA: Fired up.

CROWD: Fired up.

OBAMA: We're ready to go.

CROWD: Ready to go.

OBAMA: Fired up.

CROWD: Fired up.

OBAMA: Ready to go.

COOPER: Now you're listening to a video tape of President Obama and they're responding to it. The crowd obviously excited waiting to hear from their candidate.

Ari, we haven't really talked to you about -- you know, you said Republicans shouldn't think the sky is falling but there does need to be some sort of look inward. Where does that look go? Because we're already hearing from conservatives tonight online and in public statements saying we didn't elect a conservative enough candidate and that's the problem.

FLEISCHER: Right. Well, let's start with the demographics. Those are the simplest (INAUDIBLE). One, America is becoming increasingly nonwhite. After another 2 percent this election. When George Bush beat John Kerry, the percentage of the electorate that was white was 77 percent. Four years ago it was 74 percent. Tonight it's 72 percent. The youth vote and the black vote turned out once again. This is to the president's credit and the Obama campaign credit.


COOPER: You actually predicted this. When a lot of folks were saying we don't see the enthusiasm among young people. And we're not sure --

VAN JONES, FORMER OBAMA SPECIAL ADVISER: I appreciate that you point that out. I've been saying the whole time, I think that we're going to surprised that the enthusiasm gap was a myth. That there was going to be a backlash against the backlash. That the idea that you're going to push people away from voting, that you're counting on people out too early, and you had groups like the Dream Defenders, young groups like Vote Mom -- all these young votes that didn't get any press they were out there working hard.

COOPER: OK. So Ari again.

FLEISCHER: Two other points I want to make, though. One is, Romney took independent votes. McCain didn't take them, neither did Bush. This is to the Republican credit. Unusual to take the independent vote and he did it by four points. And secondly senior citizens. Senior citizens went five points for Bush, eight points for McCain, double-digits for Mitt Romney.

Seniors are actually growing because of the baby boom retirement that Obama makes at the front, 65-70. It's not the other end. So there are good demographic factors for the Republicans. But they're biggest --


COOPER: But you say good demographic factors but having a party based on older whites is not necessarily great for --

FLEISCHER: That's why -- that's why you have to put all of these data points together. But it's not as if these were seniors in the 80, 90 range, where the Republicans for, it's the ones who just turned 65 to 70. That's a growing group of seniors. And that's the news for Republicans.


BEGALA: There's this consistent myth that because Republicans are winning independents, they are winning moderates. OK --


And so we asked both. Obama won moderates. Romney won independents. Why? Because you remember VIN diagrams from our elementary school math? They Vin diagrams have moved. The independents who leaned left have become Democrats. Obama has done his job. The president has done his jobs, and he's won them over. So I think they're we identified. They don't call themselves I's. They call themselves team D. So the remaining cluster of independents has shifted right ward.

Meanwhile, some Tea Party Republicans are identifying as independents (INAUDIBLE) conservatives. So what a pollster would say as independents is very, very different today than moderates. In fact in many cases they are independents because they are even more right wing.

So I think it's a myth that if you say look, we're winning independents, we're going to be OK. You've got to actually look at moderates. Not --

COOPER: Not on what the independent means.

BORGER: (INAUDIBLE) are 56 percent for President Obama.

BEGALA: Right.

BORGER: And don't you think that's because of social issues? There may be fiscally more conservatives but on social issues they would be with the president.



COOPER: I just want to bring Jeff Toobin who we haven't heard from as well.

NAVARRO: Yes. And I can tell you that with the Hispanic that is the case.


COOPER: Hey, Jeff. Welcome.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: This idea that the Republican Party is engaged in some sort of introspection, where is any evidence of that? Where is a single elective Republican for same sex marriage? Where is a single elected Republican for abortion rights? I mean they are way out of the mainstream at this point.

GERGEN: Lindsey Graham was very emphatic about this point the other day. He said --

BEGALA: He's for same sex marriage?


GERGEN: No. He said -- he said basically if I hear anybody say that Mitt Romney lost this because he went too far to the center I'm going to go nuts. The fact is, you know, we --

NAVARRO: He said it a lot better than that.

COOPER: But -- because a lot of people are saying that.


GERGEN: He said -- he said we're losing the team -- NAVARRO: Using some colorful language.

GERGEN: She said, she said, we're losing Latinos, we're losing women. And you know, and we've got --

TOOBIN: So he is the moderate?


TOOBIN: He is the one?

GERGEN: He's more of a independent.

TOOBIN: But he doesn't -- I mean he's saying that but --

GERGEN: He's more of a centrist.


NAVARRO: Well, let me tell you --


GERGEN: You're not going -- you're going to go -- you're going to get a -- center right Republican. You're not going to get a center Republican.

NAVARRO: Let me tell you, as I spoke to Lindsey Graham today. And I think that's exactly where he he's headed. I know we talked about Latinos, we talked about immigration. And I talked about it with four, three other senators today who are Republican leaders. And some former senators as well.

I think we're going to see a much more vocal moderate Republicans on some of these social issues. I think that folks like Jeb Bush is in the middle of writing an immigration book. I think Marco Rubio realizes it's part of his duty and something that he has to do.

GERGEN: What about the new --

NAVARRO: I think the Republican Party is going to look at Marco Rubio.

GERGEN: What about the new Hispanic -- is there a new star born in the Republican Party today with a new senator from Texas?

NAVARRO: You know, you have to --

GERGEN: Yes. Is that possible?


TOOBIN: But he got elected by calling his opponent a moderate.

GERGEN: I know, I know.

TOOBIN: I mean --


GERGEN: I'm not saying he's a moderate. But I'm just asking you, can he lead the party?

NAVARRO: He is. He is -- he is incredibly smart. He is a good -- we already have some stars. Susanna Martinez is a star and that does not get mentioned enough. I would --

COOPER: But can any of these people be elected? I mentioned the primary where the immigration issue -- I mean you had Governor Romney going to the right of where he originally had been on immigration. If that's where the rest of the party is, can big folks --

NAVARRO: They can -- they can't get it, they couldn't get elected this year. They can't be elected today. But I think we are going to have a have a conversation about this. If we don't do better with Hispanics we're not going to be out of the White House forever. It's just that simple.


BEGALA: The party has to be ready to change. They need leaders and followers. And so far neither seem to be ready to change. Bill Clinton ran in 1992 and got nominated for -- in the primaries, welfare reform, for the death penalty, for 100,000 cops, for NAFTA. And he survived and won.

Had he run on that same platform four or eight years earlier, my party would have rejected that. Democrats weren't ready to change until President -- Governor Clinton came in 1992. I have no idea if Republicans are ready to change. I don't think see much sign if they are.

GERGEN: But Paul --

BORGER: George W. Bush did on Immigration. He got -- took through the meat grinder for it, right?

FLEISCHER: That's why he got through the meat grinder.

BORGER: Ten years ago.

FLEISCHER: Both parties for it. He couldn't get the conservative wing and the Republican Party on board. And the liberal wings of the Democratic Party wasn't willing to compromise also on immigration especially labor. So -- but Anna is right on this. The big issue Republicans is going to have to wrestle it is the Hispanic issue. It's not the social issue. You're not going to make the Republican Party the party that's pro-choice and for gay rights.

I think you made the Republican Party the popular party. We have a party like that. It's the Democratic Party.

The issues, though, are going to be the economic issues and the Hispanic immigration related issue. The Republicans will have to figure out a different way forward.

GERGEN: You've missed something very, very important that Jeff really bring out. And that is for women. I don't think reproductive rights, it's also pay equity. That is hugely important for a lot of women. And I think if the Republicans can then to be seen resisting --


GERGEN: And Lilly Ledbetter, they're going to get killed on that.

TOOBIN: But, David, don't forget --


FLEISCHER: There was no gender gap two years ago. Two years ago the gender gap was eliminated in the 2010 midterm election. That's my point about you need to take your time and not just -- and not jut react immediately --


COOPER: Let him finish his point.

TOOBIN: The Republican Party used to be against abortion, which is a well-established and very popular position. I mean it's not a majority but it's close. In the past year they have become identified with opposition to contraception. That is, you know, moving backwards at a pace that is astonishing and politically disastrous. Where is one Republican talking about how out of the mainstream they've become on that.


JONES: Actually one thing about the Democratic Party since we just won. I mean --


JONES: And we just won. So I just want to say a couple of things about the Democratic Party. This is -- again, I said it earlier. This is not just about Republican failure or Republican weakness, this is about Democratic strength and Democratic success.

We have been able to hold together the coalition of 2008. That coalition which people said was catching lightning in a bottle, it was only about Barack Obama smile, it was only about George W. Bush. Surprise, surprise, it is not true. There is in fact a governing coalition that's emerging in this country.

It l looks different, it talks different, it thinks different, and has a different view. And I think as long as we don't recognize that, there was a backlash against the backlash. There was backlash against this president. It took some nasty forms, it took some very forms. And it brought the best out in the African-American community who went out in record numbers tonight.

They brought the best out in a new generation of young people who came out and you see it now. Look at these ballot measures. A sea shift, a water shed moment on marriage equality. I mean this is a big, big night. This is a watershed moment for the country. And I just think we got to give a bit of credit to the folks who won tonight.

COOPER: We've got to go to Wolf. When we come back, I do want to talk more about what we should anticipate hearing from President Barack Obama tonight and what he does moving forward to try to bring the country together.

Wolf, let's go to you for a moment.

BLITZER: Thanks, Anderson. And we're told about 10,000 people are over there at McCormick Place, at the Obama campaign headquarters in Chicago. We're anticipating that the president will be speaking very, very soon now that Mitt Romney has conceded that he lost this election. We're going to hear from the president of the United States. He's getting ready to speak.

Let's go there, our chief White House correspondent, Jessica Yellin, is on the scene for us.

Jessica, I'm told it's going to be pretty soon. What do you hear?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf. That's right. The president has left his hotel and he is on his way here to McCormick Place to address a crowd of frankly euphoric supporters. I'll tell you, they have been cheering and chanting at terms USA and Obama. Not just since we called this race for him but frankly since we called the state of Michigan for him.

And now I've been in touch with a number of the president's aides. I have a little bit of color for you. I'm told that he will come here with his family, Mrs. Obama and his girls. Also Craig Robinson, her brother, and his sister are in town with their children.

And the president has worked on his speech with his chief speechwriter over the last few days and I asked if there is a way to describe the speech. I was told by one person if there's one world they would use to describe it is the word hope. A word we remember from his last campaign when they emphasized hope and change -- Wolf.

BLITZER: We certainly remember that. Thanks very much.

Let's stay at Chicago over at the Obama campaign headquarters. Brianna Keilar is on the floor.

What are you seeing? What are you hearing, Brianna?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, I will tell you this crows is anxiously awaiting President Obama and his speech. They're not really aware of the timing even though we are that soon this is going to happen. And they've been waiting for some now -- some time now. I'll tell you, talking to the people here in the audience as the night progressed and projections were made, they were very much surprised that things were moving along so quickly.

They were ready to kind of hunker down for the evening. And they thought it would take a while. Also while they watched Mitt Romney's concession speech which was broadcast here live, this audience was wrapped and I'd say, it's safe to say for the first time or I'd say almost every one here, they were cheering as Mitt Romney spoke, and now it's very much a party atmosphere as they await President Obama and his acceptance speech -- Wolf.

BLITZER: No doubt, Brianna, once he walks up to that stage and starts to speak the crowd will get very -- even more excited than they are right now.

Let's bring in John King once again.

It was a pretty impressive win. He's ahead in the popular vote as well. Is he ahead in the popular vote right now? It looks like it's still very close. But it looks like Mitt Romney -- well, maybe over here.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He's ahead -- he's ahead here. You might have -- sometimes the feeds -- we're in a different speed at the moment.


KING: California is keeping him narrowly ahead in the popular votes, so people will say wow, he's under 50. It's a very narrow victory. And that's a fact. We'll see what the final numbers are as we count them. But if you look at this map, Wolf, it's a significant victory in the sense that you heard Van talking earlier about the coalition. There will be a debate about exactly what's in and what's out. But if you look at the Obama map from 2008 and you look at the map tonight, I'm going to trace as elegantly as I can, North Carolina and in Indiana, now that's the only thing that changed. That's the only thing that changed.

Two of the most Republican states in our history, in our lifetimes, that President Obama turned blue four years ago, Mitt Romney turned back and just barely, in the case of North Carolina, turned back. So that's the only big change. Democrats will celebrate that in terms of a presidential coalition.

One little fun footnote for those of us who like to study maps, and look for corks out there in the country, this little county right here in Indiana which Mitt Romney carried handily, the Vigo County, since the 1880s has only twice gotten it wrong.

The last time it got it wrong was back in the 1950s, Vigo got it right tonight, just barely, by --

BLITZER: By 160 -- yes. KING: Hundred and sixty two voters if my math is right there. But Vigo County streak continues. Only twice since the 1880s and since the 1950s Vigo County has called the winner in our presidential election.

One other thing, I know we're waiting for the president. I just want to make this point. When you look at the 2012 map. I want to circle some states out here. I'm going to circle Nevada, I'm going to circle Colorado, I'm going to circle New Mexico. Those are just three of the examples. The conversation across the room about demographics. Yes, the gender gap, women is one thing but Latinos are the fastest growing segment of our population.

And in 2008 the president carried these three states. Back in 2004, George W. Bush, when he got 40 percent of the vote nationally among Latinos, carried these three states. If you go back to New Mexico has traditionally been a swing state. It goes back and forth. I would make the argument New Mexico is now more and more part of the Democratic coalition.

If I can swing over here just one second, nationally Latinos tonight crossed 10 percent of the U.S. electorate for the first time. It's the first time that has happened. It's the fastest growing segment of the population. The president got 70 percent of those votes.

And, Wolf, if you just look at the percentages as you go by in the state of Nevada, Latinos 19 percent. In the state of New Mexico, Latinos 37 percent. In the state of Colorado 11 percent. It's a double digits and growing. In the state of Virginia only 5 percent but a growing slice of the population in those northern suburbs that matter and in the state of Florida, which (INAUDIBLE) across the room, those very well, if I can get that to flash up, that one doesn't want to come. There we go. Seventeen percent.

Now some of those Cubans are more conservative. But a growing non-Cuban Latino population as well. If the Republican Party doesn't deal with that issue it risks. Dramatic changes in the map. In fact it risks not being a very competitive national party.

BLITZER: Yes. I'm sure you're absolutely 100 percent right on that.

We're getting ready to hear the president of the United States deliver his victory speech. He's been re-elected for a second term as president of the United States. We'll of course have live coverage. We're standing by for that. We want to see all of what's going on. The excitement over there at Obama's campaign headquarters in Chicago.

In the meantime, let's go back to Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. A historic moment. You will definitely want to see that live with your families.

Let's talk about what John King was just mentioning. I mean extraordinary to think back George W. Bush getting 44 percent of the Latino vote. What a difference a couple of years make.

NAVARRO: And it wasn't because he spoke broken Spanish. It was because he tried. Because we knew he liked it. It was because he talked in a way -- his tone was the correct tone. And because he tried. He tried on immigration reform.

I would tell you that Mitt Romney lost this race in the Republican primary. He self-deported from the White House.


He did not have to go. He did not have to -- I'm going to say this. Well, it's just -- you know we -- it's time to start having this conversation. We cannot pretend that some of the things that were said about Latinos and about immigrants in the Republican primary were not hurtful. Look at the numbers. They speak for themselves. I can tell you that, you know, it was unimaginable to me that we would be having these numbers. Barack Obama was vulnerable with the Latino vote. He told Univision no less that his greatest failure was not having delivered on the promise he made on immigration. Latinos were disillusioned with Barack Obama but they were absolutely terrified by the idea of a Mitt Romney.


BORGER: But he did do that executive action.

FLEISCHER: It's not just --

BORGER: On the Dream Act.


BORGER: Which sort of remedied a lot of the problems that he had had.

NAVARRO: It was a political move. And it worked beautiful.

BORGER: Right.


FLEISCHER: It's not just that these are the fastest growing groups in the country, and that the young vote is growing. It's the spread. George Bush lost to John Kerry among young voters by about nine points. Now Barack Obama is winning the young vote by 30 points.

The Hispanic votes, as Ana pointed out. George Bush was able to hang in with the Hispanic vote. He lost it by nine points as well. But now it's up to 30 points again. So the growing groups, the spread against Republicans is even getting bigger. It's a double whammy.

COOPER: Also the Republican Party does not know how to deal on the issue of gay and lesbian Americans. They are not -- they're invisible on the campaign trail among Republican candidates. They're not mentioned. Democratic candidates at least mention the word which you never hear about it from Republicans.

GERGEN: It's a great danger for a political party that represent people who were leaving the stage and have another party represents people who coming on to the stage. And that's -- the Republican position and they were increasingly in that position. And we started this by talking about how the Democrats going into this campaign had 19 states. They won five times in a row. Equal to 242 electoral votes.

You start talking about what John King was talking about and new states being added in that coalition and it becomes really, really hard for any Republican --

COOPER: As we wait for President Obama and we anticipate him very shortly, you can see the crowd is really eagerly anticipating him. Let's just talk a little bit what we anticipate him saying tonight because this is a crucial moment for President Obama in terms of the next four years and what he can accomplish.

And to a point Alex Castellanos made earlier, I mean, he knows his legacy is at stake and he wants to secure -- his legacy wants to get things done. What happens now?

KING: A couple of things I'm told, and one thing I want to add, it has nothing to do with the speech but I suspect he may mouth the words. He called Bill Clinton after he spoke to Governor Romney tonight. President Obama called Bill Clinton and thanked him for all his hard work out on the campaign trail.

But I think if you look at the close margin in Ohio, if you look at the close margins at some of the states, Bill Clinton, president -- that was call well placed. Another thing I'm told the president will say tonight is that yes, he won the election and yes, he will be inaugurated in January for four more years, but there's work to do even before then. And quickly get to the idea and he will thank Governor Romney for -- I think we can all agree was a gracious speech, saying the election is over, it's time to reach across the aisle. It's time to try to do some business. The president will try follow up on that.

NAVARRO: He needs to be conciliatory. Tomorrow he is the president-elect of a very divided country. And somehow he needs to bring us all together not only as Americans but also figure out a way to work with Congress.


GERGEN: This is an evening to set the themes for his presidency. And then he needs to hold a press conference in the next two or three days and get in the --

BORGER: Or give a speech.

GERGEN: This is not the time for specifics about what he wants to do about the fiscal cliff. It is to set -- you know, open these new chapters. Close chapters in the first term. Open new chapters with the Congress and with the business community.

BORGER: Whether he does it through a press conference --

GERGEN: And in public in general.

BORGER: Whether he does it through a press conference.


BORGER: Or whether he does this through a speech. There is talk that the president is, by the end of the week, going to talk about the fiscal cliff and start leading on that. The question is how. We don't know the answer to that yet.

GERGEN: Right.

BORGER: Whether he'll come out with a plan or they get together --

COOPER: Should Mitt Romney tonight have said, you know, I have ideas on how to spur the economy and help jobs, and I am -- I would like to work with the president and help him?

KING: He lost the election. It will be interesting to see if the president reaches out to Mitt Romney. Look, we saw in the debates. They don't know each other very well. They hadn't met before really the debates. Once or twice before that. But clearly, they didn't like each other much in the debates.

It's going to be interesting to see, you know, you can say Mitt Romney and Bill Clinton, they'd be the good co-chairman of a coalition to deal with some of the fiscal issues, wouldn't they? Paul Begala shaking his head.


KING: He says no, he doesn't want Mitt Romney -- because he lost the election. But I do think -- I think the most important relationship that has to be repaired is the president of the United States and Speaker Boehner. They have a frayed relationship because they came very close to a grand bargain. It collapsed. The speaker blames the president. The speaker believes the president undermined him with his own caucus because he went to try to sell that deal and the speaker says you walked away from it.

COOPER: Paul, what do you think?

KING: And that's a tough relationship.

BEGALA: And I don't mean disrespect to Governor Romney but he can't deliver the president any votes for a fiscal compromise from the Republican Party. He just can't do it. That's why he's the wrong choice. John Boehner can. That's why King is right to say he's got to go to Speaker Boehner. He's got to go to others. I don't really know the Republican Party well enough but I know the criteria. It needs to be someone who can deliver Republican votes or a compromise, bipartisan solution to this problem.

NAVARRO: He also has -- he also has to go to some Democrats. He's not known for having very warm fuzzy relationships with many of the Democratic leaders.


BORGER: Right.

BEGALA: They're pretty warm and fuzzy right now in Chicago. Let me tell you.


NAVARRO: He's going to need -- he needs to strike up some friends quickly on both sides of the aisle.

COOPER: Well --

BEGALA: It's easier to strike up friendships, though, when you've just been given a second term. You do. It is worth saying. The first election was historic. This re-election is miraculous.



JONES: Well, but to Ana's point, there is a base of folks in the party, you just went out there and threw ourselves on hand grenades and did a lot to make sure he's re-elected. And we're concerned about how the fiscal showdown is going to be handled.

Our view is different. We say America -- if America is broke we didn't go broke helping grandmamma too much with Medicare. That's not -- we went broke with the Bush tax cuts and the Bush wars and if you're going to fix it, you've got to start with the revenue question first. And we want to make sure that we don't get in a situation where we have a 3-1 or 4-1 or 5-1 cuts versus revenue.


COOPER: John King --

JONES: They're just creating a big problem.

COOPER: Go ahead.

KING: Sorry, Van. I'm just reading the statement from the aforementioned speaker-to-be, John Boehner, who says the American people reelected the president and reelected all majority in the House. If there's a mandate it's a mandate for both parties to find common ground, to take steps together, to help our economy grow and create jobs, which is critical to solving our debt.

Nice tone, no specifics. Good luck, gentlemen.


COOPER: Candy Crowley -- Candy, what do you expect tonight?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, I think a couple of things. First of all, there are a lot of groups, I'm sure you all were getting them as well. Currently blasting out e-mails about their part in President Obama's victory. Now these folks and largely these are progressive groups, are expecting something from this president. They do believe they helped reelect him.

So I think that puts him in a difficult position in terms of -- certainly with the tax cuts (INAUDIBLE) the fiscal cliff. And I believe -- check me if I'm wrong -- that Speaker Boehner told our Deirdre Walsh that the tax -- you know, letting the tax cuts on the rich expire was not something he was willing to do. So I'm not sure where we are. Nothing much gets done in lame ducks. I don't care but it is going to be the same president coming up.

I think the best you're probably gong to get out of this lame duck Congress is sort of -- you know, some sort of extension for two or three months. And then they come back in January.

COOPER: David, do you agree with that?

GERGEN: On the record yesterday saying he wasn't going to go along with the decoupling as it's called, separating outside the high end (INAUDIBLE) from everybody else. He's also said he's not expecting much out of this lame duck.

I think that the real issue is the president needs to sit down with them and see what they can work out. He needs to get something --


COOPER: Jessica Yellin has some new information. I just want to go to her -- Jessica.

Jessica Yellin, you have some new information? Go ahead.

YELLIN: Anderson, yes, the president has arrived here at McCormick Place. His motorcade has pulled up and he should be appearing here any moment. You now know this before the crowd here does, so as soon as they emerge from what I'm told is the largest motorcade, members of the White House press corps have ever seen because he is with an extended group of his family and close friends who are here to observe this historic night with him.

When he emerges on that stage, this crowd is going to erupt in enormous cheers and excitement.

COOPER: Do you have a sense, Jessica, how long before he starts speaking?

YELLIN: No, we don't have any timing on that yet. But it won't be long now, Anderson.

COOPER: OK. We continue -- with Van.


FLEISCHER: It also has become a re-election with no coattails. And the House of Representatives, the last I look, which is about half an hour ago, Republicans are actually a net of two in the House. The Senate is a serious of failures for Republicans to take advantage of multiple Democrat-held seats, but the composition in the Senate is going to change very much either. So the president gets reelected. We'll see what the margin is. Does he break 50 percent? That'll be psychologically important. But we're still in the muddle. We're still in the muddle that we've been in all last two years with Congress and the president.

JONES: The two important things about Congress. One is redistricting really hurt Democrats. We got murdered in places even where Obama did well. So that's something I think that it's going to make it tough for us going forward. But in the Senate you see a strengthening of liberal voices in the Senate in. You see it in Elizabeth Warren coming in.

FLEISCHER: And Indiana. Indiana has got a pro-life conservative Democrat.

JONES: Fair enough, but if you look at -- if you look at Elizabeth Warren coming in, you look at Tammy coming in, you've got a strengthening of the liberals in the Senate --


BORGER: Doesn't necessarily help the president.


KING: (INAUDIBLE) saying would never cut Medicare, never cut Social Security.

BORGER: Right.


KING: So the fiscal cliff issues -- welcome to the party.


NAVARRO: We had a real chance -- we had a very good chance to retake the Senate. The truth is that the Democrats had dumb luck. They got lucky and we had candidates that's been dumb.

BORGER: You had -- you had bad -- it wasn't luck.

FLEISCHER: It was not luck.

BORGER: You had bad candidates. FLEISCHER: Yes.

BORGER: And you had some Tea Party candidates there and -- I keep saying this, if it weren't for the Tea Party Republicans might have had control of the Senate.


BORGER: And it cost you five or six candidates since 2010. But on the -- on the fiscal cliff, my guess is that it's a very large can that gets kicked down to road. In the short term, maybe some kind of a framework, you can't do a big deal.

FLEISCHER: You know, the president has said he won't sign a short-term extension. He said that he won't sign one. He's going to force it to a head.

COOPER: Paul, go ahead.

BEGALA: The Tea Party, if nothing else, stands for austerity, for a radical anti-government agenda. It was rejected even in conservative states tonight. The president, I think, his best ads was one of his concluding ads. In 60-second ad, he looked right to the camera, and finally he said, here's my economic agenda. And on the screen it says higher taxes for upper income Americans. He ran on that. I can tell you from a lot of polling, two-thirds of the American people want those Bush tax cuts to expire for the upper end, high income.


COOPER: By the way, didn't you get a shoutout from Sarah Palin tonight?

BEGALA: I'm happy to say our -- the super PAC I advised ran all these Bain Capital ads and the former governor of Alaska -- thank you for mentioning it -- went on the air and said those ads inundated the people in Ohio and turned the race. And I do want to thank Governor Palin for her --


NAVARRO: I'm sure you would have said that that's -- the best ads in this campaign were the Priorities ads.

BEGALA: Even I'm not that (INAUDIBLE). The president said --

COOPER: By the way, we're told --

KING: She can see you from her house.



COOPER: By the way, we're told President Obama is probably about a minute away from speaking. So again, you do not want to turn away from your screen at this point. A historic moment as this president comes on that stage. And we're going to listen to the crowd obviously as he approaches -- John.

KING: What's interesting -- quickly, these guys over there, some of them have served three consecutive two-term presidents.


KING: Bill Clinton tried to deal with some of these issues. Divided government. Got well for a balanced budget in the end of his second term, the Lewinsky scandal kept him from doing Medicare and Social Security. George W. Bush tried whether you agree or disagree with his proposals, he tried, couldn't get it done. Barack Obama in the first term had the one attempt with Speaker Boehner and the grand compromise, didn't get it done.

These problems Gloria mentioned again when it comes to Medicare and Social Security, the fundamental big budget questions have been kicked down the road now. Now we're going into the second term.


BORGER: Very big can.

GERGEN: The big question here --

BORGER: Very big can.

GERGEN: Are the Democrats willing to compromise? If the Republicans will compromise on taxes, will they make big changes in Medicare?

BORGER: Ask Van. Well, that's the question.

FLEISCHER: Who else he's going to blame?


BORGER: But that's the question. And as Van is saying, the liberal base of the party is going to say to the president, you can't do this to us, we just got you reelected, by the way.

BEGALA: It's not an even Stephen deal.

GERGEN: You're going to fight (INAUDIBLE) entitlement, Paul?

NAVARRO: The good news is he doesn't have to get re-elected.


COOPER: Let's -- I'm sorry, the president is about to come out. Let's watch.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) OBAMA: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward.


It moves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression, the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope. The belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people.


Tonight, in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America the best is yet to come.


I want to thank every American who participated in this election.


Whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very long time.


By the way, we have to fix that.


Whether you pounded the pavement or picked up the phone.


Whether you held an Obama sign or a Romney sign, you made your voice heard and you made a difference.

I just spoke with Governor Romney and I congratulated him and Paul Ryan on a hard-fought campaign.


We may have battled fiercely, but it's only because we love this country deeply and we care so strongly about its future.

From George to Lenore, to their son Mitt, the Romney family has chosen to give back to America through public service, and that is the legacy that we honor and applaud tonight.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) In the weeks ahead, I also look forward to sitting down with Governor Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward.


I want to thank my friend and partner of the last four years, America's happy warrior, the best vice president anybody could ever hope for. Joe Biden.


And I wouldn't be the man I am today without the woman who agreed to marry me 20 years ago.


Let me say this publicly.

Michelle, I have never loved you more. I have never been prouder to watch the rest of America fall in love with you, too, as our nation's first lady.


Sasha and Malia. Before our very eyes, you're growing up to become two strong, smart beautiful young women, just like your mom.


And I'm so proud of you, guys. But I will say that for now one dog is probably enough.


To the best campaign team and volunteers in the history of politics.


The best. The best ever. Some of you were new this time around, and some of you have been at my side since the very beginning.


But all of you are family. No matter what you do or where you go from here, you will carry the memory of the history we made together and you will have the life-long appreciation of a grateful president.

Thank you for believing all the way, through every hill, through every valley.


You lifted me up the whole way and I will always be grateful for everything that you've done and all the incredible work that you put in.

I know that political campaigns can sometimes seem small, even silly. And that provides plenty of fodder for the cynics who tell us that politics is nothing more than a contest of egos or the domain of special interests. But if you ever get the chance to talk to folks who turned out at our rallies and crowded along a rope line in a high school gym, or saw folks working late in a campaign office in some tiny county far away from home, you'll discover something else.

You'll hear the determination in the voice of a young field organizer who's working his way through college and wants to make sure every child has that same opportunity.


You'll hear the pride in the voice of a volunteer who's going door to door because her brother was finally hired when the local auto plant added another shift.


You'll hear the deep patriotism in the voice of a military spouse whose working the phones late at night to make sure that no one who fights for this country ever has to fight for a job or a roof over their head when they come home.


That's why we do this. That's what politics can be. That's why elections matter. It's not small, it's big. It's important. Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated. We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy.

That won't change after tonight, and it shouldn't. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty. We can never forget that as we speak people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter, the chance to cast their ballots like we did today.

(APPLAUSE) But despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America's future. We want our kids to grow up in a country where they have access to the best schools and the best teachers.


A country that lives up to its legacy as the global leader in technology and discovery and innovation, with all the good jobs and new businesses that follow.

We want our children to live in America that isn't burdened by debt, that isn't weakened by inequality, that isn't threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

We want to pass on a country that's safe and respected and admired around the world. A nation that is defended by the strongest military on earth and the best troops this world has ever known.


But also a country that moves with confidence beyond this time of war, to shape a peace that is built on the promise of freedom and dignity for every human being. We believe in a generous America, in a compassionate America, in a tolerant America, open to the dreams of an immigrant's daughter who studies in our schools and pledges to our flag.


To the young boy on the Southside of Chicago who sees a life beyond the nearest street corner.


To the furniture worker's child in North Carolina who wants to become a doctor or a scientist, an engineer or an entrepreneur, a diplomat or even a president, that's the -- that's the future we hope for. That's the vision we share. That's where we need to go. Forward. That's where we need to go.


Now we will disagree, sometimes fiercely, about how to get there. As it has for more than two centuries, progress will come in fits and starts. It's not always a straight line. It's not always a smooth path.

By itself, the recognition that we have common hopes and dreams won't end all the gridlock or solve all our problems, or substitute for the painstaking work of building consensus and making the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward. But that common bond is where we must begin.

Our economy is recovering. A decade of war is ending. A long campaign is now over.


And whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you, I have learned from you, and you've made me a better president. And with your stories and your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead.


Tonight, you voted for action, not politics as usual.


You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together. Reducing our deficit. Reforming our tax code. Fixing our immigration system. Freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We've got more work to do.


But that doesn't mean your work is done. The role of citizen in our democracy does not end with your vote. America has never been about what can be done for us. It's about what can be done by us together through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self- government.

That's the principle we were founded on.


This country has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that's not what makes us strong. Our university, our culture, are all the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on earth. The belief that our destiny is shared. That this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations so that the freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for comes with responsibilities as well as rights. And among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism.

That's what makes America great.


I am hopeful tonight because I've seen the spirit at work in America. I've seen it in the family business whose owners would rather cut their own pay than lay off their neighbors. And in the workers who would rather cut back their hours than see a friend lose a job.

I've seen it in the soldiers who reenlist after losing a limb and in those SEALs who charged up the stairs into darkness and danger because they knew there was a buddy behind them watching their back.


I've seen it on the shores of New Jersey and New York, where leaders from every party and level of government have swept aside their differences to help a community rebuild from the wreckage of a terrible storm.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) And I saw just the other day, in Mentor, Ohio, where a father told the story of his 8-year-old daughter, whose long battle with leukemia nearly cost their family everything had it not been for health care reform passing just a few months before the insurance company was about to stop paying for her care.


I had an opportunity to not just talk to the father, but meet this incredible daughter of his. And when he spoke to the crowd listening to that father's story, every parent in that room had tears in their eyes, because we knew that little girl could be our own.

And I know that every American wants her future to be just as bright. That's who we are. That's the country I'm so proud to lead as your president.


And tonight, despite all the hardship we've been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I've never been more hopeful about our future.


I have never been more hopeful about America. And I ask you to sustain that hope. I'm not talking about blind optimism, the kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. I'm not talking about the wishful idealism that allows us to just sit on the sidelines or shirk from a fight.

I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.


America, I believe we can build on the progress we've made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunity and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you're willing to work hard, it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love.

It doesn't matter whether you're black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American, or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you're willing to try.


I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We're not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.


And together, with your help and God's grace, we will continue our journey forward and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on earth.

Thank you, America. God bless you. God bless these United States.