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America's Choice 2014: GOP Won Its Largest Majority Since WWII; How the Midterms Will Impact the 2016 Presidential Election

Aired November 5, 2014 - 22:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Wolf Blitzer.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Jake Tapper. This is a CNN special report, "America's Choice."

Battle lines. President Obama and the next Senate leader pledge to seek common ground. But immigration immediately emerges as the next possible partisan showdown with Mitch McConnell issuing an ominous warning.

BLITZER: And for all practical purposes, 2016 starts right now. The spotlight shifts to the next race for the White House.

So what will impact the midterm results? What will they have on the likely presidential contenders?

TAPPER: And who's who? Midterm winners include a record number of women. Candidates making history for their parties. And some coming to Congress with some very heavy baggage.

BLITZER: President Obama on the offense this afternoon, facing reporters, trying to strike a conciliatory tone.

But did it work?

Our White House correspondent Michelle Kosinski begins our special coverage this hour.

Michelle, only moments ago the president sent a message directly to the American people. Tell our viewers what he said.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: This was an e-mail. A letter to the American people from the president in which he vows to roll up his sleeves as they put it and keep working on issues that affect people's lives. Urging Americans to stay engaged.

And today he said, you know, now we really need to work together. Committing to actively reaching out to Republicans, of finding areas of common ground. And then getting those things done.

So you have to ask, why hasn't that been going on for the past two years? But now instead of Republicans and Democrats against each other, locking up things between the House and Senate, it's going to be Republican votes versus the president's veto power. And he made clear that he would use it. That he's all about compromise. But it has its limits.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KOSINSKI (voice-over): His party trounced at the polls, President Obama, at moments, sounded glumly resigned to two more years of having to compromise or fight it out with Republicans.

OBAMA: What stands out to me, though, is that the American people sent a message. To everyone who voted, I want you to know that I hear you. To the two thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you, too.

KOSINSKI: But he vowed to reach out.

OBAMA: They want me to push hard to close some of these divisions, break through some of the gridlock and get stuff done.

KOSINSKI: On immigration.

OBAMA: I'll be reaching out to both Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, and other Republicans, as well as Democratic leaders, to find out how it is that they want to proceed and if they want to get a bill done, whether it's during the lame duck or next year, I am eager to see what they have to offer. But what I'm not going to do is just wait.

KOSINSKI: Meaning he will still take executive action to grant possibly millions of undocumented immigrants here a path to citizenship. Which a majority of Americans support. Republicans already furious over various executive actions taken by this president. Have said acting unilaterally on immigration will only poison the well of goodwill.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MINORITY LEADER: It's like waving a red flag in front of a bull.

KOSINSKI: President Obama, though, adamant he will act unless and until Congress comes up with something.

OBAMA: T hey had every opportunity to do it. My executive actions not only do not prevent them from passing a law that supersedes those actions, but should be a spur for them to actually try to get something done. And I am prepared to engage them every step of the way.

KOSINSKI: There are some issues the president listed where there's already common ground, things that could get done soon. Funding infrastructure, boosting exports, early childhood education. But on the really big challenges, like health care, he made it clear, this is likely to be a rough road, places he will not compromise.

OBAMA: Congress will pass some bill I cannot sign. I'm pretty sure I'll take some actions that some in Congress will not like.

KOSINSKI: He will likely veto any Republican attempts to repeal Obamacare or to chop out chunks of it that would render it effectively dead. OBAMA: There are certainly some lines I'm going to draw. Repeal of

the law I won't sign. Efforts that would take away health care from the 10 million people who now have it and the millions more who are eligible to get it, we're not going to support.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KOSINSKI: This is going to be interesting to see if this Congress really is more productive than it has been. But in what ways? Now working together in earnest is going to start this Friday where the president is inviting congressional leadership here to the White House.

One of the top thing on the agenda to start with is crafting a new authorization to use military force that's going to be more tailored to the fight against ISIS -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And then he gets out of town next week, he's heading to Asia, China, Burma, he's going to be dealing with world leaders at that Asia conference out there.

Is he -- is there concern at the White House that given the political setbacks he suffered, maybe he'll be perceived by some adversaries out there as maybe weakened right now?

KOSINSKI: Yes, I mean, there is a concern out there, that other leaders are going to be looking at this president and this country, this time right now, and saying, well, what really is going to be getting done? And there are some big trade issues on the table. It looks like there is not going to be a lot of progress on that during this Asian trip. And that's going to be another thing that looks like it's business undone or things that fail. So you know that this White House is going to be working to look for those things, any things that are going to work out between, you know, this White House and this Congress.

Any progress that they can make especially if it is going to be going along with what they've been touting for working class families. That was reflected tonight in that letter that was sent out as well -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And we'll see what happens in China. The Russian president Putin is going to be there as well. We'll see how that goes if they actually got together.

Michelle Kosinski, at the White House, thanks very much.

Jake is here. He's got an excellent panel.

TAPPER: Thanks, Wolf.

Let's turn to our panel. Let's start with you, Speaker Gingrich, if we could.

Earlier today on my show, we were talking about the fact that you heard President Obama saying that about perhaps taking executive action on his own, about immigration. You called it a declaration of war.

NEWT GINGRICH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think when you look at what Mitch McConnell said, when you look at what Speaker John Boehner has said, you look at the positions of the Republicans in both the House and the Senate, to have a press conference and says, I really want to work with you, right after I punch you in the face.

And what I'm going to do is I'm going to take a unilateral action as president that might affect five million or six million, who knows how many million people. But I expect you to be passive. Now could we talk about compromise after I do that?

I think that guarantees that there will be a fight. First of all, I suspect they're not going to get a continuing resolution out of the lame duck that doesn't have limitation on spending and says you can't -- the federal government cannot do this.

TAPPER: Democratic strategist, Paul Begala, do you agree with that assessment?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I slightly differ, actually.

(LAUGHTER)

BEGALA: I would call it faithfully executing the laws of the land. He took an oath to the Constitution. He took -- I mean, also gave promises to the American people, which he's been postponing. To try to bring people out of the shadows, to try to normalize their status, he made -- he has an obligation to do that.

Now he said it right in the press conference today, nothing he does in executive order cannot be overturned, undone, done better maybe even, in legislation. The Congress has the power that they can legislate on this. They should legislate on this. He would prefer that, I'm quite sure. But he has to act. He has to. He has an obligation.

TAPPER: Let's talk about the promises that President Obama made specifically to the Latino community. Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus was on "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" earlier this evening.

Take a listen, Ana Navarro, to what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REINCE PRIEBUS, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I don't believe a thing he says, so, I mean, he's been talking about immigration reform for seven years. So, I mean, you're using his words as if they actually mean something.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Ouch. Here's the question for you.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And Reince isn't even Latino, even though he went to the University of Miami. TAPPER: Should President Obama take executive action on immigration

reform?

NAVARRO: It is a very hard question. He is in a box. He has made so many promises for so long that he hasn't delivered on to the Latino and immigration advocates, the community. And he's running out of time.

On the other hand, let us remember. Executive action is temporary. Legislation is permanent. And also let's remember we're not talking about executive action to do a path to citizenship. That is inaccurate. It would be to protect a certain group of people. We don't know who. I mean, that could be, you know, a small group of people, it could be a very large group of people. We have no idea what we're talking about so we're talking about it in theory is what the executive action would be about.

Frankly, they're both posturing right now. Both, the Republicans and the president, are posturing publicly. They're going to meet on Friday. My hope is that they talk about this. And that they say we've got a problem, how do we address it. There's probably a pragmatic ways to reach a compromise on how to address this short term.

Could he do something smaller with the promise that in a certain time frame Republicans are going to do some legislation? Maybe. Could he decide to do the executive action and just wave the red flag? He could do that. How are Republicans going to respond? I mean, there's many ifs. But if they are approaching this from a place of yes, they can reach a compromise on how to address this issue right now.

TAPPER: Van Jones, you worked in the Obama administration. Is it true that there is a compromise that is possible?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, A, I think there is. And I think --

TAPPER: With Republicans.

JONES: I think that there is.

TAPPER: Understand what I am talking about.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: President Obama and Republicans.

JONES: Those two.

TAPPER: Not with Ana.

(LAUGHTER)

JONES: Look, I think there is. I hope there is. There has to be. There's a human element here that we don't talk about enough. We have families being torn apart. We have mothers being taken away from their children. Babies being taken away from their moms because we can't get this right in Washington, D.C. And nobody in this country is proud of that.

We got people who are working their butts off every day, making this country better, making this country stronger. In low wages and high wages. And they can't come out of the shadows because we can't act right. So I do think that -- you know, Ana has got great ideas for how he can stage this. But this president can't back down. He cannot let down the people who have been waiting too long to be accepted and embrace this country.

TAPPER: Gloria, would you -- let's go bigger picture on the president's press conference today. What was your take away from it?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: It was really long.

(LAUGHTER)

BORGER: And he didn't use, you know, a word describing how badly he was beaten.

TAPPER: No shellacking. No thumping.

BORGER: No shellacking. And "The Wall Street Journal" had a great piece today saying that in fact there was a discussion at the White House about it. Don't use a word to describe what happened last night. Let the press do it. So he didn't do that.

TAPPER: A gelding is how I would --

BORGER: A drubbing. Yes. Whatever.

(LAUGHTER)

BORGER: And he -- you know, he sort of threw out the olive branch. And then he took it away. And he kind of threw it out there again then he took it away. Said well, we can work on this. And we can maybe work on that. But I've got things that I -- that I won't sign. And -- so I just thought it was -- it was sort of subdued and nebulous. And there was sort of a lack of energy and agenda.

TAPPER: David Gergen, you've worked for presidents on both parties. What was your take, your big picture take on President Obama tonight?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I thought there was an air of unreality about it. This is the president who has just taken a shellacking. His party has suffered terribly over the eight years -- six years since he's been elected. They've lost more seats in the House and Senate than any other modern president has done over that time. And I assumed he'd walk in and take personal responsibility or some measure of responsibility.

And what I found was he was a little bit dismissive. I mean, it was like, how many people voted. And by the way all the other elections have been the same message, they don't like the people in charge, people are not satisfied. And we'll just wake up every day and try to be better. I think what people were looking for was more of a course correction.

TAPPER: All right. Stick around, everybody, here. We have to take a very quick break. Our panel will be here for the entire hour.

You could call the midterms, President Obama's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. But when it comes to Washington gridlock, are things about to get even worse?

Plus you might want to close your eyes, Mr. President. John King is going to break down the midterm rout at the magic wall.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: The Republicans may be riding high right now after a midterm romp. But here's a reality check. In order to capture the White House in 2016, they'll need to prove that big wins in states like Maryland, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, weren't just a one-off.

Our John King is here to explain how the electoral map still gives Democrats the edge in 2016.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, if you are a Democrat and you are looking at this, well, that's pretty bleak. That is the rubble of last night from a Democratic standpoint. Republicans building their House majority. Winning state legislative seats. Senate seats. Governors' races.

So why aren't they in a full board panic about 2016? Well, they have a not-so-secret weapon. And they call it the blue wall.

This is going back now the last six presidential elections. Democrats have won, see the 18 states in blue? Eighteen in blue plus the District of Columbia. Democrats have won them in every presidential election since 1992. That's 242 electoral votes.

We used to talk about the Republican Electoral College lock when I first started covering politics. Not anymore. Look at this huge Democratic advantage. If Republicans can't change any of these states red in 2016, all the Democrat would have to do is win the state of Florida. Game over. Takes 270 to win.

Even if Republicans took the state of Florida, the Democrats only need 30 more. Right? So if they get the state of Ohio, and a combination of, say, Colorado and New Mexico, game over.

So the Democrats think they go in with a prohibited advantage even after last night's drubbing. Why? Number one, again, six presidential elections in a row for most of those states. Number two, in a lot of the states Republicans have to get, Florida, for one, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada which has gone Democratic the last several times, Latino voters.

Democrats see nothing that happened last night to change the Republican demographic problem with nonwhite voters. African- Americans. Latinos, even Asians. Their turnout was down a bit last night. Democrats think come 2016 it will come back up. And they will have their secret weapon. Again they call it the blue wall.

Long way between now and 2016. But you go back over the last several cycles. At the presidential level, it's the last remaining Democratic advantage -- Wolf.

BLITZER: John, thanks very much. Excellent explanation.

Let's go back to Jake and our wonderful panel.

TAPPER: Excellent. And wonderful.

Ron Brownstein, I want to start with you. You coined the term, blue wall, back in, what, 2009?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: 2009.

TAPPER: Is it -- I think it's very difficult probably for a lot of our viewers. Looking at the sea of red that we saw last night and think, oh, yes, that blue wall is still there and Democrat is favored for 2016.

BROWNSTEIN: Interesting question. Democrats have now won 18 states in at least the past six consecutive presidential elections. That's the most states they've won that often in the history of the party. If they win all 18 again in 2016 it'd be the most states any party has ever won in seven consecutive elections.

I think the one sentence short version of American politics is Democrats cannot win enough white voters to consistently control the Congress and Republicans cannot win enough minority voters to consistently control the White House.

BORGER: Right. Right.

BROWNSTEIN: The reality is that in a presidential election year, the minority share of the vote last night was 25 percent. It was down three points from 2012. The youth share of the vote went down from 19 to 13, a six-point drop, exactly the same as what we saw from '08 to '10. And what that says is that even with the investment of technology, the Democrats put in, they could not fundamentally change the character of the electorate. It puts them in structural disadvantage in these midterms. In a presidential year, though --

(CROSSTALK)

JONES: You have two unhealthy parties.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes.

JONES: This is what you got. You got a Democratic Party that cannot win in the midterms and you got a Republican Party that can't win the presidency, which means no party can actually govern.

(CROSSTALK)

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But -- but, but the problem for Republicans that is more of the party of the white America is white America is shrinking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

BASH: And they know that, which is why your party has to realize --

(CROSSTALK)

BASH: Realize that they have to govern.

BROWNSTEIN: But it's worth noting that even though the minority share of the vote declined from 12 to 14, it was higher in '14 than '10. In the midterm and in the presidential --

BASH: So it just shows --

BROWNSTEIN: It's just kind of -- it's rising.

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: So you have a congressional --

BROWNSTEIN: But on the other hand you cannot -- the Democrats have now lost 60 percent of white voters in three consecutive elections. And you cannot --

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: And what about white men?

BASH: Now you know why he coined the term the blue wall.

BORGER: And white men.

BROWNSTEIN: Even more.

BORGER: Even more.

BROWNSTEIN: So all the whites, blue collar whites --

BORGER: So what you have -- you know, to Van's point what you have is a congressional party which is the Republican Party and a presidential party which is the Democratic Party.

BROWNSTEIN: Which is the exact opposite of when you started the Republican Party.

BORGER: Exactly.

TAPPER: David?

GERGEN: I think there's an interesting question of whether when President Obama departs, whether in fact the Democratic Party can be as strong with the African-American community, even with the Latino community and the young. There's some evidence the millenials -- you know, their approval rating going into this election for President Obama's performance in office was 44 percent. That was -- that was very low. In the history of politics, 44 percent approval --

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: The voters yesterday were, compared to the 2012 electorate, whiter, older, and more male. Is that a problem for the Republican Party for next elections?

GINGRICH: Well, first of all, as the party that just got annihilated, isn't that kind of a problem for Democrats?

TAPPER: Yes. Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: Careful. Careful.

GINGRICH: If their performance is so bad, and their candidates are so bad, that they lost that badly, why is there an analysis of us? From the start. Second, Reince Priebus, who did a brilliant job of investing very heavily in the ground game which worked almost everywhere, understands exactly the nature of the 2016 electorate.

And here's the challenge for Democrats. And I've used this a couple of times. And I'm going to keep driving it. 1958. The Republicans get killed in the congressional elections. Eisenhower wakes up the next day and says, you know, I'm going to start having breakfast with Sam Rayburn and Lyndon Johnson. Makes the Republicans furious.

By 1960, he has rebuilt the (INAUDIBLE) of the party enough that Nixon almost wins the presidency.

BORGER: But --

GINGRICH: Let me finish. 1918, Woodrow Wilson gets beaten badly in the election and says basically I couldn't care less. I am a Princeton college professor. And you're all stupid. By 1920, he has so alienated the country that they -- the Republicans won one of the biggest elections in history. And for 12 years, until the Great Depression, the Democrats are (INAUDIBLE).

We have two years here where the Republicans have a chance starting with who's up for re-election. They've got to elect a senator in Pennsylvania, they've got to elect a senator in Ohio. They have to elect a senator in Wisconsin. They design a Senate agenda to reelect those guys, they're going to be very competitive.

BORGER: But to the point -- your point about doing deals as a leader, you were the House speaker, I think John Boehner has a lot more trouble.

BASH: Yes.

BORGER: Bringing his flock with him than you ever -- you don't think so? Than you ever did? Really. Come on.

BASH: What? GINGRICH: Wait for one second.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: For once, Newt is too humble.

(LAUGHTER)

BEGALA: I was running the White House but you ran the House. If you made a deal with Newt Gingrich, you made it stick.

GINGRICH: I made it stick.

BORGER: Right. But --

GINGRICH: I made it stick and --

(CROSSTALK)

GINGRICH: Yes, he can.

BEGALA: He has that pull.

BASH: Well, no --

(CROSSTALK)

NAVARRO: He's got a lot more --

JONES: And no earmarks. And no earmarks.

BASH: He has no earmarks. Exactly.

(CROSSTALK)

NAVARRO: He's got a lot more followers. A lot more of a cushion. He's got a lot of people who owe him favors right now because the -- the National Republican Congressional Committee played hard. The RNC played hard. Outside supported by Boehner like American Action Network played very hard. Put a lot of money into some of these races that won --

(CROSSTALK)

JONES: We'll see.

BASH: But can I -- can I just say this as a follow-up.

NAVARRO: There's change to be collected --

BASH: This is sort of the big picture about gridlock. I still think that even though Republicans have a very big majority, even bigger now in the House, you walk around the halls. And you tell me if it was like this since you were -- you have the speaker's gavel. You walk around the halls of the House and Republicans are worried not about getting beaten by a Democrat, but getting beaten by a Republican. They don't care about a general election. Their biggest concern is a

primary. And it seems so much --

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Let's let Speaker Gingrich respond to that.

GINGRICH: Can I just comment for a second on life inside the House?

BORGER: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: If you would.

GINGRICH: First of all, if you're a smart leader, and I would recommend the article tomorrow in "The Wall Street Journal" by Boehner and McConnell, and I'd recommend Boehner's speech at the American Enterprise Institute about three weeks ago. If you're a smart leader you pick things that are easy. You say, let's pass, for example, the Keystone Pipeline.

BASH: Right.

GINGRICH: Two-thirds of the country favors it.

BORGER: Right.

GINGRICH: Now none of your members rush up to you and say, oh my gosh, I'm going to get a primary. So you pick a series of votes that the country loves. That there is no base on the right to fight you. And then you do a second thing as Boehner has done now for two years. You build such a big war chest, you say to your members, you stick with me, we'll crush somebody in the primary. You don't stick with me, I may find a primary opponent for you.

BORGER: Are you forgetting about the government shutdown?

GINGRICH: The government shutdown was a great example.

JONES: Of what?

BORGER: Of what?

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: Ted Cruz --

GINGRICH: No. Wait a second. Wait a second.

NAVARRO: And by the way, what did Mitch McConnell say about the government shutdown?

BASH: It's not going to happen.

BORGER: It never happened. NAVARRO: It's not going to happen.

TAPPER: What was it a great example of?

NAVARRO: Yes.

GINGRICH: OK.

(CROSSTALK)

GERGEN: Are you basically arguing that Boehner has control over his caucus?

GINGRICH: Yes.

GERGEN: And that's -- all the history, everybody who's been watching for the last two years. We've all seen it.

BORGER: He doesn't.

GINGRICH: Boehner has a leadership team today.

BORGER: Today.

GINGRICH: Which is a Boehner-centered leadership team. There's no tension between Boehner and the majority leader. There's no tension between Boehner and the whip. And Boehner has just proven that he could -- he has the largest --

GERGEN: Why couldn't he get them deliver on immigration?

JONES: Right.

GINGRICH: He's not going to deliver an immigration unless it's to his advantage.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. But -- and that is --

BORGER: OK.

JONES: Right. Right.

BEGALA: Ron has coined the term the blue wall for my party in presidential elections. These 18 states that we cannot lose. The red wall, the greatest strength the Republicans have is redistricting.

BORGER: Right.

BEGALA: They won a landslide in 2010.

BASH: Exactly.

BEGALA: Good for them. They used that as they should have to build bulletproof districts. The problem is, those bulletproof districts, they ain't got no Latinos in them.

BASH: Exactly.

BEGALA: And so it's not in anybody's interest in your conference --

BORGER: Right.

BEGALA: -- to vote for a pro --

BORGER: Compromise.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: All right.

BROWNSTEIN: It is the very image of '70s and '80s when the Democrats is the congressional party and the congressional party constantly made decisions that made it harder to win the White House.

BORGER: Exactly.

JONES: Right.

BROWNSTEIN: And we could see the same dynamic.

TAPPER: Let's take a quick break. Up next, Mr. Curbelo goes to Washington. Carlos Curbelo, that is. He's a congressman elect from Florida, who's part of the GOP's expanded House majority come January. What he hopes to accomplish.

Also ahead, the who's who of the class 2014. We'll see why many of the first timers heading to Capitol Hill are making history.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back. President George W. Bush had a word for it in 2006. That word thumping. That's exactly what the democrats got last night, not just losing control of the senate, but in the House of Representatives, where the GOP won its largest majority since the Second World War. Joining us now, a member of the majority, Florida congressman-elect, Carlos Curbelo of Miami Dade School board member. Congressman elect, thank you for joining us. Congratulations to you. What do you believe the main message your voters were sending by electing you to come here to Washington?

CARLOS CURBELO, FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN-ELECT: Thanks, Wolf. People in this district are clearly frustrated at the economic recovery which hasn't benefited everyone, just the people at the top. And they're frustrated with Washington. They want to send people to Washington, D.C. that are willing to reach across the aisle and get things done. So that's what I found as I met with voters throughout the last few months. People are just very frustrated, pessimistic about the country. And I hope we can do some things for them in Washington.

BLITZER: Your district goes from south Miami Dade all the way down to the keys. It's a pretty large area. Do they want comprehensive immigration reform including a pathway to citizenship for many millions of those illegal immigrants who are here in the United States right now?

CURBELO: Yeah, this is a 60 percent Hispanic district, Wolf. So obviously, immigration is an important issue, not more important than the economy. Most Hispanic voters we encountered and all the polling we saw, the number one issue was the economy. But immigration is important. People do think that those who have been working in the country, contributing to our economy, doing a lot of the jobs that many Americans would not want to do should at least be given the opportunity to stay here and continue working here and raising their families here, and providing a good education for their children. So I am certainly a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform and that includes border security. Yes, a path to at least legalization for the undocumented.

BLITZER: You will have a lot of work to do to convince some of your fellow republicans in congress they adamantly oppose. It sounds like you are ready to work with the president on this?

CURBELO: I am willing to go to bat for this issue. Look, I have been fair on the campaign trail. I think the president of the United States has not kept his promises to the Hispanic community. I have not seen him invest political capital in getting immigration reform done and criticized republicans in the house who have refused to allow the house to address this issue. I am going to work hard within my conference, especially within my class, the newly elected members of congress to make sure we build a strong coalition for immigration reform. Remember, immigration isn't just about immigration policy. It is also an economic issue, comprehensive immigration reform. If we get it right, it will help grow our economy.

BLITZER: So at least on this issue and I suppose on other issues as well, you are willing to cross party lines?

CURBELO: Yes, that's what the people in my district want. Wolf, this is a swing seat. There are a lot of independents in this district. People want to send leaders to Washington that are willing to work across the aisle to get things done. And that doesn't mean we give up our principles. But it means we follow the Reagan model. Sit at the table, and we can get most of what we want. Let's take it.

BLITZER: A lot of fellow republicans want to repeal Obamacare. Where do you stand on that?

CURBELO: Look, I think the law is deeply flawed. I think we have to get rid of harmful provisions like the 30-hour workweek that are hurt so many low income families and communities like ours, so many immigrant families. People that want to work not 30 hours but, 40, 50, 60, 70 hours, as many as they can work to get ahead and provide a good education for their kids. So we need to get rid of that provision. The important mandate is doing a lot of harm, costing people their jobs. So at the very least, I hope the president, I think I heard that today is willing to compromise on this law, so we can fix it. It is certainly deeply flawed.

BLITZER: So you don't want to completely repeal all aspects of it, right? CURBELO: Look, there are some good aspects to it. The objective of

allowing access to the healthcare market, to those with pre-existing conditions, of course we have to do that, treating women fairly with regard to the healthcare system, I support that. The problem is to achieve that goal, the democrats rammed this law down the throats of the American people. The law in many ways has wreaked havoc across our economy. It has hurt the quality of care. It increased healthcare costs for a lot of people. So we definitely need an overhaul of this law. I don't think the president is going to sign a repeal law. And we shouldn't pretend the healthcare system was perfect before Obamacare. So there are some things we can keep here. But we certainly need to, make some big changes.

BLITZER: Congressman-elect, thank you for joining us. Good luck here in Washington. And once again, congratulations.

CURBELO: Thank you, Wolf. Thank you for having me.

BLITZER: Up next, January brings not only winter weather to the nation's capital but a new political dynamic as well. We are going to examine the changing face of Washington. And a lot of the new faces -- get this, a lot of the new faces coming to Washington are women.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: There is a new political landscape with the republican midterm sweep in the senate. They only needed six seats to take control. They wound up with seven. That number could clearly grow with races in Virginia, Alaska, and Louisiana still undecided. In the house, CNN is projecting the GOP will have 246 seats. That's the largest majority for the republicans since World War II. And there were stunning republican gubernatorial victories in reliably democratic states like Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts. In all, republicans won or held on to 24 governorships. The numbers only tell part of the story of this election. It is hard to top a candidate who is an admitted former pig castrator, but our town foreman introduces us to some of the most interesting winners of the night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN WASHINGTON: The gender wars may be raging, but in this vote, women were winners. The next congress will have 100 female members. That is a first. And brings many others.

JONI ERNST: We did it! We did it!

FOREMAN: Joni Ernst, the first woman to represent Iowa in congress ran a colorful campaign that included an ad about pig castration. Now, she is the first female combat veteran to win a senate seat. And Shelley Moore Capito is the first female senator from West Virginia, Gina Raimondo is Rhode Island's first female governor. The 30-year-old Elise Stephanic was born the year when Ronald Reagan ran his Morning in America campaign.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We did it!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now she will be the youngest woman in congress ever. And Mia love, the first black female republican representative.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were the first to do it.

FOREMAN: On the male front, Tim Scott is republican, too. And first African-American in the south elected to the senate since reconstruction. Not all headlines were flattering though. Remember New York Congressman Michael Grimm's dustup with the reporter?

He won re-election, even though he is facing a 20-count indictment that has him Rocky.

MICHAEL GRIMM: It's not how hard you can hit, it's how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.

FOREMAN: Spouses saw limelight. Michelle Kwan, the figure skater did not run, but her husband did in Rhode Island's gubernatorial race. And he lost in the primary. Kelly McAllister tried to help her congressman husband after he was caught kissing a staffer

KELLY MCALLISTER: I am blessed to have a husband who owns up to his mistakes.

FOREMAN: Louisianans thanked her but voted Vance out anyway. A couple years ago, divorce papers revealed that pro-life republicans slept with patients, got one pregnant, pressured her into an abortion, and much more, he did apologize. It must have helped. He won re-election.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nice to have a great margin of victory. I think it sends a real message.

FOREMAN: A message, sure, but what? Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Coming up next, how this year's midterm elections will likely impact the 2016 presidential election. What lessons did republicans learn that will help them retake the White House? John King will explain.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: The midterms are barely over. But already all eyes are on 2016. One potential presidential hopeful says he is in no hurry to throw his hat in the ring. Here's what the governor Chris Christie told our Chris Cuomo this morning on CNN's New Day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS CHRISTIE: There is no rush in making this kind of decision. I think there is no reason to rush a decision as important as this. I said it all along, there are three questions I ask myself, is it right for me? Is it right for my family? Is it right for my country? And if I don't answer yes, to all three. I won't run. If I do answer yes to all three, then I will.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: What did the midterm election reveal that could sway Governor Christie and potential candidates one way or the other? Let's check back with John King at the Magic Wall. John, what can we take away from last night's rout?

JOHN KING: Wolf, a great question. Do 2014 results give us any clues about 2016? Maybe, maybe not. Let's go through and take a look. First, let's start with the senate. Remember, democrats started with 55, right? Well, we are at 52 republicans right now. Most people assume Alaska will go to the republicans. In Louisiana, the republican is leading that runoff is a month from now. Democrats will likely to keep Virginia. We'll watch this one as the count continues to the end. But assume we have 54-46, and you look around, what have the republicans done? Well, they picked up a senate seat in Iowa, Joni Ernst. It won't hurt when the republican ticket is campaigning in 2016. They picked up a seat in Colorado, a state the president won twice just like Iowa. Cory Gardner will be somebody republicans seek his support in 2016. So if you look at this map, it is a little better for republicans when you think about the presidency.

Now, let's come out of this map and switch over. Come to the national map here. Look at the governor's races. Well, we may have gotten some new presidential contenders. Scott Walker wins a race. We thought this would be close, not so much in the end. He could be a 2016 contender based on 2014 results. So could be the Iowa governor, Governor John Kasich who won in a walk, 65 percent of the vote winning re-election. So 2014 may have given us new faces in addition to the crowded field that we already expected.

Plus, republicans keep the governorship in Florida, that's a big battleground state. And Terry Branstad re-elected in Iowa. Republicans are happy about that. So they're happy about that, too. So 2014 means good year for republicans. Translates into 2016, not so fast. There were some warning signs for republicans if you look at the election. Number one, this was a midterm electorate, 75 percent white. That number was 72 in a presidential year. You can expect the white vote to shrink, and the nonwhite vote, African-Americans, Latinos to grow a bit in the next presidential cycle. That should tilt the battlefield back up a bit to democrats' advantage.

Also, look at this, the electorate was pretty evenly split yesterday, 51 to 49. This number higher usually in presidential years, 53-47. If that happens in 2016, again, shifts the battlefield to advantage of the democrats. Here is a question. Another one, vote by age. This number was way down from the presidential year. This number was up a bit. Older voters, vote republican. Younger voter, vote democrat. If you have a presidential year in 2016, like 2012, the demographics will change a bit as well. Again to the advantage of the democrats see. We'll see what happens.

Now, republicans love this one at 2016. They look at 2016. Yesterday, will Hillary Clinton make a good president? Well, a majority of the electorate said no. They're not ready to embrace Hillary Clinton. So republicans are celebrating, right? Not so fast. Nearly 6 in 10 say not Jeb Bush. We don't want him as president, more than 6 in 10, 64 percent say no, not Chris Christie. We don't think he would make a good president. How about Rand Paul? He has been working hard. Six in ten Americans who voted yesterday remember in a big republican year said no. They don't want Rand Paul as the president. Here is interesting we asked at the end. Who would you vote for? You're more likely to vote Hillary Clinton, 34 percent said that. I guess republicans will lake that. As of now, they're inclined to vote republican. Common sense, 23 percent of the American people say wait and see. It depends. So a big year in 2014, Wolf, when you look ahead, still a lot of question marks for the republicans come 2016.

BLITZER: All right, John. Thanks very much. Let's go back to Jake.

JAKE TAPPER: Thank you so much, Wolf. Dana Bash, there are now 100 women in congress. We have seen republicans elect women, not just republicans, voters elect republican women. In Iowa, Joni Ernst. Hillary Clinton said tough for women to get elected statewide in Iowa. It never happened before, she probably wasn't imagining Joni Ernst. But Senator Ernst is now the senator from that state. In West Virginia, the first senator who a woman, also a republican. Mia love, the first African-American woman elected -- African-American republican woman elect to congress. Are these examples of republicans trying to expand their brand in some ways?

DANA BASH: Of course they're trying to expand their brand. It's just very slow going. Very slow going for republicans particularly women. Quick point on what you said about Hillary Clinton and Iowa. I was with Hillary Clinton and the defeated democrat, Bruce Braley, just last week in Iowa. She went out of her way to make the point that just because Joni Ernst is a woman doesn't mean she is good for women's issues.

(CROSSTALK)

ANA NAVARRO: I think the republicans deserve a lot of credit. You are right. It is very slow. And there's a lot of progress to be made, but there was a lot of effort in recruiting. One of the things that happened was for example, the national republican congressional committee did this rise project where they helped out economically. They helped teach how to campaign 10 women. We have now the youngest member of congress ever elected -- youngest woman, she is 30 years old from New York. A lot of those women won yesterday. Some of them didn't, some of them lost, but they may come back again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, women senators in congress talk across the aisle. They deal with each other. Women know how to clean up a mess, that's what I do at my house.

NAVARRO: Women everywhere talk with each other. Think about that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's right. The women around this table do.

RON BROWNSTEIN: The irony is at the very top of the pyramid. Democrats are much more dependent as we were talking on minority voters and republicans are 40 percent of Obama's votes in 2012 came from minorities, but republicans have more plausible non-white vice- presidential and presidential candidates at the top of the pyramid at this point. And democrats do. I mean they have obviously Marco Rubio, obviously Susanna Martinez, and one they never talked about, the governor of Nevada, Brian Sandoval because he has expanded Medicaid, but he is potentially a very plausible national candidate. Democrats simply have not been able to elevate minority leaders to that level. To some extent, my home state of California is the problem. We haven't been able to find a Hispanic who should be governor by now. But the reality is republicans had better choices than democrats in 2016 if you're looking for a diverse presidential ticket.

DAVID GERGEN: I want to go back to the women's point, just a second. A couple of things about that, 100 is still to be celebrated. It is still less than 20 percent. We are still less than a lot of major industrialized countries. What we are seeing, women running large institutions are doing better and better. Also, women are running major universities in this country who are doing first-class jobs. We are seeing that in field after field now. Really changing our perception of who good leaders would be.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... Running as a woman candidate this time. She didn't do it last time. She ran on experience. This time, she is talking about her experience.

NAVARRO: She ran away from history in 2008 while somebody else came around and ran on history. This time realizes a mistake.

TAPPER: Van, I want to ask you, Rick Scott who was just re-elected in Florida, and governor of Illinois. Two republicans reached out to the African-American community, they're not going to win the community. But if you increase it from 8 percent to 14 percent, A, it could be a margin of victory, B, you are also saying something to white moderates about who you are?

VAN JONES: Look, I think this is critical. First of all, you do have a situation where the African-American communities have to turn out 90 percent, 88 percent, 92 percent for democrats to win nationally. And you do have African-Americans beginning to ask, what are we getting for this level of support, for this level of endorsement? And it is true, republicans only have to chip in to that 10 to 15 percent to create problems for democrats nationally.

The republican who I think are smartest are the ones like Newt Gingrich, like even Chris Christie, and certainly Rand Paul, are starting to talk about criminal justice reform. That is a sleeper issue. It is a bipartisan issue. Saying listen, we are spending tons of money hurting the communities, throwing young lives away. Let's give the guys a second chance.

TAPPER: Nonviolent offenses.

JONES: Nonviolent offenses, and I'm going to tell you right now, if republicans continue to reach out on criminal justice, that begins to reset the conversation and could be a problem for democrats.

NAVARRO: The healthiest thing that could happen for our communities, for women, for the country in general, for the political parties is that if both parties were actually competing for these votes, were courting these votes, and we're delivering to the people because ignoring them on the one hand, and taking them for granted on the other achieves nothing.

TAPPER: Everybody stand by. We have a full hour ahead on what is next for Washington. I will speak with the rising star of the GOP, Senator- Elect Cory Gardner of Colorado. Also ahead, President Obama says he would look to have a glass of Kentucky bourbon with Mitch McConnell. That may be, but how is he going to deal with the republican controlled congress. He dropped a few hints today.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Just ahead, a lame-duck Congress and a more divided government, and the next race for the White House. We are going to dig deeper in all of these in our next hour with our expert political panel.

TAPPER: I will introduce you to the man who turned Colorado from blue to red last night. Stay with us. There's much more ahead. Our special report, AMERICA'S CHOICE, continues.