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THE SITUATION ROOM
Obama to GOP: Let's Work Together; McConnell: "The Senate Needs to Be Fixed"; Interview with Lindsey Graham; Are Election Results a GOP Mandate?; Obama: 'I Want to See What Works'; Hamas 'Blesses' Deadly Van Attack
Aired November 5, 2014 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, President Obama reacts to the rout at the polls. After watching Republicans take control of the U.S. Senate, the president says he'll find ways to work with the Republican leadership.
Fixing the Senate -- can the outgoing minority leader ride herd over the new GOP majority?
Mitch McConnell says he's up to the task. And
I'll ask Senator Lindsay Graham what Republicans really want.
Jerusalem rampage -- amid new clashes over holy sites, a van driver kills a police officer and injures a dozen bystanders. Hamas praises what Israel calls a terror attack.
And Kim drops the cane -- North Korea's leader may be moving more easily, but he's also apparently moving against his political rivals.
I'm Wolf Blitzer.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: We're following two breaking stories right now. Hours -- hours after Republicans seized control of the U.S. Senate and padded their majority in the House of Representatives, President Obama is now reacting to that stunning rout at the polls, saying to voters, "I hear you." And he's also saying to Republicans let's find ways to work together. Meantime, tensions are exploding half a world away. Hamas is blessing what Israel calls a terror attack. A van driver plowed into a Jerusalem crowd, killing a police officer, then swung a metal bar at bystanders before being shot dead. and more graphic video here -- a hunt is right now underway for
another driver who ran into a group of soldiers in the West Bank.
Our correspondents and analysts are standing by. And I'll speak with Republican Senator Lindsay Graham.
He's standing by live this hour.
But let's begin with our White House correspondent, Michelle Kosinski -- Michelle.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf.
The president acknowledged last night's tough loss. At times, he seemed glumly resigned that now is a time that he's going to have to more effectively reach out, saying now is the time to work together and get things done.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The American people sent a message, one that they've sent for several elections now. They expect the people they elect to work as hard as they do. So 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Michelle, the issue that's being most closely watched right now is the very sensitive issue of immigration reform in the United States. And I wonder if I have a clear sense right now, will the president go ahead and issue an executive order, take executive action, as he has said previously, if Congress doesn't pass, through legislation...
BLITZER: -- comprehensive immigration reforms, because Republicans are saying, including Mitch McConnell, the new leader in the U.S. Senate, he would be effectively poisoning the well if he were to take that kind of unilateral action.
KOSINSKI: Right. And the question was also asked, isn't what happened last night a sort of voters' referendum on policies like that, on executive actions like he's vowed to take on immigration?
Well, he made it very clear that, yes, he will take that action. But in presenting this to the new members of Congress, it's almost like he wanted to have it both ways, to first strike a tone of compromise, compromise, compromise. And on immigration, he actually said let's sit down, let's hear what ideas Republicans have, let's see how they would like to do it and then see what works, see how we can do this together.
But if that doesn't work, then, yes, I'm going to take that executive action.
Here's part of what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: So we got a bipartisan bill out of the Senate.
I asked John Boehner at that point, can we pass this through the House?
There is a majority of votes in the House to get this passed and Speaker Boehner, I think, was sincere about wanting to pass it, but he had difficulty over the last year trying to get it done.
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And we heard something similar on health care, too, him saying, look, Congress is going to now pass bills that I cannot sign. And I'm going to take executive action that they're not going to like.
So he's saying we're going to compromise, we're going to do everything possible to work together, but there are some areas in which I will not compromise.
On health care, he said, look, I'm not going to sign a bill that would repeal ObamaCare, or effectively repeal it by taking away chunks from it. But then he said, OK, still, the bill is not perfect. ObamaCare is not a perfect law and if I had to do it differently, sure there are some things that would change.
So you really hear it both ways -- compromise, but that has its limits -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Michelle, thanks very much.
It certainly was sure is a thundering stampede by the Republicans trampling Democrats to take control of the U.S. Senate.
But who will ride herd over the strong-willed GOP personalities in the new Senate?
The current minority leader, Mitch McConnell, is signaling that he's up to the task, he will be the majority leader.
And let's bring in our chief Congressional correspondent, Dana Bash. She's checking to see what's going on. It's a very dynamic situation.
DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, that's for sure.
Look, Mitch McConnell has been waiting his whole professional political life for the press conference he had today. He's always wanted to be the Senate majority leader, to run the Senate. He's been preparing for it for years.
And in this particular case, we're told a series of doable legislative ideas are already in the works so he can show Republicans can govern.
BASH (voice-over): Mitch McConnell missed the president's first congratulatory call, but they finally connected.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: It was a very cordial conversation. I appreciated the call.
BASH: But with political victory, total GOP control of Congress, comes the responsibility for Republicans to govern.
McConnell bent over backward to say he gets that.
MCCONNELL: I think we ought to start with the view that maybe there are some things we can agree on.
BASH: But said for him to negotiate, the president can't aggravate the GOP base by taking executive action on immigration.
MCCONNELL: It's like waving a red flag in front of a bull to say if you guys don't do what I want, I'm going to do it on my own.
BASH: In fact, before McConnell cuts deals with Democrats, he has to contend with unruly fellow Republicans that make up this new majority, like Iowa's Joni Ernst, who wouldn't even commit to supporting McConnell for leader.
(on camera): Will you vote for Mitch McConnell to be leader?
JONI ERNST (R-IA), SENATOR-ELECT:
JONI ERNST (R-IA), SENATOR-ELECT: Well, I -- I am trying to get through November 4th first. And then that will be determined after that.
BASH (voice-over): Neither would Ted Cruz.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Well, that will be a decision for the conference to make and that will be decided next week.
MCCONNELL: But let me just make a prediction for you. A week from tomorrow, I'll be elected majority leader of the Senate.
BASH: McConnell is a rare senator who never wanted to be president. But several Senate Republicans are eyeing a 2016 White House run -- Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio. McConnell insists he can handle them.
MCCONNELL: I've served in a body with a bunch of class presidents. They're all ambitious.
BASH: GOP control of Congress will be different. One example -- Senate votes on GOP ideas for the first time in the Obama presidency. Republicans set the Senate agenda and will hold votes on their pet issues, like the Keystone pipeline.
But more votes likely means more vetoes. Since he's had Congressional Democrats to block GOP policies, Obama has only vetoed two bills in six years.
Another promised change, more work.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Senate stands adjourned.
BASH: Not so fast. McConnell is vowing the Senate will actually stay in Washington for a five day work week, just like the rest of us.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
BASH: And the short schedule actually has implications on compromise. And, Wolf, McConnell noted that today, that when you make it clear to members of the Senate that you're not going to leave until a particular bill is done, then all of a sudden the opposition to getting to negotiations, to getting to that deal, seems to sort of melt away, because people want to get home, but they also know that they can't leave, they're going to have to compromise.
BLITZER: And despite Joni Ernst and Ted Cruz and maybe a few others, he has plenty of votes. He'll be the majority leader.
BLITZER: There's no doubt.
BASH: He said that with a lot of confidence.
BLITZER: OK, Dana, thanks very much.
Among the Election Day's big winners is the Republican senator, Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina. After winning a third term with 54 percent of the vote, he said there are areas where a conservative Republican Congress can, in fact, work with a liberal Democratic president.
Senator Graham is joining us now from South Carolina.
Senator Graham, thanks very much for joining us.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Thank you.
BLITZER: Let's get to the sensitive issue right away of immigration reform.
BLITZER: You heard Mitch McConnell say if the president were to do extensive immigration reform unilaterally through executive order, it would be a big mistake. He'd be waving a red flag in front of a bull. You support comprehensive immigration reform.
If Congress can't pass legislation in the House and the Senate, what's wrong with the president doing it on his own?
GRAHAM: Well, my view is that the president should give the new Congress a chance. I've been working on this since 2006. I've got the scars to show for it. My belief is this is a dangerous miscalculation by the president. But I hate to agree with Jay Carney. I don't want to ruin a rising career in the broadcast world, but I think Jay's probably right. The president has calculated that the risk of not following through with the executive action when he promised to do it is greater than just trying to engage the new Congress.
I think he's making a mistake here politically, but the public will soon let him know if they agree with this decision.
BLITZER: Well, do you think there are enough votes in either the lame-duck session of the Senate and the House or in the next session to go ahead and pass substantive legislation, the kind of legislation you, Senator McCain, Marco Rubio, others wanted?
GRAHAM: Really, I don't know, Wolf. At the end of the day, the Republican Party would benefit from getting immigration off the table. It would be hard for me to see how we could win the presidency in 2016 if we're blamed for blocking immigration reform.
At the same time, I think the American people will be very fair when it comes to immigration reform. But they will rebel against President Obama doing it unilaterally because if you just give amnesty to people through executive action and really don't secure your border and change the legal immigration system, which he can't do by himself, you're inviting a run on our border.
So I think he's making a big misstep here.
And if we do try, as a new Republican-controlled Congress, and we fail because we're too hard-headed or too hard-hearted, then we'll pay a price.
BLITZER: What was the message the president delivered to you when he called you last night to congratulate you on your win?
GRAHAM: He said you're an interesting cat. You know, I represent a very red state. I love my state, but I do try to find ways to solve problems.
I think what you saw today was the outline of a solution on our infrastructure problems. The president embraced last night with me a desire to replenish the highway trust fund, improve our roads, bridges and ports and using overseas tax dollars that could be repatriated at a lower rate, below 35 percent. I think that's going to work. I'm very encouraged by what he said about infrastructure.
BLITZER: And what was your message to him?
GRAHAM: Be patient. You know, patience is a virtue. In democracy, I think it's a necessity. Mr. President, you're no different than other presidents at the six-year point. Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan were able to do really good things.
Challenge us on immigration. Expose us as a party.
Do we really want to have a practical solution to immigration now that we have both houses of Congress?
Test us in 2015. Don't go it alone. Work with me and others to replace the defense cuts under sequestration that are destroying our ability to defend the country.
I would like to do a mini Simpson-Bowles bill. He really embraced that idea.
So I just told him be patient. Invite people down. You know, you're an engaging fellow. It's hard not to like the president, but he's a very distant figure in Washington. Get that behind you. And finally, unleash Joe Biden. Everybody likes Joe.
BLITZER: So you think Joe Biden could be a good conduit, a good liaison with the new Republican leadership?
GRAHAM: Let Joe out of the house. And Mr. President, invite us down. Talk us to. You know, the next two years could be good if we all want it to be.
BLITZER: How many times in the first six years has he invited you over for dinner or, let's say, a cocktail or a little movie or something at the White House?
GRAHAM: Well, I don't blame him for not inviting me to dinner. Most people don't. But we've had a lot of time on the phone. I've been to the White House numerous times. I want to work on an authorization to use military force about our actions in Syria and Iraq.
So I've actually had a pretty good interaction with the president. But we're now in that heated time in American politics. We've become distant. I've just gotten reelected. I'm really excited about the next two years, the next six years.
So invite us down. Let's re-engage and see where it takes us.
BLITZER: We're going to continue this conversation in a moment, Senator Graham.
I've got to take a quick break, but when we come back, we're going to talk about what's going on in Iraq and Syria, internationally.
Will America's adversaries take advantage of a politically weakened president of the United States in these final two years of his office to go ahead and do stuff the United States sincerely doesn't want them to do? Stay with us.
BLITZER: We're back with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
Senator Graham, the impressive wins that the Republicans had yesterday in the House and the Senate, governors' races, state legislature, all across, should that be seen as a mandate that the Republicans can now coast and say, "The American people are with us"? What happened? GRAHAM: Well, we had very good candidates for a change. And this was
the best crop I've seen in a long time, but it was not embracing us. This herd you described running over Democrats can really turn on us. You don't have to read the tea leaves to understand what's going on here.
The American people put a stop sign out in front of the Oval Office. The president just obviously can't see it. So I don't take this as people in America becoming Republicans. I see this as telling the president, "Stop, reconsider where you're going."
BLITZER: So what's the most important lesson the Republicans have to learn, because you remember, four years ago when the Republicans took the House, the president acknowledged there was a shellacking. Two years later, though, he was decisively reelected. So there may have been another shellacking yesterday.
BLITZER: But that doesn't guarantee the Republicans are going to be in the White House two years ago.
GRAHAM: This crowd can turn on you. In 2004 we had the White House, President Bush and 55 Republicans. By 2008 we were down to 40.
So we've got to deliver, and this may be our last best chance as a party to re-establish ourselves in the eyes of the American people. I think Mitch has got the right attitude: pass budgets, pass appropriation bills, try to find common ground with the president.
I think he's making a serious mistake about going it alone on immigration, because that's exactly what people are tired of and don't like about his style of governing. Challenge us to meet him in the middle and sit down and roll your sleeves up and get involved with the new Congress.
So my advice to Republicans is that you all said you wanted to solve problems. Come here to town to prove you can.
BLITZER: But you know you're going to get a lot of resistance from some Tea Party activists, some others, maybe Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. They're not going to want to compromise with this president.
GRAHAM: Everybody that got elected had a couple things that were music to my ears as Republicans. They all rejected leading from behind. And yes, the question about how the world views this election, here's what I would tell the enemies and adversaries of the United States that this election was about President Obama's foreign policy.
And it was perceived to be weak, and people who got elected said they wanted to be stronger and bolder. They wanted to be more engaged against ISIS and ISIL, be more -- push back against Putin, not less; deal stronger with Iran. And I'm going to introduce legislation requiring any deal regarding the Iranian nuclear program to come to Congress for an up or down vote. So on a foreign policy front, the people running as Republicans
rejected running leading from behind. So I hope our enemies and adversaries understand the American people want our president to push back, and hopefully, he'll get the message.
BLITZER: You've seen all those reports, though, that the administration, together with the other international -- international partners, go ahead and reach some sort of deal with Iran. He says potentially, at least the reports suggest he might unilaterally ease those sanctions against Iran and forget about Congress, because he doesn't think he'd necessarily get support in Congress.
GRAHAM: The most consequential decision this president will make in his final two years is how to do with the Iranian nuclear threat. I believe they're trying to use a small nuclear program to one day break out and build a bomb just like North Korea. I think the deal in the making is a North Korea in the making.
And Democrats up for reelection should want to see this deal. Every member of Congress should insist that we see this deal and vote it up or down. I hope Hillary Clinton would say that's a reasonable thing to do.
I will not tolerate, as much as I want to work with the president, engaging in a deal with the Iranian ayatollahs without the Congress looking at the details and voting on it, because it's too important.
BLITZER: I'm worried, and I've spoken to a lot of others who are worried that some adversaries of the United States will see a weakened American president politically, and he suffered some major political setbacks yesterday, as an opportunity to test the United States, whether Putin or anybody else, ISIS. Are you worried about that?
GRAHAM: A bit, but here's the message I think the American people sent in this election. They want a bolder foreign policy.
Every Republican, the days of isolationism and the Republican Party flirting with isolationism seem to be over. This crop of new Republicans make me and McCain look like moderates.
I am so pleased with their view of how to defend America. And the idea that the American people understood what they were saying and elected them is encouraging to me. And the American people by 71 percent believe that a terrorist attack is somewhat or very likely against our nation. So the American people understand the threat. And any enemy of the United States understand needs to understand this election was about pushing back against you.
BLITZER: But Senator Rand Paul, for example, he may not be an isolationist, but he calls himself a non-interventionist. He's -- have we lost you over there, Senator? Hold on a second. I think he's reconnecting.
Senator, can you hear me?
GRAHAM: Yes. I think -- I think they disconnected me. BLITZER: I was just saying -- I don't think Putin, you may be on his
do-not-enter list into Russia, but that's another story.
Senator Rand Paul, he may not be an isolationist, but he clearly describes himself as a non-interventionist, which is not necessarily what you are.
GRAHAM: I think he was -- his idea of how the Republican Party should embrace foreign policy was one of the biggest losers. I like Rand. I want to work with him on domestic issues, but his idea of, you know, embracing a foreign policy footprint that is completely contrary to peace through strength, quite frankly, I think, one of the biggest losers last night was that view of foreign policy. Nobody coming into the Senate in this election cycle was anything less than bold on foreign policy.
BLITZER: Senator Graham, thanks very much for joining us, and congratulations on your reelection yesterday.
GRAHAM: Thank you.
BLITZER: Coming up, our exit polls reveal important changes about who's voting now and how the U.S. electorate is changing. Our own John King, he's standing by over at the Magic Wall.
And later, security cameras capture frightening scenes of one of today's terror attacks in Jerusalem. Could attacks like this be coming to the United States?
Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: The Republican Party -- the Republican Party, I should say, scored resounding victories in the midterms. Some very interesting long-term trends are emerging.
John King has been digging into the numbers. He's joining us once again from the Magic Wall with some voter analysis.
John, you did an amazing job last night. Give us more insight into what you're learning.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's look first at the Republican route. There's no question this was a repudiation of the president, but Wolf, what it was not is a love letter to the Republicans. Let's look at the numbers. Remember, we started with 55 Democrats and 45 Republicans. The 55 includes two independents.
But here's where we are at the moment, at 52-45, with the full expectation Democrats don't push back hard, that Republicans will also get the Alaska Senate seat soon. They're still counting absentee ballots there and remote ballots. And in the run-off right now, the Republicans are heavily favored in Louisiana.
So we could end up with 54. The Virginia race has not been called yet. Most expect that will go narrowly Democratic. They could end up with 54, conceivably 55. A big rout, no question. Republicans take control of the Senate.
But let's switch maps and come back over and look at the House race. This, I think, is one of the more stunning views of the United States. If you go back to this, this was the House: 257 Democrats just after the big Obama election in 2008; 257 Democrats.
Now, Wolf, watch. Watch all of this blue. Look, wherever you live in the country, watch your part of the country and look at that. This is becoming a much more red America at the House level and at the state legislative level. Underneath all these House districts, Republicans running it up in state legislatures, as well. That helps them build the bench. It gives them a Republican majority in the House. Now we'll see what that Republican Senate and the Republican House whether anything can get done.
But as good as this looks, if you're thinking about running for president in 2016 as a Republican, let me just go back one more time. You better remember this map. This map is still in play. There's nothing happened yesterday that suggests that the Republicans are ready to win in New Mexico or Nevada, meaning win a higher percentage of Latino votes. Nothing happened to suggest that, when African- Americans turn out in greater numbers, that some other states, like Illinois, are about to go the Republican way.
And let's look at the exit polls to back up that point. Yesterday was a midterm electorate, not a presidential electorate. The number of women was lower than we see in presidential years; not as big a gap between men and women. That favored the Republicans yesterday. In presidential years, it tends to be higher.
We also have a smaller percentage of younger voters yesterday and a higher percentage of older voters yesterday. Again, that tends to favor Republicans, a midterm electorate, not a presidential electorate.
If you look here, also a whiter electorate by 72 percent in the presidential election a couple of years ago; 75 percent now. A lot of people think that doesn't make a big deal. It does make a big difference, because whites overwhelmingly vote Republican. The Latino population down a little bit. The African-American vote about stable. But as you look at that, this is an electorate favoring the Republicans. We'll see what happens. The key test of the Democrats, what happens in the next presidential election without Barack Obama on the ballot.
But here is the warning shot to Republicans. Yes, they won just about everything yesterday, but are you satisfied with the Republican leaders in Congress? Sixty percent of the voters, Wolf, said, "No, we're not satisfied with the Republican leaders of Congress." So they are on trial, as well, here.
And also opinions of the Republican Party, 54 percent unfavorable. So they start underwater. That's a favorite term they like to use for the president this year. That's where the Republicans start as they have this new governing opportunity.
Also look at this. Look at this. Remember when the Republican Party refused to consider immigration reform? This is nationwide. Fifty- seven percent of the voters yesterday, nearly six in 10 -- that means a lot of Republicans -- said undocumented workers should be offered legal status in the United States. So Republicans out of step with the American people, at least the majority, on that a little bit.
And look, this is Iowa, the first big test for Republicans. Even 50 percent there. Even 50 percent there say that.
So yes, the Republicans won, but if you look at the exit polls, raising the minimum wage, what should happen to the undocumented, they are not necessarily in sync with a big chunk of the voters, Wolf. So they get a chance to govern, but not everything has changed.
BLITZER: It helps explain why Lindsey Graham just said that herd could turn against the Republicans pretty quickly if they don't do the right stuff in the next two years.
John, stay with us. During the news conference that the president had today, he appeared to leave the door open to working with the new Republican Congress. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If there are ideas that the Republicans have that I have confidence will make things better for ordinary Americans, the fact that a Republican's suggesting it as opposed to a Democrat, that will be irrelevant to me. I want to just see what works.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: I want to bring in our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, and our CNN political commentator, Ryan Lizza. He's the "New Yorker" magazine's Washington correspondent. And John, you're still with us.
So the message he gave at the news conference, what did you make of that, the president?
KING: He said he wants to reach out, and he said he'd like to find common ground. The question is going to be here in this dance, the Republicans feel emboldened. The president is back on his heels a little bit. So who offers the first big compromise? Who gives the first big test?
Are they going to strike a deal on immigration? Do we think Speaker Boehner or the new Majority McConnell have room to do that? No. And in fact, the president said he's about to do his executive actions. That's going to throw a log on the fire.
So the talk was nice today. The question is when people start doing things, are they incendiary or are they conciliatory? GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: No, I think what the
president did today, though, is he said OK, by January I'm going to do this executive order, but he's going to meet with Republicans. I think he left himself -- and you guys all cover politics -- a little bit of wiggle room there in case there's something incremental that they could do on immigration reform together. And if it's not all of what he wants, then maybe he would do something else in an executive action. So I do...
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He's trying to use it as leverage.
BORGER: He is trying to use it as leverage, and I think they would be wise to pick up on it.
LIZZA: He said, "Look, if you come up -- if you come up with a legislative proposal, it will -- I'll get rid of this executive order." Right? So this executive order is only if we don't come up with something legislatively.
Now, for all of the reasons we've been talking about the last few weeks, it seems very unlikely that they're going to compromise on something legislatively and the Senate tried to do something last year. I think the...
BLITZER: The Senate passed it but didn't go...
LIZZA: They felt very burned by it, and Marco Rubio, do you think he wants to go down that road again?
BORGER: What's the extent of it? We don't know -- we don't know the breadth of what Obama's going to do. And that's why I think the wiggle room...
BLITZER: But he's made a commitment to Latinos, to the Democratic base, "I promise right after the election, before the end of this year, if there's no legislation, I'm going to sign a piece of paper. And we will begin the process of moving millions of these illegal people here in the United States to some sort of legal status."
BORGER: But you know what Mitch McConnell said, red flag.
LIZZA: But there's a lot of Hispanic groups that feel burned in three elections in a row now by the Democrats. You promised us this legislation, and you keep -- you keep pulling the carpet out from underneath us. And I don't think there's any choice that Obama has to go forward with this.
KING: He goes forward, then you have both on the House and the Senate side now Republicans holding gavels who would want to have hearings: is this an overreach? Is this constitutional? Is this an abuse of power? Which again, will we'll start stoking the bases in both parties.
The only way to make deals is to get away from the bases in both parties and meet in the middle. You start bringing up these issues, and they promise -- Wolf, they just promise the voters they're going to vote to repeal Obamacare. You have to expect them to keep that promise at least once, but ten when they fail, what happens? We don't know that either.
BORGER: But Mitch McConnell today said, "Look, I don't expect to repeal Obamacare." What I think he'll probably do without getting too wonky about it, is attach changes to Obamacare on the budget, which only requires a majority vote and doesn't majority the signature of the president, and that's one way he can sort of get that in there.
BLITZER: But he did make -- it's almost like a red line. He made this commitment to these undocumented immigrants here in the United States. Many of them, as he pointed out, they've lived here for a long time and their children are U.S. citizens.
If he doesn't deliver, it's going to look like he's -- he blinked, that he's walking away from a commitment like that, which as you know, Ryan, is going to deeply alienate a lot of his base.
LIZZA: And Democrats didn't do as well in some states with Hispanic voters. And there will be a lot of Democratic strategists who will say, well, maybe that's why. Whether it's true or not, he's going to have to do this. And the deal -- the only deal on the table is citizenship, right, pathway to citizenship for some kind of serious border control.
BORGER: Border patrols.
LIZZA: Nobody believes that the Republicans are going to go for that.
BORGER: Senator Lindsey Graham, he wants to go for that.
LIZZA: He has for decades. He voted for it once.
KING: So you look somewhere else. Is there some place else to start? Could you do Medicare reform? Could you do tax reform? The problem is...
BORGER: Roads and bridges.
KING: Roads and bridges, they'll get roads and bridges. I think infrastructure wins, as Lindsey Graham said. That one wins because Republican governors want that money. Republican governors, those new Republican governors want that.
But can you do those other things? Let's say the president says, "All right. You're not going to repeal Obamacare, but I'll give you some fixes." And Republicans say, "In return, to appease our base, we need some Medicare changes." Now watch Elizabeth Warren become the new Ted Cruz and jump in front of the train and block up the Senate.
LIZZA: Or Hillary Clinton.
BORGER: Also Keystone. Keystone Pipeline. Maybe here's the deal, as Senator Portman suggested, that you get something on emissions controls and you do the pipeline. I mean, I think there's... KING: And somebody on the left will jump up on that, too.
BORGER: Somebody on the left will, but actually, that could be Hillary Clinton's problem and not Barack Obama's.
BLITZER: It could be. You wrote a good column suggesting that the turning point for the president on why the Democrats did so poorly was because of the commitment he made that apparently he didn't deliver on when it comes to foreign policy.
BORGER: You know, in talking to consultants on both sides of the aisle, before last night, all of them said to me, turning point was when the president said he didn't have a strategy on ISIS, and then he said we underestimated ISIS. They saw their polling -- the Republican Party saw their polls go up. The Democrats saw their polls go down, because it fed into the narrative of a world that's out of control, the fear factor, incompetency at the White House. That was the narrative they'd established through Obamacare. They couldn't even get up a website.
And so they built on that, and they think that gave them the momentum heading into the last couple of weeks of the campaign.
BLITZER: All right, guys. Stand by. There's a lot more politics coming up here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Lots to digest. Also, other news we're following, including breaking news, some very disturbing -- disturbing images. Hamas blessing a van driver who killed one person, injured 13 others in Jerusalem. And the hunt is on for a driver who injured three soldiers in the West Bank.
Also, these new pictures we're getting of the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un. He's dropped his cane, and he's apparently dropping the hammer on political rivals.
BLITZER: For the second time in two weeks, a driver slammed into a crowd waiting for a train in Jerusalem. For the first time, a baby was killed today A police officer is dead, 13 bystanders are injured.
Hamas says it blesses the action, which Israel calls a terror attack. And right now the hunt is on for the driver of another car attack in which three Israeli soldiers were hurt in the West Bank.
Let's go live to CNN's Erin McLaughlin. She's joining us from Jerusalem with more.
So what's going on over there, Erin?
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, surveillance footage shows the moments when a car, truck, rather, collided with three Israeli soldiers injuring them in the West Bank. Israeli police have identified the car as a Palestinian car, and they are currently searching for the driver.
Now, that attack following an attack that happened in Jerusalem earlier today in which a Palestinian man drove a van into a light rail station, striking a group of people. Surveillance video shows the moment of impact there. You can actually see four people lying on the ground. The driver then continues on before crashing the van, getting out and continuing the attack on foot. Israeli -- Israeli forces surrounded him and shot and killed him.
Now these attacks are just part of a wave of violence in Jerusalem and now the West Bank that we've been seeing over the past few months which many people say began with the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers earlier this year. That was followed by the kidnapping and killing of a Palestinian teenager which triggered a series of events which led to the Gaza war.
The tensions really continuing today and Israeli Police telling me that it's very difficult to prevent this kind of attack from happening -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And, Erin, as you take a look, what are the Israelis likely to do about this? Obviously, I don't know how you can prevent this kind of an attack from going on if, in fact, it was a deliberate car ramming into a bunch of people just standing on a sidewalk, let's say.
What do the Israelis say they can do about this?
MCLAUGHLIN: Well, Israeli Police spokesperson telling me that they're going to be increasing security yet again across the city and they've increased security before. Just two weeks ago there was a very similar incident in Jerusalem in which a Palestinian man drove his car into that very same light rail area, plowing it into a crowd of people. That attack killing a 3-month-old Israeli-American as well as an Ecuadorian woman. So these kinds of attacks, as I said, Wolf, very difficult to prevent.
BLITZER: Erin McLaughlin, with the latest from Jerusalem.
Thanks, Erin, for that report.
Just ahead, we're getting new images of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. He has apparently gotten rid of his cane and some of his political opponents at the same time.
BLITZER: North Korea's leader has recently been shown using a cane, now seems to be moving a bit more easily. He's also apparently moving against some of his political opponents.
Brian Todd is here in THE SITUATION ROOM, getting the latest information.
What are you learning?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the latest pictures we're getting out of North Korea show a more robust Kim Jong-Un, appearing before his troops, trying to show the world he's still in control. But tonight, there are indications that behind the propaganda, Kim's hold on power could be in doubt.
TODD (voice-over): He gives the full appearance of a commander-in- chief, inspecting troops, walking with battalion commanders. And in new photographs released by the North Korean regime, Kim Jong-Un, for the first time since his mysterious six-week disappearance, is seen walking without a cane.
This comes after reports Kim had surgery for tarsal tunnel syndrome. A cyst had been removed from his right ankle.
(On camera): Does it appear that he's got his full mobility back?
DR. ROBERT BUNNING, MEDSTAR NATIONAL REHABILITATION HOSPITAL: It's hard to know he has full mobility from these pictures. These still pictures. For tarsal tunnel surgery, after two or three weeks you would have an almost normal gait.
TODD (voice-over): Rheumatologist Robert Bunning says tarsal tunnel syndrome is when nerves and tendons in the foot become compressed by inflation. He says the 31-year-old leader could have gotten that from gout, arthritis, weight gain. And he says in Kim's case, it could come back.
BUNNING: With five years, there's significant recurrence, maybe 30 percent, 40 percent. And if you haven't solved the underlying problems, such as obesity or inflammatory arthritis, it's even more likely to come back.
TODD: The potential stress Kim could be under certainly won't help. South Korean lawmakers briefed by intelligence officials say Kim recently ordered the executions of 10 party officials by firing squad. The charges, they say, ranged from corruption to watching South Korean soap operas.
PATRICK CRONIN, CENTER FOR NEW AMERICAN SECURITY: The soap operas may be the most salacious aspect of what is seen as a seditious act of smuggling outside information.
TODD: Analyst Patrick Cronin believes some top leaders around Kim may at the very least be doubting his ability to lead.
CRONIN: He has good reason to be paranoid. He is the third generation, he's too young to be leading, he doesn't have the experience. But he does have the ruthlessness to commit executions.
TODD: The reported purging of those 10 officials comes less than a year after Kim Jong-Un had his own uncle executed. U.S. intelligence officials tell us they have no indication that Kim is not firmly in charge, but analysts Patrick Cronin says right now the person who Kim trusts the most is his sister, Kim Yoo Jung, who's taken on a larger role in the government. She is about the only one he trusts completely according to Patrick Cronin. BLITZER: Amidst all of this, there are now some disturbing reports
about some potential advances in North Korea's nuclear weapons program?
TODD: It was a dangerous backdrop. And that is going on right now. South Korean officials say that the North has started operating a new plant to produce weapons grade uranium. And that could really bolster their ability to produce -- fuel for their nuclear weapons.
Also a top U.S. commander in South Korea says he believes North Korea has mastered the technology to put a warhead on a nuclear missile. So this is all very disturbing, all in the backdrop of Kim's purges and everything else that's going on behind the scenes.
BLITZER: Lots going on over there in North Korea.
All right. Brian, thanks very much.
Coming up, after the stunning Republican rout in the midterm elections, the 2016 race for the White House already beginning.
Can the GOP use this big win against Hillary Clinton?
And Hamas blesses the driver who targeted pedestrians in a deadly Jerusalem attack. Another vehicle slams into soldiers in the West Bank. I'll speak live with a top Israeli police official.
BLITZER: Happening now, the president responds to the midterm rout by Republicans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hear you.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: They are obviously not satisfied with the direction of the administration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Now that Mitch McConnell and the Republicans are taking control of the Senate, will the gridlock ease up or get worse?
GOP presidential hopefuls are celebrating their party's big victory, and they're trying to use it against Hillary Clinton.
Plus, terror in the streets.