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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

What Next for President Obama?; Interview With Senator Lindsey Graham

Aired November 07, 2012 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. It's 10:00 here on the East Coast and Washington, D.C.

And we begin tonight right here in the nation's capital after a history-making election night with two simple words: What next? What next for the men and women in the Capitol behind me in a Democratic Senate and a Republican House? What next? What next for the party that tried and failed to retake the Senate and White House, who ran on a platform that a majority of Americans saw as too extreme and a demographic base that now seems just too narrow. What next for them?

What next for the man who ran for reelection despite a slow- healing economy, who returned from Chicago tonight and came home to face rapidly approaching challenges on taxes, the budget, the global economy and a whole lot more? For President Obama, what next?

Today, markets took a nosedive in part because investors see what's coming and worried that Washington simply cannot fix it. That's why we're here tonight again.

In the speeches last night and the statements today, everyone from President Obama to Mitt Romney to the leaders in the building behind me, all founds ways of saying they get it. They understand the challenges and will rise to meet them. Listen.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We want our children to live in an 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.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The nation as you know, is at a critical point. And at a time like this, we can't risk partisan bickering and political posturing.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: If there is a mandate in yesterday's results, it's a mandate for us to find a way to work together on solutions to the challenges that we all face as a nation.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: It's better to dance than to fight. It's better to work together. Everything doesn't have to be a fight.


COOPER: Well, tonight, what is next on the fiscal cliff, on the rest of the president's agenda, on whether and how the Republicans will deal with a diverse electorate? Tonight we are looking forward, not so much looking back to last night.

We begin with Dana Bash on the coming fiscal cliff when tax cuts expire and automatic budget cuts kick in -- Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: First of all, welcome to the Capitol, Anderson.

COOPER: Thanks.

BASH: On that issue, you heard everyone sort of singing this kumbaya tune. But when you got down to the next sentence, of course, there was a but.

You heard John Boehner in particular talking about the fact that on the issue that has divided them over the past year or so on this fiscal cliff issue, taxes, saying very clearly he does not want to raise taxes. But he also put out an olive branch, Anderson, and he did say maybe he would be for some kind of -- raising some kind of revenue. He didn't give any specifics about what that means but talked about broad tax reform as it relates to entitlement reform.

On the other side of the Capitol though you saw right over there Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid really clearly feeling like he has leverage here, not just because of what the voters said on the issues of taxes, because it was really was a clear-cut issue between President Obama and Mitt Romney, but also because of just the mechanics of it.

If nobody does anything, taxes for everybody will go up. So Democrats realize that, so they do feel like they have leverage and they are probably right.

COOPER: And there's motivation to try to do something on that.

BASH: Exactly.

COOPER: There was a private conference call that Boehner had with his caucus. What do you know about it?

BASH: We were told from a source who was a call that was a call where all House Republicans were invited to this. He was very sober and he tried to buck everybody up and say, in fact, the words he used is that we are the last line of defense from an America that Barack Obama would design. But he also had a clear message for his rank and file, which is hold your fire. I need to have some running room to figure out to do this the right way.

Not to mix too many metaphors here, but I need to have running room to figure out how we can do this the right way. And the other thing I'm told that he said to them is he won't let the White House box him in, but he can't be boxed out either. He knows he is going to have to negotiate big time. He will be the point person with the president, just like they were in those failed talks a year ago.

COOPER: We will see what President Obama does to try to reach out to Boehner and repair that relationship as well and vice versa.

BASH: Exactly.

COOPER: Dana Bash, appreciate that.

I want to turn next to Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who famously just a couple days ago if Mitt Romney loses and Republicans say it is because he wasn't conservative enough, he will "go nuts."

Senator, Americans -- first of all, how are you doing today? Have you gone nuts? Because I have heard a lot of Republicans saying just that.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Well, I just think the honest truth is that we have a demographic problem. If we had gotten 40 percent of the Hispanic vote, Mitt Romney would be president.

Bush 43 got 41 percent. McCain got 31 percent and Romney got 27 percent. We are going in the wrong direction.

COOPER: How do you change that? How do you change that? Because you have extremes in your party who certainly on the immigration issue for instance don't want to see some sort of a compromise.

GRAHAM: Well, yes, here's what I want to see. I want to see a solution that will not lead to 12 million illegal immigrants 20 years from now. And I'm willing to deal with the 12 million with a firm and fair way, but I want a comprehensive solution that prevents the third wave of illegal immigration.

That's all I ask, and I think that's all most Americans want. I think most Hispanic voters they didn't have a real fondness for President Obama. His job approval rating among Hispanics was about 50 percent. I just think they saw him as the lesser of two evils between Obama and us because he really didn't lift a finger to do comprehensive immigration reform like he promised.

We will be back in the game. Immigration is a national issue. It is just an Hispanic issue. It's an American issue and there is a solution to be found out there if people want to find it.

COOPER: Senator, Americans are going to see massive tax increases if Congress fails to strike a deal on the so-called fiscal cliff. And it's not just tax increases. It's also massive budget cuts.

Every single American will feel the effects. What level of hope do you have tonight that Congress can really come together and strike a deal? Because there's always talk about, oh, yes, we're going to work together and it just never materializes.

GRAHAM: Right. It is pretty high, actually.

Simpson-Bowles is the way forward, Anderson. And what did Simpson-Bowles do? They didn't raise tax rates. They eliminated deductions, all but two, I think, interest on your home with a cap and charitable deductions. And they had lower rates, a 25 percent corporate rate. The top individual rate was around 30 percent. They took that trillion dollars from eliminating deductions and exemptions. They put some of it on the debt and some of it to buy down rates and they did entitlement reform.

That is exactly what I think we will wind up doing and we will come together on discretionary spending cuts. I'm very optimistic after hearing John Boehner today say that revenue would be on the table in the form of Simpson-Bowles. I think that's the magic way forward. And the Democrats have to do entitlement reform.

COOPER: But if you look at the polls, the people actually voted for, a lot of them do support raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Boehner said he would not do that today, he would not support it, and Harry Reid still said Democrats would insist on those taxes being raised.

GRAHAM: All I would suggest is that every bipartisan group that has looked at this, the gang of six, three Republicans, three Democrats, Simpson-Bowles, rejected higher tax rates. They raised revenue by eliminating deductions and exemptions, taking that revenue back into the Treasury, applying it to the debt, and buying down rates to create economic growth.


COOPER: But does that really get you where you need to be on deficit reduction?

GRAHAM: Oh, absolutely it does.


GRAHAM: It does. There's a trillion dollars out there every year that we give away through the tax code. Take that trillion dollars back, apply some of that to debt and some of it to lowering tax rates to create jobs and future economic growth sets some of that aside to get out of debt.

Raising tax rates was rejected by Simpson-Bowles and the gang of six. There will be no Republican that will go down that road because it will hurt job creation. Tax policy and job creation go hand in hand.

COOPER: This president got reelected very clearly saying that is what he wanted to do, to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans. The Republican challenger said he did not want to do that and he did not get elected. Doesn't that give President Obama and the Democrats some right to push for raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans?

GRAHAM: Well, I think the House got reelected. Their mandate is to not raise tax rates.

Go back to Simpson-Bowles. Simpson Bowles rejected the idea of higher tax rates. They eliminated deductions. The people who will give up most deductions are the wealthy among us. Pick a rate, 30 percent and tell people you have to pay it.

How many Americans in the upper income level actually pay 35 percent? The tax code is a social engineering document to reward friends and punish enemies. Flatten the tax rate, make people pay the rate you pick, have a 25 percent corporate rate to create jobs here in America.

If you have bad tax policy, you're going to have bad job creation. Simpson-Bowles, the gang of six is the way to go forward. I'm confident that's what we will do.

COOPER: Well, we will watch it. Senator Graham, appreciate your time.

Coming up next, our panel, chief national correspondent John King, chief political correspondent Candy Crowley, who moderated the second presidential debate, also political analyst David Gergen and Gloria Borger.

John, when you listen to Senator Graham, couple his words with those of two congressional leaders today, do you get a sense that we're looking at anything other than gridlock? You can say Simpson- Bowles all you want. But both sides completely disagree on this tax raising thing on the upper income Americans.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You're going to hear a lot of Simpson-Bowles. Everyone will say it's the road map, and then when you get to specifics of it, that's when they walk away.

That's what happened when it was first released and that's what happens every time it comes up since. You do have Speaker Boehner planted a flag today, and he also said I want to be conciliatory, I want to listen. Leader Reid said I'm not going to draw any lines in the sands.

The burden here is going to be on the president of the United States and even a bit more so than usual, because Speaker Boehner feels whether the Democrats think this is fair or not, he feels burned by the last time they went down the path. He thought he had a deal with the president. And he thinks the president walked away from it.

Is this a game of chicken where who blinks first? The president gives up higher taxes on the rich for long term tax reform? Republicans give up something in the short term to get more in the long term? That's going to be the Kabuki dance, if you will, and the stakes are pretty enormous.

COOPER: Candy, can you see any position where the president gives up higher taxes on the wealthy? He did get reelected on this and he's been very clear on this particularly issue. This was a major thing that he ran on. CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and he said if he got a bill that did not include the end of tax hikes for the wealthy, he would veto it.

But that was pre-election and this is post-election. But the pressure I think is on all of them, but let's remember the pressure for the president. One of the things that is difficult about a coalition that puts you in office is every part of the coalition wants to protect something. They think they helped put this guy back in office.

You already hear folks on the left saying do not touch Social Security and do not touch Medicare. There is no need to do that. There's pressure on that side and there's pressure on the side of him that said in his acceptance speech last night, and I'm going to work and I'm going to -- and we're going to get this done.

So I think the pressure on the president is probably even more so than that on Republicans.

COOPER: Gloria, do you agree with that. Congressional approval levels are at an all-time low.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, like 17 percent or something like that.

I think there is pressure on all of them because I think what you have is a divided country and I think they have this huge speed bump, which is the question of tax cuts for the rich. They have to figure out a way to get around that. Maybe they will raise the bar of how you define wealthy.

I think everybody understands that there is an outline of a framework to do tax reform. Mitt Romney talked about it in his campaign, said cap deductions, he gave them an idea. He said let's do this. They just have to figure out a way to get around this.

My big question is, what role does Paul Ryan play in all of this? Because he's pretty far out there and he's now a national figure, said no new taxes. And John Boehner is going to have to try to lead some compromises in his own caucus, and he's got now a new national leader.

COOPER: Do you see compromise as possible because of the fiscal cliff?


BORGER: Here is the thing. In the olden days when I covered the Congress, I always used to say, they will end up doing the right thing. I no longer think that.

I now believe that they could all retreat into their corners. The only thing that gives me hope is that it's in their own ultimate self-interest to get something done.

COOPER: Yes. It's in everyone's self-interest. David, as you survey the landscape of the incoming Congress, do you see any likelihood that these members will be able to come together, work with the president on big ideas, immigration reform, climate change, tax reform, entitlement reform?


I'm increasingly optimistic we won't go over the fiscal cliff. The sharp drop in the markets today sent a clear signal to Congress and to the president that you guys better not let us do this, that you will throw us into a recession next year. Barack Obama doesn't have to run for office again, but the rest of these folks up there do. They may often be dumb, but they're not crazy.

I do think that they will act out of some sense of what the national interest is here. I think the way to get there though is to be careful not to isolate just the question of tax hikes on the wealthy. If you isolate that, you're going to get everybody dug in. What you need to do is put that question into a broader framework. How do we raise revenues which John Boehner said today he was now open to, and he would favor that, and how do we get spending down through entitlement reform?

If the Republicans are willing to come to the table on some form of tax increases that don't come out of middle class and also the Democrats are willing to go along with entitlement reform, you could get the structure of a deal. You can't get a real deal before January 1, but you could get an agreement on what the basic structure would be and then direct your committees next year within six months or a year to come back, and put the deal together.

KING: But will they get there is the big question, Anderson. Can they get there?

Because we talked about the Tea Party last time. They came out of an election, they said, we won't do these things, and they wouldn't do those things. Some of these new Democrats, Senator Elizabeth Warren, senator-elect Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts, for example, ran ads saying I will never cut Medicare. What happens?


BORGER: And maybe the president will actually come up with a plan. He's been reelected. He doesn't have to run again. Maybe he will put something on the table. We will see.

COOPER: I'm curious also to see does he change the way he interacts with Congress? I mean, does he take sort of some of the criticism that he's gotten in this race and sort of figure out...


BORGER: And invite them over to the White House maybe once in a while? Play golf? Have them at dinner? I think it's a good idea.

(CROSSTALK) COOPER: Candy, David, Gloria, thanks. John, stick around.

When we come back, I want to break down the demographics that are key to President Obama's victory and Republican trouble winning the female vote. And as Lindsey Graham said a moment ago, the Latino vote, huge difference there. We're also joined by a panel of Republicans to talk about how their party changes to fix the problems they face.



OBAMA: 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.


COOPER: Another moment from President Obama's acceptance speech in Chicago in the early hours of the morning.

The fact that it wasn't a concession speech due in no small part because President Obama and the Democratic Party managed to assemble a voting coalition that better reflects America's growing diversity, they did that in part through a computerized data crunching operation that was so sophisticated, so closely guarded that camping spokesman Ben LaBolt called it their nuclear codes.

John King is back to break down the numbers for us.

John, take a look.

KING: Anderson, it was their nuclear code, perhaps. But they did what they said they would do.

If you go back to your votes, a year, 1.5 years ago, you ask the Obama people what will you do, they said we will identify their voters, we will find them, we will keep in touch with them, and we're going to turn them out. Nationally, if you look at the electorate, men, 47 percent shaded red because Governor Romney won. But women, there's a big gender gap, 53 percent.

If you are winning, as the president did, 55 percent of the biggest chunk of the electorate and you're competitive elsewhere, you're on your way to winning the election. This is the women vote if you look at it here. That's one piece. Let me slide it over. That is nationally. And it plays out in swing states as well.

You get to a state like Colorado, the president actually won the men's vote as well. But women made 51 percent of the electorate. Once a reliably Republican state in Colorado, look at that, more of a classic swing state. It's closer here in Colorado. But the president won there by being competitive among women as well. I will move you over to one more. This is a little touchy, she had a tough couple days, 48 percent in Ohio were men and 52 percent in Ohio were women. Once again, look at the gender gap. This is just the gender gap, and bang, especially college-educated women in the suburbs critical to the Obama coalition.

But that's not the only piece. Let's come back and look nationally by race. When we saw this number last night, we knew Governor Romney was in trouble. Only 72 percent of the electorate was white yesterday. Governor Romney needed that up at 74 percent, even 75 percent.

African-Americans, 13 percent of the population again. A lot of people thought that would drop. High African-American unemployment, not history the second time around. The Obama campaign, that operation you talked about found them, got in touch with them and turned them out in Philadelphia, in Cleveland, elsewhere across the country.

Then look at this, the president got 93 percent of their votes, again 13 percent of the electorate. But you're getting 93 percent of the votes. This is historic. Latinos crossed double digits, 10 percent nationally for the first time. And this is not only part of the president's victory coalition, this is a long-term generational crisis for the Republican Party. Seven in 10 votes among Latinos nationally for the president, 27 percent for Governor Romney.

Again, Anderson, it's not just nationally. You look at states like Nevada, where the white vote is smaller. Why? Because the Latino vote is nearly 20 percent of the vote in the state of Nevada. The president gets 71 percent. You can't win. You can't win. The other side can't win when the numbers are like that.

Let's bring this over Colorado, much more of a white vote, 78 percent, but Latinos at 14 percent. We pop out the pie chart one more time and the president getting 75 percent. Let me shift walls, take one more minute of your time. I want to show you this. Nevada used to be a swing state in presidential politics, Colorado used to be Republican state in presidential politics, New Mexico was a swing state in presidential politics, and Florida swing state in presidential politics.

If the Democrats keep getting 66 percent, 70 percent of the Latino vote, watch this. The darker the area, the higher the Latino population, so in Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico, it's almost game over. In Florida last week, we're still waiting to get the final results. Latino vote critical to the president's lead.

If you look at the state of Texas in the long term, if the Republicans don't solve this problem, one or two or three more presidential elections, we might be talking about Texas as a blue state, Anderson.


It's amazing to look at the maps like that, the demographics. John, appreciate that.

Let's talk about this. Given that, how does the Republican Party evolve? That is the question, what is next for them? For some on the extreme right, there's not a lot of self-examination going on quite yet, certainly not today. Take a look at this from "The American Spectator." "Doomed Beyond All Hope Of Redemption, Dark Thoughts on the Meaning Of A Catastrophic Election." That's from "The American Spectator."

From a Tea Party group in Ohio to "Under the headline, "We Mourn the Loss of Our Country," there's this quote. "Today, I wear black, the day America died."

From a conservative interviewed by the liberal "Mother Jones" -- quote -- "This is not hyperbole. This country is done. The writing is on the wall, dead."

And from the billionaire Romney surrogate who shall go unnamed -- quote -- "This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy."

Joining us, a panel of Republicans, RedState editor in chief Erick Erickson, GOP strategist Kristen Soltis, and Alex Castellanos and former George W. Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleischer.

Alex, we talked last night about your party's challenge of reaching Hispanic voters. Is there a sense the Republicans are ready to fundamentally change their approach? Is the what they need to do? Or are they just looking for a better way to package the positions they have already got?

ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: I don't think this is a small thing. This is not a matter of changing your positions on a couple of issues.

We need to remember that the philosophy that Republicans hold which is freedom and opportunity for everybody is what works and it's the reason people come to this country and have for generations anyway. Nobody comes to this country, to the United States, hey, I'm going to get more government benefits here. Most people who come to this country come here because this is still the land of opportunity, the land of endless promise.

That's what I think the Republican message needs to be. We need to become the party of yes and the party of more. Come here, this is the place that has open arms for everybody, and Democrats, yes, you get more from government. But there's an end to that, it's going broke. With the Republicans you get more from the economy, which is the real reason you come here.

COOPER: Kristen, ahead of the vote, there were all these predictions that young voters wouldn't turn out for the president like they did four years ago. According to exit polls, your party hasn't made any headway in reaching them. Republicans had four years to address the problem. What are they still doing wrong on that? KRISTEN SOLTIS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: So, actually, young voters did break heavily for the president, but not as heavily as they broke four years ago. Republicans have a long way to go.

This election, hopefully, has sort of busted two myths about them. The first myth is that are not going to show up. Turnout is now at 19 percent, and it's never been below 17 percent. A lot of my colleagues got that wrong. They thought they would stay home. It's clear this is a new world.

The other thing that's different is you saw the voters in their 30s actually were the group where Obama did better than he did four years ago. The young voters for Obama last time, they got older and they stuck with the president. I think it's important for Republicans to realize that this isn't just a matter of voter who will grow up and become conservative when they get older. This is going to resonate throughout these voters' political lifetimes.

COOPER: Ari, part of the problem with young voters may be your party's positions on social issues. A lot of Democrats will certainly say that. Conservatives sound by nostalgic obviously about the Reagan era. But that was a time when there was a lot more diversity of opinion on social issues.

Now President Obama mentioned gay people every step on basically every campaign stop. I don't think I ever Mitt Romney acknowledged that there were gay and lesbians in existence. And that's just one thing that -- young people in the polls you look at, support for something like same-sex marriage runs much higher.

ARI FLEISCHER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Anderson, if you want people to vote for you, you have to be more comfortable talking to people. That means Republicans have got to start going into communities they typically go to and speak and listen.

That connection is just a part of how people say I think he understands what I'm going through in life. But let me give you two other factors that are huge, how America is changing. They are cultural issues, Anderson. If you're married, you are voting Republican by 29 points according to the exit polls. If you are single, you voted Democrat by 14 points.

Think of the gap between single and married. And then also huge issue, religion. America is increasingly becoming a secular country. And 17 percent of the Americans told exit pollsters they never go to church or synagogue, 29-point Democrat advantage among those who never go. But among those who go to synagogue or church every week, plus-19 Republican.

The cultural divides are turning the Republican Party, and this is the red state/blue state issue, into essentially an older party, that is a more churchgoing party of married families and children. Democrats are increasingly younger, more secular and unmarried. And the numbers don't look good for Republicans.

COOPER: Erick, where do you come down on this whole notion of did the party go too far right? Should it be more sort of center- right? Or are you of the opinion that Romney was too center-right and not conservative enough?

ERICK ERICKSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think the problem with Mitt Romney was it depended on the time of day and the week as to what position he was and where he was.

That was part of the problem. Look, when you have a guy who agrees, by the way, in the first debate, which everyone says he won, he actually substantively with Barack Obama on seven of 10 positions, seven in the second debate, five in the third debate. When instead of drawing bright lights, you're trying to blurry them so you can do this passive-aggressive campaign, where you say I will be a better manager but I'm not really going to tell you where you stand, people are going to go with the politician they know, not the politician they don't know. You have got to actually be able to articulate your vision for the country...


COOPER: Erick, are you just saying that what the GOP had was a Mitt Romney problem or do you think there is a GOP problem? If there is, what do you think it is?

ERICKSON: I think it's both.

Part of the problems the Republicans have is they have been successful for 30 years and they have forgotten that they can't just talk inside the echo chamber. They have to go outside the echo chamber. They have got to be able to explain things to people.

When you're talking to Hispanic voters, it's really hard to woo Hispanic voters when they think you hate them. It's not the policies that Republicans advocate that hurt Hispanics, but they get that vibe from Republicans.


COOPER: You think it's just the way the message is delivered, as opposed to what the policies actually are?

ERICKSON: Look, freedom and equality of opportunity sell to everyone. The Republicans have a great message to sell. They just have to remember that a lot of people come from countries where that's not the message.

CASTELLANOS: Anderson, there are some things though that Republicans need to fix.

We are against big government, unless all of a sudden big government agrees with us or we're running it, especially on social issues, freedom nationally, values locally. Get government out of our lives. I think we saw a lot of excitement from Ron Paul come into the Republican Party. We saw a lot of youth there. That's the future of the party, I think. We can't cheat and cut across the track and hug big government when it agrees with us. COOPER: Right.


FLEISCHER: The future of the party is through economic growth and economic ideas.

Our number one problem remains debt. And that still is something that Republicans have to lead the way in solving.

COOPER: We have to leave it there.

Erick, Kristen, Alex, Ari, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

Let me know what you think about this, whether you're Democrat or Republican. Send me a message on Twitter @AndersonCooper.

Coming up tonight, what is next for Mitt Romney? A look at the former governor's political future, if he really has any. Is he just going to kind of like go the way like Mike Dukakis, kind of disappear from the national stage? When we continue.



MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction, but the nation chose another leader, and so Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for him and for this great nation.


COOPER: Mitt Romney, obviously last night, conceding the election. He spoke for less than five minutes, half as long as John McCain did in 2008. Governor Romney also said this. Listen.


ROMNEY: I want to thank Paul Ryan for all that he has done for our campaign. And for our country. Besides my wife, Ann, Paul is the best choice I've ever made. And I trust that his intellect, that his hard work and his commitment to principle will continue to contribute to the good of our nation.


COOPER: Well, one thing Paul Ryan was not able to do was deliver Wisconsin, his home state. Obviously, a key battleground. Its voters helped push President Obama over the victory line, as they did four years ago. Congressman Ryan did win reelection to his House seat. Remember, his state's election law, he was able to run for an eighth term concurrently with his vice-presidential bid. He is expected to return to Washington.

Mitt Romney's next step, though, isn't really as clear. Candy Crowley and Gloria Borger join me once again. And Candy, two failed presidential bids, a one-term governorship of a state that resoundingly voted against him last night, and a Republican base that clearly was never too enthusiastic about him and is today kind of attacking him. Does Mitt Romney have a political future on the national stage?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm not sure Mitt Romney wants a political future on the national stage. I mean, this was -- this was not an easy fit, Mitt Romney, with this particular iteration of the Republican Party. In general, the Republican Party, unless you have a base to return to, as Paul Ryan does, but if you're Bob Dole who quit the Senate to run, you do tend to kind of disappear. People don't come back to those who lost elections for them and look for a lot of things.

But if you're a John McCain, you can go back to the Senate. You can certainly turn that into something. And John McCain is one of the most powerful voices of criticism against President Obama, particularly when it comes to foreign policy.

John Kerry, the same thing; he had a Senate seat.

But there's no -- there's no place in politics, no elective office that Mitt Romney holds now. So I don't see where he easily fits back into this party.

COOPER: He can become a cable TV host. Who knows? One of those networks out there.

But what do you think? Do you think he has -- it seems like a lot of the Republican Party today...

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: He's gone, over, history. It sounded like a valedictory to me last night. And he didn't talk about "our cause will win; we're going to continue to fight in the future." It was sort of like he was going to recede, and he'd done it twice. He tried, he lost.

And there are a lot of people who regarded him as a transitional figure even when he was the nominee of the party. So I think he'll probably go back to business, maybe to Bain Capital, who knows? But I don't see politics in his future.

COOPER: Candy, what about Paul Ryan? He's long been considered one of the rising stars of the Republican Congress. Will he just pick up where he left off, as kind of an increased superstar budget wonk? Or do you see him try to broaden out, you know, claim the mantle of party standard bearer?

CROWLEY: He's got time. Listen, he has something that is very hard for a House member to get, and that is nationwide recognition. He also is a bona fide brainiac when it comes budget things. You may not agree with what he would like to do with the budget, but he understands the budget. So there is still a place for him there.

He certainly does speak for the conservative wing in the fiscal part, but he's also very pragmatic. So yes, I mean, I think he can -- there has been talk, maybe he should go to a think tank, hang out for a while. Think big thoughts. It's a nice spot. He clearly wanted to keep it if he wasn't going to get the vice presidency.

So I -- you know, I think he's young. He's 41 or 42. I think he's one of the contenders when you look four years from now, if that's the route he wants to go.

COOPER: Yes, Candy Crowley, appreciate it.

Gloria Borger, thanks very much.

Joining me now is former New York City mayor, Rudy Giuliani. Mr. Mayor, thanks very much for being with us.

Looking at last night's exit poll results, it's clear -- or I guess I should ask you, do you think it's clear that your party has a big problem on its hands reaching out to Hispanic Americans, for instance?


COOPER: The Hispanic vote's decreasing. And if so, what do you do about that?

GIULIANI: Well, I certainly agree that we have a big problem reaching out to the Hispanic vote. What was it, 25 percent? I ran for mayor of New York, and each time I ran, I got a higher percentage of the Hispanic vote. They probably elected me, with 43 percent. Then I got 48 percent.

I think that President Bush had us up to about 40, 44, 48 percent nationally. And since then, we've been declining.

I think -- I think there's one big issue. I think Lindsey Graham would agree with this. I just talked to Lindsey about this a couple days ago. We've got to get over this immigration reform hurdle. And President Bush was on the right track with comprehensive immigration reform. If we had passed that, we would be a party that probably had a 40, 45 percent Hispanic base.

COOPER: How do you sell that message to -- to, you know, the fringe of -- of your party? Because that's not a message they want to hear.

GIULIANI: Big opportunity lost, really, in Mitt Romney losing, because I think that's one of the things Mitt Romney could have accomplished. With a Democratic Senate, Republican House, a new president, he probably could have gotten 100, 150 Republican votes for comprehensive immigration reforms, which means to the Hispanic community being sensible about the 12, 14, 15 million people that are here. He can't deport them all; he can't chase them all out.

Sure, you can focus on the ones that are criminals or the ones that are doing bad things. But I know that community really well, and 90 percent of them are hard-working people who are actually making a contribution. So why the heck do we want to hound them? And I think that's what -- that's the major thing that hurts us, and...

COOPER: It's also interesting about your record. I mean, you're someone who's held positions on social issues that certainly are not in step with the rest of your party as it is right now.

According to exit polls, unmarried women went for the president by nearly 40 points. Do you think what Democrats -- you know, what they said was a war on women message resonated? Should your party adjust its approach on women's issues, especially reproductive issues, or you know, same-sex issues, same-sex marriage?

GIULIANI: Well, I...

COOPER: Does there need to be an evolution there?

GIULIANI: I ran that way in 2008. I didn't get the nomination. And nobody with my views ran in 2012. Frankly, Anderson, I didn't run in 2012, because I didn't think I could be nominated, being pro-choice and being pro-gay rights.

I signed -- as mayor of New York, I signed the first -- I think the first in the nation civil union bill. And that was...

COOPER: Didn't you officiate at a gay wedding, I think?

GIULIANI: No, didn't do that.


GIULIANI: Still -- still believe marriage should be between a man and a woman, but I'm very open to civil unions. And I'm also open to allowing states to do decide this on a state by state basis. So if New York wants gay marriage, fine. If some other state doesn't want to have gay marriage.

Here we are a party that believes in states' rights. Until we get to an issue like gay marriage. And then we don't believe in states' rights.

COOPER: And also, you're the party that doesn't believe in, you know, a heavy federal government involvement in, you know, people's private lives unless on certain issues. And again, it's something Alex Castellanos brought up earlier. So again, how does -- how do things evolve in that? Do they need to evolve, from your point of view?

GIULIANI: My ideal Republican Party would be a Republican Party that was fiscally conservative, conservative on foreign policy and military policy, and on social issues, we would be libertarian. We would, "We're going to stay out of your pocketbook, and we're going to stay out of your bedroom." And I think that party could be a majority party.

COOPER: You know, people said -- sorry. Go ahead.

GIULIANI: I think if we were running that way this time, I think we'd win by 4 or 5 percent.

COOPER: What about the Tea Party? People said the Tea Party decided it wanted "pure candidates," and I put that in quotes. Your party lost some un-losable races that they may have cost Republicans control of the Senate, because the Republicans can't win with the Tea Party, but they can't win without them. And a lot of leaders don't feel comfortable publicly, you know, even bringing this issue up.

GIULIANI: Well, I think what we really should try to do with the Tea Party, to get them to figure out what are your priority issues? Their priority issue, the whole reason they got established, was big government, heavy taxes, Obama care, government trying to direct your life, and then allow a certain amount of flexibility on social issues.

If we could organize around fiscal conservatism, conservatism on foreign policy, and on -- and on military policy, and then allow people to disagree with each other, sort of in the Ronald Reagan mold of "if you agree with me on eight out of ten issues, you're my friend."

Somehow, we're going to have to get around to that kind of party. Otherwise -- and I've been saying this for, you know, ten years, otherwise, we give away -- look at the map. We give away the entire northeast and we give away the entire West Coast. By the time we get to the electoral vote, we've got to win by one state, two states. And, you know, when you get a good campaign against you -- Barack Obama had a great ground game and a great campaign -- then you lose.

COOPER: I've got to go. But I want to ask you very briefly, do you think Mitt Romney has a role on the national stage in the Republican Party? Or do you think, you know, he goes kind of like Mike Dukakis, kind of disappears from the national stage?

GIULIANI: We don't do that. Republicans don't reject their prior candidates. I mean, we've had lots of candidates...

COOPER: I've heard a lot of rejection today.

GIULIANI: I know, I know. The day after we reject them, and then a year later -- a year later, they have a role in the party.

Mitt Romney -- Mitt Romney ran a very, very good race. You know, reality is, he's a very, very intelligent man. He's got a lot of terrific ideas. He's someone that can play a big role in this party.

Will he be a candidate again? I doubt that. There are an awful lot of candidates coming along. But will he be someone that we respect, admire? I gained tremendous -- I ran against Mitt Romney, and I saw in 2012 a Mitt Romney that I really, really admired.

COOPER: OK. Mayor Giuliani, appreciate you being on. Thank you very much.

GIULIANI: Thank you.

COOPER; It's been a long day. President Obama's victory comes with new challenges. History shows second terms, of course, can be tricky. We'll look at the pitfalls and the possibilities. Stay tuned for that.


COOPER: Hey, welcome back.

Barack Obama obviously won entry last night to the ranks of two- term presidents. The day after President George W. Bush was reelected, CNN's John King asked him about the freedom that comes with winning a second term. Listen.


JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And also whether you feel more free to do any one thing in a second term that perhaps you were politically constrained from doing on the first.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You ask do I feel free? Let me put it to you this way. I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it. It is my style.


COOPER: President Bush forged ahead with an ambitious domestic agenda, but his second term ended with a financial crash.

President Clinton spent much of his second term mired in a sex scandal and fighting impeachment.

Even if they manage to avoid major missteps and scandal, second- term presidents are lame ducks, which brings its own set of problem. Let's talk about that with Cornell Belcher, Democratic strategist, Obama 2012 pollster; also Van Jones, former special advisor to the Obama White House. Alex Castellanos is also back.

Cornell, first of all, I would expect that you would take the day off and at least maybe a couple months off.

CORNELL BELCHER, OBAMA 2012 POLLSTER: Your producers -- your producers kept calling me.

COOPER: I apologize about that.

Alex, let me start with you. The biggest difference from a first term to a second term is the president doesn't have to worry about running again. I know you don't agree with President Obama's policies.

But you heard President Bush in that clip from 2004. Re-election brings with it a certain amount of political capital. Do you think it does with President Obama?

CASTELLANOS: Yes, I think "free at last." He doesn't have to answer to voters. He's got tremendous flexibility now.

And you know, it happens to politicians, and it happens to athletes. Once they've won a big one, once they've won a major championship, they are -- the pressure is off, and they can become better athletes. The same thing is true with politicians.

Barack Obama has an opportunity now to kind of lift his eyes over the horizon and see how history is going to judge it, not how the next election is going to judge him.

He has two things he has to deal with: debt and economic growth. He can focus on that like a laser, and the politics is going to get smaller and the presidency now, I think, can get bigger.

COOPER: Cornell, what do you see is different? What could change now?

BELCHER: I think that's -- I think that's well said.

Look, this time, the presidents, whoever they are -- Democrat, Republican -- they start thinking about legacy. So what are the big things that they can get accomplished, where they -- you know, they don't have to worry about re-election.

You know, what Alex said, clearly the debt and economic growth there, but also, you know, I've got to think -- and I have no information on this. But poverty, it's a big issue that's on the left. You know, his (UNINTELLIGIBLE) has been screaming about.

Let's also understand that poverty is someplace where this president started. You know, he started organizing for churches, you know, and urban areas, you know, people in poverty. So I also got to think -- this is my dark -- my dark horse issue here in a second term. It's also a real look at poverty and what we do about poverty in this country.

BLITZER: Van, what do you see -- what do you see changing? Does the president change his style? How do you think things are different now?

JONES: Well, I mean, he will focus now on this question of the debt and deficit. He's been clear about that. He wants to do it with a balanced approach. I do think he wants to be the president that was able to solve some of the problems he sees with entitlements.

There's going to be some thunder on the left. His liberal base is going to be very concerned that we don't have a 10-1 deal on revenues versus spending, but that's got to be there.

But I really do think that Cornell touches on something very important. The African-American community has been very patient and very quiet, as a lot of pain and suffering has begun to accumulate in the black community. This community has lost almost 60 percent of its wealth in the housing debacle, job crisis, kids in prison, urban poverty, has not been discussed yet. This community still came out nonetheless, 93 percent for the president and one Ohio form. I think there's an opportunity for him to now turn back to this space that's been there for him and find some pathway forward. Some jobs for youth program, something like that, could be a part of his legacy.

COOPER: Cornell, just very briefly, I haven't asked you about last night. Was there ever a moment in the final couple of days, where you thought the president was not going to win?

BELCHER: You know, here's the thing, Anderson. It happened exactly how I laid it out. I said it would be tight in a lot of states, but in the end, from an electoral map standpoint, we were going to be solid. You know, we were going to be solid in Ohio; we were going to be solid in Virginia. And I think in the end we're going to win Florida, because we put in a ground operation there. We -- you know, we expanded the electorate there. We registered voters there. We ran really good programs there in those key battleground states. A lot changed from nationally, but you look at the coalition in those battleground states, not a lot changed from how it looked in '08.

COOPER: All right. Cornell Belcher, Van Jones, Alex Castellanos, guys, thanks very much.

Another big story we're following tonight, and it's exactly what hundreds of thousands of people still suffering in the wake of Superstorm Sandy do not want to hear. Take a look at that. Staten Island, New York, blanketed in snow. Another storm slamming the East Coast. Rob Marciano's tracking the storm from one of the places his by Sandy the hardest, next.


COOPER: Tonight the northeast is getting hit hard by another storm, a nor'easter that began pounding the region today. I want to show you some of the hardest hit areas.

Heavy rain, snow, up to 60-mile-an-hour winds for the battered Jersey Shore. Cities across New York and New Jersey and Staten Island, hard hit by Sandy, 3,500 customers still without power. It is dark; they are cold. Look at that.

Meteorologist Rob Marciano is live in Staten Island tonight. He joins me now. Rob, another storm. How bad is it?

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, you can see, the snow coming down. Obviously, it's cold enough for snow. The winds are blowing, as you mentioned.

We are just a couple of hundred yards from the ocean where this time during Sandy, the water was up and over my shoulders. So this area was decimated. The houses aren't completely destroyed, but certainly flood damage everywhere. And now it's covered with snow. We've got about 3 to 4 inches of it. The kids out here earlier making light of it, at least trying to have a good time, making a snowman. But inside this home are the Cameradas. And they only have light because they are plugged into our satellite truck right now. I spoke with them earlier today. For them, it's really all about a matter of survival.


NICK CAMERADA, STATEN ISLAND RESIDENT: I went through the most pain that I ever went through in my whole life: from being electrocuted trying to get back into my house to watching every -- all my possessions and my family practically almost dying. You know, a few days without sleep, you can't sleep when you're living in a house with propane and you're worried about you're going to not wake up from carbon monoxide poisoning.

DIANE CAMERADA, STATEN ISLAND RESIDENT: This has been a week from hell. I mean, you know, I'm grateful that I have my family. I could have lost three of them and my husband out there from the water coming up so fast.


MARCIANO: You know, your heart just goes out to these people, Anderson. It's been over a week now, and they are just physically and emotionally beaten down. And now this.


MARCIANO: And with the winds whipping, those people that actually are lucky enough to have gotten power back, they may lose it again tonight with its heavy, wet snow. And the wind's picking up with this storm. Certainly unusual and not what they needed -- Anderson.

COOPER: Very quickly, how long is it going to last around that area?

MARCIANO: Well, the snow probably going to last at least through midnight, maybe all the way till day break. So we could see several more inches. We've got winter storm warnings up. Can you believe that? After a hurricane came through just over a week ago. And high- wind warnings up, as well. It's a dangerous situation. It won't be done until at least daybreak tomorrow, Anderson.

COOPER: Brutal. Rob, appreciate the reporting. Thanks. Get warm.


COOPER: We'll be right back.


COOPER: OK, that's it for us. Thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now.