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Live Election Results; No Call Yet in Alaska; How the Republicans Won

Aired November 04, 2014 - 01:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: In Alaska right now, the race between the incumbent Democrat, Mark Begich, and Dan Sullivan, the Republican challenger, no projection. We cannot yet make a projection. The polls have just closed in Alaska.

Mark Begich, Dan Sullivan, we don't have enough information yet to see if the incumbent Democrat gets re-elected or if the Republican challenger takes that seat. That would be another pickup for the Republicans right now.

Here's the count where it stands. You see 52 Republicans at least will be in the next United States Senate, 45 Democrats. They're still waiting for Virginia. We know there will be a runoff in Louisiana. None of the candidates there got 50 percent.

So Mary Landrieu, the incumbent in Louisiana will face Bo Cassidy, the Republican. That will be on December 6. We'll see what happens in Louisiana. Let's take a look at the exit polls right now for Alaska. These are based on exit interviews with a sampling of voters.

Dan Sullivan, the Republican, 49 percent, Mark Begich, the incumbent Democrat, 47 percent. That's the exit poll that we got. Remember, these are estimates based on a survey of voters.

The final outcome in Alaska could be different. We use these exit polls to make projections only in non-competitive races. We want to be fully transparent. Make sure our viewers get the same information we have.

Let me update you now on what's going on in Virginia right now, 95 percent of the vote is in. Look at how close it is. Mark Warner, the incumbent Democrat, he has a 12,462 vote advantage over the Republican challenger, Ed Gillespie, 49.1 percent to 48.5 percent, 5 percent of the vote still outstanding.

This is a very, very close race, a lot closer than a lot of the experts. The pollster, the pundits were suggesting Mark Warner is slightly ahead of Ed Gillespie right now.

I want to go to Jake Tapper. He's got a governor's projection right now.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: I've got three governors projections for you actually, Wolf, and for you the American people. First of all in Massachusetts, CNN projecting that the Republicans Charlie Baker will be the next governor of Massachusetts. He defeats Democrat Martha Coakley, another Democratic loss in a blue state, big Republican pick up in the state of Massachusetts -- Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

In Kansas, CNN projecting that Republican Governor Sam Brownback will be re-elected. He faced a tough race, but ultimately he will pull it out, CNN projects.

In Idaho, no surprise here, the man with the best name in American politics, Republican Governor Butch Otter will be re-elected the governor of Idaho.

Let's go now to Vermont, an important thing as we mentioned before. In Vermont, it's an interesting quirk in that state. If you don't reach 50 percent, it goes to the legislator. Democrat Peter Shumlin, the incumbent governor, 47 percent against Scott Milne. That will go to the Democratic-controlled legislature to decide.

He is ultimately ahead, and so probably he will be elected governor, but we have to wait and see what the legislature does. Now, let's take in some of the vote counts coming in from Connecticut. We are not making a projection.

Tom Foley, the Republican, just 6,908 votes ahead of the Democrat incumbent Governor Dan Malloy. In Colorado, we're not making a projection. Bob Beauprez 13,537 votes ahead of incumbent Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper.

And then in Main, Paul LePage, 48 percent against the Democrat Mike Michaud, and of the independent, Eliot Cutler. Let's take a look at the maps, what's still outstanding in this country in terms of governor's races we have not called.

We're still waiting for Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island and Colorado. So there's still a lot going on. Anderson, I have to say, this is a wave, not only in the Senate, but in a lot of these governor's races if you look at Maryland, you look at Massachusetts. How close it is in places like Connecticut that we just talked about.

COOPER: Where President Obama campaigned -- one of the few places he actually campaigned for the Democratic candidate. Peter, does that surprise you?

PETER HAMBY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Republicans are feeling good about Rhode Island, Colorado, Maryland, but honestly, they would say people are genuinely surprised tonight. Maine surprises me. Eliot Cutler, the third party guy dropped out of the race and said, don't vote for me and he's still getting 8 percent of the vote.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm stunned by Brownback. Honestly, Brownback was very unpopular in Kansas. His tax cuts prompted Standard & Poor's to downgrade their bond rating in August. People were upset about spending in the state. They said this is a Tea Party experiment that has failed and they re-elect him.

COOPER: What stands out to you, Stephanie? What do you expect President Obama to say tomorrow?

STEPHANIE CUTTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: There are lots of surprises tonight, the closeness in Virginia that we saw that race tightening. That's a big surprise. What is the president going to stay tomorrow? I would expect that he's going to say the American people have spoken. They don't like the way Washington is working. They want better from us and it's going to take us collectively working together to do that.

COOPER: Paul Begala just said it's a matter of time until the president sees this or admits that this is a repudiation of him. Do you think he will come around to that?

CUTTER: I think that he's going to see it as partly his responsibility and take that seriously, but he also is going to also acknowledge that part of what voters are saying is that Washington isn't working. Congress has a 60 percent disapproval rating. Republicans, this is not exactly a love affair for Republicans.

This is a statement that the current system is not working. So Republicans can learn that lesson and reach across Pennsylvania Avenue to work with the president, and I think you'll find a willing partner there.

CORNELL BELCHER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: look, hats off to Republicans. They had a good night. I sat at this desk enough times where I've been on the good side of the night to understand --

BORGER: It feels better.

BELCHER: You had a good night and you won some places. When you lose Maryland, it's a wave. But also the bigger picture to me is the volatility of the American electorate.

You know, in 2008, we had a change election. I was on the winning side of that. The Democrats picked up some states like wow, we picked up there? The electorate is still very volatile, still looking for change. I mean, they've given Republicans the opportunity to sort of govern now in the Senate.

But do not mistake this for a love affair, what you're saying is they're looking for some changes and shake-up. And the question is will they get it. If they don't get it, in two years you're going to see again a changed electorate ushering in the same sort of sweeps across the nation.

CUTTER: I think you're going to see that anyway in 2016, just because it's a presidential year, coalition of people vote, changes dramatically much more in favor of Democrats. You'll see Republican Senate seats in blue states up for re-election in the midst of a presidential year.

If the Republicans don't see this as a mandate or voters out there suddenly embrace them and realize how they have to govern differently also, I think that does put them in a different position going into 2016, Boehner maybe with an increased majority with different types of candidates coming to Washington.

After this election might have a little bit more rope from the Tea Party to compromise with the president. We tried that back in 2010 after Republicans took the House and the Tea Party yanked him right back.

COOPER: Do you see this as different types of Republicans coming back to Washington?

CUTTER: I don't think we know that yet because the Tea Party folks, Paul pointed this out, you have Joni Ernst who promised to impeach the president, Cory Gardner, who was a co-sponsor of the personhood amendment in Congress.

They were backing away of those things in the general election. Let's see how they operate here in Washington whether they do want to get something done, reach across the aisle, or if they're going to start caucusing with the Tea Party.

BELCHER: Can I make one final point about the in the there's been a lot of back and forth. One of the things that's been difficult I know for the White House is quite frankly that they -- you all did a very good job of nationalizing the election, which is what we've would have done in the same position.

The problem for the White House has been this -- arguably the best campaigner our party has was basically locked away in the White House. And, in fact, when they were leading attacks because the president was never able to come out of the White House and defend himself.

And some of us now will make the case that when you look at the economic numbers, Americans are still anxious, but when you look at the economic numbers and you look at the stock market and look at corporations and manufacturing jobs picking up again in a way they haven't since the '90s, there was a lot that the president could defend.

HAMBY: He's never been good about articulating those things. He's also quite at odds with the way the American people's perceptions.

COOPER: The way they feel. But let's look at some exit polls, though, that John King has, particularly in primary states, caucus states in terms of what we can learn for 2016.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Of course, we asked the question, Anderson. It's 2014. We still have a few races to sort through, but as this curtain falls on this race, the next one will begin.

Let's start with the Democrats and start with Iowa. The first caucuses are held in Iowa, 66 percent of the people voting, the Democrats voting today in Iowa said Hillary Clinton is their choice. It's early, but she'll like those numbers.

Remember that's President Obama, Senator Obama beat her there. Elizabeth Warren is getting 11 percent, Joe Biden placing third at 8 percent unless you consider other Democrats for others at 15 percent. So overwhelming, 66 percent for Hillary Clinton in Iowa, 64 percent in New Hampshire, which is the first primary state just after saying they are for Hillary Clinton.

She did win there in 2008, 18 percent for Elizabeth Warren, 14 percent for other, and poor Joe Biden, 4 percent of the Democrats in New Hampshire picking Joe Biden.

And let's move on to the third state on the calendar. That will be South Carolina, again, 68 percent for Hillary Clinton, 16 percent for Joe Biden. Take that, Elizabeth Warren, she is only 5 percent in South Carolina. No breaking news here, in the first three states, the juggernaut at the moment, Hillary Clinton is the overwhelming favorite of Democrats. We'll see if that one holds up as we go from now to then.

COOPER: And that certainly may soften the blow that some people have been already pointing to Hillary Clinton. We heard this from Rand Paul -- he already said, you know, Hillary Clinton has no coattails for the candidates she and her husband campaigned for.

BORGER: We were talking about earlier how President Obama has this problem now. Actually, I think Hillary Clinton has this problem now if it's going to be a problem. If something doesn't -- if Democrats don't behave the way people want them to behave, she can -- it's a problem for her.

If Republicans don't behave in a way people want them to behave, she can run -- you know, she can run against them. But I think very quickly now, aside from the legacy issue for this president, it moves right to Hillary Clinton.

And that's why you heard Rand Paul, first thing out of his mouth tonight was talking about Hillary Clinton. He wasn't talking about President Obama anymore. That's kind of over for him because he's running the next race.

HAMBY: The numbers, I think some people look at that lead and think Hillary Clinton is an unbeatable frontrunner. Other people should look at that lead and say there's a ton of running room there based on the elections tonight.

I think there generally is a hunger out there for somebody who's a little bit different, not tied to Washington, not tied to sort of cautious centrism or Wall Street or whatever. And that's why you see Elizabeth Warren who is organically at 13 percent without doing anything. People want that -- she's comfortable in her skin, know what is she's talking about, good at communicating.

TAPPER: We're seeing not just Republicans attacking Hillary Clinton. We are seeing the attacks on each other already starting. A few days ago, Ted Cruz is saying that nominating Jeb Bush would be like nominating moderates, who have lost elections in the past, Bob Dole, John McCain, Mitt Romney.

And then there's been this fight going back and forth. We talked about it earlier today between Scott Walker, who was re-elected governor of Wisconsin, not so southerly digging at Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, who was head of the Republican Governors Association.

Basically faulting him for not doing enough to give money to him to be re-elected, you have to point out they gave a lot of money, and he was re-elected and that Chris Christie had one hell of a night with Republican governors.

HAMBY: And Democrats were really poking Christie for wasting money in places like New Hampshire where they didn't win, Iowa where they didn't win. But going into Connecticut, Rhode Island and Maryland, that's arming Christie with a very strong political talking point --

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This is an additional problem for Hillary Clinton or whomever the Democrat nominee ends up being. Now you've got a lot of statewide elected Republicans. So instead of her having Democrat allies in places like Iowa, a Democrat governor in a place like Florida and state legislatures, you've got these places dominated by Republicans. And so that limits the amount of allies that you have coming into a campaign.

TAPPER: I believe that the Democrats in Kentucky held on to the legislature, which means that Rand Paul, should run for president, cannot count on Kentucky changing the law so that he can run for reelection to the Senate at the same time he runs for president, which has happened in the past in places like Connecticut when Lieberman ran for vice president at the same time he ran for re-election in the Senate and Mitt Romney --

BORGER: Mitt Romney had a good night, too. A lot of the red states that he campaigned in, that he won in the last election, he was out constantly. By the way, I don't think he's running for president, but this is a little redemption tour for him.

HAMBY: So many people are going to take credit for this, you know, Romney, Christie, Chamber Of Commerce, Americans For Prosperity --

BORGER: Everyone except the president.

HAMBY: Failure is an orphan and success as a father.

NAVARRO: But the truth is, a lot of people do deserve credit for this. It wasn't just one entity or one person.

COOPER: Let's take a look -- we just looked at Democratic exit poll numbers. Let's look at Republican exit poll numbers.

KING: With very different but clear theme, Anderson. The juggernaut Clinton was the overwhelming favorite among Democrats. Among Republicans, look. Yes. It's anybody's field at the moment. This is Iowa Republicans, 15 percent for Jeb Bush, 12 percent for Chris Christie, 19 percent for Mike Huckabee, 14 percent for Rand Paul, 17 percent for Rick Perry, and 23 percent for other.

So other in the lead at the moment, you see you've got a split Republican field. This is not all the candidates. You put your Santorums, your Cruzs and Rubios, and the like down there, that's the state of Iowa, wide open.

No question Chris Christie made friends. Let's move on to New Hampshire, Jeb Bush at 22 percent, more main stream, 15 percent for Chris Christie, the establishment about 37 percent. We'll see if they both run. Mike Huckabee getting 10 percent.

Rand Paul, this to the point Gloria is making, 21 percent in the state of New Hampshire. Rick Perry, strong in Iowa, not so much when it comes to New Hampshire, 29 percent, other at this early point in the state of New Hampshire.

Number three is South Carolina. Remember, we go to South Carolina and look at this, other in the lead with 28 percent. Mike Huckabee who most people think is unlikely to run, 20 percent, name I.D. there, 18 percent for Jeb Bush in South Carolina.

He campaigned down there for the governor, 12 percent. Rand Paul at 12 percent. Rick Perry at 10 percent. So a fractured field all around. We asked a different question in Florida, which comes next on the primary calendar, if they keep the primary calendar the same, but it's a big battleground state.

This is all voters in the state of Florida, 31 percent said they want to vote for Hillary Clinton for president, 37 percent said the Republican candidate and 29 percent gave what I think we all consider to be the most common sense answer, since it's November 2014 and not November 2016, it depends.

COOPER: It really does. What Republican candidate should they take from that?

CUTTER: I think Republicans should see it as a wide open field because that's what it is and I think that each one of those candidates represents a different piece of the party. Chris Christie completely emboldened by this election. He was the head of RGA. They won all of those governorships.

Many of them big surprises to Democrats. He certainly takes up a lot of oxygen in a certain space of the Republican Party. Rand Paul is on the other side of the Republican Party and could catch on with a different demographic, particularly young people who are looking for change.

I think the Republican race is wide open. I think the last one in Florida between Hillary, some unnamed Republican and yet to be determined, it depends reflects the state of the country. I don't think anybody should be taking anything for granted.

CORNELL BELCHER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Can I just in here real quickly? All those polls right now are worthless.

COOPER: Because it's too early?

BELCHER: Because the dynamics of this race have not yet begun to unfold.

HAMBY: Those are conceptual candidates. They haven't actually got into the race.

BELCHER: Let me make a pitch for what I think is the most interesting to happen to the Republican Party. That's Senator Rand Paul. Why do I think it's the most interesting? Rand Paul is a Republican who's been to the campus of Howard recently and is reaching out and trying to reach across lines to minority voters.

And this is the problem for Republicans going into the next election. They won't have this electorate again. They still lost Latino voters 64-34 and African-American voters 89-10. You cannot lose at that margin on the national scale going into a presidential year and hope to be president of the United States. Rand Paul becomes a real interesting candidate.

HAMBY: But I wonder how much he -- he's obviously dong those things, and I think people give him credit for that, but he's criticized for not changing on the policy side of things. I mean, he's sort of -- he's not taking brave positions. He's talking about things that are sort of generally popular.

Keep the government out of my cell phone or sentencing reform. Things like that .I was with him at the college of Charleston when he was doing this campus outreach thing and I asked him about gay marriage, for example. A vast majority of people under the age of 30 support same-sex marriage.

It's settled and he opposes same-sex marriage. He thinks it should be up to the states. But on the policy side of the things, there's a lot of things where he doesn't exactly square with Hispanic voters or young --

BELCHER: That's absolutely right. He still struggles to answer the question of whether or not who to vote for, however, it's courageous. Again, I'm a partisan Democrat. It's courageous for him to talk about, to say you look at the criminal justice system and think that it's color blind, there's something wrong with you. That's a courageous statement by a Republican.

NAVARRO: The lessons for Republicans are primaries matter, getting out a candidate that can be elected in a general election matters and making the effort matters. We saw good research. A lot of these campaigns hinged on research. It was probably Bruce Railey dissing farmers that probably cost him in the election.

TAPPER: You talked about opposition research?

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You asked what does the president say tomorrow? I'm wondering what do Republicans say tomorrow? What I participate them saying is I anticipate the Republican House leadership and the Senate House leadership standing up and announcing joint initiatives, ala Newt with his contract for America. And now putting forth an agenda and trying to recast from being the party of no. You heard Ted Cruz say tonight to Wolf Blitzer that he hopes that agenda will pay some allegiance to the base that caused tonight's victory.

And at the top of his list, what did he say, Obamacare and illegal immigration. If dealing with illegal immigration becomes a hallmark of what these Republicans seek to do, I think it's going to put them at odds with Jeb Bush. I'm interesting in seeing how those dynamics play out within the party, the victory and Jeb being the candidate who's leading in several of those states.

NAVARRO: I'm not sure that's right. If you take a look at Florida, for example, what did Rick Scott do this year preparing for this election? He signed in state tuition. If you take a look at the positions that Cory Gardner took, now that he's running in the Senate on immigration, they were much more reformist. If you take a look at Mike Kauffman, who was the most targeted House race in Colorado in the country maybe, he was also a reformer on immigration. So I'm not sure if it's as black and white as you think.

SMERCONISH: When Jeb served notice that he was interested and he made that statement, he tried to make it appear that it was extemporaneous. I think it was completely deliberate when he says he said interprets illegal immigration in certain circumstances as an act of love.

I'm sure you remember those words. There was total blowback from the conservative community. I think that was his way of saying you want me in this is what it's going to take.

NAVARRO: People don't understand Jeb Bush because frankly he hasn't been in the Washington vortex for a long time and the media doesn't know him well and he's out of Florida. He doesn't need people to tell him do you want me in. Jeb Bush is going to ask himself two questions. Do I want to do this and should I do this? I think he maybe has already answered the first one but not the second one.

SMERCONISH: You may know him better than I do, but he's also the guy who said that his father and Ronald Reagan could never survive this primary and this caucus process, meaning on the Republican side of the aisle. And I am saying, I think it's him saying I'm not playing crazy, you want me, this is the way I'm going to be.

TAPPER: A showdown coming when it comes to the Republican Party. You're going to see the Rand Paul grassroots Republicans and others and Ted Cruz in there, too, against the establishment Republicans representing by perhaps Jeb Bush, perhaps Chris Christie, who knows.

And there's going to be a huge effort by the Republican establishment to try to de-legitimatize Rand Paul, as much as possible. They're going to bring out any crack pot whoever met Ron Paul, his father. They're going to talk about his isolationist stance. There's going to be a big effort. Before Democrats do anything to Rand Paul, the Republican establishment is going to --

BORGER: Rand Paul has a lot of power in the Senate right now. He traveled to 32 states and his leadership pact ran all this money for Republicans. He's playing an inside game for an outsider, who portrays himself as somebody who's different. He's very difficult. He's got a lot of power. It's difficult for him to compete in it unless the anti-Washington sentiment remains so immense that he can overcome it or any Republican --

HAMBY: The problem for Jeb Bush and Chris Christ and anyone who signed the dream act is that the sentiment that brought down Rick Perry in Orlando in 2011 in the Google debate has not changed. He cratered in the Republican primary. People forget, the day before bridgegate popped, Chris Christie was in New Jersey signing the dream act. It was heralded by Republicans as a sort of --

TAPPER: Children of illegal immigrants.

HAMBY: Right. That more than anything sort of tarnished his rep on the right, now in a Republican primary especially in a big field, you know, remember John McCain championed immigration reform and won 25 percent in a bunch of states.

You don't necessarily need to get those voters. Those voters who are rapidly opposed to immigration reform, but that sentiment hasn't changed. No matter how many times the RNC talks about the growth in opportunity project --

NAVARRO: But remember, though, that when Rick Perry made that case, he was like under heavy medication and very inarticulate about it. My hope is whomever does make that case in the next primary can do it --

COOPER: If President Obama takes executive action on immigration reform, what does that do to this entire debate on the Republican side? But we've got to take a quick break.

Republicans won control of the U.S. Senate for the first time since the Bush presidency. Coming up, how is that going to impact President Obama's last two years in office? Is his agenda an uphill climb or will he actually get something accomplished? We'll be right back.


BLITZER: The Republicans will be in the majority, not only in the House of Representative, but in the United States Senate based on all the wins they had tonight. Here's an update on some of the key races we are still following right now.

In Alaska, the polls closed about half an hour or so ago. The Republican Dan Sullivan is ahead of the incumbent Democrat, Mark Begich, 50 percent to 44 percent, 25 percent of the vote is in, about 3,500 vote lead. The Republican Dan Sullivan over Mark Begich, we have not made a projection there.

Let's go to Connecticut. The governor's race in Connecticut, we have not made a projection there either. Dan Malloy, the incumbent Democrat, he's got 51 percent over Tom Foley, the Republican challenger, 70 percent of the vote is in. Once again no projection -- we don't have enough information for a projection yet. In Maine, the Republican Paul LePage, he's got 48 percent. He's about 18,000 votes ahead of his Democratic opponent, Mike Michaud, 44 percent, 85 percent of the vote in Maine is now in.

Let's go to Jake Tapper, he has a speech update right now.

TAPPER: That's right, Wolf. Thanks so much. No doubt. Washington, D.C. is the intended destination tonight, but as we continue to monitor who exactly gets a ticket to the capital, winners and losers alike are all expressing frustration with the dysfunction that's come to define Washington.


SENATOR MARK PRYOR (D), CONCESSION SPEECH: The biggest and most serious problem is the dysfunction of our political system in Washington.

SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL (R), VICTORY SPEECH: It was about a government that people no longer trust to carry out its most basic duties to keep them safe and protect the border and provide dignified and quality care for our veterans. A government that can't be trusted to do the basic things because it's too busy focus on things that it shouldn't be focusing on at all.

GREG ORMAN (I), CONCESSION SPEECH: We ran against the whole Washington establishment and Kansans and everyone in this room sent them a very strong message. You can't go to Washington and hide behind your party label. You have to go there and get stuff done.


TAPPER: Of course, the big question is, what does it mean to go against dysfunction, to go against Washington, D.C. not getting things done, Anderson? Does that mean coming together for compromise or does that mean we need to do things my way?

COOPER: And how does Mitch McConnell going to handle all this new crop of Republicans in Washington?

BORGER: I think he has Rand Paul to help him out because he has no choice. I think he's got presidential candidates populating in the Senate on his side of the aisle. Ted Cruz is going to go one way. Marco Rubio will be going another way. Rand Paul will be going in the direction that he tells Mitch McConnell to go.

And so I think McConnell has a very -- has a very tough job. Boehner also has a tough job, but they are both as we've been talking about all night, they're seasoned leaders. McConnell is not at the beginning of his career. Neither is John Boehner.

You talk about President Obama's legacy. They've got legacies that they want to think about as well. But, you know, he's got to figure out a way to carve out things that can get done.

Whether it's roads and bridges or a part of corporate tax reform or securing the border or whatever it is. It's in their self-interest, and that's ultimately what motivates, I think.

SMERCONISH: Joni Ernst has promised to her constituency that she's going to repeal Obamacare. OK, take that vote. But if it approaches 40 times in the Senate or House, know that they've gone too far in appeasing the base and it's still about confrontation and not about conciliation and compromise.

HAMBY: We're going to have a vote.

KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Obamacare is a widely unpopular law between Republicans and independents and some Democrats. So many of these candidates that are coming to Washington, folks like Joni Ernst, represents a pretty battleground state. They ran on spending reform, energy issues.

Those are the issues that they care about. And look, Mitch McConnell knows that he has a very tough 2016 map. He's going to make sure that he has a process up on Capitol Hill in the Senate that allows for some of these guys to vote on amendments.

That's one of the biggest stories about tonight is that Reid put so many of his senators that ran this year, 99 percent of the senators who supported Barack Obama 99 percent of the time because he didn't allow them to vote on amendments. He didn't allow them to vote against Barack Obama sometimes.

NAVARRO: There are two different relationships. One is the relationship between the House speaker and majority leader in the Senate. Until now, it's been dysfunctional. Then there's the relationship between Congress and the White House. I really think that John Boehner and Mitch McConnell both understand that they have to come to agreement on a few priority agenda items and work on those.

MADDEN: One of the big risks the president has right now is he's largely going to be tuned out. So many Democrats and Republicans, are going to turn to the 2016 election to say what's next for the party? That's important.

Right now, we're talking about a few core staff that he listened to at the White House. Is that message going to -- the repudiation he got tonight, is that message going to break through?

HAMBY: So both of your points about the window that he has to do something, it's going to be a tough year for Republican senators in 2016 and the political energy, the conversations moving through the presidential race very quickly and now a tiny window to get something done.

BORGER: And not to get too weedy about it, they don't have a filibuster proof majority. But you can attach things to a budget bill because if you attach things to a budget bill, you only need 51 votes to pass them. You don't need 60 votes to pass them. It's been suggested to me by Republicans on the Hill, McConnell could figure out ways to get stuff done.

NAVARRO: Now it only takes a vote of 50 in order to get someone confirmed or not confirmed.

CUTTER: Let's talk about President Obama's agenda over the next two years. There are things that he can do to move forward. Like some of the step that he's taken on LGBT rights. Those three categories are things that he's looking at.

You said something earlier that Republicans are now like the dog that caught the car and that's absolutely correct. You're no longer the minority party. You're responsible for what happens in Washington.

MADDEN: Right. If you look at the comments tonight from McConnell and I expect when Boehner talks tomorrow, they'll have embraced that. Look, I think every good political operative is sort of like a night watchman. You have to assume tonight is the night to get robbed.

That's what makes you very effective. I look at these results and I recognize that Republicans had a very good night. We still don't have this wonderful national brand that people are looking to. That has to get fix. I think they are going to look at that.

COOPER: We are going to take a quick break, we seen a number of blue states voted red in this midterm election. Coming up, what does that say for the Democrat presidential hopes in 2016? Is this lost ground they can actually recover?


BLITZER: Welcome back. It's election night in America, a big night for the Republicans. Not only that they maintained control of the House of Representative. They now have a majority in the United States Senate.

There are still a couple of races we're looking out for, no projections yet. In Virginia, take a look at this. No projection in Virginia with 95 percent of the vote in to Mark Warner, the incumbent Democrat. He's got a slight advantage, 12,150 votes over the Republican challenger, Ed Gillespie, but still no projection in Virginia.

In Alaska, we're not ready to make a projection either. Dan Sullivan, the Republican, though, is slightly ahead of Mark Begich, the incumbent Democrat, 44 percent for him, 50 percent for Dan Sullivan, only 31 percent of the vote is in. In Alaska, once again, no projection there.

I want to go to CNN's Tom Foreman to give us a little closer look at right now. What President Obama has lost over the course of his presidency?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, let's take a look at the Senate chamber as it stood in 2008 when Barack Obama took office. The Republicans were completely on the ropes back then, 41 seats, the Democrats had 57 plus two independents who caucused with them.

In 2010, the Democrats lost six seats. They gained a little bit back in 2012, but now the dam has burst. Take a look at this. Republicans with 52 seats so far, Democrats down to 43, two independents, one who may cross over. We're still waiting on a few seats here.

But a completely different chamber than when Barack Obama took office in 2008, and if you cross the rotunda and you go over to the House side, you find the same equation over here. If you look at 2008, Barack Obama was facing a Republican Party with only 178 seats.

The Democrats had 257. They had the House, the Senate and the White House and then in 2010, landslide. The Democrats lost more than 60 seats, a little bounce back in 2012, but tonight it seems like it's sealed the deal.

Look at the numbers as we are adding them up right now. It's all squishy because everything is moving right now. We were looking at something around 236 on the Republican side, 162 on the Democratic side.

When it's all done, Barack Obama may have lost during his presidency somewhere between 60 and 70 seats in the House compare that to what other incumbent presidents have lost out here.

Look, Ronald Reagan lost 31 seats. George Bush, George W. Bush, he lost 22 seats. Bill Clinton lost 49 seats. So if Barack Obama, in fact, comes up losing that many during his presidency that will be the biggest loss by a president's party since Harry Truman.

So Wolf, huge, huge changes here, it has cost the Democratic Party a great deal over the past eight years or seven years now.

BLITZER: The majority, not only the House and the Senate, comes a lot of power. They can do a lot of subpoenas, a lot of investigating if the president -- if they want to. Take a look at front page, the cover of the "New York Daily News" right now. Instead of hope, it says nope, "Daily News" front page. Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: What a difference a couple of years makes. With our panel, at this point for President Obama, as he considers his legacy the last two year, we talked a little bit about what he says in the next couple of hours on Wednesday.

BELCHER: That report about how many seats he's lost -- let's not forget 2008 when he came in, it was also a wave that he brought in with him. I'm actually giving him credit for in 2012, when they were supposed to take the Senate again, they didn't take the Senate in 2012.

Whenever this guy was actually up for the election and campaigning, Democrats did really well. When they put him in a box and put him away and didn't allow him to actually campaign, they didn't do very well. I think a lot of our Democratic campaigns will question it out.

We don't want to nationalize elections. So you've got to walk a thin line. You'll look at some of these states and say would the Democrat have lost more if, in fact, we let the president go out there and at least motivate the base?

MADDEN: The president campaigned in Michigan he lost. He campaigned in Wisconsin he lost. Campaigned in Illinois, he lost. So that was what Obama did for Democrats on this campaign trail.

CUTTER: I think that there could have been a strong argument coming from Democrats about what we stand for. What we've gotten done and what we want to get done moving. It's difficult to make that argument on a national basis if you don't have the president out there doing it. He had the bully pit. He didn't use it. I think that in some way hurt our argument for Democrats in re-election.

COOPER: What do you think the president wants to get done?

CUTTER: Well, I know he wants to finish the work he's started to tackle climate change. He's moving through executive action, working with the states will be the primary vehicle for that. I know he wants to get something done on immigration. He's looking at executive action, but I think he's also open to compromise to get something through Congress.

As I said before moving forward in civil rights, LGBT rights, obviously tackling economic inequality and fairness, we saw minimum wage pass on ballot initiatives across the country. Republicans changed their positions on minimum wage just to get through election.

That's an opportunity where Democrats and Republicans can work together. That's a big part of the president's legacy, to make our economy a little bit more fair.

NAVARRO: I don't know what other legacy or additional legacy he will, or if he will have any, because let's face it, right now, he is a weakened president, a lame duck, and he's looking at 2016 with very little political capital.

But what is, I think, you can't argue is that there are two legacy items that are his no matter what. One is that he is the first black president of the United States, and I think a lot of people feel that race relations have not improved and had expectations that they would.

That's something that he can work on frankly. That's something where he can give some of those inspirational speeches like he did in the 2008 campaign. I don't think he has to have Al Sharpton be his man with the African-American community. He can play a large role in that.

He can work with Republicans. At some point they've got to get together. They've got to acknowledge the problems that there are with Obama care and address those problems because if they're not going to repeal it, then fix it.

CUTTER: He's made clear that we're going to continue implementing Obamacare. There's a lot left to be implemented. But if somebody has a good idea to fix it, he's open to that. But what we've seen from Republicans. It's not wanting to fix it, it's wanting to repeal it.

More than 50 times the House voted to repeal Obamacare. They have no health care agenda. The only candidate that put also an alternative to Obamacare on the table was Ed Gillespie in Virginia. Nobody else had any ideas what to do on health care. If there are ways to improve upon Obamacare while still ensuring its protections and ensuring people get the coverage that they need and deserve, I think the president is open to it. But we just haven't seen that willingness from the Republican Party.

COOPER: We have a couple of projections.

TAPPER: I do indeed, Anderson. CNN making projections in two different corners of the United States, in Maine, CNN projecting that incumbent Governor Paul LePage will be re-elected over an independent named Eliot Cutler. And in Hawaii, CNN projecting that David Ige will defeat Duke Aiona and become the Democratic governor of Hawaii. Back to you guys.

COOPER: Peter, let's continue this conversation about the legacy for President Obama along with Mike Smerconish and Gloria Borger. Do you think -- do you agree with Stephanie that the issues that she pointed out, that the president could make --

BORGER: Sure. Yes, I think, look I think he can. We have to sort of deal in the real world now and it's a whole new world. And so the president is going to have to get together with leaders, figure out what he can do on his own and then see what they can do together.

One thing I want to see this evening is that you have to give a political party credit when it sees a brand -- this is the Republican Party, that's been tarnished. And the mistakes they made in the last election and fixing them in this election, which they did. They had better candidates.

They had a more finely tuned message, even though it differed from state to state. They had candidates who could finely tune their message. They had a better ground game. They knew how to get their voters out.

COOPER: Who gets the credit for that?

BORGER: The campaign committee, actually the Republican Senate Campaign Committee did a really good job on this.

HAMBY: It's hard to judge who won the ground game on a wipeout like tonight. Republicans --

BORGER: The Democrats didn't come out.

HAMBY: Yes. But even Republicans had a better ground game. It's hard to tell because that field stuff gets you two or three points around the margins. And there weren't a lot of races --

BORGER: Colorado mail-in ballot.

HAMBY: But you're right. I went to the RNC the other day and they gave me a look under the hood of the data program. Two years ago, they got totally smoked on GOTV --

COOPER: That's get out the vote. HAMBY: Get out the vote, my bad. It's still an open question.

COOPER: How did they actually do it? How did they go about changing their program, changing their ground game?

HAMBY: This is really geeky --

COOPER: It's 1:53 a.m. If you're watching, you're geeky.

HAMBY: Republicans used to have a better ground game up until the last decade. Organized labor did a number of field experiments and figured out how to reach voters specifically using data, microtargeting, et cetera. Now Republicans, they used to be able to score voters one, two, three, four, five, depending on their measure of support.

They broaden that to basically 100 and then layered on top of that voter files, consumer data, et cetera, et cetera, and then kind of pushed that out of the different campaigns.

And the other thing, too, Democrats have really been good about sharing information for a long time across campaigns, labor, you know, for-profit groups, whatever. What the RNC is touting now is that they have this voter information that they can share with everybody.

They shared it with I360, run by the Koch brother corporations. They shared it with other campaign committees. It's not perfect. There are field operations in different states. John Kasich is good example in Ohio.

They didn't like what they were seeing from the RNC so they started their own data program. Mitch McConnell's people realizing early they would have a Tea Party challenge created their own program.

BORGER: But they also taught their candidate how to speak.

TAPPER: Improving the candidates. Not only did they get rid of duds in the primary aggressively, the Republican Party, people that might cause them the kinds of problems that they had in 2012 when all of a sudden Republicans were trying to explain their positions on whether or not a woman could get pregnant if she was raped. Things that really had no business --

BORGER: Legitimate rape? I remember that.

TAPPER: They also did a good job in recruiting and supporting candidates who are going to help the Republican Party in the future. We see some veterans, Joni Ernst in Iowa, Tom Cotton in Arkansas. These are veterans who are now holding Senate seats for the Republicans.

In Utah, the Republican Party has an African-American woman elected to Congress. She's also, I believe, the first Haitian-American. I'm not saying the Republican Party doesn't have any diversity problems.

They obviously still do, but that's going to help them. The lieutenant governor of Illinois is a Latina. She was running against a Democrat who was just a white guy. No offense.

HAMBY: A lot of white dudes here.

TAPPER: But there are some steps the Republican Party has been taking to make sure there was some diversity.

HAMBY: South Carolina tonight re-elected an Indian-American governor and the first African-American senator from the south since reconstruction.

NAVARRO: One other thing that they did as Republicans was they really actively recruited women. They really actively recruited Hispanics. In this election, we had two openly gay candidates running as Republicans for Congress. One lost in Massachusetts. I don't know if won one in San Diego. We had ten women. We had Hispanics. It's some progress.

COOPER: We've got to take a quick break. Rand Paul says he is all smiles now that the Republicans control the Senate. Possible presidential contender is sharing his election reaction with CNN. He sounds ready to give President Obama an even harder time. That interview ahead.