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America's Choice 2014: What's Behind The GOP Sweep; Obama "Eager To Hear Republican Ideas"; Can Congress and The President Make A Deal?; Colorado Turns Red; Midterms Set The Stage For 2016

Aired November 05, 2014 - 23:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Wolf Blitzer welcome to our viewers around the United States and the world.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Jake Tapper. This is a CNN special report, AMERICA'S CHOICE. President Obama and new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell talk of common ground. But when it comes to immigration, each taking out their own ground, who will blink first?

BLITZER: Rising star. He is the up and comer who turned a key swing state from blue to red. How did he do it? What does he plan to do when he arrives here in Washington? We are going to meet Senator- elect Cory Gardner.

TAPPER: The race for the White House, it's now under way as the likely presidential contenders navigate through midterm fallout. Which potential candidates will benefit the most?

BLITZER: Welcome to this special hour of our CNN coverage. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. Where come January, the Republicans will be sweeping into the city as the new power in both houses of Congress riding a country wide tidal wave.

Voters sending a clear message last night ushering in a Republican Senate majority and the biggest Republican House majority since World War II. President Obama today came out not quite hat-in-hand to address the prospect of serving the last two years of his term answering to Mitch McConnell in the Senate and John Boehner in the House.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Obviously Republicans have a good night. They deserve credit for running good campaigns. I will leave tight you and the professional pundits to picture yesterday's results.

What stands out to me though is that the American people sent a message, one that they sent for several elections now. They expect the people they elect to work as hard as they do. They expect us to focus on their ambitions and not ours.

To everyone who voted, I want to know I hear you. To two thirds of voters who chose not to participate in process yesterday, I hear you too. All of us have to give more Americans a reason to feel like the ground is stable beneath their feet that the future is secure.

That there is a path for young people to succeed and that folks here in Washington are concerned about them. We are going to make sure that we do is to reach out to Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, who are now running both chambers in Congress, and find out what their agenda is.

Congress will pass some bills I cannot sign. I am pretty sure I will take some actions that some in Congress will not like. That's natural. That's how our democracy works. If, in fact, there is a great eagerness on the part of Republicans to tackle a broken immigration system then they have every opportunity to do it.

My executive actions, not only do not prevent them from passing a law that supersedes those actions, but should be a spur for them to actually try to get something done.

I would enjoy having some Kentucky bourbon with Mitch McConnell. He has always been very straight forward with me. To his credit he has never made a promise that he couldn't deliver.


BLITZER: So how do Republicans see all of this? I asked South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham.


SEN. LINDSAY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: We had very good candidates for a change. This was the best crop I have seen in a long time, but it was not embracing us. This herd you describe running over Democrats could really turn on us. You don't have to read the tea leaves to understand what's going on here.

The American people put a stop sign out in front of the oval office. The president obviously can't see it. I don't take this as people in America becoming Republicans. I see this as telling the president stop, reconsider where you are going.


BLITZER: All right, let's go back to Jake and our political experts -- Jake.

TAPPER: Thanks, Wolf. So Speaker Gingrich, let me start with you. I understand your issues with President Obama, talking about executive action, acting alone on immigration. But that aside, what can he do with Mitch McConnell and John Boehner. What is possible now?

NEWT GINGRICH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The most important thing he can do is spend time with the two of them, without anybody else? And Clinton and I negotiated 35 days, face to face.

TAPPER: Why is that so important?

GINGRICH: You understand this better than anybody. You have to create a human understanding. He is going to let done your hair. Understand what I can't do. Then they have to let down their hair. Let us say what we can't do. Now, is there a road map here to get something done?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Should he do it or unleash Joe Biden?

GINGRICH: The only person who matters is the president of the United States and he is dealing with the Senate majority leader and the speaker of the House and that is a peer to peer relationship. If you don't create that bond --


GINGRICH: Sure. These are all professionals.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The ways to do it are in the peace process, North Ireland, confidence building measures. Both the president and the new majority leader were talking immigration, the hardest. How about this?

When you were speaker, Bill Clinton was president. You guys agreed to double funding for basic science, National Institutes of Health over a five-year period. The country benefited. Once you got something like that done. Then the next compromise becomes easier.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: The political dynamics push them away from each other at this point. There is enormous force in each coalition. You said before -- the speaker, you know, and, agree with Mitch McConnell.

Waving a red flag in front of the White House to pass yet another repeal of the Affordable Care Act and yet Republicans may feel there is no choice but to do that.

TAPPER: Let's bring in Candy Crowley. What do you think they should work on right now? What would be a confidence building measure as Paul suggests?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I am not sure the president constitutionally. I don't mean that in the constitution. Is, is the guy that is going to sit around and you know, spend five days in the same room, Mitch McConnell.

I don't think that's who this guy is. So there has to beano another way. Where can they find it? I think you heard a little of this from Mitch McConnell. You find it in medical devices facts.

You find it in the little bitty things. This medical device thing doesn't work. You do that. You know, the president said maybe you can't take on immigration reform.

You sit down at the table and said let's work this out. You got to do the smaller things first PETER HAMBY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: I talked to a Democratic senator just a few minutes ago actually about this. They mentioned tax reform. They mentioned, you know, maybe infrastructure, something that both Labor and the Chamber of Commerce can agree on, something like that.

But there is just so much wait and see. I mean, we have to see what the president is going to do on immigration. We have to see how McConnell treats, you know, judicial appointees and this sort of small bills that are just waiting on Harry Reid's desk.

BASH: Can I say, just to the point that you were making, Mr. Speaker. It used to be, in your day, that -- those of us in the press pool would sit around in hallways for hours, for days, overnight waiting for a deal to be hatched.

Because you're in a room, because you were talking, you were trying to -- that doesn't happen now. I don't remember the last time I stood out of the meeting waiting for a deal to be hatched on anything.


GINGRICH: Accentuating my point. If they don't change, they are not going to get change.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Real change requires real change.

GINGRICH: So the president is going to make it. The ball is much more in his court. He has got to make a decision. Let's assume for a second, he can't do it constitutionally.

Then the Republicans need to figure out. What are the items in Mitch McConnell's speech, which I've mentioned before, which he gave on the Senate floor in January about re-creating Mansfield Senate where every senator has a role.

That says to me. McConnell is consciously going to build bipartisan bills. He is going to work with Boehner. Boehner will come from the harder right position. The conference committees will find something in the middle.

There will be a bipartisan bill going down to get signed or detailed. It will be designed around carrying Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, and --


BASH: I know. That is the point.

JONES: This continued myth that the president can't talk to anybody. The president doesn't want to be bipartisan. The president doesn't want to reach out.

From our point of view as progressive Democrats, our criticism of this president is not that he has been too unwilling to reach out to Republicans, in fact, the opposite.

We felt for the first two if not four years. This president reached out over and over and over again on issue after issue and had his hand slapped and looked stupid.


JONES: I'm not talking about the personal outreach strategy, which I believe listening to Newt Gingrich is important. But I mean, on the policy, the substance that matters to America --

BROWNSTEIN: I want to be the dissenter. I think the personal is interesting but vastly overrated. I mean, the reality is after '96, '97, when you made a series of deals with the president on welfare and the budget. You got a lot done.

There were enormous push backs on conservatives by '98. There was impeachment. Last two years were basically, you know, kind of scorched earth warfare. The last two years of Bush and the Democratic Congress was basically warfare.

I think there is enormous pressure on each party. Forty of the Republican senators now are from states that voted twice against President Obama. Their electorates did not send them there to make deals. I think there will be enormous difficulty to getting to yes on very much.

TAPPER: To that point, the new majority leader, Mitch McConnell has said, there will not be a government shutdown. There will not be any problems with -- with the debt extension. Speaker Gingrich, was that a mistake?

GINGRICH: No, it is McConnell being McConnell. Guys who get to be leaders get to actually say what they believe. That's fine -- first of all, Senator McConnell, I'll say this is a creature of the House.

Senator McConnell was a very strong view of the Senate's ability to rescue and I said to rescue both presidents and the House -- has to recognize that. In fact, the House decided to shut the government down.

He couldn't stop it. The fact that he doesn't want to do it, which is his opinion, may or may not work. If they get into the wrong kind of roll, you will have a mess.

This is one thing about 2016. You could not have said in 1978 and understood the collapse of Jimmy Carter. You have no idea what the next two years like.

But if Obama doesn't look at the mess this year has been and take serious action to change things. He gets two more years as bad as this year, it doesn't matter who the Democrat's nominee will be.

BASH: But you can say the same thing for Republicans.

TAPPER: Paul, do you agree with what the speaker just said? BEGALA: In part, Mitch McConnell has to look at his own team. I looked today six, at least, six of the incoming Republican senators either voted to shut down the government as members of the House or candidates praised it.

One of them, Joni Ernst, who we have talked about, the senator-elect from Iowa called for impeaching the president already.

You are about to interview Cory Gardner, the new senator-elect from Colorado. He voted to shut down the government when he was a member of the House.

I'd like to know, is he going to make the same pledge as Mitch McConnell. No shutdown --

CROWLEY: Mitch McConnell is -- did grow some favor with the folks you're talking about because he helped get them elected. The Senate is not the House also in the sense that, chits do matter in the U.S. Senate. They may feel more loyal to McConnell --

TAPPER: We have to take a quick break. The panel will stay with us in the full hour. One of the Senate seats Republicans picked up last night is in a state where President Obama won twice.

Coming up, I will talk with Colorado senator-elect, Cory Gardner, about the message of his big win.


BLITZER: Welcome back to our special report. With the new Republican majority in the House and the Senate, the president of the United States will have an uphill battle when it comes to getting any of the major items on his agenda passed the last two years of his presidency. Our Tom Foreman has more.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, for all of the Democratic losses the single biggest casualty may be President Obama's agenda. His ability to move the discussion in Congress in a direction he would look to see. Here are some specific examples.

Think about the Newtown shooting and after that there was a great outcry for gun control in the country from some people. The Democrats were unable to turn that into workable legislation.

There is very little chance, emboldened Republicans will take that up again now. What about immigration reform? This is an issue again upon which Democrats and Republicans have fundamentally disagreed as to the approach to it.

In this case, the Republican may say to President Obama, you've got to come to us that may be a nonstarter. The president says that he thinks he can work with Republicans on infrastructure.

Knowing that Republicans too like bridges and new dams and roads and power grids that sort of thing. Here's the sticking point. Many Republicans are going to say, yes. But that must be paid for without new taxes. You will have to cut social programs. Democrats will balk at that. And of course, there is Obamacare. A lot of top Republicans are saying there is no way to completely overturn this now as some might wish.

But what they could do is slow down any efforts by the president and his party to put in improvements. Things that might make it work better in Democratic eyes.

All of that could make all of this essentially fall by the wayside. And what's more, while that is happening, the Republicans could be shoving legislation at the president that they know he will veto.

That he just can't support and then, they will say, who is the party of no now? That, Wolf, could be a very tough pill for Democrats to swallow.

BLITZER: All right, Tom, thanks very much, very good explanation. Let's go back to Jake with his panel -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, thanks, Wolf. Candy, before we were so rudely cut off by me. We were talking what deals will be able to be made between -- the, the new Republican majority in the Senate and the House and President Obama.

And I wonder how much you think the conservative faction, the 40 senators from states that voted against Obama twice. How much they will block anything.

CROWLEY: Well, you know, one of the things that happens, I think we were talking about (inaudible) when you go from congressman to senator. It is a broader constituency that you are beholden to.

They have seen -- first of all, what it means they have not a guy in the White House. Now, how badly, I mean, how well can Mitch McConnell say, I know this is tough.

But you, you, you, you have four years to, you know, to explain this to your folks. You got a pass. You got a pass. Let's do this because. It will help the party nationally.

HAMBY: I think Mitch McConnell -- I mean, one thing we know about him is he is pretty inscrutable. It's hard to figure out. One thing that we do know, he cares about three things, winning, winning, winning.

He is pragmatic to the core. He wanted to be Senate majority leader his entire life and he has got it and he's also got a bunch of senators who are up in '16 in tough swing states like Wisconsin and New Hampshire.

He doesn't want them to take tough votes. He is really, really going to want to get something done I think just for his own legacy.

BROWNSTEIN: On the other hand, challenge. He said clearly don't want to shut down the government. I went to use the appropriations process to stop Obama rules and regulations I don't like. Starting with EPA rules on carbon emissions from power plants, those two things are not necessarily compatible because the president is not going to sign legislation blocking the unilateral executive action, regulatory action that he wants to take

So even though he does not want that kind of confrontation, if you pursue the strategy that he's talked on the other hand, it leads you toward that --

BASH: The other thing we haven't talked about is, you know, sort of be careful what you wish for or remember things that you do today could come back to haunt you tomorrow in the Senate.

NAVARRO: Nuclear option.

BASH: Well, there is a nuclear option, but also broadly. Democrats, Harry Reid they know how to be in the minority party in the Senate. They know how to dump things up if they want to and I had just the night before the election two days ago I guess that was.

Like two years ago, a senior Democratic source say to me, well, you know what, our goal for the next two years is to make Mitch McConnell's time as majority leader a footnote in history.

TAPPER: Is it possible Speaker Gingrich that Mitch McConnell will be able to make more deals pass under a Republican majority than under Harry Reid because -- how so?

GINGRICH: First of all, I can't overstate the importance of looking at the Mansfield model and McConnell's speech last year, earlier this year. McConnell I believe is going to use the committees.

And his point in describing it is committees are inherently bipartisan. They are inherently made up of members who want to get something done at that level, OK.

Now the caucus is they are inherently partners. So if you only try to run the Senate on the floor, it's going to be partisan.

I will give you a good example. The idea is part time or is full time work, 30 or 40 hours. There is a very specific amendment to Obamacare --

BASH: You're talking about the Senate or everybody else.

GINGRICH: The Senate right now. For us, a non-term, you know, our lives are employment and occasionally get to sleep, but if you think about it. You can get lots of different groups who think the 30-hour deal has been a disaster.

Now if that is true. You get a bunch of Democrats as well as Republicans who in committee have hearings and mark up a bill that is pretty narrow. You come to the floor and you have, basically split the Democrats.

You're going to have the partisans, who say I will stop everything. You will have the guys, you know, I am sick of not getting anything done. And I think under Reid, a lot of Democrats who got sick.

And all of a sudden the president now has to veto a bill that may have a third of the Democrats voting for it. That's a very different environment.

TAPPER: Van, go ahead.

JONES: You are describing is great. For those of who try to figure out what to expect it is very helpful. I don't think we can get away from some of this underlying tectonics.

You do have a Tea Party base. Let's not forget there is a liberal base to this party that is very concerned tonight. We are concerned about a couple things.

One is Obama going to throw the Latino community overboard to the tender mercies of the Republican majority.

Number two, this whole idea of tax reform, to us that sounds like -- giving, rewarding, corporate tax cheats hiding their money overseas, all is forgiven. Bring your money back home.

Spend however you want to. There is a lot of things that the liberal base all day on the Twitter, blogosphere is Obama going to sell us out. You're going to have a big ramping out.

GINGRICH: You are going to be sold out.

TAPPER: Panel --

CROWLEY: You already have been.

TAPPER: The panel is going to stick around. He scored a big victory for the GOP, to take over the Senate. I will talk with Colorado's Senator-elect Cory Gardner about why his state took a red turn.


TAPPER: The Republican tide turned Colorado from blue to red last night when voters elected Representative Cory Gardner to the U.S. Senate rejecting incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Udall.

Earlier I asked Senator-elect Gardner how he got the win.


REP. CORY GARDNER (R), COLORADO SENATOR-ELECT: Well, you know we went around the state over eight months talking about our vision. One of the things that people have to understand about Colorado is that they vote for people who they believe are going to put solutions first.

That are going to wear well with the state and I think over the past several months we proved that to the people of Colorado.

TAPPER: What is your reaction to President Obama's remarks? Were you expecting him to say that he was still possibly going to do this immigration executive order?

GARDNER: Well, again, I think that is a tremendous pressure from him, from a lot of people on his side of the aisle to do that. But the fact is I think we have to again focus on what the message of last night was.

And that is that the people of Colorado and this country want people to work together. And I hope that is the message that we can drive to the president. Let's work together, the House, the Senate, and the White House on solutions to big issues including big issues like immigration reform.

TAPPER: The Senate voted and passed an immigration reform bill. The House failed to do so. President Obama has said that he wants Congress to do it. But, the House hasn't done it. Should, is that not a measure of the House Republican failure?

GARDNER: Well, look our founding fathers -- the constitution wasn't designed for people to pick up their sticks and go home. The fact is we have to work with people. That is negotiation. That's finding that common ground.

And I hope that's what the president will continue to do. That's what I hope the House will do. Speaker Boehner, I am going to continue to work with the Speaker, making sure we will put policies forward that the conference will support, that the Senate will support.

And that ultimately the White House can support. I spoke with the speaker earlier today and I look forward to bridge the gap between the House, Senate on policies that we know are important to this country that we can actually put forward to the president.

TAPPER: I guess my question is, if the House isn't willing to act, then how can people in the House get mad at President Obama for doing so?

GARDNER: Well, I think the House is willing to work and we have to find those grounds where they will act so that's why I hope the Senate will continue -- as particularly the new majority in the Senate will continue to work with the House on ideas that we can put forward.

You know, the House Judiciary Committee had passed five pieces of immigration reform, legislation out of committee. Those haven't moved on the floor and I hope that they will. I hope the speaker will use his new majority with greater numbers to continue to pursue these policies that we know are important for the American people.

So just because the president didn't get his way or the Senate didn't get his way on this or that issue, it doesn't mean that you try to do something by running around Congress. We have to work together to achieve these solutions

TAPPER: Are you going to back Senator Mitch McConnell for majority leader of the Senate?

GARDNER: Well, I am unaware of anybody else running against Mitch McConnell, but I will be yes.

TAPPER: OK, Senator McConnell said in terms of the immigration action he said it would be like waving a red flag in front of a bull. Do you think that if Obama does it then nothing else will be able to be accomplished, is it that serious an issue?

GARDNER: Well, again, I think it does come down to trust, it comes down to the trust between the House and the Senate, the trust between the White House and the Senate and the House, and we need to find those ways to work together instead of just trying to take politically divisive actions.

You know, the president two years ago said that he didn't have the legal authority to do this, let's find a way to work together. Then there is no question about what should be done. There is no question about how it could be done at that point and avoid the political divisiveness of this particular direction.

TAPPER: What are you specifically willing to compromise with Democrats on, in terms of achieving something for this country? Where can you find common ground?

GARDNER: Well, on a variety of issues I have in the House. You know, I voted -- I was one of 33 Republicans in the House. That's a vote against the House version of violence against women act and support the Senate version of violence against women act because I believe the House had watered it down.

And the Senate was the right direction to go. I've worked with Peter Welch, Gary Peters, Gary Peters, of course, who was just elected to the Senate last night from Michigan on a variety of issues, whether it's spending issues, reducing duplication in government or energy efficiency, renewable energy.

Those are things that we have to be willing pursue and I will continue to buck my party to do just that.

TAPPER: One of the reasons that you won according to experts, pollsters, and pundits is that your opponent soon-to-be former Senator Mark Udall spoke too much about women's reproductive rights. While you won, male voters in Colorado by double digits. He only won women voters in Colorado by single digits. Do you think that was his biggest mistake?

GARDNER: I think the senator made a mistake of not addressing more issues in this campaign. Fact is we spent a lot of time talking to voters about a lot of issues. In fact, we ran a TV commercial saying that our campaign, this campaign should aim higher. We talked about growing our economy. We talked about energy, environment, and education.

And the "Denver Post" described Senator Udall's campaign as obnoxious and focused on a single issue. It was clear that he wanted to run on social issues based campaign while the people of Colorado wanted something much broader, discussion, that really about the entire direction of the country. TAPPER: Senator-elect Cory Gardner, Republican of Colorado, thank you for talking to us and congratulations again. Your campaign is heralded by people in Washington as a near-perfect campaign.

GARDNER: We had a great team around us. Thank you very much.


TAPPER: Does their midterm ramp put Republicans closer to winning the White House two years from now, a look at 2016, and what is at stake for both parties when we come back.


BLITZER: The midterms, they weren't all about the Senate. There were also some very closely watched governors' races and Republicans won the vast majority of them. They took stunning victories in reliably blue states like Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland.

Wisconsin, Scott Walker, possible 2016 presidential contender won re- election along with the Republican incumbents in critical swing states like Ohio, Florida and Michigan, in all Republicans came out on top in 24 governors' races. The midterms are over.

But Republicans can't get their guard down right now, in fact, 2016 starts right now and the prize is the presidency. Brianna Keilar has more.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The race for the White House begins after a huge night for Republicans including those eyeing a presidential bid. Like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who is stumping and winning GOP contests across the country has earned him more 2016 speculation.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I'm incredibly flattered, but this morning what I feel is incredible pride in really great candidates across the country.

KEILAR: Ohio governor, John Kasich, another possible contender cruised to reelection and Governor Scott Walker won a close race in Wisconsin hinting he might run for the presidency as a Washington outsider.

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: That's the difference between Washington and Wisconsin. They're all against something. We are for something.

KEILAR: But the intra-party scuffles are already under way. Walker ticked off at Christie who chairs the Republican Governor's Association for not sending more money his way, Christie scuffling with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul on foreign policy.

And Paul taking shots across the aisle, too, asked about the new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's win in his home state, he quickly turned the conversation to the Democratic frontrunner.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I think in Kentucky, it's really a repudiation of the president's policies and also of Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton was very active in Kentucky and the interesting thing is she was going to run as a Clinton Democrat.

KEILAR: Now on Paul's Facebook page a photo album called Hillary losers including Alison Lundergan Grimes. Clinton campaigned for her twice and she lost big, by 16 points. And Democrat Bruce Braley in the important first in the nation caucus state of Iowa. He lost by nine points. While Clinton campaigned for a key Democratic winner, New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen, overall, the losses outweighed the successes. Brianna Keilar, CNN, Washington.


BLITZER: Thanks very much, Brianna. Let's go back to Jake -- Jake.

TAPPER: Thanks, Wolf. Dana, let me start with you. Rand Paul said that not only was Obama on the ballot, it's a repudiation of Hillary Clinton. Does he have any case to make there?

BASH: Sure. He's got a case to make if you just look at the statistics, the fact that Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton went to all of these places and they lost. But it wasn't Hillary Clinton's fault. It was the president's fault.

It was the atmosphere's fault. It was the state's fault. It wasn't, she was not on the ballot. Let's just be clear. Candy, you pointed out last night. This is, this was all about her getting out there and getting chits.

I remember, it wasn't that long ago, I was hearing complaints, sure other people here were too, about from Democrats saying, excuse me, she wants to be the leader of our party. She wants to run for president. Why isn't she raising money for me? Why is she coming and campaigning with me? Where is she? Well that's what she did and it will help her.

BROWNSTEIN: It may not have been her fault. The problem you correctly identified is still there for her if she runs in 2016. The reality is that if Americans have the same negative verdict they expressed last night on the Obama presidency in 2016. It will be a huge head wind for any Democrat.

TAPPER: That's a different electorate though.

BROWNSTEIN: I understand the demographics are different, but the biggest headwind they face, if you go back in American history, when an outgoing two-term president faces a significant level of discontent, whether Woodrow Wilson in 1920, Harry Truman in 1952, Lyndon Johnson in 1968, George W. Bush in 2008.

It has been very hard for his party to hold the White House. Ultimately, Democrats tried to run away from Obama. It didn't work. You can run but can't hide. They have to find a way to defend what has been done over this presidency.

HAMBY: There is no such criticism of Hillary Clinton. A lot of it is probably fair. How she is as a candidate. You are right. The biggest problem all along how does she walk the line between, keeping together the Obama coalition and adding to it while also not alienating other people.

NAVARRO: If a lot of these races had gone the other way last night, we would all be here right now talking about how great it will be for Hillary Clinton to have the governor of Florida on her side, the newly elected senator of Iowa on her side.

CROWLEY: Coat tails. I don't know when they went out. They want out a while back. Coat tails are so overrated. People, important, news making headliner people come to your state to bring a crowd in. So, that -- get you on TV. Get you on the paper.

GINGRICH: Look. The city loves politics because the city loves itself. The city loves to read about itself.

NAVARRO: It's called narcissism.

GINGRICH: So we have gigantic italicized, capitalized narcissism. There is a real world out there. There is Putin. There is a potential war in Ukraine. There is the Crimea which is gone. There is pressure on Europeans to leave us and work with Russia.

There is ISIS which is gaining ground not losing ground. There is Ebola which is a -- we are risking young men and women to try to be in the region hard to be in. You look around. Would you look to bet the next two years work? All these things --

BROWNSTEIN: The reality is -- under the presidency. I checked this the other day. The number of net new jobs that have been created is now 5-1 for the entire Bush eight years. By 2016, that could be 10-1. You could have the opportunity for Democrats to make an argument very few made in the campaign. Do you want to go back? That would be one way to deal with the Obama presidency.

TAPPER: Paul, if Hillary Clinton -- who is on the bench there?

BEGALA: No one. No one. It's not fair. There are impressive people. They could be good presidents. But they don't have I think the electoral prospects Hillary does for the reason that Ron states. You don't get three terms in this business very often. I literally wrote the book.

When John McCain, a perfectly wonderful man was running to succeed Bush, he hated Bush. Everyone knew that. I wrote a book making the case against McCain's campaign. Title was third term. She is going to have to overcome that. Here is the difference.

President Bush at this stage of his presidency was where Obama was, little lower. He was heading to 26. He was at 26 when John McCain was carrying him around on his back. Barack Obama is not going to 26. He is not. He has a much more solid floor. JONES: Let me say one thing.


JONES: I think that's true, but I do think that we are overlooking something. We keep talking about Republican strategy this week. We haven't talked Democratic weakness. We have to have a nominee that can excite our base. I don't know yet if Hillary Clinton can do that.

I know one person can. It is Elizabeth Warren. We have not talked about her tonight. Elizabeth Warren was able to go into Kentucky. Massachusetts liberal, she was able to go into Kentucky when Obama couldn't go there.

I am telling you right now if we do not have a message that excites young people. That excites our base. Hillary Clinton right now has not proven she can excite the base of this party.


NAVARRO: I have to tell you. We are getting past the point of no return for Hillary Clinton. If she doesn't do it just about now, you know, she is going to go down as one of the biggest political pieces in the history of the United States.

TAPPER: We are all coming back. Everybody is going to stick round. We know the numbers are huge for Republicans and dismal for Democrats. Up next, we'll go back to John King at the magic wall for a final look at 2014 fallout. Stick with us.


BLITZER: The congressional Republicans have had a secret weapon these past few election cycles. It just happens to be the president of the United States the during the Obama era. The GOP has seen some dramatic gains in both the House and the Senate capped off by last night's historic sweep. Our John King is here to break down the numbers.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, numbers and colors don't lie. Yes, President Obama has won two convincing presidential election victories. Just about everywhere else, America is turning more red. The Obama years have been a boom time for Republican Party.

Let's look at the Senate first, 55 Democrats, that's blue heading into last night's election, 45 Republicans. Here's where we stand now, when the new Senate convenes in January. There will be at least 52 Republicans, and most people believe when we are done counting in Alaska. Republican Dan Sullivan will be the winner there. That will be 53.

A run-off in Louisiana in early December, right now, Bill Cassidy, the Republican leads in the polls, that would be 54 there. Mark Warner, the Democrat leading at the moment in Virgina. Let's assume that one stays that way, a narrow Democratic victory. It looks like 54 Republicans and 46 Democrats. What a big turnaround when the new Senate convenes and that's just the Senate. Let's switch maps and take a look at this.

This I believe is one of the most stunning maps you can look at. This is House of Representatives now, coast to coast, look at all that red. Let's compare it to when the president first took office, 257 Democrats and the majority when you look at this map.

See all that blue. Look at the northeast. Down through the borderstates and into south over to the west, in the northwest. Look at it now. Remember where you live. Take a peek. That was then. This is now, 257 Democrats here in the majority Republican resurgence at the House level, 179 Democrats now.

Republicans are at their post-World War II high watermark when it comes to House majority. Beneath this, 31 Republican governors now and dramatic gains during the Obama years for Republicans in the state legislatures, already Democrats have lost 600 seats in state legislative bodies heading into last night.

Last night, Wolf, they lost 165 more. So when you look at it from the House perspective, it's ruby red. We have one big question, can Republicans crack this map, the Democratic advantage in the electoral college?

Well, that's a question for the next campaign, but as we end this campaign, Republicans are looking at this map. They feel very, very empowered -- Wolf.

BLITZER: John King, thanks very much. Let's go back to Jake and the panel.

TAPPER: Paul, is there any silver lining for Democrats? Is there anything they can take heart in?

BEGALA: Absolutely a big one. It is actually -- the president said when he was having that gaffe. My agenda is on the ballot. Actually it was a repudiation of Barack Obama. You look at John King's map, that sea red. It's terrible for my side. You think this is a right wing country.

Look at the issue agenda that people voted on in referenda. They passed marijuana in three states and almost fourth. The minimum wage 2-1, pro-choice referenda passed in Colorado, gun control in Washington State, voting rights, criminal justice, paid sick leave. Three different states passed environmental regulations that, quite liberal. If I just only told you that didn't show you King's map --

TAPPER: People can vote for your agenda items.

HAMBY: Term limited. He can't run next time.

NAVARRO: Of course, there is a silver lining. We finally have seen bipartisanship in this country. Both parties ran as far as they could from Barack Obama. TAPPER: So Harry Reid is going to run for Senate minority leader. Nancy Pelosi will run for House minority leader. Are there any rumblings of their rank-and-file Democrats saying boy I were they wouldn't run for re-election we need new blood.

BASH: Let's start with the House. Yes. That was so 2008, 2010, and -- 2010, 2012. Ready in the House for new blood for some time, I mean, it's pretty much the leadership that was there, maybe underneath when you were there 20 years ago.

TAPPER: It's a wake-up call for them.

BASH: That's number one. You know, look, Nancy Pelosi is a force of nature. She does not need this. She has a lot of things she could do with her life. This is her passion. She decided she doesn't want to leach leave yet. They're waiting. Everybody is in a waiting pattern.

TAPPER: What about Harry Reid?

BASH: On the Senate side, look, Harry Reid is going to be up in two years, I believe. But, I definitely don't want to get inside Harry Reid's head to see what he will do. But I would not be surprised if he didn't run again and there already is, you think he is running?

NAVARRO: She means for reelection.

BEGALA: In 2016. He's made it absolutely clear.

BASH: I know, with Sandoval. I know that. But there is, there is a new prop in the Senate of leaders, potential leaders. They're ready.

TAPPER: Speaker Gingrich, removing the partisanship, you are Republican, they're Democrats, do you think that they should step down and let others lead their party in the House and Senate, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid?

GINGRICH: Look, no one voluntarily gives up power. OK, you are Nancy Pelosi you have been speaker of the House. You're still a very substantial force in American politics. Your life is highly amusing. Many people come to see you for a variety of reasons or you could go back to San Francisco and watch the grandchildren. Now, at that point she thinks. I think I will stay.

BASH: How about go to a winery?

GINGRICH: That sounds good.

JONES: I'll tell you where there is fresh blood and momentum. I want to brag on the younger people. There is a big dropoff on the youth vote. But the young people who stayed in, stayed in in amazing ways. You had vote mob. You had this group called the student power networks.

There is a new crop of young, Democratic activists, every color in the rainbow. They did a really good job. I've tell you what these things we don't think about anymore. Ferguson, Trayvon Martin, it has energized a bunch of young folk who really want to see real change.

I think you are going to see way beyond all the people we are talking about. Some of the young people that got involved on issues, criminal justice, Ferguson around a long time, decided not just to march. Vote mob. They decide to vote.

TAPPER: Thank you everyone for joining us and playing in the postgame. Wolf and I will be right back.


BLITZER: The new Republican Congress, the 2016 race for the White House, guess what, the political news is just beginning.

TAPPER: Thanks for watching AMERICA'S CHOICE 2014. You can check out all the election results at Our live coverage continues right now.