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American Morning

Obama's Massive Victory Party; Senate Race in Minnesota Too Close to Call; Next President's Security Concerns; Sarah Palin's Future

Aired November 05, 2008 - 09:00   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Barack Obama making history, as the first African-American U.S. president-elect.

From his home state of Illinois. To his father's homeland in Kenya. On main streets, to Wall Street. And outside the gates of the White House. Elation and celebration. Obama's simple call for change, answered. And his defeated opponent, John McCain, humbled.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is an historic election, and I recognize the special significance it has for African- Americans. And for the special pride that must be theirs tonight.

MALVEAUX: Tears from the last viable African-American candidate to seek the office. And the realization from other activists, the world had changed.

SPIKE LEE, HOLLYWOOD DIRECTOR: What Barack said tonight is true, this is the only place in the world where this could happen. America.

MALVEAUX: While it was clearly a moment of celebration for Obama supporters, the president-elect delivered a sobering message.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT: First of all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation. The only way it's been done in America for 221 years -- block by block, brick by brick, callused hand by callused hand.


MALVEAUX: And John, obviously, a sign that the Obama campaign is transitioning to the presidency, he is going to be meeting with his top advisers, as I have mentioned before, about possible mention of Cabinet members.

We've been told that one of the first positioned, obviously, is going to be the chief of staff position. Of those who's been mentioned, Rahm Emanuel as a possibility.

Also looking at his economic team to show voters, Americans, that he's serious about fixing the economic crisis. Some of the names being (INAUDIBLE) about, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers from the Clinton administration, as well as Paul Volcker, the former Fed chair.

These are both two members who are on his economic team. He seeks advice from both of those individuals.

All of these names coming up. Obviously, a lot of buzz in the days ahead. We'll be getting some sense of how his Cabinet and how his staff is going to be looking in the weeks to come -- John?

ROBERTS: You know, Suzanne, a little bird whispered in my ear the other day that Larry Summers may have the inside track for a return visit to Treasury.

What are you hearing there as to his chances?

MALVEAUX: Well, he's -- he's on the short list. He's one among several that are already one of his economic advisers that he reached out to in this financial crisis, so those are just some of the things.

Obviously, they're already working out the credentials for many of his top staffers, security clearance, things like that. Obviously, being part of a former administration, he wouldn't necessarily need that.

But a lot of names and we're working on all of them, John.

ROBERTS: All right. And Senator Obama, president-elect Obama -- gosh, you got to get used to saying that.

President-elect Obama will be making a visit to the White House at the invitation of President Bush one of these days. A chance for him to actually get in there and measure the drapes?

MALVEAUX: That's absolutely right. That's probably going to happen sooner than later. But, yes, President Bush invited Barack Obama to sit down with him. And obviously, he congratulated him last night, saying that -- what he called it was kind of an awesome, an awesome win.

ROBERTS: All right, Suzanne Malveaux for us in Grant Park this morning, a lonely Grant Park.

Thanks, Suzanne. We'll see you again soon.

Of course, senator-elect -- senator-elect. I'm going to get it right one of these days.

The president-elect got a lot of issues on his plate, Kiran, you know, a couple of wars, this economic crisis, and all that. Big job.

CHETRY: That's right and we're talking about it with our panel this morning. Where -- where do we go from here?

To talk about it with us, we have Julie Menin, Democratic strategist, Alex Castellanos, he's a Republican strategist, Jeffrey Sachs from Columbia University, an economist, and Angela Burt-Murray, editor in chief of "Essence" magazine.

A lot of challenges ahead. And it was funny, though, Angela, because Donna Brazile said, can we be happy for one day? And can we all come together for one before we start worrying about all the troubles? But really, Barack Obama has to start worrying from day one.

ANGELA BURT-MURRAY, EDITOR IN CHIEF, ESSENCE MAGAZINE: He has to hit the ground running. And I think you saw in his speech last night, he was trying to manage people's expectations by saying, you know, this isn't going to happen in a year, it's not even going to happen in the first term.

But unfortunately, America doesn't like to wait, so he really has to hit the ground running. I think you're going to see in the next couple of days some really important announcements about Cabinet positions, and I think that's going to give the public even a better idea as of what direction he's going to take in his administration.

Very important.

CHETRY: They talked about holding a special session of Congress and moving forward on some things, Jeffrey, including the possibility of another stimulus plan that could involve tax cuts in some way, shape, or form.

Is that a smart move from where we are right now?

PROF. JEFFREY SACHS, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Well, there is going to be more stimulus needed and they're going to go for that.

I think he's laid out pretty much what he's going to be starting with, how his tax proposals will go forward. He'll stick with his game plan and I think that makes sense.

CHETRY: Is he going to have the help and the support of the -- of the Congress with -- Republicans losing many more seats both in the House and five in the Senate?

ALEX CASTELLANOS, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: I think you're going to see three people come together. You're going to see Barack Obama, I think, reach across the aisle. He's indicated he'd do that and you're going to see John McCain reach across as well.

McCain is still right now the leader of the Republican Party. I mean, that will change in time. We'll have new leadership coming out of the House and from the states.

But the third person is George Bush, you know, he's going to receive, I think, from public view, but behind the scenes he's going to -- the handoff of power is very important here.

And if Obama -- I'd be surprised if his first action really, if you're going to stimulate the economy, if you're going to deal with the economic problems, he said he'd do first, one of the big opportunities, I think, is energy.

That's one of the places he'd find support across the aisle. That would -- the youth vote, I think would -- I think helped put Barack Obama in office would like to see him go there. So that might be the first place I'd look. CHETRY: Julie, you guys are certainly enjoying and basking in this victory, both in the White House and in both Houses of Congress, however, it also is a lot of responsibility. It's sort of all on your shoulders.

So what are some of the things he should be thinking about and making sure happens?

JULIE MENIN, DEMOCRATIC ANALYST: Well, I think the most important thing, because we really do have a Democratic mandate, he got 52 percent of the popular vote.

We haven't seen a Democratic presidency like that since 1976, but because he ran on this mantle of change, the expectations are set high, so what he really needs to do is reach across the aisle and come up with a centrist policy.

He does not want to make the mistakes that Bill Clinton made in 1992 when veered too far the left with health care and he paid the price in '94 with a congressional leftist(ph) and the rise of Newt Gingrich.

So I think we're really going to see him go to the center. I agree with Alex, he's going to really look at energy and some of the key issues where there are bipartisan support.

CHETRY: He -- he has made universal health care one of the things that he ran on and talked about. He talked about even how it touched him close to home with his own mother, worrying about insurance bills.

So, Jeffrey, is this something that can be paid for? Is this something that's reasonable to tackle on this crisis?

SACHS: I think that once we get passed the -- the path -- financial panic that we've been in, we're going to get to all of these structural issues. This country needs really basic policy change in health care, in climate, in energy, in infrastructure.

And really it's not going to be just this financial crisis that dominates for years to come. It's going to be change in this country that goes to the root problems of education and health and infrastructure. So absolutely we're going to get there.

CHETRY: All right.

CASTELLANOS: Health has a history, though, and health has divided this country politically. It did with Hillary Clinton.

CHETRY: Right.

CASTELLANOS: That's the first place you go, you -- people are almost trained to go back to, I think, a partisan mode and it might not be the best place to start.

MENIN: I think we're going to see us go beyond that, though, because we've got 47 million Americans without health care. It is a number one issue for people. People are becoming bankrupt all over the country because of this.

CHETRY: All right. Well, we're going to see how it goes on. Thank you so much. Great panel discussion. Appreciate it -- John?

ROBERTS: We want your feedback to be a part of our special coverage this morning. Our quick vote question this hour -- were the campaigns too negative?

Call our toll-free number at 866-8979-VOTE. That's 866-979-8683, or you can text your answer to 94553. That's 94553.

From unknown Senate candidates to the first black president in just four short years. How did Barack Obama do it? It's eight minutes after the hour.



OBAMA: Is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy? Tonight is your answer.


ROBERTS: Welcome back to a special edition of AMERICAN MORNING.

This morning Americans are waking up to a new day in politics. Barack Obama will be the first black president of the United States. But just four years ago most people had never heard of him.

So how did this all happen so fast? Well, our Tom Foreman has a look and he joins us now with that.

Good morning, Tom.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN ANCHOR: That's what a lot of people in Washington are asking, how did this happen so fast?

Well, really, in many ways this meteoric rise in American politics is rare and Obama owes a portion of the success to a old formula, right place, right time. But one more thing, right strategy. He came up with a unique plan for capturing the presidency that often defied conventional wisdom.


OBAMA: Thank you so much.

FOREMAN (voice over): Obama himself is not quite sure how he was chosen to address the 2004 Democratic convention. He was merely running for the U.S. Senate at the time, but he rocked the party.

OBAMA: There is not a liberal America and a conservative America, there is the United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America and Latino America, an Asian America, there's the United States of America.

FOREMAN: The momentum carried him into the Senate and into the presidential race less than three years later.

OBAMA: I want to win that next battle for better schools and better jobs and better health care for all.

FOREMAN: At the time, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards were both stronger contenders, but Obama broke with convention.

Instead of chasing big donors, he launched an Internet campaign to collect millions of small donors. Instead of reaching solely for the Democratic left, he spoke directly to the disaffected middle -- new voters, nonvoters, independents, and in the cornfield caucus, they roared to life, swelling the ranks of the party and giving him Iowa.

The caucus states were key, because they allowed Obama's enthusiastic supporters to lobby other voters right at the moment of decision, and it worked. One by one his opponents fell, until only Clinton remained.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are in this race, because we believe America is worth fighting for.

FOREMAN: Obama kept winning in many caucus states and seizing large number of delegates even in big Democratic strongholds where she won. It was ultimately too much.

Against McCain, his game plan barely changed. Armed with unprecedented amounts of cash, Obama attacked everywhere, forcing McCain to defend in states that should have been reliably Republican, and showing his strength with massive public spectacles that made Obama look like he was already the winner.


FOREMAN: Yes, Obama had help, undeniably, the war and the economy hurt McCain, but Obama played those issues right, always casting himself as the outsider, the agent of change, turning almost all of his weaknesses into strengths and rewriting the book on how you can win a presidency in the process -- John.

ROBERTS: You know I met him at that Democratic convention in Boston. I was the podium reporter at that time. And you could just tell that the spotlight loved him. So he rewrote the rules for campaigning.

But can he rewrite the rules in Washington?

FOREMAN: That's a very good question. You and I were saying a minute ago, it seems like yesterday that he made those speeches.

One of the differences is this -- voters right now may be very much in favor of change, change is something that voters like. Change, as you know, John, is not something Washington likes. Because when things change, people in power lose power. And they don't want to lose power.

So, now you're going to have this unstoppable force of Barack Obama hit the immovable object of Washington politics. There's a reason Washington politics doesn't change very often because it doesn't want to.

Now if he can use these same tricks to pull together a coalition that will go through the middle of that and somehow unite people, that's going to be quite a trick. It's going to be hard to do, because unlike voters who wanted it, Washington doesn't.

ROBERTS: How many presidents have gone to Washington to say they're going to change things?

FOREMAN: I think all of them, John.

ROBERTS: 43, I think, at last count?

FOREMAN: Yes, pretty much.

ROBERTS: Tom, thanks so much. Kiran?

CHETRY: Well, Barack Obama is headed to the White House and we're going to talk to one of the Democrats who could replace him in the Senate. Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. joins us ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: Coming up on 19 minutes after the hour. Former secretary of state, Colin Powell, is speaking out about the election of Barack Obama.

CNN's Hugh Riminton caught up with Powell in Hong Kong. Powell says that Obama won because he was able to appeal to all kinds of voters, regardless of race.


COLIN POWELL, FMR. SECRETARY OF STATE: President-elect Obama did not put himself forward as an African-American president. He put himself forward as an American, who happened to be black, who happened to be African-American, and that ought to come after the title.

Because what he did in this campaign was to be all-inclusive, to reach out across racial lines, cultural lines, religious lines, you name it, he wanted to be a transformational figure, to bridge the gap between generations.

And I think that's what allowed him to win this election. So we're very, very proud to have a new American president who also happens to be an African-American.


ROBERTS: Powell, a Republican, endorsed Barack Obama last month making an awful lot of news.

Change in the House, changes on Capitol Hill.

Joining us now to break down the election results and look ahead to the new order in Washington is Republican senator, Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas.

Senator, it's good to see. Wow, not a great night for Republicans last night, losing a bunch in the House, losing five Senate seats. Elizabeth Dole's no longer in the Senate. John Sununu no longer in the Senate.

How are you feeling this morning about what happened last night?

SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON (R), TEXAS: Well, of course, very sober. It was a night that made a cataclysmic change in American politics in so many ways, on so many levels, but now I think this morning, first we have to say, congratulations to Barack Obama, who ran an incredible campaign.

I thought that John McCain was very uplifting last night, and he said he is going to try to work with the new president. I certainly intend to. And all of us must try to come together, and frankly, the action is going to be in the Senate, where I think there is an opportunity for the minority to have a voice.

ROBERTS: What -- happened to the Republican Party yesterday? Was it the fallout from the Bush administration? Is it just that the Republican brand has become very damaged?

HUTCHISON: Well, I think there were a lot of things that came together that formed a tsunami. First of all, we have been through the surge in the war in Iraq, the war on terror. We had been through the mortgage issue. We've been through gasoline prices spiking through the roof.

And then this financial meltdown, which, certainly, I think, was the major factor against Senator McCain. It was just something that really I don't think any Republican could have overcome.

People are afraid if they're going to lose their house, if they're going to lose their job. And so people, I think, just said we need a change, and now we've got to try to make sure that that change is in the right direction.

ROBERTS: You know, one of Senator McCain's closest advisers certainly recognized the bad economic times, recognized the lingering fallout from the Bush administration, but also said that the Republican Party itself was an albatross for Senator McCain.

Would you agree with that?

HUTCHISON: Well, I think that certainly there were people that did not like some of the things that happened under the Republican watch of President Bush, certainly. I mean, we have to examine this. We have to listen to what the people are saying, if we're going to be a forceful voice, which I certainly hope we will be.

And I think people don't want big spending to continue. People want to have a balanced budget to the extent that we can, while still fighting the war on terror. But we've got to get this financial crisis in hand. We've got to stop the fear factor...


HUTCHISON: ... that is driving some bad decisions.

ROBERTS: Certainly there's not a lot of money left to spend.

You know, we -- first talked to you, Senator Hutchinson, early in the morning, the day that Sarah Palin's candidacy as a running mate was announced. At that point you said, I didn't really know that much about her. You seemed to come to like her.

But there seems to be some evidence that while she energized the base, she may have turned off voters in the middle, moderates, some independents. Was she the right pick for Senator McCain?

HUTCHISON: Oh, you know, I think that no matter who had been the nominee, with what was happening in the financial markets, it was just too steep a hill to climb. So, I don't think that we can blame any one person or any one factor.

This is -- this happens in politics. There's a change. I have been on the upside of elections, and I've been on the downside. And I think we have to listen to the people, and I think we have to try to keep our heads.

We need to try to work with the new president and try to shape policies in the direction that we think will solve this financial crisis, make sure that we keep our commitments in the war on terror, because freedom is at stake and we need to never forget that.

And I think that -- I think that everyone is going to try very hard to work in a bipartisan way. And I think that Speaker Pelosi and Harry Reid will have a big say in this, and I hope that Harry Reid, too, and Speaker Pelosi...


HUTCHISON: ... will work in a bipartisan way.

ROBERTS: We'll see what happens. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison in Texas. It's always good to talk to you. Thanks for joining us this morning.

HUTCHISON: Thank you, thank you.

ROBERTS: All right.

Barack Obama headed to the White House. We're going to talk with one of the Democrats who could replace him in the Senate, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. ahead on AMERICAN MORNING. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHETRY: Well, Barack Obama, history unfolding and disbelief melting away. One image that captured so many emotions was the Reverend Jesse Jackson among the more than 200,000 people amassed in Chicago's Grant Park, all celebrating Obama's landmark victory.

Jesse Jackson tearing up as he listened to Barack Obama speak, and his son Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. joins us this morning from Chicago.

It's so great to have you with us this morning. You -- have been a supporter of Barack Obama from the very beginning. And you of all people know what this means, you're the son of a famous civil rights activist.

What does this victory mean to you personally today?

REP. JESSE JACKSON, JR. (D), ILLINOIS: Well, this is -- for some Americans a 2 1/2-year campaign came to an end last night with the election of Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States. Obviously, the president-elect.

But for other Americans it was a 232-year journey. I heard John Lewis speaking last night in Atlanta, Georgia, a very passionate speech about the extraordinary struggles to make this moment possible.

And so I teared up as millions of Americans teared up because of the extraordinary spiritual journey that Barack Obama's extraordinary personal journey means for all Americans.

CHETRY: And what does the election of the first black president in our history mean for the future of the civil rights movement?

JACKSON: Well, it turns a significant page in our nation's history. Barack Obama did not run as an African-American candidate for president. He ran as an American who happened to be African-American.

He talked about the issues that mattered to the American people. And, therefore, he put the issues first, not his race, not his ethnicity, and the American people responded. And that really is a lesson for a new generation of African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, and minority leaders, who want to speak to the vision of America.

Barack Obama is a trail blazer. He's a pioneer, and he's re- establishing or establishing a new paradigm for the way elections will be conducted in the future.

CHETRY: Michael Eric Dyson writes in today's "L.A. Times," "We should not be seduced by the notion that Obama's presidency signals the end of racism, the civil rights movement, the struggle for black equality or the careers of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton."

He's saying that, you know, this is just another step in the road that needs to continue.

What are the challenges that lie ahead? JACKSON: Well, I respect Professor Michael Eric Dyson. He was a seminary professor of mine at Chicago Theological Seminary. But let me also suggest to you that the new engagement established by Barack Obama is a fundamental paradigm shift in our community.

Barber shops across this country, people are energized, they're engaged. And one of the great challenged of President Barack Obama will be to keep an engaged American electorate involved and engaged in policy decisions.

And so, from that paradigm will emerge a new leadership that is very accountable to voters throughout our country.

A transition from leaders that have historically been called in the prophetic tradition to elected traditions. And so I'm confident that Barack Obama represents that new paradigm and that's exactly what we're looking at.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Very interesting to talk to you this morning about it. Thanks for joining us. Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., appreciate it.


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: It is now 9:30 in the morning here in New York, 6:30 in the morning in Los Angeles. And from coast-to-coast, it is a historic day. Senator Barack Obama is the nation's first African-American to win the White House after defeating Republican challenger John McCain.

Obama took to the state in Chicago's Grant Park to thank his supporters late last night. A massive crowd. More than 200,000 people cheered him on, some with tears of joy streaming down their faces. In his victory speech, Obama acknowledged the difficult challenges that lie ahead, though, he says he has never been more hopeful.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT: To those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too.

And all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners in the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared. The new dawn of American leadership is at hand.


To those who would tear the world down, we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security, we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright, tonight, we've proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals -- democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.


That's the true genius of America -- that America can change. Our union can be perfected. What we've already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.


ROBERTS: Barack Obama's massive victory party was attended by celebrities, as well as common folk. Our Alina Cho was one of the common folks there, and she joins us now live with a recap. Live from Chicago.

Good morning to you, Alina.

ALINA CHO, CNN GENERAL ASSIGNMENT CORRESPONDENT: John, good morning to you. You got that right -- lots of celebrities and lots of common folks. Nearly 225,000 people gathered in Grant Park to witness history last night. Lots of tears, lots of hugs, a whole lot of cheering.

You know, time and time again we talked to people who said, listen, I can now go home to my children and I can tell them, you can be whoever you want to be, because Barack Obama as president-elect is the ultimate role model. We also talked to famed film director, Spike Lee, who said this election has made him think about a past generation.


SPIKE LEE, FILMMAKER/ACTIVIST: I'm thinking about my grandma. My grandma lived to be 100 years old. Her mother was born a slave. And I'm five generations removed from slavery. And what Barack said tonight is true. This is the only place in the world where this could happen, America. You know?

CHO: How does it feel to be here at Grant Park?

LEE: It feels great. That's why I got on the plane this morning. I voted in Brooklyn, New York. In fact, when I voted, my machine was broken, so I had a paper ballot this morning. PS-46 supports me in Brooklyn. But it's a wonderful night. I wouldn't miss this for the world. And --

CHO: It's been a long 22 months. So, what's next?

LEE: What's next is -- what he's done to this day is the hardest thing he's ever had to do. Now, that was a picnic compared to when he puts his hand on the bible and takes that oath in January 20, because that's the really hard part. This country is in the dumps, but I think Americans voted. We need to go a new direction. These last eight years has not been nice.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHO: Now, Lee, of course, an early and ardent supporter of Barack Obama. He certainly made that clear in what you just heard there. But, he actually went on to praise John McCain for giving what he called a gracious concession speech. And, John, you heard him say that he voted very early in Brooklyn, New York, yesterday, hopped on a plane, came right to Chicago. He said he really wanted to see Obama speak in person last night. It was that important to him, John. He said it was a piece of history that he simply did not want to miss.

ROBERTS: Celebrities and common folk alike, and you and me, Alina, both proud members of the proletariat.

Good to see you this morning.

CHO: Yes, we are.

ROBERTS: Thanks so much.

The fight for the Senate seat in Minnesota is still too close to call this morning. Both incumbent Republican Norm Coleman and Democratic challenger Al Franken have 42 percent of the vote. Just a short time ago, Franken read a statement from Minnesota's Secretary of State saying that there would be an automatic recount.


AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA SENATE CANDIDATE: Let me be clear. Our goal is to ensure that every vote is properly counted. The process dictated by our laws will be orderly, fair, and will begin within a matter of days.


ROBERTS: This would be the first Senate recount in Minnesota since 1962. The Secretary of State says it could be December before we finally know the winner.


CHETRY: Well, the war on terror and the threat that passes to the next president. We're going to talk to one of President Bush's former advisors on Homeland Security.


CHETRY: The world also waking up to a new president-elect this morning. So, how are they reacting? Our Christine Romans joins us with a look at the opening bell, being rung right there. And right at the beginning, maybe reality sinking in a little. We're still in a financial crisis.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: A new president, same old crisis. Stocks down about 150 points -- 128 points right now. And not a big surprise, because yesterday was a big Obama rally, they are calling it. Priced into the market, as they say. A lot of folks expecting that he would win and he did, in fact, and so now, you're seeing some selling on the news here today.

The Dow was up 3.3 percent yesterday. It's had a great run over the past four days. So people are saying that it was natural for the market to come down a little bit. It's less -- it's less a judgment call on who won the presidency, more a judgment call on where we have come over the past few days. And now, this president has a -- president-elect has a great deal of work to do. He had a grueling 20 months and he's got a grueling -- a grueling path ahead.

CHETRY: You also said that they like gridlock. Wall Street likes gridlock in Washington, and now you have Democrats in both Houses and the White House.

ROMANS: That's absolutely right. And that could be good if there's some big package they want to push through. (INAUDIBLE) would be able to get some kind of a new plan through. But it will be interesting to see how Wall Street reacts to president and Congress with the same party.

CHETRY: Christine Romans, good to see you. Thanks.


ROBERTS: Coming up now on 41 minutes after the hour. The nation's war on terror, just one of the many challenges that the president- elect will inherit. Our next guest served as a homeland security adviser to President Bush.

Frances Townsend is a CNN national security contributor. She's in Washington for us this morning.

Fran, it's good to see you. So, you know, this is a historic election from so many different perspectives -- first African-American President-Elect, first woman on a Republican ticket and the first time since 9/11 that there has been a transition of power.

What are the special challenges that are facing the incoming administration?

FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Well, no question. You know, President-Elect Obama has got a very deep national security bench. People like Jim Steinberg and you've got advisors that range from people like Congressman Lee Hamilton, the co- chair of the 9/11, Sixth Senator Sam Nunn, a whole bunch of people with a lot of experience. But they're going to come in and find a very different government than was there the last time we had a Democratic president.

These are people who understand the issue. The most immediate counterterrorism issue I think they're going to confront is the Pakistan Tribal Region. We've seen lots of activity, lots of predator strikes. We've seen all sorts of activity and complaints from the Pakistani government. But it represents right now the single greatest threat to American security interests both at home and around the world. ROBERTS: Jim Steinberg we should mention because he's not exactly a household name. He was the deputy national security adviser for President Clinton, deputy to Sandy Berger.

In terms of this from Pakistan, the tribal regions, how clear and present is it? Because, Fran, we asked voters in our exit polls yesterday whether they are worried about another terrorist attack on the United States. 70 percent of them said yes.

TOWNSEND: Well, I will tell you, you know, when you speak to counterterrorism experts, myself included, the people around the country, around the world, you find that prior threats things like the 2006 London airplane attempted attack, have ties back to the tribal areas. And so, we really need to be concerned. The new president and his new team will really need to be concerned about dealing with that. That's probably the most immediate challenge.

But the good news here, John, is that because of the Intelligence Reform and Prevention of Terror Act that passed in 2004, the planning for this transition started while I was still in government over a year ago. President -- the President has made clear he's put Josh Bolten, his chief of staff in charge. They've met with bipartisan members, people like Mac McLarty, President Clinton's former chief of staff, to begin this planning process and the briefings -- the intelligence briefings on these kinds of issues have already started.

And so, President-Elect Obama is already listening to intelligence experts about what he's going to confront.

ROBERTS: And as of today, he gets the full national security briefing, the same one the president gets.

As you know, Fran, the Vice President-Elect, Joe Biden, got himself in some hot water the other week by saying at a fund-raiser that he fully expected that President Obama would be tested in the first six months of his administration by an external threat. Was he right to say that? Do you believe that would happen?

TOWNSEND: Well, John, I actually think -- it's an unfortunate statement. President-Elect Obama referred to Senator Biden's statement a rhetorical flourish. It was unfortunate. I think we can expect from what we know about terrorism threats, any new president is likely to be tested. We know that al Qaeda seeks to take advantage of opportunities and vulnerabilities. Gordon Brown was tested in his first 72 hours in Great Britain. President Bill Clinton was tested in 1993 in his first year. And so, this is not unique to Barack Obama.

ROBERTS: But what's the Intelligence saying? Do you think it will happen?

TOWNSEND: Well, I don't think we can say we think it will happen. I think we have to look at what we know historically, factually. There are no specific threats that I'm aware of right now, but we would be foolish not to be prepared, and I think President-Elect Obama's team understands that very well, and therefore is planning for a very smooth and early transition starting today. ROBERTS: Fran Townsend, CNN contributor, good to see you this morning. Fran, thanks so much.

TOWNSEND: Thank you.

CHETRY: And we will be talking more about that transition of power. Barack Obama looking to build the new government. A look at who is on the short list for the cabinet. We're going to speak to our panel just ahead.


CHETRY: Well, change, the resounding message from voters across the U.S. It's what they wanted. We've assembled our panel of guest to breakdown more about what we could be looking toward in an Obama administration.

We have with us Joe Klein from "Time" magazine. Robert Zimmerman, I'm sure you're dancing in the streets today, very happy. John McWhorter, senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute. And Carl Bernstein, CNN contributor and author.

Thanks to all of you for being with us this morning.

John, one question that's been post today, and people have had different opinions about it, whether or not we're in a post-racial era because of Barack Obama becoming the first black president. Breaking that ultimate glass ceiling.

JOHN MCWHORTER, SENIOR FELLOW, MANHATTAN INSTITUTE: Well, I know I'm supposed to say that we're not. But, yes, we are. I mean, obviously, it's been shown last night that there are racists in the country, big surprise. But there weren't enough to keep a black man from the White House. And I think it's at the point where we need to understand that there are racists just like there are mosquitoes, but that we've gotten to a point where the progress that, for example, Martin Luther King died for, is actually happening. And it's not a glass half empty. It's a glass half full.

And I think we can now start looking at real problems such as how to help people who need help, and stop obsessing over things like the Bradley Effect and racism out there and clever psychological tests that show that people might associate a negative word with a black face. It's time to move on and realize that we've actually done what we've been trying to do. It is a wonderful, wonderful day.

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: You know, I think what's also so significant is that we are -- it's not that we've done, but we are doing what we've dreamed of doing. And I think what the election represents is a reconciliation with our history, a recognizing in fact of the great potential -- the great miracle that America represents.

You know, with 80 percent of our nation dissatisfied with the direction we're going in, we've responded. Our country responded with a record turnout. CHETRY: Right.

ZIMMERMAN: So, it's not just a victory for Democrats, although, Democrats obviously should be proud. It's really a victory for the potential of the American dream and the American system.

JOE KLEIN, TIME MAGAZINE COLUMNIST: Can I just take what John was saying one step farther? It's not that we -- not only that we elected a black man, but we elected a black man. We can now say this with tremendous pride as Americans whose middle name is Hussein.

I mean, we -- Barack Hussein Obama is the president of the United States. This morning I got an e-mail from a young entrepreneur in Kabul, Afghanistan, and he -- and he said everybody here is smiling. And he attached a clipping from a Pakistani newspaper saying that the Taliban now believe that they can negotiate with us. I mean, this is a completely different world. And you know, what we can do now is to tilt forward and think about how things are going to be different.

CHETRY: Carl, so much expectation riding on Barack Obama and his presidency. What are his first moves?

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think the first thing, and he said it all along, is to transform the political atmosphere in Washington, that he has been very serious about the idea that the cultural warfare of the last generation has inhibited this country, has poisoned our political system, and he wants to heal it.

He talked last night, in fact, about humility and determination to heal the divide. We are not enemies, but friends. I will be your president, too. He means it. And I think you're going to see him move toward the center. He's not going to let Nancy Pelosi determine the national agenda. He's going to determine the national agenda. He's going to reach out to John McCain. And I think you're going to see John McCain kind of rehabilitate some of what he lost in this campaign by helping Barack Obama where he can. Because, you know, McCain for years, his mantra has been we have to end this poisonous atmosphere in Washington. And that is the methodology that we're going to see in this presidency.

ZIMMERMAN: One of the great moments of last night was when Barack Obama talked about reaching out to Republicans.


ZIMMERMAN: Because, in fact, having that bipartisan approach is going to make his administration effective, not just running as a Democratic government. And of course, it's ironic that out of the ashes of the Bush-Cheney-Rove legacy, has risen this great populist movement in Barack Hussein Obama.

CHETRY: We have to leave it there. I'm sorry you guys. Great discussion, great insight. Thanks.

John? ROBERTS: 52 minutes now after the hour. Time to check the results of our "Quick Vote" question this hour. Were the campaigns too negative? 82 percent of you said yes and 18 percent said no. We'll have another "Quick Vote" question for you coming up in our next hour.

As the race ends, the questions about Sarah Palin's future are just beginning. So, what's next for the Alaska governor? We'll find out. You're watching the "Most News in the Morning."


ROBERTS: Well, say what you will about Sarah Palin, the Alaska governor brought pep and punch to the campaign trail. And few doubt that she's now going to wither into a political wallflower. CNN's Randi Kaye is here with more on that.

Good morning, Randi.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, John. As you know, John McCain took a real gamble on Sarah Palin. After Obama didn't pick Hillary Clinton, the Republicans thought, well, this might be a good move. She had a proven record in Alaska, and she was a maverick in McCain's eyes. She was ultra conservative, but she was also an unknown.

And as David Gergen, one of our senior political analysts here at CNN told me, for some people Sarah Palin was like a sugar high, great while it lasted, but it went away pretty darn quickly.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The next vice president of the United States, Governor Sarah Palin of the great State of Alaska.

KAYE: For Christian conservatives it was love at first sight. Sarah Palin, pro-life and opposed to embryonic stem cell research was about to recharge the Republican base. Hockey moms found a new champion.

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), ALASKA: You know, they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick.

KAYE: Crowds at Republican rallies swelled. For Palin, it all began here, the small town of Wasilla, Alaska, population 5,000 when she was mayor. She was known for taking on the good old boy's network and big oil. In her, John McCain thought he found a fellow maverick. But the honeymoon wouldn't last. Back at home state investigators determined Palin had violated ethics laws and abused her power to get her ex- brother-in-law, a state trooper, fired. Since then, a state personnel board concluded she hadn't violated any laws.

(on camera): And her folksiness proved no match for network anchors. Interviews quickly painted her as uninformed and apparently unprepared to be vice president.

(voice-over): On CBS, does Alaska's proximity to Russia really count as foreign policy experience? PALIN: Well, it certainly does, because our next-door neighbors are foreign countries. Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America. Where do they go? It's Alaska.

KAYE: Palin's candidacy was lampooned on "Saturday Night Live."

TINA FEY, GOV. SARAH PALIN IMPRESSIONIST: Are we not doing the talent portion?

KAYE: And conservative commentators turned on her. David Brooks called her the cancer of the Republican Party. She was blasted for a $150,000 shopping spree compliments of the Republican National Committee. The campaign says the clothes will go to charity. Unnamed McCain advisors told CNN she had gone rogue. She was labeled a diva. But Palin charged forward, determined to save her own political career and fuel whispers she may be a contender come 2012.

PALIN: And put the people first.


KAYE: Now, weeks ago, Republicans seemed to be setting up to blame Sarah Palin if the Republican Party lost, which it did. And she seemed ready to protect herself. She released her medical records last minute and began to lay some groundwork for the future.

But if you listen to the political analysts, the general feeling seems to be Palin has not emerged as the face of the party. She may end up with a Senate seat for Alaska possibly or even a host of a talk show as some have suggested. But as far as her running in 2012, our experts say she needs to re-brand herself, go underground, disappear for a little while, come back, maybe become a regular in the Sunday talk shows and just start over.

ROBERTS: Let's not forget, too, that she still got a job for at least the next couple of years as the governor of Alaska, right?


KAYE: Absolutely.

ROBERTS: So, you talked to women across the country during this election campaign. What do they say about Sarah Palin?

KAYE: There were lot of mixed opinions. I guess you could say it's a little bit of a love-hate relationship. We talked to one woman in Florida, clearly a Sarah Palin fan, who said that she voted for Sarah Palin and the hero that she was running with.

So, for her, really, Sarah Palin was at the top of the ticket. We also talked to another woman, one of the so-called faith moms, these Christian conservatives who Palin did very well with. She started a blog in favor of Sarah Palin, Moms for Sarah Palin.

But you talked to others who said that she just didn't do women justice. That they didn't like the decision that John McCain made. And many of them told me they actually laughed when this decision was made. So, 60 percent showing in the exit polls didn't think that Sarah Palin was qualified. That may have affected John McCain.

ROBERTS: You know, the decision was not her fault. John McCain made it. She could have said no, but how does anybody say no to that offer.

KAYE: Tough to say no to that.

ROBERTS: Randi Kaye, good piece. Thanks very much.

KAYE: Thank you.


CHETRY: Well, just before the top of the hour, what comes next? Barack Obama has much to do as his historic transition begins. The priority, his hit list, if you will, those that he taps for position in his administration, including his right-hand man, the chief of staff.

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux joins us from Chicago this morning.

I know this is a campaign that has stayed very tight lip, very discipline about this type of information. But what are you hearing?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly, the campaign is not acknowledging any kind of official offer, neither is Congressman Rahm Emmanuel from Illinois. But those who are familiar with the discussions and the process say that there's certainly informal talks that are going on with him, whether or not he'd be interested in a chief-of-staff position.