Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Live Event/Special

Biden Calls Midterm Election "A Good Day" For Democracy; Biden: "Our Intent Is To Run Again"; Maryland Elects States First African American Gov.; Georgia Senate Race Goes To A Runoff; Raffensperger Wins Re-Election Despite Trump's Criticism. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired November 09, 2022 - 17:00   ET



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think that Elon Musk's cooperation and or technical relationships with other countries is worthy of being looked at. Whether or not he is doing anything inappropriate, I'm not suggesting that, I'm suggesting that worth being looked at. And -- but that's all I'll say. There's a lot of ways.

All right. Kristen, Kristen Welker.

KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Thank you so much, Mr. President, I appreciate it. I want to follow up with you on working with Republicans. Leader McCarthy, again, suggested that he is not prepared to write what he has called a blank check to Ukraine. And yet, you expressed optimism that funding for Ukraine would continue, that the policies toward Ukraine would continue. Why should the people of Ukraine in this country have competence in that, given the comments by Leader McCarthy?

And just to follow up with you on your comments to Zeke, you said you don't need to do anything differently. If Republicans control the House, don't you need to recalibrate to some extent to try to work across the aisle with a Republican led House?

BIDEN: Well, let me put it this way, what I meant was I don't have to change any of the policies have already passed. That's what they said they want to go after. And so what I have is simple proposition, I have a pen that can veto. OK. So that's what I mean.

I don't have to recalibrate whether or not I'm going to continue to, you know, fund the -- we're going to continue to fund the infrastructure bill, or we're going to continue to fund the environment, et cetera. And we have to -- I hope -- I think there is a growing pressure on the part of the American people expecting both parties, and all elements of both parties to work out their substance and differences. And not just -- I'm not going to do that because it would benefit that party. That's just making it personal.

So, I -- and, you know, it remains to be seen what the makeup of the House will be. But I'm hopeful that Kevin and I can work out modus of vending how we will proceed with one another. WELKER: Will aid to Ukraine continue uninterrupted?

BIDEN: That is my expectation. And by the way, we've not given Ukraine a blank check. There are a lot of things in Ukraine wants we didn't do. For example, I was asked very much whether we prefer -- we provide American aircraft to guarantee the skies over Ukraine. So no, we're not going to do that. We're not going to get no third world war taking on Russian aircraft and directly engaged.

But would we provide them with all that the rational ability to defend themselves? Yes. We provided those HIMARS. Well, HIMARS, there's two kinds of -- but in the average person is Parklands rockets, you can drop in those, one that goes over 600 miles and one that goes about 160 miles. We didn't get any ones that go to 600 miles, because I'm not looking for them to start bombing Russian territory.

And so, we want to make sure that there's a relationship that they're able to defend themselves and take on what is purely a -- the ugliest aggression that's occurred since World War II on a massive scale on the part of Putin within Ukraine. And there's so much at stake.

So I would be surprised if Leader McCarthy even has a majority of his Republican colleagues who say they're not going to fund the legitimate defensive needs of Ukraine.

WELKER: And just a quick one. Obviously, a lot of attention on 2024 now that the votes have been cast in the midterms, two thirds of Americans in exit polls say that they don't think you should run for reelection. What is your message to them? And how does that factor into your final decision about whether or not to run for reelection?

BIDEN: It doesn't.

WELKER: What's your message to them? To those two thirds --

BIDEN: Watch me.


WELKER: OK one more. Very quickly. You saw Governor Ron DeSantis with a resounding victory in Florida last night. Who do you think would be the tougher competitor, Ron DeSantis or former President Trump? And how is that factoring into your decision?

BIDEN: It'd be fun watching them take on each other.

All right, David Sanger.

DAVID SANGER, "THE NEW YORK TIME" WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Mr. President. I also have a question for you about China. But before I do, I just wanted to follow up on something you said earlier, when you said it remains to be seen whether the Ukraine government is prepared to compromise with Russia. Previously, you've told us the only thing for the Russians to do is get completely out of Ukraine, go back to the lines that existed prior to February 24. Are you suggesting with the word compromise that you think that there is room for territorial compromise now?

BIDEN: No, I'm not. That's up to the Ukrainians. Nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine.

SANGER: But what kind of compromise do you have in mind?

BIDEN: I didn't have any in mind. You have asked the question whether or not, if I recall, whether or not what would happen if in fact, after the -- this -- I think the context is that whether or not they pull him back from Fallujah. And the -- I mean, from the Kherson, the city of Kherson. And they're coming back across the river to the eastern side of the river, the Russian forces. And I said, what's going to happen is they're going to both lick their wounds, decide what they're going to do over the winter and decide whether or not they're going to compromise.

That's what's going to happen, whether or not. I don't know what they're going to do. And -- but I do know one thing, we're not going to tell them what they have to do.

SANGER: You were asked about the meeting with President Xi, at this point, the Chinese government by the estimate of the Pentagon is getting ready to bring their force of nuclear weapons up to over 1000 weapons significant increase from what they've had for many decades. You've seen the threats from President Putin about the use of his nuclear --

BIDEN: Do you remember how you all went after me when I said that was real?

SANGER: And what in your view happened? Do you think he backed off because of that?

BIDEN: No, no, I'm just saying I just find it interesting that Biden's being a pop of -- a puck -- a cup of -- Biden's being an extremist. And it turns out you all are writing about it now. Kind of fascinating.

SANGER: My question is, do you think that they are putting together a real more lines (ph) with Chinese and the Russians? And do you believe that you need to begin speaking with President Xi about some form of arms control, if he's going to get up to a level of weapons similar to what the United States and Russia have right now?

BIDEN: No and yes. No, I don't think there's a lot of respect that China has for Russia or for Putin. I don't think they're looking at as particular alliances. Matter of fact, they've been sort of keeping the distance a little bit.

I do think that may remains to be seen whether Xi Jinping has decided that or backed off of his initial judgment that he wanted Ukraine -- excuse me, China, to have the most powerful military in the world, as well as the largest economy. And -- but he's a long way from both. But I think talk about nuclear weapons and location, a number of them and access is important to discuss.

Thank you all so very, very much.

Thank you very, very much. We'll do another hour a little later. Thank you so much.

Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody expect you to do more of these in the future.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We go to the southern border.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right. President Biden had now a lot of real questions being asked of him. The President gave a, I think it's fair to say, robust defense of his administration saying he would work with Republicans and meet with Republicans and was eager to do bipartisan work if necessary, but he laid out a number of issues where he was not willing to compromise. And of course, there were a number of other issues that reporters asked about, including Taiwan, Ukraine, and much, much more.

Dana, you said before his address that he would come out. You thought he would come out and extend an olive branch a bit to the Republicans. And I think it's fair to say he did that.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I agree. I definitely think he did with limitations. He did it kind of with a not so To the Republicans. And I think it's fair to say he did that.

Yes, I agree. I definitely think he did with limitations. He did it kind of with a not so subtle dig at the Republicans who were accused of, and maybe rightly so having a plan to cut Medicare and Social Security. And of course, he said he wouldn't touch anything on abortion.

But it was very interesting that maybe about four minutes into his speech, he got to a phrase and he said, voters are frustrated, I get it, It's been a tough few years. I would not be surprised if in an earlier version of this opening remarks, that was the top that was where he was going to start, when they thought that they were going to get beat a much worse position than they were. And then that moved down. And he started with, we thought that there was -- everybody said there was going to be a red wave, there wasn't we defied history, we defied the odds. And then he eventually got to the, I feel your pain moment.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN ANCHOR, INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY: Yes, I was really struck. I mean, he started where I expected him to start on the feeling that this was a watershed moment for democracy, that that message that he pressed on in the end had some impact on voters. People may disagree about that, but I do think that the results seem to show that a lot of the people who Biden would characterize as threats to democracy did not win their campaigns. But where my ears really perked up was when he started talking about what he said voters said clearly. He said they clearly said that their concerns were about rising costs and inflation and crime and public safety. This is very clearly a White House that understands not to over read. This is not any kind of mandate, but not to over read what happened last night?

And that, yes, I mean, in addition to all of the other factors, voters do in fact, care about the economy, that is very clear. Whether or not they kicked Democrats out wholesale over that one issue may not have happened but Biden seemed to acknowledge today that he believes that that is still a top priority for his --

CHRIS WALLACE, CNN ANCHOR: Jake, if Joe Biden was extending an olive branch to House Republicans, there weren't many olives on it. I mean, on the one hand, he said, I hope that, you know, we could work together, the American people want us to work together. But all he talked about was things that he wouldn't deal with, that he wasn't going to entertain any thoughts about an abortion ban, about cuts to Medicare, to Medicaid, tax cuts for the wealthy, any changes to his prescription drug, he said that any kind of investigation was almost a comedy.

And at one point when they were -- asked him, you know, what are you going to do? How are you going to act differently? He said, well, I've got a pen and I can veto. There wasn't a single specific area where he said, this is some -- this is a specific policy that I think we can pursue.

I thought it was a pretty empowered president. He certainly wasn't, as someone said earlier, I think was David Axelrod, triumphalist. But on the other hand, he wasn't giving any quarter to Republican.

TAPPER: And it was interesting, Kasie, because he was asked, what does he think of Kevin McCarthy? And his answer was, I think he's the Republican leader.


TAPPER: Which is, I mean, you could say, he's a nice guy. He's a hail fellow well met. He's charming. No, I think he's the Republican leader. So I mean, there was certainly a statement in that.

HUNT: Yes, I have to say that made me laugh a little bit, very much a statement there. I mean, look, McCarthy's got some pretty tough sledding ahead of him before, I think, you know, we're really going to know how that relationship between McCarthy and the President is really going to shake out. I thought what he said about investigations that the House may launch was an interesting one.

McCarthy is going to come under more pressure in a more narrow majority to launch more investigations that, you know, we had seen him kind of try to tamp that down a little bit in the waning weeks of the campaign. Kind of say, well, that's this impeachment talk. I don't know. But I think that with things shaking out the way that they are, they seem to be right now in terms of who's going to control the House of Representatives and by how much. I mean, the Trump side of the conference is going to make McCarthy's life harder than they would have been able to if McCarthy's, you know, majority have been bigger.

And, you know, I think my question, you're actually right on the policy in terms of like Biden didn't give any ground on any Craddock priorities. But there are going to be some key pivot points where -- and Biden in his career has been involved in these before, for example, when he negotiated with McConnell over the fiscal cliff, I mean, Dana, you were there for all of that, they don't have to raise the debt ceiling.

BASH: Yes.

HUNT: And Republicans are going to hold that hostage.

WALLACE: Unless they do it in the lame duck session. And there are a lot of people who's --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Which they might.


WALLACE: A lot of people are hoping, I think both Republicans and Democrats, that they get it done with the Democrats in the majority so Republicans don't have to deal with that.

BASH: And what he was trying to say, and I hear what you're saying is -- when he said there weren't a lot of olives on the branch, but what he was trying to say is just, what we heard on the campaign trail, be patient, we've already had these policies been put in place and nobody has seen it yet because the legislation was written in a way that it actually won't kick in for a couple of months.


I have to just talk about 2024 for a second.

PHILLIP: Yes, let's please. Because I can't believe I've gotten --

BASH: I plan to do it now. I mean, to me, that was the takeaway, I plan to do it now. You know, he can't actually make the announcement there for lots of reasons. But he -- it did not give an inch on that. I guess we don't expect him to, but that to me was the 2024 takeaway.

PHILLIP: I don't know how many times Joe Biden needs to say, I intend to do the thing that I can't do.

BASH: But it's different posts midterms.

PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, I think that this -- Biden has had this demeanor about 2024 for some time now. And whenever he's asked about a rematch against Trump, there is a confidence there. He believes that he's the guy who did it once and can do it again. And I -- that's, I think what we saw today, he kind of scoffed at this idea that he was asked about the exit polls where most Americans said they don't want him to run again. Most Democrats said they don't want him to run again. And he kind of brushed it off --

HUNT: Watch me.

PHILLIP: -- and he said, watch me.

HUNT: Yes, I mean --

PHILLIP: This is -- you know, he is -- that is the one -- perhaps the one area where maybe there's a little bit of bravado there deserved or not, but that is how --

WALLACE: There's also some bravado about Trump --


WALLACE: -- when somebody said to him, well, you know, he's got a lot of support, and he went, oh, yes? You know, not after last night.

TAPPER: I think that was Phil. You know, it's interesting about the watch me, because when I interviewed President Biden a few weeks ago, I said, you say, watch me, and the American people have been watching you and they don't want you to run for reelection, Democrats, people who like you. And he shifted his answer, it was like, look at what I've done. And I thought that maybe they had just changed instead of watch me because, obviously, we all see him aging, this happens to presidents and all of us, inevitably.

We will see that, you know, you can watch him and you see that he's noticeably older. But I thought he was going to lean on his accomplishments, but he's back to watch me today.

PHILLIP: Yes, I mean, I think that he thinks the politics -- I mean, in the context of last night, right, where the other side of the story is, that was a bad night last night for Donald Trump. His candidates did not perform well. I think it was an embarrassment to him, and the, you know, the converse of it, Ron DeSantis doing really well also weakens Trump, I think Biden is responding to that environment and say --


PHILLIP: -- this guy is not as strong as he --

HUNT: Well, he try to called it as sigh of relief, right? He called what happened last night as sigh of relief. It is totally a sigh of relief for this White House in 2024 contact.

TAPPER: But he also expressed eagerness to watch DeSantis and Trump go after each other.

HUNT: It's great for him. It could not be better for him.

TAPPER: No, I get it. And we're all political junkies, we enjoy a contested primary as well. Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Jake, thanks very much. I want to -- David Axelrod, I want to ask you about what you thought we just saw from President Biden. I want to play what his response to the question about running for president again.


BIDEN: When I announced, if I and my intention is that I'm running again, but I'm a great respecter of fate. And this is ultimately a family decision. I think everybody wants me to run, but we're going to have discussions about it.

And I don't feel any hurry one way or another to make that judgment. What today, tomorrow, whenever no matter what my predecessor does. My guess is to be early next year, we make that judgment. But my plan to do it.


COOPER: What do you think?

DAVID AXELROD, FORMER OBAMA SENIOR ADVISER: I think this was pretty consistent with what he's been saying. I mean, he's clearly he clearly wants to run. I don't think there's any doubt about that. When he says I'm a respecter of fate, I think that's also a little bit of a nod to the fact that he's going to be 80 and he's going to -- you know, he has to take that into account.

But you know, I think his whole statement might have been different today if he weren't seriously thinking about doing it or planning to do it because so much of his statement included kind of a recitation of his accomplishments. And, you know, I kind of wish -- I think yesterday was a big as I said beforehand, it was a big moment for the country, and he could have celebrated that moment and talked about the message people were sending him.

Run everything through that prism, you know, people want -- they don't want extremism, they want progress. They don't want crazy, they want responsible. And then if he got a question on Trump, I think the obvious answer to that is Donald Trump doesn't represent those things. Donald Trump represents something else, and the country chose a different path yesterday. So I think that was a strong message.

COOPER: Scott.

AXELROD: I think that would have been effective.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: CNN exit poll, do you want Biden to run for president in 2024? Yes, 30 percent, no 67 percent. Biden approval 44. Now, favorable rating for Donald Trump was 39.


One of the things about this election that is clear to me is that the American people are screaming for anything other than a rematch here. They'd rather pick two names out of the Peoria phonebook and run them against each other than Trump and Biden. And I know he wants to run, and I agree with you, you can tell he wants to run again.

This election was not about begging Joe Biden to run again. This election was, we like you just a little bit more than some of these Trump back candidates. And that is it. And you can easily override it if you were in his position, but this is a clear number.

COOPER: I do just want to quickly play some sound of what the President said about the Trump movement.


BIDEN: I don't think we're going to break the fever for the super mega MAGA Republicans. I mean -- but I think they're a minority of the Republican Party. I think the vast majority of the members of the Republican Party, we disagree strongly on issues, but they're decent, honorable people.


COOPER: Alyssa.

ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I don't think that branding is particularly helpful. But Joe Biden wakes up in a different America today where many Republicans, serious Republicans are saying, maybe it's not Donald Trump, maybe it's a Ron DeSantis or different Republican. That's not personally my take, but that's what many powerful people in the party are saying.

And I think as he's weighing a calculation about running again, he needs to not just be looking at the head to head with Trump. That's where he always thinks he fares well, there's been polls that show both sides of that, "New York Times" Ghana (ph) also showed Trump two weeks ago beating him head to head. But I think he really needs to think about. If it's a different candidate, it might be a time for change.

And to Axelrod's point, are they grooming someone for that? Do they have someone teed up? And I don't think he's considering that.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think that for most people watching us regular folks, they're just trying to figure out, OK, something big happen. Where's the hope that it come from? Where's the help going to come from? What's going to -- how's this going to help me? I thought he did.

Good on two things but bad on the other. I think it was good for him to speak up for the country's decency. He could have done more of it, he could have done it earlier. But I think that's medicine for people. Like he's reminding people that were good.

I think it was good for him to remind people of all the good things he's already done when it comes to the infrastructure and the prescription drugs and trying to get the gas prices down, because people forget. Oh, yes, there's some stuff coming, help is on the way. I think where he missed an opportunity was -- and now since the country wants us to come together, here's what we can do together. There could be a grand bargain on immigration right now. There could be a grand bargain on voting right now and I he left that part out. And so I -- that's the point, I think is -- was my disappointment.

COOPER: Van, what do you think, though, about what Scott Jennings said, which is that, you know, people don't want him to run again.

JONES: I think people love him. I think people appreciate him. I think people don't want him to run again. I think he has an opportunity to exit out on a high note, if you will.

COOPER: Gloria.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Here was sort of the thing that struck me, which is when he was asked, would you change anything? He said, no. Now you have 75 percent of the country saying that we're headed in the wrong direction. Seventy-five percent believe we are in a recession.

And then the President, you know, in a way to try to brag about himself and what he's done, of course, and to talk about how Republicans would threaten your Social Security and your Medicare, he said he just wouldn't do anything different because of course, our achievements take a long time to be recognized. That's insulting people. And I don't think that was a good answer from the President.

DAVID URBAN, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: Yes. So listen, I thought he started out very strong, right? It's a good day for democracy, very optimistic, a nice tone.

BORGER: Right.

URBAN: I think he dragged on, but to highlight Gloria's point, he started out these three things I think I'm going to do, these are three things that are very important. And the third amongst those was unity, right? I'm going to work to unity. And this is why the guy got elected in the first place, because people were tired of divisiveness of the Trump administration, that's why Joe Biden got elected. And so he harkens back he says, I'm going to try to bring unity back to America.

And then when he's asked, what do you do differently? Well, nothing. What do you think of Kevin McCarthy? He's the --


URBAN: Yes, he's the guy. Oh, and by the way, I'm coming for your guns Republicans that we're going to have an assault weapons ban. Let me just go through the litany of, you know, third rail issues, that's not a guy who's like looking for unity, right? That doesn't scream unity. So I thought he should have kept the speech tight short, optimistic, like David was talking about, no big picture of flowery, drop the mic, walk out.

AXELROD: Yes. BORGER: Doesn't that show that he's conflicted, though, in an odd. You know, his answer on running, yes, my intention around but I've talked to my wife about it. And yes, I want to be unified but by the way, Republicans are going to take away your Social Security and Medicare.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I think that --


JONES: I'm sorry?

BORGER: No, I'm done.

JONES: Look, as human being can you imagine getting beat up all the time.


JONES: Your own party saying you suck and they want to throw you out.



JONES: And then the Republicans, you know, calling everything but child of God, and then you win? And so I think he's crossed pressure.

AXELROD: You know what, you're right. You're right. Being President of the United States is a hard job, man, because you're expected to be big. And sometimes it's hard to do that. But this -- and, you know, look, I don't have a big quarrel with what -- he's proud of what he done, did, he's done, he wants to talk about it. But this was an opportunity to tell a story about the country to be really big and tell a story about the country. And I think it was a missed opportunity.

COOPER: We should also pointed out, he didn't win, like, I mean --


AXELROD: Although he did say -- you noticed at one point, he said, you know, we won, and then he corrected himself --


AXELROD: -- we did better than people thought.


AXELROD: It wasn't about him. You know, the point is, I mean, if you look at these -- at the exit polls, there were a fair number of people who didn't have a favorable opinion of his performance in office who voted for Democrats, because it was about something larger. And it was also about the alternative. They want him to feel extremism.

URBAN: Like 80 percent of Americans are angry last night, right? BORGER: About the economy.

URBAN: They're angry about the economy.


URBAN: Not just dissatisfied, but angry.

GRIFFIN: A number of Democrats outperformed Biden last night, and that wasn't really acknowledged. And there was a bit of an I alone can fix it attitude to the speech that he just gave. I agree with the, you know, unity message, but the problems that we're facing are not things that solely Joe Biden can fix, and that he's not even opening the door to the possibility there might --

BORGER: He could have said, you know, to Van's point, there are places we can work together. We could solve the opioid crisis, for example.



BORGER: We could take a look at technology together, for example, maybe even a little bit on immigration, Dreamer, you know, whatever, but he didn't pick that up because I think, you know, he understands who he's dealing with.

URBAN: And with assault weapon.

BORGER: I think he wants -- assault, what, yes, he went with assault weapons, which is democratic.

COOPER: We should get quick break. We're going to live to Arizona, Nevada for the latest on the underside of races on those key battlegrounds, including the contest that are critical to the fight for Senate control. Also, we'll talk to the governor elect of Maryland, Wes Moore, the first African American to win that office. There's much more head this Election Night in America.



TAPPER: It's Election Night in America continued and control of Congress remains on the line this hour. This midterm elections defying expectations keeping us all guessing about the final outcome. We're following all the races that are still too close to call as well as critical contests that have been decided and are shaking up the political landscape, that includes a historic decision in Maryland.

Wes Moore will become the state's first ever African American governor and only the third African American elected governor in U.S. history. Governor-elect Wes Moore joins us now live from Baltimore. Governor- elect, good to see you again. You were once a guest on my show. Now you're the governor-elect. I know you say that history -- the history that matters most is the history that you make in the next four years, your accomplishments. But if I can ask you, what does this groundbreaking moment mean for you personally? You're in Baltimore right now. You're the only the third ever African American elected governor in the history of these United States. Tell us about the significance of this to you personally, if you could.

WES MOORE (D), MARYLAND GOVERNOR-ELECT: You know, it means a great deal to me personally, because I know the history of my state. You know, this is a state that is, you know, a place, the birthplace in the home place of Frederick Douglass and Thurgood Marshall and Harriet Tubman. But it's also the birthplace of redlining.

It's also the birthplace of some of the most historically discriminatory policies, and most creative, discriminatory policies that we've seen in this country. And I think about my own family's history, where my grandfather was the first one on my mom's side of family born in this country. But it was a Ku Klux Klan that ran him out and ran my family out when he was just a toddler. But he eventually came back and became the first black minister of the history of the Dutch Reformed Church.

And I always talk with him about the history that he made in the ministry. And he always said, but making history wasn't the assignment. And that's very much how I view this moment, where I'm thankful and I'm humbled that the state of Maryland, you know, chose me to be its next governor and the first black governor in the history of the state. But I'm very clear, that's not the assignment.

TAPPER: Right. And you're in Baltimore, I want to ask you about Baltimore, because that's a city that's seen a lot of troubles over the last few decades. What are some of the things you want to do for Baltimore, the city you're in right now?

MOORE: Yes, I love this city and I love the promises city. And I want the entire state to know that you cannot have a thriving Maryland if you do not have a thriving Baltimore. And I don't just say that, because I'm a Baltimorean. I say that because I'm very good at math.

You know, name me a state that is clicking on all cylinders, but the state's largest city is not. And the answer is that doesn't exist. In order for our state to grow, we've got to make sure that Baltimore is growing. And that means we've got to focus on the issue of public safety. And that means getting and keeping violent offenders off of our streets and getting these illegal guns out of our neighborhoods.

It means we've got to make sure we have a 21st century education system that's teaching our students how not just to be employees, but how to be employers. And it means we've got to focus on economic growth. We got to incentivize businesses to come, incentivize businesses to stay and also make sure we're creating pathways for long term work, wages and wealth for all of our families. If we do that, this is going to be Baltimore's decade, and that will in turn ensure that this is going to be Maryland's decade.

DANA BASH, CNN HOST: Governor-elect, it's Dana Bash. Congratulations to you. I want to ask about what lessons --

MOORE: Thank you.

BASH: -- you might take from the man who's going to be your predecessor, is your predecessor, he's still the sitting Governor, Larry Hogan, who's in the rare position of being a Republican, a popular Republican in a blue state. What can you learn from him, as you think about how you're going to govern?


MOORE: Well, I appreciate the current governor for calling out these MAGA. Republicans early where, you know, when -- even after I became the nominee, and my opponent became the nominee on the Republican side, the Republican governor said, called him a QAnon whack job and said that not only would he not vote for him, he wouldn't even give him a tour of the governor's office.

And so he was very clear about the dangers of this MAGA movement. But I know the way I'm planning on approaching the work and approaching the job is the way I've govern -- the way I've campaigned this entire time, which is going everywhere. We're going to every corner of the state, and we are sharing our vision and our values.

And, you know, and I believe deeply I tell people that, you know what, when I was leading soldiers in combat, when I was leading soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division, do you know what question I never once asked my soldiers, what's your political party? And I think that matters, because that's how I plan on governing.

I think people are tired of being at each other's throats. I think people are tired of caring more about who originated on an idea, then is it a good idea? And I think as a state, we're ready to move fast, and we're ready to move together. And I think that's why we saw such an overwhelming victory in Maryland last night.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: Governor-elect, it's Abby Phillip, thanks for being here again. You mentioned your --

MOORE: Hi, Abby.

PHILLIP: Hi there. You mentioned your opponent who -- you want a decisive victory over. But I do want to ask you about what led to him even being the Republican opponent in this race. Democrats did spend money to boost his candidacy and did so for others like him, Trump- backed candidates, election deniers and other states and districts, going forward, you ran this race, and it was a victory.

But going forward, what lessons should Democrats learn from what -- how you ran that race? And is that even a strategy that you think your party should be employing given that the argument that you and others have been making is that this is a threat to American democracy?

MOORE: Yes. No, I know the DGA did do $1 million ad buy during the primary, and it was against Dan Cox. But the DGA did not do that ad buy. Because they wanted Dan Cox to be the nominee. They did that ad buy because they thought Dan Cox was going to be the nominee.

Dan Cox won by double digits in the primary, there is no single ad that helped him go from not having a chance to win, to winning by double digits. He was going to be the Republican nominee. And so I think what the DGA did, and what we continue to do was to make sure that Marylanders understood the danger that he presented, uniquely presented to being anywhere near the governor's office.

And so I think the strategy that we used and we deployed was when people said to me, they said, well, who do you need to win? Who do you need to touch in order to win this election? My answer was simple, everybody. And so we went to all 24 jurisdictions, and we made our pitch and help to explain to them.

When we went places, people said, well, you're here, but there's not a lot of Democrats. And my answer was simple, yes, but there's a lot of Marylanders. And I plan on being their governor, too. And so you go to their territories, and you make your pitch, because if you show up, you'll see exactly what we saw here in the state of Maryland yesterday, is that we want not just Democrats, not just independents, but we took a large swath of Republicans. And that's why I think we saw the numbers and the margins that we saw in the state of Maryland.

PHILLIP: And I have to ask you, we just heard from President Biden a few minutes ago, he was asked about 2024. Do you think that President Biden should run again? And if he did, would you support him?

MOORE: Yes, I think the President should run again, and I will support him. And I think it's incredibly important that we have a strong partnership. You know, I recently just welcomed the President just a few days ago, to the state of Maryland, the day before election day. And when people said, you know, why you bring the President back again to the state of Maryland? My answer was clear.

One is we have got to have a strong partnership with Washington. And it's important that Maryland has a strong partnership in Washington, because we've got a lot we've got to get done. And the second reason is, and I was excited to bring him back to Maryland, and welcome him back to Maryland, because I think the President sees what we all see, is that this is going to be Maryland's decade, that this is a state that is prepared to move fast.

This is a state that is prepared to move collectively. And I'm excited to have Washington and the Biden administration as a partner network.

TAPPER: All right, Governor-elect Wes Moore, congratulations again. Don't be a stranger. You're just up by 95. We'll have you on anytime.


MOORE: I look forward to it. Thank you all very much.

TAPPER: Thanks so much.

Still ahead, the high stakes Senate run off in Georgia. We'll take you inside the Warnock and Walker campaigns, where do they think these vote counts are going. And Georgia is newly reelected Secretary of State Republican Brad Raffensperger will join us live. Stay with us.



TAPPER: Election Night in America is extending into a second election night and potentially election month. The fight for control of the Senate could all come down to a December 6 runoff election in Georgia between the top two vote getters, and that's where CNN National Politics Reporter Eva McKend is covering one of the most closely watched Senate races right now.

Eva McKend, you're in Atlanta tell us more.

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Well, Jake top aides the day after here have just come out swinging Senator Warnock's camp arguing that Herschel Walker greatly underperformed other Republicans in this state namely incumbent Republican Governor Brian Kemp. Also feeling confident because, you know, they argued Senator Warnock has won a consequential runoff in the past.

Meanwhile, Walker's camp says this is really no reason to celebrate that Senator Warnock suggesting he really have the advantage. More than $100 million are spent and he's an incumbent. So we will hear a spin from both sides in the days ahead. But that does not change the fact that in the next four weeks, they now have to continue to make their case to voters.

They're essentially at square one, even with Warnock, pulling slightly ahead and having more votes. They're essentially at square one and a half to make this a case to Georgians all over again, Jake.

TAPPER: Jeff Zeleny is also in Atlanta, Georgia for us. Jeff, it looks like we're heading for a run off. Gabe Sterling and the Secretary of State's office said, it's impossible for either of these candidates to get above 50 percent. So what now?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, both campaigns have been planning for a runoff really since last evening. And the Republican strategy is quite simple. It's about President Biden. I'm told by Republican officials and strategist that they are trying to make this race about one thing and one thing only, to be a check on the Biden administration and the policies of the White House.

Now, of course, that will be much more amplified, if control of the U.S. Senate hinges on the Georgia race, which it is looking increasingly likely that it will. But this also underscores a reality talking to Republicans here throughout the day. They are quite frankly disappointed by the underperformance of Herschel Walker, vis-a-vis Governor Brian Kemp. Nearly 200,000 fewer votes for the Walker campaign versus the Kemp campaign.

There's also a sense of worry at the runoff on December 6, who's going to provide the ground game, who's going to provide the organization. The Walker campaign was not nearly as organized as the Kemp campaign. So this is a new dynamic, as Eva was saying, no doubt about it.

It's a new day. And it's a short time period to make the case. But I'm told that Senator Ted Cruz will be coming here tomorrow to campaign for Herschel Walker. And he's going to be one of many Republican senators and other luminaries coming down to Georgia to campaign for the next few months. But again, they're going to try and make this about President Biden.

And indeed, it is about President Biden in many ways, because if the Senate goes into Republican control, Republican hands it will deeply impact his agenda for the next two years. But we will see if tying Senator Warnock to President Biden actually works as a strategy. Of course, they tried that for the last several months. And Senator Warnock does have a narrow lead of about 17,000 votes or so in this near photo finish of a Senate race. Jake?

TAPPER: All right, Jeff Zeleny and Eva McKend in Atlanta, thanks to both of you.

Joining us now, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. You were just reelected. Congratulations, sir. I --


TAPPER: -- it must be reassuring given all of the horrors that you and your family went through after the last runoff election. And of course, what President -- pressure that President Trump tried to put you under.

RAFFENSPERGER: Well, we're very grateful, very strong victory over 350,000 more votes than the number two and nine points -- 9.5 points above. So we're just really grateful. But right now, we also have our day job to do and that's make sure -- we have this runoff race that's going to be on Tuesday, December 6.

TAPPER: So the Senate race, as you notice, it's headed to the run up, who do you think has the advantage on December 6 without Governor Kemp at the top of the ticket who vastly outperformed Herschel Walker? Will it be harder for Walker to win?

RAFFENSPERGER: I think it's really -- I was at a runoff four years ago. And I prevailed on that. It's really who gets most people out, who has the most, you know, active campaign. And I know I traveled all over the state in my run off period and I'm sure that both campaigns will be doing that. But we're getting the counties ready. We're building ballots. We started that this morning to get that ready and then get ready to, you know, receive absentee ballot applications and then send those absentee ballots out.


And then the day, be this first Saturday right after Thanksgiving, that'll be the first day of early voting. And then the week after, will continue on. And then Tuesday, December 6, will be the decision day. That's when the last day to come up to vote. TAPPER: You're the chief elections official in the state of Georgia, you're getting ready to conduct a routine audit of the results. Was there anything you saw that was a major concern, any irregularity that really would cause anybody to be worried about the integrity of yesterday's election?

RAFFENSPERGER: No, yesterday ran so well. Off 159 counties, we only had seven precincts out of our 2,700 precincts that had to extend their closing past 7:00 p.m. That's the type of election that was. We were looking at an average wait time of two minutes in the afternoon. And then the check in time was 47 seconds.

And so there just weren't any lines. It just went really smooth. The counties just performed great. Our team, I just felt, you know, so proud of them. I really felt that in Georgia, we know how to run elections, run them well. And we're going to make sure that we have honest and fair elections for this runoff.

TAPPER: A lot of other Republicans across the country didn't have their races go the way they expected or wanted. Do you have any theories as to why the red wave that a lot of Republicans and conservative pundits thought it was going to happen? Why it did not, at least based on the evidence and data we have right now? Do you think Donald Trump's continued role in your party contributed to people not turning out to vote for Republicans?

RAFFENSPERGER: Well, I know in our case, we had great turnout. And I just made sure that people understood and I've been traveling the state for over a year and a half. Wanted to let them know that I follow the law. I follow the Constitution. If you had questions about the 2020 campaign, that was -- that we had to push back on. We're here with the facts are.

2018, here's what the facts are. You will know what about the Election Integrity Act, we have photo ID for all forms of voting. In the law, we said lines have to be shorter than one hour. Look what we had, average wait times of well, less than, you know, one hour. We -- longest when we saw, it was really about 14 or 16 minutes yesterday.

So the counter just performed and people know that we have honest and fair elections. It's as simple as that. And I think people are looking for honesty, integrity. I think those are really important attributes. And so people responded to that.

TAPPER: Well, speaking about honesty and integrity. Herschel Walker had a lot of scandals and controversies over the course of the campaign that would cause some voters to question his honesty and integrity. I suspect that's why he -- so many voters seem to vote for Governor Kemp and then cross the aisle and vote for Senator Warnock.

Mitch McConnell referred to this as candidate quality, is one of the issues that might keep him from becoming Senate Majority Leader. Do you think a better Senate candidate such as, for instance, Jeff Duncan, the outgoing lieutenant governor, do you think he would have made a better challenger for Senator Warnock? RAFFENSPERGER: Well, that would all be hindsight. Elections are really forward facing and right now as my job as Secretary of State to make sure we have an honest election. And I'd encourage both candidates to, you know, just assume that you're in day one and it's a 30-day sprint. So, you know, they need to get out there and make their best case with the voters, the people of Georgia.

TAPPER: Before we go, President Trump is teasing a possible announcement for -- to run for president. As a Republican, as somebody who wants there to be integrity in the runoff election coming up in December, would you be concerned if he declares, if he gets involved in the runoff election, given the havoc he helped to wreak on the elections in the past?

RAFFENSPERGER: Well, our counties are going to be prepared for whatever the situation is. Our job is to make sure that the counties when they turn on the lights in the morning, they're ready to go. Make sure that people get their absentee ballots, make sure that people know that we have -- we're going to have five days Monday to Friday, plus a Saturday and some counties will have Sunday voting for early voting. Make sure we have everyone, you know. primed and ready and prepared for big numbers for the runoff race.

That's our job. That's other outside influences. And we can't focus it on that. We have to focus in on what our job is, is to make sure we run a smooth election like we did yesterday.

TAPPER: All right. Well, congratulations to you and your election workers for what was by all accounts a smooth, safe and secure election.


TAPPER: Appreciate it. And congratulations again to you, sir.

RAFFENSPERGER: Thanks, Jake. They did a great job.

TAPPER: Still ahead, new vote counts coming in tonight including from Arizona where to high stakes races remain up in the air, senator and the governor. We're going to talk to the Arizona Assistant Secretary of State, that's live. Stay with us.



TAPPER: It's a cliffhanger at the U.S. Capitol and across the country tonight with control of Congress hanging in the balance. We're standing by for a new round of votes to be reported tonight in the crucial battleground of Arizona.

Welcome back to the CNN Election Center. I'm Jake Tapper. Let's take a quick snapshot of where the fight for Congress stands at this hour. In the U.S. Senate, Democrats now hold 48 seats, Republicans hold 49 seats. They need to pick up two more seats, Republicans, in order to get to the 51 seats. They need to take control of the U.S. Senate. The final outcomes hinge on three key senate cases that remain undecided. One in Georgia, we were just talking about. One in Arizona, and the third in Nevada. Georgia is likely to be the decider.