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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
2012 Election Coverage; Barack Obama Wins Reelection; Congressional Gridlock Remains
Aired November 7, 2012 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- stirs up controversy. That won't change after tonight. And it shouldn't. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty. We can never forget that as we speak, people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter, the chance to cast their ballots like we did today. But despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America's future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: In the end it all came down to math. That's what we really were talking about the last couple of days. Would the math add up for The President to 270? John Berman has a closer look at that for us. Hey, John.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Soledad. There were a lot of people who said that President Obama couldn't do this again. In 2008 he captured lightning in a bottle, but there are signs within the exit polls coming in tonight that indicate the so-called Obama coalition held firm. I'm going to talk to CNN's Christine Romans at the magic wall for more on that.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Okay, let's look at it. How did he do? This is 2012, these are the exit polls. You can see the youth vote, 33 to 44-year-olds, solidly in The President's corner. Then this is where Mitt Romney got some strength, 51 percent for Romney of 45 to 64-year-olds. Forty-seven percent for The President. And for the people 65 and older, 56 percent to 44 percent. Look at the youth vote, 60 percent of people ages 18 to 29 went for Mitt Romney. This was a good turnout for The President.
BERMAN: The youth vote grew in terms of percentage of the overall vote from 2008, which is a big deal.
ROMANS: This is what 2008 looked like for The President. You can see he took all three of these categories. John McCain who did well in 65 and older. Let's move to the other part of the coalition that The President has built. 72 percent of voters were white. Of those 59 -- look at the 20-point lead from Romney among white voters, but that didn't matter and here's why. The President had solid support from African-Americans and the Latino vote was 10 percent. Double digits for the first time in history for Latinos. Seventy-one percent of Latino voters chose The President. BERMAN: A lot of questions about whether to turn out the African- American vote. The turnout was almost exactly the same as four years ago and again the Latino vote growing and the President running up huge margins.
ROMANS: That's the 2008 vote. This is what the 2008 vote looked like, and you're right -- the Latino nine percent this time around. This time 10 percent for the first time of history.
BERMAN: As we said, signs that the Obama coalition held firm, and in some cases grew. Soledad?
O'BRIEN: All right, John thank you. Governor Romney in his concession speech said it was time for both parties to come together. Here's a little bit of what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY, (R) FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And we looked at Democrats and Republicans in government of all levels to put the people before the politics. I believe in America. I believe in the people of America.
And I ran for office because I'm concerned about America. This election is over, but our principles endure. I believe that the principles upon which this nation was founded are the only sure guide to resurgent economy and to a new greatness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Let's open it up to our panel. You know what was interesting, you heard the Governor talk about coming together. President Obama in his victory speech talked about unity and coming together. When you actually go to the exit polls you see one party really got a big handle on the white vote and you see another party really got another big handle on the minority vote. And that seems to work against the idea of coming together and unity, doesn't it?
ARI FLEISCHER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: And you see it in the way the states voted. You've got Florida that looks like it's going to be decided by one vote. You've got Ohio by two, Virginia by two, Ohio by four. Even the states that the President won are very closely divided. We are a very closely divided nation and that's why this compromise they must engage in is going to be so hard to find.
ANA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That's why it is required, because the exit polls and the results show we are divided. We have to figure out how unite if we're going to get things done.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, we'll see if people will reward that. When I worked for president Clinton, the House of Representatives impeached him and yet he worked with him. And Newt Gingrich, while impeaching Clinton worked with him and Newt kept his house majority and Clinton kept his presidency. So we the people were rewarded that. We have not been rewarding compromise lately. Let's see, I believe if you get President Obama, Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Reed in a room, they can cut a deal to be good for the country to move us forward. The question is would we reward principled compromise like we did in the '90s. I don't know.
O'BRIEN: Doesn't that brings us back to the original question are you aiming for a primary or a general election? Because it seem that is and I think Governor Romney is to some degree exhibit A of that. You have to play both sides and sometimes -- I think for Latinos on it, that was a big problem, right? They talked about the wall and self deportation. Those things are hard to take back and that was reflected in the numbers we saw for Latino voters.
NAVARRO: I said earlier tonight, much, much earlier.
O'BRIEN: That was yesterday.
NAVARRO: That I thought Governor Romney had lost the Latino vote in the Republican primary. That far ago and he never quite made it up. You know what the tragic part of it is? I don think that what he was is what he feels. I think that if Mitt Romney had been elected, he really would have worked towards finding a solution. He didn't need to go there. Did he need to see those things on the Dream Act? Did he need to say the things on self deportation?
O'BRIEN: Maybe the answer is yes, you did, in order to get through the primary. Did you to get through the primary for Republicans?
NAVARRO: To beat Rick Perry, the guy who said, oops.
FLEISCHER: It is impossible to go back and unwind it and rewind it. Who knows what influenced what moment at what period in time. Rick Perry was on the ascendancy then. Mitt Romney made that calculation going back, who knows. I just look how George Bush handled it. You have to say what you feel. And some of us George Bush saying family values don't stop at the Rio Grande. That simple statement, that human statement, and that very personal statement, he meant what he said, he lives there. Many people hear him and see him differently because he understood what they were going through.
BEGALA: Or, John McCain, a war hero who talked about going to the Vietnam wall and seeing names like Rodriguez and Gomez and heroes who are Latino -
O'BRIEN: There are also -- there's pragmatic math, too. We know in 2004 the Latino electorate was eight percent. In 2008, it was nine percent, this year it was 10 percent. We know the demographics --
NAVARRO: You are going to scare these two white men.
O'BRIEN: I am not here to scare. I am just here to say that --
NAVARRO: Soledad, we have them surrounded but we come in peace.
FLEISCHER: My people are stuck at two percent. The Hungarians, we don't even show up.
O'BRIEN: In all seriousness, if that number continues to grow, and the trend continues would indicate that it will, you are going to have a problem if you are alienating the fastest growing demographic in the country and you hope to win elections.
BEGALA: We are in really dizzyingly demographic change and President Obama has been nimble enough to see that and seize it and dominate it, even though he doesn't speak a word of Spanish. When Roosevelt was elected, the people who elected him, the country was 95 percent white voters. Sixty years later Clinton, Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act that 95 had only dropped to 87 -- 88 actually. In 60 years, that's how much change we had -- seven points. Guess what? From Clinton to Obama, only 16 years. From 88 down to 74 percent white. Twice the pace of change, twice the diminution of the power of the white vote in only 16 years as the previous 60. And it is not stopping. And the Republicans, like these two who are smart who know this and get this, President Bush and Senator McCain did and Mitt Romney took them in the wrong direction.
NAVARRO: Now that the election is over and other Republican leaders don't have to defer to what is going on with The Presidential elections, I think there's going to be space and room for other Republican leaders to --
O'BRIEN: Thank you for the subtle cue, Ana, we appreciate that.
NAVARRO: Just so you know, I have only been saving this for 20 years.
O'BRIEN: But you think it is an opportunity.
FLEISCHER: In a Republican primary, I'm guessing three years from now when the next primary is very hard to do, but assume there are a lot of doctrinaire, conservative candidates - five or six of and one moderate who is really running on immigration reform. They carve up those who are moderate.
O'BRIEN: Could be, could be. All right, we have the final results for the presidency but some races in the Senate are still nail-biters. We'll take a close look at the races still to close to call and the balance of power on the Hill. Stay with us.
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OBAMA: We are an American family and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. You're looking at pictures of folks celebrating at the Obama headquarters there. They are celebrating the victory for President Obama who will get four more years in office. You can see here from the map that 303 electoral votes to 270 need to win. The state of Florida in yellow still haven't actually gotten a projection yet.
The President delivered a speech all about unity. A victory speech he said, we are an American family and we rise and fall together as one nation. And he said Americans' best is yet to come. Democrats retain control of the Senate, Republicans retain control of the House. We'll take a look now at more of the math there. John?
BERMAN: The math adds up to a whole lot of the same, Soledad. In the House of Representatives the Republicans will maintain the balance of power right there. They will control the House and in the Senate it is the Democrats who will control things there with 51 seats, 45 seats for the Republicans and two purple seats there that go to independents. They in all likelihood will caucus for the Democrats to give the Democrats right now at least 53 seats in voting terms.
Let's look at some races too close to call right now. Late into the night or early into the morning depending how you look at it, Montana, the incumbent Democrat John Tester against the Congressman there, Danny Weiburg, too close to call there. And North Dakota, a surprising squeak (ph) perhaps with Rick Burg fighting against his Heidi Highcamp (ph) the Democrat for the open seat being vacated by Kent Conrad there. That race, too close to call. Who knows how long they'll be counting votes there. We may not know soon.
Some high profile races to tell you about right now. First, those races from Missouri and Indiana, the Democrats won. Claire McCaskill, Joe Donnelly, you'll remember the Republicans in those races both made controversial comments about rape. They lost. In Massachusetts the heavyweight Senate bout of this campaign, Elizabeth Warren has been elected, the first female senator from the bay state of Massachusetts defeating Scott brown. One other history-making race to tell you about in the state of Wisconsin, it was Tammy Baldwin beating the former governor Tommy Thompson. Tammy Baldwin becoming the first openly gay member of the United States Senate. Soledad?
O'BRIEN: All right, John thank you. The Asian markets are now closed and the London markets are now opening. Let's get right to Christine Romans with a look at how the markets are reacting.
ROMANS: Well, let's take a look first at Asia. Asia closed mixed watching the status quo. You have a U.S. president that is the same U.S. president and then you have a House and a Senate of different parties. Asian markets closing slightly mixed. European markets are now open and they are up slightly and the stock index futures in the U.S., this is what we are watching heading to the opening bell at 9:30 eastern. Stocks U.S. futures are up ever so slightly.
What the signal is that the markets want to see now is progress on fiscal cliff. That is the most important thing next for markets to see. You would have seen probably a rally if Mitt Romney had won. Wall Street loved Mitt Romney and wanted him to be the President, but they thought Barack Obama would be. No big uncertainty there. Barack Obama, the President, will have a second term.
O'BRIEN: We'll talk about the fiscal cliff when we return in just a moment. We are back, stay with us
O'BRIEN: All right. We'll start with market reaction and the impending fiscal cliff. Ali Velshi, Christine Romans, how is it looking?
ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: The marketing are looking okay. There was a sell-off of the international markets because they were the only ones open as it became clear that Barack Obama was going to win. There were a lot of people who preferred Mitt Romney and thought he was more business-friendly. The bottom line is markets get over this very quickly. They have a much bigger issue, that's the fiscal cliff. That is stopping them from hiring and stopping them from making decisions. What this is going to take on Congress' part and the President's part in the "lame duck" session is going to be some intestinal fortitude, mathematics and basic arithmetic, and some ability to compromise. They have got to come to a deal.
O'BRIEN: On the divided congress' part, with the President, who they weren't necessarily working with just yesterday before he was reelected --
VELSHI: I think they all get it. I think President Obama is going to have to have a legacy in his second term to say, I got things done. They gave him a pass. The fact is, Americans chose Barack Obama but Barack Obama owns some responsibility for the fact that nothing got done. Congress owns 80 percent of the responsibility, but Barack Obama has to say this has not worked the last four years. Getting the nation's fiscal house in order has not worked with you people.
O'BRIEN: Lame duck Congress, as you said and also the same makeup as the makeup of the House and te Senate we -
ROMANS: We just can't go over the fiscal cliff. They all know that. So now it will be who gives up less and who doesn't look like they are giving something up. You have to convince House Republicans they will not suffer politically for raising taxes and they have to convince Democrats to cut important programs.
VELSHI: They signed the stupid deal with Grover Norquist and they are beholden to it. Congressional Republicans have to say to Grover, get out of our way. We get it, generally speaking we don't want to raise taxes on people, generally speaking we get lower taxes.
O'BRIEN: Those who signed that agreement will never say that.
VELSHI: Then everything has to be put on them. Then it doesn't become The President's problem, it's Congress's problem.
O'BRIEN: So if it becomes a political - Congress' problem, how is it resolved?
BEGALA: Well, they have to compromise. It is -- if you ask voters as in the exit polls, they separated these out. This is a little misleading, but by 53 to 38 people, making sure I have that right, 59- 15 people said the economy is a bigger problem than the deficit. We know the deficit is central to the problems that the economy has, but right now people actually, I think what they would rather have is a jobs bill. They could put it all together. I'm a political guy, not an economist, but the political deal to make is short-term growth package, lots of roads and bridges, because Republicans use them too. And they create jobs in Republican states and Democratic states, but then a long-term en-year commitment along the line of Simpson-Boles to pay down the deficit. And I think that could, you can tell me you all cover it --
O'BRIEN: You are shaking your head no. Ari's shaking his head no.
FLEISCHER: This is how people think if they don't think like Republicans.
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Praise the lord!
FLEISCHER: The problem with what Paul is saying is we are going to raise your taxes so we can spend more money aboard government spending. The only way you'll get Republicans to go along with any tax increase, and I think it is almost impossible to get them to do it if they convince all goes to reducing the deficit, but what Paul is saying we need to spend more. If you agree to spend more, we want you to raise taxes. That's not a deal for Republicans.
MARTIN: How did to get the Republicans to spend, spend, spend when Bush was there?
FLEISDHER: Oh, don't start.
MARTIN: I'm asking --
FLEISCHER: Roland, how much did you spend, spend, on stimulus that failed, failed, failed?
MARTIN: Hold on. First of all, as a family -
O'BRIEN: One at a time. MARTIN: One second. I'm asking a legitimate question. First, I'm asking when you talk about spend, spend, spend, a fact is a fact. When I'm saying we talk about the Bush tax cuts as well, if you extend those, those also contribute to the deficit. As some point out, which is true, the CBO (ph) states it.
FLEISHER: But The President wants to extend all of them. The President wants to spend $4 trillion --
VELSHI: Ari, this might work for everybody. I have an idea that could work for everybody. The problem with stimulus is you're not correct, Ari, when you say that it didn't work. It worked. It just didn't work as effectively as everyone would have liked it to work. But as Paul said, we do need infrastructure. We know we ran sort of a D in the world on pretty much everything, transportation, water, Internet, things like that. What if it were an infrastructure bank, which is an idea that Republicans would support. There would be some government money in it, but it is almost like seed money, a portion, and we have really fixed up where it wouldn't be like stimulus with weird assignments for money and you don't know what they are doing. Real jobs for real infrastructure --
FLEISCHER: You mean shovel-ready jobs.
VELSHI: Better than shovel-ready. We would make jobs.
FLEISCHER: They have to be better than shovel-ready.
ROMANS: The private sector would invest in and profit from these --
VELSHI: This was in President Obama's jobs bill which didn't get passed. He didn't talk about it much in the campaign. We talk about it more than he does. This is the kind of think that could be entirely bipartisan and really work.
BEGALA: It is working. The Mayor of Chicago has one. The Major of Chicago has one now, it is new, but it is working. I believe it will work. Nancy Pelosi called for this years ago. It is actually -- it should be bipartisan.
FLEISCHER: Let's listen to this conversation. How do we reduce the deficit? We reduce the deficit by spending more. So you're not talking about the entitlement reform. You're talking about everything else. You haven't talked about Obamacare --
O'BRIEN: Maybe it is some kind of combination.
FLEISCHER: Medicare, Medicaid, defense. The whole conversation is how do you spend more to save less. O'BRIEN: President Obama won the election, but what happens in the next four years? How will the President lead the divided Congress? You can get a little taste of it right here. And they had such a contentious campaign. We'll chat with the panel about that straight ahead.
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O'BRIEN: That's what the celebration looked like this morning. That was President Obama and Vice President Joe biden and their respective wives next to them. We welcome our viewers in the United States and our viewers around the world as well. I'm Soledad O'Brien.
President Obama has won a second term. He's the winner. Take a look at the chart, you can see we are picking President Obama, now re- elected president, but Congress, though, is divided with the Republicans keeping control of the House, the Democrat does the same in the Senate. It was electrified crowd though with that victory speech. Here's an extended clip of a little bit of what he had to say.
OBAMA: I am hopeful tonight because I have seen the spirit of work in America. I've seen it in the family business whose owners would rather cut their own pay than lay off their neighbors, and in the workers who would rather cut back their hours than see a friend lose their job.
I've seen it in the soldiers who reenlist after losing a limb and in those SEALS who charged up the stairs into darkness and danger because they knew there was a buddy behind them watching their back.
I've seen it on the shores of New Jersey and New York, where leaders from every party and level of government have swept aside their differences to help a community rebuild from the wreckage of a terrible storm.
And I saw just the other day in Mentor, Ohio, where a father told the story of his eight-year-old daughter whose long battle with leukemia nearly cost their family everything, had it not been for health care reform passing just a few months before the insurance company was about to stop paying for her care.
I had an opportunity to not just talk to the father, but meet this incredible daughter of his. And when he spoke to the crowd, listening to that father's story, every parent in that room had tears in their eyes, because we knew that little girl could be our own. And I know that every American wants her future to be just as bright. That's who we are. That's the country I'm so proud to lead as your president.
And tonight, despite all the hardship we've been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I've never been more hopeful about our future. I have never been more hopeful about America.
And I ask you to sustain that hope. I'm not talking about blind optimism, the kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. I'm not talking about the wishful idealism that allows us to just sit on the sidelines or shirk from a fight.
I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us, so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.
America, I believe we can build on the progress we've made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunity and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founding, the idea that if you're willing to work hard, it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you live, it doesn't matter whether you're black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, abled, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you're willing to try.
I believe we can seize this future together. Because we are not as divided as our politics suggest. We're not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions. And we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.
And together, with your help and God's grace, we will continue our journey forward and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on Earth.
O'BRIEN: He says together we will move forward. Well, what does that path really look like? Let's go right back to our panel. Ari Fleisher is with us. Paul Begala, Ana Navarro, Roland Martin. Ali Velshi has stepped aid way. But Christine has come in. John Berman is stepping in. Nice to have you all here. That's a trick.
MARTIN: He just walked out. O'BRIEN: There he is. Stormed out. Getting some breakfast. Let's talk about the past -
MARTIN: Just come on. He's CNN After Dark.
O'BRIEN: Let's talk about - come sit right over here. Let's talk about that path. First of all, when you look and assess the loss for Republicans, some of the ways that Democrats try to paint Republicans really stuck. So how do you move forward now for the next four years?
BEGALA: If you are the Republicans, they need to move to the middle. They need to moderate both on social issues and on economic issues. 54 percent of voters in the exit polls thought that Mitt Romney favored the rich. They did not think that was a good thing. Obviously, he hurt himself and the party hurt themselves with very, very severe social agenda beyond just issues of abortion rights onto things like banning funding for contraception, which originally was a Republican idea that was written by Republicans into law. They've got to move into the middle.
I keep hearing my Republican friends say, we need another Reagan.
O'BRIEN: You have two Republican friends sitting right next to you. So, Republican friends?
BEGALA: You all need another Clinton who can modernize your party and move you to the middle. You don't need another Reagan. Reagan was great and he created the modern Republican party, but you need someone now who can recreate it.
O'BRIEN: There were some tonight.
O'BRIEN: There were some who claimed in fact that they felt that Romney wasn't conservative enough. Was that part of the problem in this?
NAVARRO: I think it was. I think it's not that he was not conservative enough, because I do think he evolved into being conservative enough. The problem I think Mitt Romney had was that he wasn't conservative enough in the eyes of the Republican base when he started and he had to overcompensate during the primaries and had a hard time playing the genie back in the bottle. So he said things and did things during the primary that then made it difficult for him to shift to the center quickly right after that primary.
O'BRIEN: The Etch-A-Sketch doesn't quite work so smoothly.
NAVARRO: Well, not when you say it before you do it.
FLESICHER: Romney was never a movement conservative, ideological conservative. This is why he said things like severe conservative. "I governed as a severe conservative." No conservative would describe themselves like that. That's why Bush talked about compassionate conservativism. It's a very different definition that conservatism creates growth and reduces poverty.
I don't think that was -- Mitt was a businessman, a problem solver, but the Republican bench is fascinating. Because it's very deep. You have Senator Rubio in Florida, Susana Martinez in new Meixco. You've got Scott Walker in Wisconsin. Chris Christie I don't think is a national candidate; he's going to have a problem with the Republicans because of his embrace with President Obama, the vociferous way he embraced President Obama. But the bench still is deep, and as people have really reformed, governors who actually went and changed the fiscal policies of their states.
BERMAN: Ari, I think as of five hours ago they're no longer sitting on the bench. I think all those people probably got up off the bench and started working in their own ways.
MARTIN: Soledad, the question you actually asked was how do you move forward? I think how you move forward, the president is saying, look, we can spend the next four years like the last four years. Where did that get us? That appeals to the common sensibilities of Americans, whether you're Republican or Democrat. So when you heard him talk about how he is going to take the message across the country, that's actually going to be the message. He is going to appeal to the better half of votes by saying, I don't care if you didn't vote for me, but if we continue fighting the way we did, the obstruction is not going to work.
O'BRIEN: But there are some issues that if you are conservative, you will just not give on. I mean, a compassionate conservative, you will not give on. If you have signed Grover Norquist's peldge, you're going to have a hard time when you are looking at re-election. That's going to be something that's used against you.
MARTIN: And when the congressional approval rate is 7 percent. So what do you want to do?
O'BRIEN: A lot of people got re-elected despite having an approval rate low.
FLEISCHER: If you're Harry Reid or you're a liberal, do you raise the retirement age for Medicare?
MARTIN: And that has to be on the table?
O'BRIEN: Can we go back to Chris Christie for a moment?
VELSHI: You should win for that very reason, for the very reason that Ari says he shouldn't, that embrace of President Obama, that was the best thing. I was out on that CNN Election Express in swing states, in swing counties, that's the best thing anybody ever said happened in the last two weeks, Chris Christie and Barack Obama getting together.
O'BRIEN: What happens with Chris Christie. I mean, is he persona non grata now at the GOP?
FLEISCHER: Well, I've always said, even before that, that he doesn't sell outside the northeast. I've never thought that Chris Christie stumping in Iowa is going to be very effective in the Iowa caucus.
FLEISCHER: Because he is too much northeast, that's why.
O'BRIEN: Very New Jersey is what he's trying to say. Calls it as he sees it. That might be a hard --
NAVARRO: What are you talking about?
O'BRIEN: That's a compliment.
MARTIN: I tell you what, as a native Texan, it plays well in Texas.
FLEISCHER: But the problem was, and I think he's going to have a problem as he goes around now and tries to get, if he does, the Republican base, the Republican donors outside of New York City to embrace his candidacy, in 2011, which is so far down the road, who knows what will happen, but there's a little feel that he went too far.
O'BRIEN: Now listen here for a moment. We're going to take a commercial break. Coming up, we're going to talk about the women that voted last night. That's straight ahead. We're back in just a moment.
We'll get your point in as soon as we're back from commercial.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Our economy is recovering. A decade of war is ending. A long campaign is now over. And whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you. I have learned from you. And you've made me a better president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. You just heard President Obama, the victor last night, talking about his victory and also talking about the path ahead. I want to take a look now at some of those exit polls, really the path to how he won. Christine Romans and John Berman have a look at that. Hey guys.
ROMANS: Hi there. We'll talk about the -
(MUSIC PLAYING) BERMAN: All right, the why he won and how he won it has so much to do with this coalition, the so-called Obama coalition, and in some ways he was able to maintain it and in other ways he was able to grow. So Christine, let's start off by talking about women.
ROMANS: OK, let's talk about how he fared with this important demographic here. This is breakdown by gender nationwide 2012: men 47 percent, 53 percent were women. And those women supported Barack Obama by a pretty wide margin, I'd say. 11 points. And when you compare that to last time around --
BERMAN: I think it was about the same as last time.
ROMANS: And so he's building on that part.
So let's move into the rest of this. By age, this is incredibly important here as well. The president did well with young people. 19 percent of voters who were between the ages of 18 and 29 -- 60 percent of them voted for the president. So young voters preferred the president. 30 to 44-year-olds, 52 percent. Still a wide margin but it's narrowing. Then when you get to this age group, 45 to 64, 51 percent for Mitt Romney, 47 percent for Barack Obama. And then down 65 and older, a preference for Mitt Romney.
BERMAN: Interesting here, this is a group that people like Ari Fleischer, Republicans on our panel say Republicans are doing increasingly well with.
ROMANS: Yes. All right, I want to look at race now, because this is a really important part of the president's coalition as well. 72 percent of voters were white. Last time around it was 74 percent.
BERMAN: It keeps dropping every election.
ROMANS: It drops every election but they preferred Mitt Romney by a 20-point margin. So how did the president still pull it off? Again, it's that coalition you keep talking about, John. You had a good turnout of African-American voters, 13 percent, about the same as it was last time.
BERMAN: It equaled last time. And a lot of people didn't think he would be able to equal that number.
ROMANS: And for the first time, you have Latino vote which is in double digits. 10 percent of the voting public Latino and you look at where that vote came from -- 71 percent for the president. This is a problem for the Republican Party. 27 percent of Latinos voted for Mitt Romney. That's something that they have to work on.
And then finally, I want to do one more for you here. When you talk about the Latino vote, we asked people in the exit polling what most illegal immigrants working in the U.S. should be either offered legal status or deported, 65 percent said they should be offered legal status. And of those, by a two to one margin almost, they said Barack Obama was their choice for president.
BERMAN: 65 percent. That's a high number.
ROMANS: That is a high number, absolutely.
BERMAN: And that may have been the secret sauce that the president used to increase his vote totals with Latino voters in America as well. All right. Christine Romans, thanks very much. Soledad?
O'BRIEN: All right, John, thank you. Let's get our panel to weigh in on that and specifically that very number. I mean, that was an interesting nugget coming out of the exit polls, where people overwhelmingly want a path to citizenship or some kind a solution to the immigration problem in this country.
BEGALA: And the way it was asked, I would have predicted it came out much more negative, because they used the phrase "illegal immigrants". Which is -- that's pretty negative connotation, OK, instead of "undocumented residents" or there's a lot of other phrases.
O'BRIEN: It was not couched as they sometimes are in these questions.
BEGALA: It was not sort of politically correct, in that sense. So even when you ask it in a tough, in a negative way to describe these people, you still get 65 to 28.
NAVARRO: That part was asked in a -- they did use the term illegal, but they also use the term "legal status". They didn't use the term "amnesty"; they didn't use the term "path to citizenship".
BEGALA: Chance for legal status.
FLEISCHER: Wait a minute. It was also a choice. Should illegal immigrants working in the United States be offered a chance to apply for legal status or be deported to the country they came from. So it's an either/or. There's no compromise.
O'BRIEN: But that sounds like a path or be deported.
FLEISCHER: Nobody's talking about being deported. People are not saying we are going to deport those who are here illegally.
VELSHI: The former Republican nominee -- up until about 12 hours ago, Mitt Romney was for self-deportation.
FLEISCHER: You know where I am on this issue. I'm with George Bush on it. I wanted to have a compromise in the middle. But this question is a stark question when it's offered to apply for illegal status or be deported.
MARTIN: Soledad, there's one word that they have to deal with, it's called reality. At some point Americans are saying we have to deal with the problem. And I think what these exit polls are saying is we are giving folks the idea of how we need to deal with it.
Political leaders, though, again for partisan reasons, don't want to confront the hard choices. This is where I've been saying the president has to go big and bold over the next four years. Whether we talk about the fiscal cliff, whether we're talking about the deficit, whether we're talking about illegal immigration, we have to go big and be bold and he's going to have to challenge people in his party and the Republican Party to say, look, it may not help you get re-elected but for the good of this country, we have to deal with it. Because we cannot continue 12 million --
O'BRIEN: Let me read something else to you from one of these exit polls. Should same sex marriages be legal in your state? 49 percent said yes. Some others, 46 percent said no. So it's just a slight victory for yes, but that's a trend -- five years ago we would have seen that --
MARTIN: First of all, folks who believe in gay marriage are 0 for 32 prior to tonight. 0-32. You saw two states tonight and one state chose not to overturn. And so that shows you that supporters of same sex marriage are happy with a victory. Because that was a huge deal, being 0 for 32. Now all of a sudden, I think you're going to see other states go back to deal with the issue.
But what the polling also shows is that they are talking about what is a state issue. President Obama came up with same sex marriage in May, he was very specific when he said it should be left up to the states. Now but the Supreme Court still, though, is going to rule on it because you still have the problem where in some states it's legal, some states it's not. I still think it's going to go before the Supreme Court and they're actually going to eventually rule on it.
NAVARRO: I also think it reflects the generational shift on this issue.
O'BRIEN: Yes, the polling generationally really shows more support when you're younger, less support when you're older for gay marriage.
NAVARRO: This is, you know, the time is coming. I think the time has come, it's just that we haven't come to the time. But the time is coming, the shift is going.
MARTIN: What time is it?
NAVARRO: It's undeniable. You cannot be --
FLEISCHER: That's a whole different story.
MARTIN: I couldn't pass that one up.
NAVARRO: You can't defend marriage by being against marriage. You can't be against love. It's something that is about state rights, it's about respect, it's about freedom, it's about love, it's about individual choices.
O'BRIEN: It is not necessarily what Republicans like to talk about, unfortunately, and that was reflected in tonight's results. NAVARRO: You know what? A lot of Republicans do. A lot. I know a lot of Republicans, like me -
O'BRIEN: Some, that's true. Not during the primaries and not during the general election.
All right, still to come this morning, we'll talk more about that. Asian markets react to President Obama's reelection. We'll take you live to Hong Kong next. That's coming up next. Stay with us.
BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. Status quo here in Washington. President Obama has been re-elected. He'll be president for another four years. We could be looking at gridlock, though, because Republicans still control the House of Representatives and we say that right now the Democrats will still rule the Senate.
So how is the world reacting to all this? Of course, elections don't just matter in America; they do matter all over the world. I'm joined now by Andrew Stevens, who's in Hong Kong. Andrew, what are the markets saying about the election here?
ANDREW STEVENS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the immediate reaction was positive. There's a bit of a relief. It was a short- term pass of describing this, because as you say, we've still got this gridlock issue.
Let me just illustrate how the markets did play this. This is leading up to when CNN started projecting that Obama would indeed keep the presidency. And we saw a big pop here around lunchtime here. It went from down a third of 1 percent to up about a third of 1 percent, finished about 7/10 of 1 percent up. Not huge pop, but that was actually repeated pretty much everywhere. All these markets like in Japan and Shanghai were down considerably more until we got news that it looked like there was going to be the re-election.
So the status quo, as you say, has been reestablished, but - and there is a huge but in this -- this is the fiscal cliff, which was the big shadow behind the election as far as the financial markets are concerned and will only become a bigger problem until it's actually dealt with by a divided Congress. The fiscal cliff, of course, is where we get this automatic kicking in of tax rises and spending cuts, equaling about $600 billion, which has the potential, if it actually happens, to knock the U.S. economy, the world's biggest economy, back into recession.
So that's what's going to be the real issue driving the markets now. But as I say, the initial relief, the kneejerk, if you like, was relief. The uncertainty's out of the way, the status quo is maintained.
BERMAN: I was going to ask, why did they go up at all then if they're worried about the fiscal cliff? It's just that they're glad the election is over and there's not a recount, there's not more chaos? STEVENS: Yes, absolutely. Markets, as we all know, it's an old saying but it's a very true saying, they hate the uncertainty side of that.
There's also the other side of it, which is had Mitt Romney got in, particularly in this part of the world, if he'd carried through the with that election pledge to label China as a current manipulator on Day One, that in itself was not necessarily a game-changer, but considering we've also got a new leadership coming into China, which we are going to hear about in the next week or so, it could have changed the relationship quite significantly for the worse. There was talk before this election result that China and the U.S. could get into some sort of trade war which could be a disaster for the global economy. These are the world's two biggest economies.
So, like I said, we got the status quo. We know the investment community at least understands where Obama has been going. Yes, we have this gridlock, but very few people I talked to, at least in this part of the world, are going to say that they think that we're actually going to fall off the cliff. There will be a deal done.
BERMAN: Andrew, hang on one second, because Ali Velshi is itching to get into the action here.
VELSHI: My old friend, Andrew, my co-anchor when we do our show on CNN International. Andrew, we have 24 hours away to the sign in of the new leaders of China. They are going to forget about all the nasty stuff said in the debates. Mitt Romney was substantially nastier to China, but Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in that last debate were trying to outdo each other on who could be tougher on China. Clearly, the Chinese regime gets that that was just talk and they're going to get down to business.
STEVENS: Absolutely, Ali. You hit it well. I mean, they understand the U.S. election cycle; they are very pragmatic people. The new leadership, it is widely regarded in China, they are going to continue the policies. I mean, the Chinese take, as you all know, Ali, a very long-term view. We've seen the Chinese economy weakening over the past year or so. It seems to be flattening out now. The new leadership will want to see that economy start to pick up a bit. The bet is that they're going to introduce a few goodies to help things happen. And we'll actually find out the new leadership in about a week or so from now. And they get what happens in the U.S. political cycle.
BERMAN: All right, Andrew Stevens, live in Hong Kong, thank you so much. And our live coverage of this election continues right now.
O'BRIEN: Good morning. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and our viewers around the world. I'm Soledad O'Brien. We have a winner. President Obama has been re-elected. Republicans keep the House, Democrats keep the Senate. What will that mean for gridlock moving forward? We're going to talk about that this morning.
Here's what President Obama said in his victory speech early this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: America, I believe we can build on the progress we have made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunity and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founding, the idea that if you're willing to work hard, it doesn't matter who you are, or where you come from, or what you look like, or where you love. It doesn't matter whether you're black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, abled, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you're willing to try.
(END VIDEO CLIP)