Last night, Senator-elect Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) became the first openly gay-elected to the Senate. She tells Soledad O'Brien that she believes she was elected by the people of Wisconsin for her focus on middle-class struggles, retirement security for seniors, and doing right by returning veterans. As for a personal goal to push forward a gay agenda, she says, “I didn't run to change history, I ran to make a change.”
Soledad asks Baldwin how she feels about being a member of a Congress that has the most women in history. “Having a seat at the table matters," Baldwin says. "We will see a Senate that is more reflective of America. We’re certainly not there yet, but this will be a change that will move us forward.”
Baldwin is looking forward to her move from the House to the Senate to ensure progress for America’s future.
“I think the American people and certainly the people of Wisconsin are looking for us to work together on the very clear challenges facing us, with the elements of the fiscal cliff. They want to see us responsibly work together and settle these issues,” Baldwin adds.
The verdict is in and Democrats are celebrating a remarkable strategic victory today with President Obama's decisive election win. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), a major Obama supporter who also played Rep. Paul Ryan in debate prep with Vice President Joe Biden, talks with Soledad O’Brien this morning on what’s next after the president’s reelection.
Soledad O’Brien asks Van Hollen how lawmakers can move forward with issues like the fiscal cliff given that the balance of power hasn't changed much. Van Hollen says President Obama made it clear in his victory speech that “he was looking forward to working with Republicans.” He says the president’s answer is a “balanced approach” with a “combination of cuts, but also revenue” and that Americans voted for that by voting for Obama in this "decisive election."
“It’s very clear from the exit polling that a majority of Americans recognize that we need to share responsibility in reducing the deficit. That means asking higher income earners to contribute more to reducing the deficit,” he adds.
With the impending fiscal cliff deadline, Van Hollen hopes Republicans are willing to compromise or they “face a very serious question on the fiscal cliff.”
“Are they going to drive off the fiscal cliff...with the message that nobody in the country gets tax relief unless very high income earners get a bonus tax break?” he asks. “If that’s the message they want to send to the American people, I just think it’s unsustainable.”
Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) joins Soledad this morning to discuss the outlook for President Obama’s second term. On the negativity of Glenn Thrush’s comments to POLITICO, hours after Obama’s victory speech, he says, “I believe that for the American people the campaign ended last night. The question is, on Capitol Hill, will the campaigns end today? The solution to Americans’ problems, regardless of who won last night, was both parties on Capitol Hill working together.”
With Republicans maintaining their majority in the House, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) sees Obama’s re-election as a stalemate. Durbin argues a stalemate is impossible with the impending fiscal cliff in December, and the only solution is for Democrats and Republicans to work together to “avoid the cliff, reduce the deficit, cut spending, and raise revenue.”
His faith, he says, lies in the Simpson-Bowles debt plan. As a member of the super-committee, he and 10 other Senators out of 18 voted for it, including all three Republican Senators that worked on it.
In the interview, Soledad notes that Democrats secured more minority voters voters than Republicans, and asks if this will be a trend going forward. Durbin says that won’t be the case because of the lack of splits in key states like Ohio.
“We are a diverse nation. We should be a nation where both political parties appeal to all of the people in this country,” Durbin says.
Voters reelected President Obama as president of the United States today. DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) shares her take on the win live from Chicago, where the Obama campaign celebrated its victory, and what’s going on in her state of Florida. It’s the lone yellow state on our CNN map where the votes haven’t been completely counted yet.
Wasserman Schultz says that CNN may soon “change that from yellow to blue” because the president was ahead by about 60,0000 votes when counting shut down last night in order to resume this morning. “So, I think Florida is ultimately gonna be called for President Obama,” she says.
CNN Contributor John Avlon asks if the president’s successful turnout in previously “too-close-to-call” Florida was due to a grassroots strategy or to Latino voters.
“Both,” she answers. “We actually increased the turnout in Florida, and across the country, from 2008 with Latino voters, with African American voters, with younger voters. And so because of the ground game, because we emphasized door knocking, and phone calls, and just tremendous outreach.”
Wasserman Schultz explains the Obama Campaign’s defeat of the Romney Campaign with a biblical metaphor. “David slew Goliath, when it comes to money,” she says. “The door to door-to-door, neighbor-to-neighbor campaign beats billionaires trying to buy the White House.”
Another victory last night was democrats retaining control of the Senate, but the House still remains in control of the House. CNN Political Contributor Hilary Rosen asks if democrats and republicans can actually get to working together again. “Yes,” Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz says. “That’s absolutely critical if we’re gonna continue to move our economy and country forward.”
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House (R-GA), joins CNN this morning to discuss the defeat of the Republican nominee Mitt Romney in the race to the White House.
“I was wrong,” Gingrich admits. “We [Republican analysts] all thought we understood the historical pattern with this level of unemployment, with this level of gasoline prices, what would happen. First of all, the president [had] a very, very effective campaign; second, the president was looking at a very different set of things than what we were looking at. And I think Republicans need to take a very serious look at what happened and why did it happen and why were we not more competitive at the presidential level.”
Gingrich adds that despite his victory, going forward President Obama will need to work with House Republicans in his second term.
“John Boehner and the House Republicans do control the House of Representatives, which is first in the Constitution... The question for the President’s going to be, is he going to really sit down and listen? Does he really want to try to work together?” Gingrich says. “And that’s also true for the House Republicans."
“Under our constitutional system, to get it to work, there will have to be an immense mutual effort by both parties,” Gingrich adds.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) on Mitt Romney's bid for presidency and potential Congressional balance of power after Election Day.
Obama Campaign national co-chair Fmr. Gov. Ted Strickland (D-OH) on which Ohio districts are key for President Obama to secure reelection.
Christine Romans breaks down potential electoral vote breakdown scenarios in the presidential race.
Bob Shrum, veteran Democratic Consultant, on the battle between Mitt Romney and President Obama in the presidential race.
With just one percentage point separating the two candidates according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, the swing state of Virginia is sure to be one of the crucial wins for either side.
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (R) spent time campaigning with Romney across the state yesterday and he sits down with Soledad on Starting Point this morning to explain which counties will influence the state's vote.
Gov. McDonnell also explains that Virginians are in "normal campaign mode'" and says that Hurricane Sandy isn't having an impact on the election in the state.
Starting Point airs weekdays from 7am to 9am ET on CNN. Check in often to join the daily conversation.