CNN's GUT CHECK | for November 7, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING: ROAR… A record number of women will represent their states in the new U.S. Senate, CNN projects. Democrat Heidi Heitkamp will win the Senate race in North Dakota, CNN projects, making a total of 20 women in the 100-seat chamber come January. She will be part of the 53-seat Democratic majority, with 45 Republicans and two independents. Elizabeth Warren will be the first woman senator to represent Massachusetts, and Mazie Hirono will be the first female U.S. senator from Hawaii and the first Asian-American woman in the Senate. Other women who won Tuesday night were Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Tammy Baldwin, who will represent Wisconsin. Deb Fischer, who won her race in Nebraska, was the sole Republican woman elected to the Senate Tuesday.
DEVELOPING: A DAY AFTER ELECTION, FISCAL CLIFF JOCKEYING BEGINS… Speaker of the House John Boehner in press conference today: “There is an alternative to going over the fiscal cliff in whole or in part. It involves making real changes to the financial structure of entitlement programs and reforming our tax code to curb special interest loopholes and deductions. By working together in creating a fairer, simpler, cleaner tax code, we can give our country a stronger, healthier economy. A stronger economy means more revenue, which is what the president seeks. Because the American people expect us to find common ground, we are willing to accept some additional revenues via tax reform.”
What was the most expensive Senate race of the 2012 cycle and did the side that committed the most money win?
What caught our eye today in politics
One of the reasons we created this product was because so often conventional wisdom is wrong. Last night proved it. Here are five myths that were indeed busted by the awesome power of the American electorate:
1.) Elections Don’t Matter. From whom people are allowed to marry to the world markets to shaping the Supreme Court to the negotiations of the “fiscal cliff,” Americans proved they are willing to stop their routines (and even stand in line!) to pave their future.
2.) Young People Don’t Vote. You would think the establishment would have learned in 2008 that you shouldn’t tell the younger generation what they aren’t going to do…. but it didn’t. One of our personal pet peeves is the frequency of “wise men” telling groups of students that “young people don’t turnout.” We are happy to report that the youth vote actually INCREASED as a percentage of the electorate from the much heralded 2008: 18-24 year-olds made up 11% of the electorate, up from 10% four years ago.
3.) White Men Rule the World. While, yes, white men dominate the hallways of traditional power, the power of women and demographics at the ballot box posted a clear warning: the future is theirs. White men made up 34% of the electorate, down 2% from 2008. Women (and women’s issues) flexed their muscles from the House to the Senate to the presidency.
4.) Fox News is Good for the GOP. Alex Castellanos said it best on CNN last night: “I think my silent majority I hoped would be there is not only silent, but invisible.” The false confidence propped up by the Fox network and simultaneous attacks on the mainstream media and political establishment – from polling to debate moderation – seemed to come up short and render even one of the smartest of political wise men, Karl Rove, incredulous. Republican candidates have often cited other networks (ours included) as being fairer to them than Fox News but now the question is being debated in the context of damaging the future of the conservative political brand.
5.) Social Media is just about Binders & Big Bird. We have partnered with Facebook this election cycle and have learned so much from watching as social networks spread news about politics and voting. Now, the veil is finally being lifted on the innovative use of social media by the Obama team. Time’s Michael Scherer got a peek at their tactics, “Online, the get-out-the-vote effort continued with a first-ever attempt at using Facebook on a mass scale to replicate the door-knocking efforts of field organizers. In the final weeks of the campaign, people who had downloaded an app were sent messages with pictures of their friends in swing states. They were told to click a button to automatically urge those targeted voters to take certain actions, such as registering to vote, voting early or getting to the polls. The campaign found that roughly 1 in 5 people contacted by a Facebook pal acted on the request, in large part because the message came from someone they knew."
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Analysis: Why Romney lost
Before Republicans went looking for answers Tuesday night, some of them went looking for the remote. When it became clear around midnight that President Barack Obama was safely on the way to re-election, a handful of cranky and inebriated Republican donors wandered about Romney's election night headquarters, angrily demanding that the giant television screens inside the ballroom be switched from CNN to Fox News, where Republican strategist Karl Rove was making frantic, face-saving pronouncements about how Ohio was not yet lost. – Peter Hamby
Leading Drudge: Own It
Stocks eased off their lows but remained deeply in the red in a post-election selloff Wednesday, triggered by worries over the looming "fiscal cliff" and as fears over Europe's economy reemerged. The Dow tumbled below 13,000 while the S&P 500 broke 1,400 – both for the first time since early September. – JeeYeon Park
Leading HuffPo: ¡VIVA OBAMA!
President Barack Obama scored himself a second term in the White House on Tuesday, nabbing nearly all of the key battleground states and proving, resoundingly, that his message about lifting the middle class resonates with the majority of Americans. – Jennifer Bendery and Sam Stein
Leading Politico: President Obama's reelection: 12 takeaways
It’s over. And the 2012 presidential race pretty much played out as predicted by public pollsters and observers. Except it was a better night for President Barack Obama in certain significant respects than was anticipated. – Maggie Haberman
Leading The New York Times: Obama Wins a Clear Victory, but Balance of Power Is Unchanged in Washington
After $4 billion, two dozen presidential primary election days, a pair of national conventions, four general election debates, hundreds of Congressional contests and more television advertisements than anyone would ever want to watch, the two major political parties in America essentially fought to a standstill. – Peter Baker
The political bites of the day
- O’Reilly: ‘It's not a traditional America anymore... The white establishment is now a minority’ -
FOX NEWS’ BILL O’REILLY DURING ELECTION NIGHT COVERAGE: “It's a changing country. The demographics are changing. It's not a traditional America anymore. And there are 50 percent of the voting public who want stuff. They want things. And who is going to give them things? President Obama. He knows it. And he ran on it. Whereby 20 years ago, President Obama would have been roundly defeated by an establishment candidate like Mitt Romney, the white establishment is now the minority," O'Reilly added. "And the voters, many of them, feel that this economic system is stacked against them, and they want stuff. You're going to see a tremendous Hispanic vote for President Obama; Overwhelming black vote for President Obama. And women will probably break President Obama's way. People feel that they are entitled to things, and which candidate between the two is going to give them things?”
- Ryan shifts focus to Wisconsin, Congress -
PAUL RYAN IN A WRITTEN POST ELECTION STATEMENT TO THE PRESS: “I am immensely proud of the campaign we ran, and I remain grateful to Governor Romney for the honor of being his running mate. I look forward to spending some time with my family in the coming days and then continuing my responsibilities as chairman of the House Budget Committee and representative of Wisconsin's First Congressional District.”
- It is ‘so simple,’ Reid says -
SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID AT A POST ELECTION PRESS CONFERENCE: “I had a conversation this morning with the Speaker. It was a pleasant conversation as all my conversations with him are. And he is going to do an event this afternoon at 3:30 or so and I think we should wait to see what he has to say there. I have a fine relationship with him. My staff works well with his staff. This isn’t something that I’m going to be drawing lines in the sand. He is not going to be drawing any lines in the sand, I don’t believe and I think we need to work together.”
Reporter: Do you think a deal is possible?
Reid: “Of course. I mean it is so simple. We know what the issue is.”
- West is not conceding just yet -
TIM EDSON, ALLEN WEST’S CAMPAIGN MANAGER, IN A WRITTEN STATEMENT TO THE PRESS: “This race is far from decided and there is no rush to declare an outcome. Ensuring a fair and accurate counting of all ballots is of the utmost importance. There are still tens of thousands of absentee ballots to be counted in Palm Beach County and potential provisional ballots across the district.”
Gut Check Full Service: The Florida Democratic Party calls on West to concede… “Even though the numbers show a “clear defeat” for Tea Partier Allen West, he's stubbornly refusing to concede in Florida's 18th Congressional District — even in light of overwhelming news reports projecting victory for Democrat Patrick Murphy. On a conference call with reporters this afternoon, Florida Democrats called on Congressman West to respect the democratic process and the results of the election, so that the people of Palm Beach and southern Florida can move forward with their democratically chosen elected Representative.”
- Don’t light up just yet -
THE DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION IN A WRITTEN STATEMENT TO THE PRESS: “The Drug Enforcement Administration’s enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged. In enacting the Controlled Substances Act, Congress determined that marijuana is a Schedule I control substance. The Department of Justice is reviewing the ballot initiatives and we have no additional comment at this time.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
When candidate and outside group spending are added together, the Virginia Senate race, pitting Tim Kaine against George Allen, was the most expensive in the country. Outside groups on their own totaled over $50 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Republican-leaning outside groups spent more than their Democratic counterparts in the state – $30 million to $20 million. Nonetheless, Allen, the Republican, lost the race.
The second most expensive Senate race was in Massachusetts between Democrat Elizabeth Warren and Republican Scott Brown. Though outside spending in the race was small – both candidates agreed to not allow outside spending – the candidates’ campaigns spent $70 million combined.
GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
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Congratulations to Doug Adams (@DAatNBC) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check trivia question correctly. Especially impressive brain power after such a late work night.
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