tv Washington Week With Gwen Ifill PBS November 7, 2014 8:00pm-8:31pm EST
gwen: a bad week for defments a great week for republicans. but what about the voters? we sort through the 2014 elections and what they tell us about the country right now. tonight on "washington week." >> tonight we shook up the senate. >> we are heading to washington, and we are going to make them squeal! >> it was absolutely a mandate. it was a mandate really opposing the principles and the policies of barack obama. >> to everyone who voted i want you to know that i hear you. to the thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday, i hear you, too. gwen: the sounds and sights of an eventful week in american politics -- conciliatory signs. >> i think there are a lot of
people who believe that just because you have divide government that doesn't mean you don't accomplish anything the >> i would enjoy having some kentucky bourbon with mitch mcconnell. gwen: and signs of conflict to come. >> i believe that if the president continues to act on his own, he is going to poison the well. when you play with matches you take the risk of burning yourself. gwen: so did, the white house and congress get message the voters were sending in a sweep that stretched from state houses to the senate? we search for answers with peter baker, chief white house correspondent for "the new york dan balz, chief correspondent for the washington post, john harwood, chief washington correspondent for cnbc, and beth reinhard, national politics correspondent for the wall street journal. >> award-winning reporting and analysis, covering history as it happens.
live from our nation's capital, this is "washington week" with wen ifill. corporate funding for "washington week" is provided by -- >> how much money do you have in your pocket right now? >> 40 dollars the >> 21. >> could something that small make an impact on something as big as your retirement? well, if you start putting that money towards your retirement and let it grow over time, 20, 30 years, that retirement challenge might not seem so big after all. >> the future of surgery is within sight. our research is studying how real-time mulled -- multimodality imaging during surgery with help precision and outcome. brigham and women's hospital. it all starts here.
>> additional funding is also provided by the annenberg foundation, the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. once again, live from washington, moderator gwen ifill. gwen: good evening. by now we know how it all turned out -- a 52-seat republican senate majority with two more seats leaning that way, expanding the g.o.p. majority in the house. at least 31 republican governors, and a hefty republican majority in state legislatures. democrats could have searched high and low this week without finding a glimmer of good news in tuesday night's election results. so today it was time for lunch at the white house, where the president was the only one who ooked comfortable. >> we've seen now nor a number of cycles that the american people just want to see work done here in washington.
i think they're frustrated by the gridlock. they'd like to see more cooperation and i think all of us have a responsibility, me in particular, to try to make that happen. gwen: but -- but there are already signs of a strain, which we can get to in a moment. first to what happened tuesday -- was it a message or lack thereof? dan? >> well, it was a message of discontent, criticism and complaint about president obama. we talked all year this is a nidtermflks the sixth year of a presidency and mid term elections are first and foremost about the president. it was a rout in the end. a message of going against the president but it was broader than that. the level of unhappiness we saw on election night in the exit polls was quite significant whether continue -- on the direction of the country, at approval of the president, the
democratic party, or a sense of where the economy is going. everyone was pessimistic. gwen: so when the president says he heard what the people said, those who voted and who didn't, what is he saying? >> i think he was harking back to a broader set of people who voted for him. bun -- one of -- one of the things that happen in midterm elections is you have a significant drop-off in the number of people who participate. it was an older, whiter electorate that elected him twice. i think he was pointing wack to that. think it's interesting the caments -- catamounts just played where he said it falls to me, i think that's talking about executive action on imgreafplgts he thinks he has the power and intends to do
that. gwen: what do you think about that, beth? >> well, i agree that the level of unhappiness was not just directed -- it was largely directed at president obama and democrats but also people did express unhappiness with the republican party even though you saw them winning the it was interesting some of the comments by former r.n.c. chairman haley bar bourment it wasn't just a victory lap -- for some of these folks. they said we know they've given us the reins but it isn't them embracing us either gwen: that's not what reince priebus said. >> no, he's the cheerleader for the party. he has to have a different tone the gwen: so the impatience from the elect orate. we're not getting that from the white house. we're getting don't worry about it, we're going to forge ahead. >> the day after the election, he didn't come out hat in hand,
didn't -- was not chastened. he knew if he did that would welcome the slogan for a long time. he said look, he interpreted the election as we need to work together as opposed to the voters don't like what i'm doing, which is of course a better interpretation from his point of view. reince priebus is zpwog say no, voters don't like you. gwen: and it's possible also that people were just sick of the election. we looked at the top five most expensive senate races. north carolina spent $111 million, colorado, $97 million. iowa, $788 million -- $88 million. in kentucky, 78 million and in georgia, $70 million and in all those cases the republicans won, even though they midnight have been the biggest spenders. did that depress turnout?
>> democratic turnout was clearly down. we know in a midterm election democrats have a harder time getting their votes oucht we've heard so much in the final days that it was all about turnout. turned out it wasn't about turnout. if you looked at? -- some of the victory margins in the races, arkansas, 17-point margin. mitch mcconnell, supposedly in at least a moderately competitive race, won by more than a dozen points. the races were not that race -- close. gwen: my favorite number in all that is alaska where they spent approximately $120 per voter on advertising the not the most expensive. >> voters could have come up with a much better use for that money. gwen: there thrrn -- were a number of close calls, including kansas and virginia. >> you did it.
we said for months it's the road to eau -- that the road to a republican majority led through kansas and is you did it! >> people are tired of politics at usual. at the end of 9 day they want to hire folks to go to washington that can work across party lines and actually put people's business first. gwen: pat roberts, mark warner. one a republican, one a desm both narrowly survived but for very different reasons, beth? >> well, pat roberts looked like he was in trouble in a very red state, surprising at the time. mark warner we thought would coast right into re-election in a state that had elected barack obama twice, last year elected a democratic governor. virginia was thought to be pretty solidly democratic, yet he had a very tough race. it gets to the breadth of the republican inbods.
-- inroads. they carried the red states, were very competitive in purple states, almost winning in virginia, but winning in states like colorado, iowa, new hampshire that are going to be key in the presidential race and also notching victories in blue states. in massachusetts in the governor's race, in maryland in the governor's race. gwen: let's talk about the governors' races, can dan. that was remarkable in itself. >> i think the most remarkable thing is there were a lot of incumbent governors of both parties in trouble and for the most part the republicans survived and i number of the democrats didn't. the illinois governor, pat quinn, was defeated. as beth mentioned, they lost maryland and lost massachusetts. >> hick enlooper survived in colorado. >> survived and dull -- actually a slightly larger margin than cory gardner did. scott walker in wisconsin was supposedly in a tough race, won
by six points 79 rick scott won by one point. nathan deal in georgia who people thought maybe jimmy carter's grandson could give him a run. wasn't that close. sam brownback who we knew was in trouble nevertheless managed to win by four or five points 79 gwen: did we get it wrong or did he? >> the polls did skew more democratic than the election turned out to be the maybe the polls aren't sampling correctly. there will be a lot of second-guessing about that. interesting that some of the states where the president didn't get out and campaign, democratic candidates didn't want him to come, he hade -- made a point that if he had come maybe it would have been different. but the truth is even some places he did go -- illinois, his home state. maryland. both lost. connecticut almost lost. there is not a lot of evidence
that his campaigning was any better than not campaigning. >> i think what would have made the difference is to assign a lot greater importance to campaigning in a midterm election with a. having traveled with ronald reagan who had won in a landslide and he saw all the candidates he favored go down in a land slide. it wouldn't have made much difference. in maryland, the democratic candidate, anthony brown -- he closed in his campaign with a ll clinton testimony advertisement. it simply didn't make a difference. i thy myself the anthony brown and gillespie results were the two most shocking of the election. nobody saw virginia close and nobody saw hogan winning the gwen: there are still a people -- couple of people hanging out there.
mary land drew. democratic money people are thinking maybe they ought to spend money another way. so are we cans ing our dinner reservations in new orleans? >> never! but i think even before tuesday a lot of democrats are -- had given up in that race. their private view was she'll get into a runoff but have a very difficult time holding that. gwen: hasn't she survived one before? >> but this is a tough r environment. d even tougher than a week ago. >> but one interesting thing will be if the democrats walk away from that race and she walks away and says "i'm doing this on my own," does that change the dynamic? i doubt it, but it's at least interesting. >> let's move on. i want to talk about the body language of the week. the president stressed cooperation. it was an oddly relaxed news
conference the day after a very bad night. >> that's not to say we don't -- won't disagree over some issues that we're passionate we will. congress will pass some bills i cannot sign. i'm pretty sure i'll take some actions that some in congress might not like. that's natural, that's how our demi works. >> he almost laughed a little bit there. house speaker john boehner was more pessimistic. >> finding colon ground can be hard work, but it will be even harder if the president isn't willing to work with us. yesterday we heard him say he might double down on his go it alone approach. listen, i've told the president before that he needs to put politics aside and rebuild trust. gwen: the first flash pointe this week was immigration. beth?
>> right, and the republicans that are going to come to washington i think pretty much across the board campaigned against any kind of legal status for uncome toed immigrants so if anything the congress is more positioned to oppose anything the president would do than they were before the election. i think that could get ugly. gwen: some democrats are even saying the president should just step back from this. so many metaphors this week, kerosene on a fire? >> nuclear threat was the one from priebus. >> but the white house has calculated that there is tho reason not to do that. they're not saying threat, it's a -- it's not just a possibility. we tried going to congress. the next congress isn't going to produce a better result. might as well do this and get it out of the way but they still have to be careful because they still have spending bills coming up before the end of the year.
do they take a risk and provoke the opposition at the same time? >> there is a distinction between what they have planned for the lame dug congress and what happens after january. but are there areas of agreement? they -- it sounded like they all thought there would be. >> they -- the republicans helped the president get an authorization for new force against syria. there will be money for ebola. and they have to extend money for the rest of the year. john boehner said there are not going to be government shut downs and i think that's not going to happen. but the question of timing, if they take this action on immigration before the end of the year, that could have a difficult effect on the ability to pass that thing quickly. although from a white house
point of view there is probably a certain liberation in going ahead, acting and saying i'll dare you to shut down the government to prevent me from stopping deportations of a large number of illegalize on the eve of the next presidential election. gwen: here's the next thing. the supreme court reopened the can of worms by agreeing to take up another challenge to the affordable care act. >> and the republican leaders made it clear they're going to take some action that could be vetoed but that they're prepared to go after individual pieces of the affordable care 5k9 gwen: like the medical device tax, where the white house did not rule that out completely. >> there may be some things like that but what struck me in watching the three press conferences, first senator mcconnell, the -- senator mcconnell and speaker boehner.
saying what you would expect them to say, that we need to cooperate, the public wants cooperation in congress but they were drawing lines in a way i don't think they drew them after 2010. it seemed to me they're six years in. these three people know one another. they don't particularly have relationships, certainly the president and the new majority leader, mitch mcconnell. they don't have a relationship. they were drawing lines as much as they were saying we're going to cooperate. gwen: maybe because they're all reading between the lines at what this means for the immediate future. we'll be watching the politics of the lame-duck congress and the politics of positioning, but it's impossible not to look at all this in the context of the politics of 2016. that's what i look at what he see these folks. the republicans know what the map looks like for 2016. >> right and it's going to be tough. even reince priebus said today
we have to be about perfect, the national party, he said because the demographics are not on our side. as john mentioned, in presidential elections younger people turn out, minorities, more women and the electoral college just works in democratic favor because they have these large states that are already banked before campaigning even starts the it's a heavy lift. however, they do have hope thaws -- because they were able to win in so many of those swing states that are crucial. gwen: there is some debate about whether in the end it's good because hillary clinton has a republican congress to run against or bad because she didn't help of any these over the finish line. >> there -- she did a lot president she got out there, showed she's willing it work
for the party. she collected some chits. >> but her people sfloft >> well, but within their states they're going to be working for somebody much the truth is she's rusty as she showed on her book story. not going to have a strong competition, it doesn't look like, for the nomination. martin o'malley couldn't get elected in maryland. he looks even less a possibility gwen: one governor who did well is scott walker. >> i think there are several governors who came out of this in a better position than they went in and scott walker would be the first. there was a question about whether scott walker could survive to be able to think about running for president, and in fact he did. this is the third time he has won in wisconsin in four years and he has enhanced his standing. governor christie had a good fall the he raised a ton of
money. the republican governors association is a money-raising machine. but as chairman he was very energetic. he went into a lot of states, campaigned publicly for a lot of people. gwen: he did. >> so he comes out of that. john kasich in democrats could have searched high and low this week without finding a glimmer of good news in tuesday night's election results, being talked about as a possible candidate, i wouldn't say at this point whether he will or won't run, but won with a very large margin in a swing site -- state. >> he also won with majorities among young voters and minorities. gwen: and then there is ted cruz, who can make a lot of trouble between now and the end of the lame duck if he chooses to. >> i would totally expect he would choose to. on your earlier question to peter, i go with a. it's better for hillary clinton that we have this republican sweep, that is going give fresh momentum. and the conversations i've had about jeb bush have taken a
slightly more positive tone among people, saying yeah, maybe he will run. i've been assuming all year that he won't. many you get the idea that maybe in this environment he may be rising to it. gwen: some of tuesday night's winners immediately became the stars to watch. among them, iowa's joni ernst,
collapse corey guard next, and character arc -- arkansas' tom cotton. three states that represent three important new constituentses for the g.o.p., wouldn't you say? >> joni ernst came out as a star in the republican party. she was a long shot. she ran this early ad about cast straighting hogs. -- castrating hogs. >> yes. gwen: and immediately then went on her national guard
deployment. >> and back to 2016, markoff rubio, the florida senator we think may run, he was in early for joni ernst. speaking of collecting chits as maybe hillary clinton did, and chris christy, i think marco rubio did. gwen: tom cotton in arkansas knocked off a household name. >> he did. he's not as charismatic as joni ernst but
he's impressive, highly intelligent, blue-chip resume. so i would expect he would be a force. it's going to be interesting whether this -- what is this new crop going to add up to? we had a tea party revolution in 2010. we had something different this time. gwen: on purpose. it's like these candidates recruited to be not tea party. >> right, but many of them are very conservative. but how do they evolve and
define themselves? >> did the establishment beat the tea party, or did the tea party co-opt the establishment? that's the real question. mitch mcconnell is going to have to answer that. gwen: cory gardner is a perfect example of this. everybody wrote about how he put a sunny face on coif principles but in the state like colorado, very, verify purple, the president has won there twice and he -- the governor is still able to win, he pulled off something the >> in the exit polls compared to 2010, the favorablity of the tea party is down 8 or 10 points. the second is that there is a feeling that this is a different group. they are very quoif -- conservative, as you say. very conservative group but they may have a different mission thapt tea party did. gwen: well, there are many missions and w going to be trabbing them all.
. it may seem like they just scraped the surface, and we did. so stick with us as we take this chat on line in the "washington week" stramentthex week, two issues, same-sex marriage and health care, are ack in the courts. keep up with daily developments on "the newshour" and join me next thursday at noon for my monthly "washington week" web chat. surely you will have even more questions for me by then. and then we'll see you right here next week on "washington week." ood night. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its
caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org/] >> corporate funding for "washington week" is provided by -- >> the future of surgery is within sight. our research is studying how real-time multimodality imaging during surgery can help precision and outcome. brigham and women's hospital, it all starts here. >> additional funding is also provided by the annenberg foundation, the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs . ations from viewers like you thank you.
>> philadelphia, pennsylvania is my biggest influence. there is something about the mood here, the fear insanity, corruption, filth, despair, violence and the air was so beautiful to me. [laughter] it is more of a normal city now. it was not a normal city when i was here. >> there has been exceptional work across the country being done addressing mental health that itnd discovering needs to be done in a way that is not the old standard way of thinking. allowing for those that are in recovery to take charge of their recovery. >>ov