tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN November 5, 2014 11:00am-12:01pm PST
reach out as a progressive democrat, that's never been our critique of president obama. he's been trying to reach out. our concern is that republicans ran against gridlock that they created. they may have been rewarded for that. we hope they learn the right lessons too. >> david gergen, there is plenty of gridlock in washington. there's a new dynamic going on. republicans the majority in the house and senate. two years left for president obama in the white house. is there a moment here -- you worked for four u.s. presidents, democratic presidents, republican presidents, is there a moment to break that gridlock or is it sort of a done deal that the gridlock will continue the final two years? >> all of the newspapers today are reporting that we're going to be more mired in gridlock, but i do think there will be a moment. it will be brief and it has to be well used. one element we left out of the conversation so far here is the president also has to work with
democrats in his own party. he'll have a more fractious democratic party. this is not the fourth quarter but a lame duck period. they'll look for their own ways to protect themselves because they saw what happened if they got too closely tied to obama this time around even in obama states like colorado and iowa. i think the president needs to reach out both ways, and i think it's very much in the republicans' interest to show they can become a governing party in more than just an opposition party. it's a big test for the republicans. >> we're standing by to hear from mitch mcconnell expected to become the next senate majority leader. he's about to make a statement at the university of louisville in kentucky, his home state. later this hour, the president of the united states will hold a full scale news conference in the east room of the white house. we'll see if he use as word like shellacking or thumping or whatever.
a huge setback for the democrats. a lot of people have been asking me not only here in the united states but tweeting me, e-mailing me, what happened? why did the democrats lose so badly yesterday? >> there are a number of reasons. first of all, it's traditional at this point in a president's second term he loses a number of senate seats. his party loses a number of house and senate seats. but also i think that this was a particularly horrible year for president obama. horrible couple years really. disastrous rollout of obama care. you had the rise of isis and the exit polls showed 70% or 80% of americans were scared of terrorist attack. you had ebola. you had the secret service scandal. you had questions about whether the cdc responded appropriately to the ebola scandal. i know i'm missing them. there are so many. >> the va. questions about the irs. and then there were questions about his leadership and whether or not he was a decent manager
and whether he was a decent steward and then this question about the economy even though we see improvements in the economy and many, many months of economic growth and a much lower unemployment rate, wages are stagnant. a lot of people dropping out of the workforce and that's kept the unemployment number down. it's still in the real life for a lot of people that they are underemployed and people do not feel good about the economy. bottom line when you look at an election, you look at the right track/wrong track numbers. a vast majority of the people who voted yesterday think it's on the wrong track. the electorate in midterm elections is whiter, more male, and older. and that worked to the advantage of the republicans. >> i think in talking to republican and democratic strategists, they point out this turning point in this election, which is they believe that they already established a narrative of a lack of competency in this
administration for all of the reasons you just listed at great length. they believe that it was late summer when the president said misspoke as they say at the white house but said he had no strategy for isis in syria and then later on said that, you know, that they underestimated isis that fit right into their strategy and they saw the poll numbers shift dramatically and lots of republican candidates were running on national security, foreign policy, this played right into that and then you had ebola right after that so that's fed the frustration and the anxiety in this country that was already pre-existing condition and then you had this and the country said, wait a minute. the president is not leading properly and so we're going to give the other guys a chance. we seem to have these change elections a lot more than we used to.
when republicans took control of the house, when newt gingrich game speaker, it had been 40 years since democrats controlled that chamber. now we have change elections every couple of cycles it seems and because the voters are done. they say, look, if you don't make government work, we're going to give the other guys a shot at it and that's what keeps going back and forth in this country. >> we're showing viewers live pictures that you see microphone there. the expected senate majority leader mitch mcconnell after the huge republican wins yesterday. he's expected to make a statement shortly. we'll of course standby for live coverage and later this hour we'll hear from president of the united states. president obama has a full scale news conference coming up. here's mitch mcconnell about to begin. >> good afternoon, everyone. i would like to introduce dr. ramsey. he's the president of the university who is here. jim, thank you for joining us
today. [ applause ] and you may recognize these youngsters over here. they're in a scholarship program that have been done at the university for the last 20 years. best and brightest program for the students inside kentucky, not nonresidents. ten each year and they're here today to witness what we may talk about. let me just make a couple of observations. i think what the voters were saying yesterday was a couple of things. number one, they are obviously not satisfied with the direction of the administration but at the same time i heard a lot of discussion about dysfunction in washington. there are a lot of people who believe that just because you have divided government, it doesn't mean you don't accomplish anything. earlier today i got a call from
the president. also senator reid and the speaker and ted cruz too. i thought you would be interested in. all of them i think have the view that we ought to see what areas of agreement there are and see if we can make some progress for the country. i always like to remind people that divided government is not unusual in this country. we've had it frequently. i think maybe even more often than not since world war ii. when the american people choose divided government, i don't think it means they don't want us to do anything. i think it means they want us to look for areas of agreement. reagan never had the house in eight years. clinton didn't have the house or senate for six of his eight years. i can think of at least four fairly significant things done. reagan and tip o'neill saved
social security and bill clinton and republicans did welfare reform and balanced the budget three years in a row. i think we ought to start with the view that maybe there are some things we can agree on to make progress for the country. from an institutional point of view, the senate needs to be fixed. i made a speech back in january not widely covered, probably shouldn't have been widely covered, a lot of people inside the senate paid a lot of attention to it. the senate in the last few years basically doesn't do anything. a senator defeated yesterday had the handicap to explain to people of alaska why in six years he hadn't had a roll call vote on the floor on an amendment. we need to get the senate back to normal. that means working more. we haven't had votes on friday in anybody's memory.
it means opening the senate up so that amendments are permitted on both sides. and it means occasionally burning the midnight oil in order to reach a conclusion. i can remember the way we used to get bills finished was for the majority leader to announce on monday we were taking up a particular bill and we were going to finish it. finish it thursday night. friday morning or saturday. you have to mean it. it's amazing what happened around midnight on thursday. people who are aggressive on tuesday morning were awfully anxious to leave friday morning and amendments would go away and bills would pass. another thing that sounds astonishing to you, committees need to be relevant again. if a bill comes out of committee on a bipartisan basis, that means you have both democrats and republicans who are interested in seeing it pass.
there's a bipartisan constituency for moving forward. now, having said that, there are differences. and we will certainly be voting on things as well is that we think the administration is not fond of. they seem to have had no interest, for example, in doing anything serious on the energy front. we haven't had an energy bill in seven years. when you say energy these days, people think of the keystone pipeline but that's only part of it. we need to embrace the energy revolution that's going on in our country, promote it, hugely advantageous to america not only in the area of energy independence but employment. the employment figure connected with keystone are stunning if we would just get going. so there are going to be areas of disagreement. that's not unusual going back to the founding of the country. so with that, let me just throw
it open. [ inaudible question ] >> the senate was the problem, not the house. the house passed over 300 pieces of legislation. many on a bipartisan basis and nothing was done with them in the senate. the american people changed the senate. i think we have an obligation to change the behavior of the senate and to begin to function again. that doesn't guarantee that the president is going to agree with everything we do but we're going to go back to work and actually pass legislation. i've been called by three prominent democrats since last night. prominent democrats. they're anxious to be relevant again. they're anxious for committee work to be respected. they're anxious to be able to offer amendments on the floor of the senate and get votes.
so, yeah, that's the way you get rid of gridlock. doesn't guarantee you have a presidential signature on absolute everything. presidents do have the right to veto. something the president hasn't had to do. he's vetoed two little bills in six years. first two years he loved everything he got and the last four years the current majority made sure he didn't get anything he didn't like. that's how you cure gridlock. [ inaudible question ] >> we have to demonstrate it. >> what are a couple specific examples of things you can work with president obama on? >> trade agreements. the president and i were just talking about that right before i came over here. most of his party is unenthusiastic about international trade. we think it's good for america. and so i've got a lot of members who believe that international trade agreements are a winner
for america. and the president and i discussed that right before i came over here and i think he's interested in moving forward. i said send us trade agreements. we're anxious to take a look at them. the president indicated he's interested in doing tax reform. we all know having the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world is a job exporter. all this talk about job exportation, it's exporting jobs is having the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. he's interested in that issue. we are too. those are two very significant areas of potential agreement. >> senator mcconnell, is there -- [ inaudible question ] >> look, there's only one democrat who counts, the president. let me illustrate the point. when joe biden and i negotiated the fiscal cliff deal at the end of 2012, the thing i wanted the most that would be the most
important for kentucky was a $5 million per person estate tax exemption. a lot of people with family farms and small businesses look like they're worth a lot of money but they really aren't. if you're lucky enough to have children who want to continue to farm or continue the small business, you can't get it down to them. you could not in the past because of the estate tax exemption. a $5 million exemption index would save 99% of small businesses and farms in my state from having to be sold. leaders in the democrats in the house made it clear if that was in the final deal, house democrats wouldn't vote for it. i thanked her. it was in the final deal. the point i'm making is the democrat who counts is the president of the united states. democrats in congress will support whatever he agrees to do. that was a perfect example of
exactly what i'm talking about. so we were very much inclined to support president bush as well. this is not unusual. when you have the white house, the most important member of your party is the person in the white house. we'll see whether we can work with the president. i hope so. that's what he says. we'll find out. david? >> thank you, senator. except for a few days you worked out mainly with vice president biden, the president and congressional republicans don't have a good track record of working things out. you talk about how you think a united republican congress would possibly have the ability to send the president new bills and force him to veto or sign might alter the dynamic. >> i'm not sure he's going to sign everything. we're going to function. we are. we're going to pass legislation. some of it he may not like.
we're going to function. this gridlock and dysfunction can be ended. it can be ended by having a senate that actually works. >> do you think it might be fruitful opposed to the way it has been so far. >> the veto pen is a big thing. the president of the united states can direct the members of his party to vote for legislation or veto it. that's the way it works. >> senator paul said senate would send bill after bill to the president to appeal obamacare until he worries of it. what other powers can you use to reform or reduce or slowdown obamacare? >> it's no secret that every one of my members thinks that obamacare was a huge legislative
mistake. it's fouled up the health insurance market. it's put states in a deep hole in terms of the medicaid expansion and their own ability to finance it a few years from now. if i had the ability, obviously i would get rid of it. it's also true he's still there. so we'll be discussing how to go forward on this issue when we get back. i will say this for sure, there are pieces of it that are deeply, deeply unpopular with the american people. the medical device tax, which is exported an enormous number of jobs. the loss of the 40-hour workweek. big, big mistake. that ought to be restored. the individual mandate. people hate it. so i think we will be addressing that issue in a variety of different ways. >> senator mcconnell, as you know, regardless of what happens
in the last few races, you'll still be short 60 votes in the senate. you have an ideological diverse conference including a number of blue state republicans up for re-election in 2016. how realistic is it and should your base, should it be a reality check for your base on how far you can go in pushing a conservative agenda in the new congress? >> we'll find out. what you state is a statement of the obvious that it takes 60 votes to do a lot of things in the senate. there are some things we can do with 51 votes. a budget is an extremely important thing. the president does not sign the budget. that determines how much we're going to spend. i think it's within our ability and within our power to pass more appropriation bills which fund the government and there's no secret that i and most of my members think that the bureaucrat strangulation of our economy is a huge factor in the slow growth that we've
experienced after the deep recession of 2008. i think it's reasonable to assume that we will use the power of the purse to try to pushback against this overactive bureaucracy and we have a huge example of that here in this state with war on coal not authorized by congress. cap and trade couldn't get votes to pass when our friends on the other side own the place and they had huge majorities in the house and senate, they couldn't pass cap and trade. president tried to do it anyway. there's widespread opposition to that and you can look for us to go after those kind of things through the spending process, which i think is our best tool in our governmental system. >> like reconciliation process? >> we'll see how we do. >> senator, in the debt ceiling fight afterward you told me that it was a hostage not worth shooting but it was a hostage worth holding for ransom. de debt dealing is coming up in the
spring and summer. will we have a brinkmanship moment there or will those crisis end? >> there will be no government shutdowns and no default on the national debt. >> will you insist on cuts as part of the debt ceiling? >> one of the issues i don't believe you mentioned, we expect that he'll move forward with some sort of action in this area. what will the republican response be and would you seek to -- >> i think the president choosing to do a lot of things unilaterally on immigration would be a big mistake. it's an issue that most of my members want to address legislatively and it's like waving a red flag in front of a bull to say if you guys don't do what i want, i'm going to do it on my own. and the president has done that on obamacare and immigration and threatened to do it again.
i hope he won't do that because i think it poisons the well for the opportunity to address a very important domestic issue. >> how would you anticipate them responding? >> i wouldn't do that to you. >> senator, can you tell us more about -- >> you obviously have worked with the president for a number of years now. you've had communications with him. sometimes cordial. sometimes not so cordial. what do you sense having talked to him today about what he's willing to do? everyone talks about you mentioning tip o'neil and reagan. can that be achieved between you, the republicans and the president? >> the relationship i have with the president has always been cordial. there's no personality problem here or anything like that. i think my attitude about all this at this point is trust, trust but verify. let's see. the american people have spoken.
they've given us divided government. the question for both the president and for the speaker and myself and the members is what are you going to do with it? i said i want to first look for areas that we can agree on and there probably are some and that's what we're going to talk about in the next few weeks. >> you said you promised there will not be a government shutdown. is that holding out an olive branch to the president? >> we won't shut down the government or default on national debt. >> has the president invited you to come to the white house? >> we're going to a lunch friday that i think you are already aware of. >> senator, do you have any concern about those members of your conference who might want to run for president and would like to step outside of your leadership. how will you handle that? >> look, i know a lot of people who want to run for president. what i tell them all is the best
day you'll have is the day before you announce. it is short of being in combat and being shot at by real bullets, there isn't anything harder to run for president unless it's running for re-election if you're a leader of one of the parties of the senate. i have no problem with people's ambitions. i served in a body with a bunch of class presidents. they are all ambitious or they wouldn't be where they are. a lot of folks with sharp elbows and big egos. i am not troubled by ambition and i think we can accommodate that and still make progress for the country. >> even if supports your own goals? >> you're asking me a lot of hypotheticals that i'm not willing to indulge in. >> i want to ask, it's been
suggested that a republican senate during the nomination process would bring it to a grinding halt. will it? how will you handle the president's nominations and what are thoughts on rolling back and getting rid of the nuclear option? >> i have said to my members going back to november 13 when the trigger was pulled and rules of the senate were broken, that's something we ought to address if we're given the majority and we have been given the majority and we'll address it. >> no decision yet? >> i'm going discuss that with our colleagues. it's a big issue. largely lost on the general public but the most significant thing about what the majority leader decided to do was to break the rules of the senate which require 67 votes to change the rules of the senate. by overruling the parliament saying you can't do that with
51, it was a huge, huge mistake in my view. it is hard to unring a bell. they now established a precedent. it's a big issue and a big discussion we're going to have in coming months. jeff? >> how is your colleague senator cruz. you mentioned he called you today. >> he called to congratulate me on my election and was impressed with the margin and i was pretty happy about it myself. we had a good, friendly conversation. >> you believe that he will be as some of those other republicans running for president will make it more difficult for you to have the governing majority that you mentioned. >> we have all kinds of people in, i hope, a 54-member senate. we'll see where we are at the end of voting. >> did he pledge to work with you? >> you can talk to him. it was a very cordial conversation.
i appreciated the call. >> did that come about switching over to your side? >> he called to congratulate me on my election. i've not talked to him about that. he's a pretty independent guy. he'll announce today what he's going to do. >> you said twice that there would not be a default. would you insist on cuts to correspond with debt ceilings like john boehner has in the past. >> we have an opportunity to pass the budget which has to do with how much we're going to spend. we have other mechanisms that were unavailable to us with the previous configuration of the government. and i think that's a pretty important tool. >> senator, can you talk about your phone call with harry reid. you two have had the most acrimonious relationship. you have had the most open acrimonious relationship of any
two leaders in a long time. >> we've had spirited debates on the floor of the senate about the way the place is being run. we don't have an acrimonious relationship personally. what was your question? >> what was that conversation like and are you two going to work better together? >> he called to obviously having been a leader in a tough race himself, he called to compliment me on a skillful campaign that we ran. he obviously paid close attention to it. that's been the new paradigm since dashle was defeated. you get presidential level campaign if you're a leader of the senate so harry said he followed it all very closely and complimented me on a campaign well run. >> will you repay the favor to
him in 2016? >> i'm not -- i didn't get involved the last time he was up. i don't intend to get involved this time. >> will you talk about foreign policy and what your objectives will be as senate majority leader? >> i think the immediate concern in the health area is obviously the ebola crisis and what, if anything, the administration feels they need further on the financial side. with regard to the authorization to help the syrian rebels, as you know, we insisted on that terminating at the end of this year so we could have a new discussion with the administration about sort of where the administration sees the battle against isis. so i think that's one. thins the president mentioned today is going to be on his
agenda at our lunch on friday sort of where we are and what recommendations he may have to make about the way forward. >> senator, what about dodd-frank? >> what about a window that you have to pass big legislation next year and how willing are you to try -- >> david, i think that's -- we got to finish this year's session first. harry reid is still the majority leader. i think the immediate discussion we're going to be having is what should we try to wrap up during the lame duck. there are a number of things that have been put off. >> do you have any preference for the way the spending bill is handled? >> say that again? >> it expires in december. >> we are talking about whether to do a tax extending package. there are a number of things
that have sort of stacked up and i think i said it before and i'll say it again. the senate hasn't been doing anything. there's a lot of unfinished business sitting there. some of which it might be advantageous to get out of the way. democrats may want to do it. we may want to do it in order to clear off some of the necessary work that's been undone in the dysfunctional senate. >> what about dodd-frank? do you expect to see rollbacks of those reforms? >> the banking committee is going to look at dodd-frank. i called it frequently obamacare for banks. the big guys are doing just fine under dodd-frank. community bankers are struggling. i think the banking community will want to take a look at how much damage it's done to the little guys who had nothing whatsoever to do with the
meltdown in 2008. i would be surprised if the banking committee isn't going to take a look at it and they may well send something our way. >> senator, you said in 2010, you were surprised that president obama did not shift more toward the center. does he have a responsibility after the message from the american people last night to do that now and did you communicate that with him on the phone call? >> i hope that's what he does because you can't really do anything without a presidential signature. several of you mentioned it. the veto pen is a powerful tool. i think both reagan and clinton are good examples of accepting the government you have rather than fantasizing about the government you wish you had. you know, the president has a choice. i think because of the strength of the veto pen, he can probably stay on the current course he's on.
just vetoing any effort we make to pushback against what he's doing and having people who work for him do his bidding or he could say let's see if there's some areas of agreement and i mentioned a couple that i think are pretty big and important issues that i think we have potential areas of agreement. trade and tax reform. so we'll see. >> senator, you're asking the president to move toward the middle. are you willing to meet him there and how will you preserve conservative members from moving back? >> i'm pretty familiar with our conference including new members that are coming in. the vast majority of them don't feel that they were sent to washington to just fight all the time. and as i've said repeatedly here, divided government is not the reason to do nothing. divided government has been pretty productive.
i think the vast majority of my members would rather make progress on things that they think the country needs to be dealt with than not. but in our system, the president is the most important player because of all of the obvious constitutional advantage he has and so it will require his complicity to do that and he's been protected from having to do that the last four years by the dysfunctional senate which doesn't pass anything, doesn't send him anything that he doesn't like, and now he's going to have a congress that's going to be more challenging for him but the choice is really his. i'm hoping that he will decide to move to the center. >> as recently as last night, ted cruz declined to say whether or not he would support you as majority leader. i wonder when you spoke to him, did he pledge his support to
you? >> let me make a prediction for you. a week from tomorrow i'll be elected majority leader of the senate. thanks a lot, everyone. [ applause ] >> there he is. the new senate majority leader not officially yet. there will be a lame duck session of the u.s. session but in january he predicted he'll become the new majority leader in the united states senate. the republicans have at least 52 senators in the next senate that he says could have based on what's still happening in alaska and louisiana up to 54 republican senators. he also warned very specifically against the president taking unilateral action, executive action to deal with the illegal immigration crisis here in the united states. he says if the president wants a deal with illegal immigration, he should deal with the congress legislatively. that would be a big mistake and he would wave a red flag in front of a bull poking him in
the eye of the republican majority in the house and senate. let's get immediate reaction. jay carney, former white house press secretary, what did you think? >> i thought it was generally positive. i think that senator mcconnell wisely came out with a conciliatory tone and talked about his conversation with the president and their shared view there were areas where they could cooperate. he made the point several times that we have a long history in this country of divided government. in fact, as often as not congress is held or one house of the congress is held by the party that's not in the white house. and it often can be a recipe for getting things done that people actually want done. the things he held out are potential areas of agreement. trade. trade bills that republicans are interested in seeing passed. there will be democratic support for. at least enough to get passed and get the president's signature. corporate tax reform. something president obama has
put forward already in office. now those are not likely things that will excite many americans. they're not likely things that americans went to the polls looking to congress to get done. if they are done they will create positive momentum. >> will the president walk away from his commitment to change the immigration laws in the united states? >> this is a huge question because of the warning that senator mcconnell just gave, i think that the white house will have to decide, the president will have to decide, about the imperative. there's a commitment the president made to take action if congress won't. there's an opportunity to explore whether this congress will. the senator said that he believes majority of his members want to act on immigration reform so maybe there's an opportunity there. >> the president is about to speak himself in the east room of the white house. full scale formal news conference. you've been there and been in meetings before he goes out there. he'll open with a statement four years ago when democrats lost the house, he used that word shellacking. i assume they are finding
another word right now. >> i think that was his word last time. maybe he'll come up with his own. what i think the president will say today is that he heard the message that americans don't like what they're seeing in washington. he will take some responsibility for that. i think it would be a mistake and i don't think he'll make that mistake to suggest it wasn't about him at all. it was in part about him. he's the president. he's the most visible political feature in the country and when americans are bad about politics and washington, the president has to bear some of that responsibility. i think he too will be conciliatory but he'll also talk about what everyone was sent to washington to do which was work for the people and not for the party and i think we have to see whether senator mcconnell is true to his word. i think it's important to remember senator mcconnell when he was minority leader complaining about the senate being run by the democrats, he articulated that his sole goal
as leader of the republicans in the senate was to defeat president obama politically. that is not the kind of noble calling for bipartisanship that he now wants to hear from the white house or democrats. >> let's remind our viewers what the president said four years ago when the democrats lost the majority in the house. >> i'm not recommending for every future president that they take a shellacking like i did last night. i'm sure there are easier ways to learn these lessons. >> a lot of us remember when he used the word shellacking but you say he's going to come up with some similar word. >> i think he will. >> there's great piece in "the wall street journal" today and maybe, jay, you can shed light on this. there are discussions in the white house about telling the president not to characterize it in any way, shape or form because that will become the headline immediately. >> and thumping to be fair
george w. bush. >> so there were discusses about not doing it. >> i'm sure there was a discussion already about how to describe it in language that won't become the focus. >> hold on. >> i looked it up on webster's and there's an enormous amount of words for shellacking. >> joining me now is eric cantor who lost a race earlier this year. congressman cantor joins us now. republicans have the senate. everything from the white house this morning sounds conciliatory. we're expecting to hear from the president any minute. is there anything he can say that will signal to you and your fellow republicans that he's genuinely willing to work with republicans? >> jake, i think that what the public really needs to hear from the president is he is committed to working with capitol hill, working with the republicans,
and that he's not going to demonstrate his my way or the highway way of operating that's been in the past. i think the big signal to republicans in washington is going to be whether this president is going to execute his executive order on the issue of immigration that's been so widely reported. >> if he does that, sir, does that just poison the well for the rest of the two years or can that be something that republicans don't like, object to, but work with him on other things? >> i think that that's the big signal. if he's serious about setting aside this i've got a phone and a pen attitude and working with members of congress, i think that would be a big step forward for the president. and likewise, i think that we've got to see on the hill as leader mcconnell just said that there's a lot of undone business and if
you can see congress house and senate work together to get some of that done rather than to kick the can, that would also be helpful and a signal to the white house. >> are you at all concerned that republicans now control the house and now control the senate will overreach at all and take actions that alienate voters that republicans need to keep the majorities and win the white house in 2016? specifically, issues that might have to do with women voters and issues with latino voters? >> jake, listen, i was there. i know that my former colleagues and leadership want to get work done for the people of this country and often there are some things or small groups of people that are able to thwart what it is the overwhelming majority of the conference in the house and caucus in the senate and leadership wants to get done. i think with the expanded majorities in the house now that
john boehner, kevin mccarthy and leadership team have the tools necessary to try and execute on an agenda that we put in place a while ago and that is an agenda that speaks to the working middle class of the country. it says we'll help you through our conservative solutions to make it so that we can see a brighter future. >> in other words, speaker boehner has had difficulty in the past wrangling a majority and that hemmed in his ability to cut deals with president obama and to do things that you and other house leaders wanted to do and this expanded majority is the biggest majority since truman or maybe coolidge even. that expanded majority gives speaker boehner more breathing room to be more moderate and to work with president obama? >> i would think that the expanded majority and experience that leadership team has been through over the last several years. i don't think there is a member
of leadership or most of the house members who would say shutting down the government, attempting to or getting near default on the debt or any of those kind of things are helpful in terms of the republicans ability to garner the confidence on the country on how to lead. there's no question that people will eye 2016 and whether the republicans can once again gain a national majority through the electorate college to win the white house which is obviously why you can implement policies and change the direction of the country. there's a recognition of that amongst my former colleagues and leadership and the rest that hopefully we'll see a productive relationship between the two houses and the white house. >> were you surprised at all at how strong that red wave was as it crashed across the country from maine to the west? i know that you were bullish on republicans chances but did you see republicans winning in
maryland and illinois? >> you know, i know i spent time recently in chicago and i know that the rauner campaign was doing a great job at outreach to nontraditional constituencies to win and the state of that state is in some dire need of assistance and so i do think that voters responded to that but nationally it is quite an anxiety or frustration with the way things are. i do think that when you see this congress and the republicans focusing on the goals that they want to achieve, that it should include this sense of decline that the middle class has had and how are we going to address that? how do you address the wage gap? i think there are some great proposals that have been put out there on the part of the house and the senate that can respond to that to working families and how do we go and make it so that tuition doesn't continue to skyrocket and how do we make it
so healthcare is more affordable. >> when you talk about rauner campaign, governor-elect rauner reached out to african-americans and governor rick scott also reached out in florida but there are people in your party in washington, d.c. are worried this is a sugar high. republicans have control for the next two years but demographics will be a problem in 2016 when presumably republicans are facing off against probably hillary clinton, let's be honest. are you worried about that? do republicans have two years to try to fix that demographic problem and reach out as scott in florida and rauner did in illinois? >> sure i'm worry about it. we have a lot to learn from those two examples that you site. i think most will say that mid terms elections is a much smaller turnout. it tends to be muwhat everyone
will recognize. i think that trying to get some things done, making sure that the operations of government from the legislative branch in congress are addressed so that republicans can once again be seen as the party that can govern and then how is it that we see the process going forward through the primary and the rest that the party puts forward an agenda and a platform that can appeal to working middle class of this country that has been in a way felt that they have been left out of what's going on in terms of upper mobility. that should be the ultimate focus. >> the tone i hear from you, sir, correct me if i'm wrong, this is an opportunity for republicans but this is not mandate. republicans have a chance now to show the american people that they can govern but nobody should overreach. am i hearing you correctly?
>> leader mcconnell talked about obamacare. president obama is still in office. he's not going to repeal obamacare. yeah, there will be an attempt and a lot of members of the senate never were forced to vote on obamacare. maybe the bill is brought up for that purpose. i don't think that many are going to say that they can go in and leverage and try to get a repeal of obamacare. sort of been there, done that. likewise, there are other things that need to take place but i do think republicans can do a lot of things whether in the area of energy production, pipeline construction, whether it's in medical device tax repeal, these kind of things may not be the big items but certainly can begin to build the confidence that the republican party can actually govern. i do think those are things that you'll see take place early on. >> all right. former house majority leader eric cantor, republican of virginia. always a pleasure talking with you. thanks for joining us.
wolf? >> good interview. thanks very much for that. i want to quickly go to the white house. jim accosta is there in the east room of the white house getting ready. the president about to walk in. jim, he'll open with a statement and then start answering reporters' questions. this could go on for 45 minutes or an hour or so? what are you hearing? >> reporter: this could go longer than an hour. we'll have to wait and see. president does have prepared remarks to make. we expect the president to come in and make remarks before taking questions from reporters. and this is a big moment in the presidency of barack obama. the wave that rose up against him in 2012 or in 2010 and took a break in 2012 continued last night and swept a lot of democrats out of office and so the key question over the next couple of years is whether we're going to see a period of compromise or combat. and one of the key questions that you've been talking about is what the president will do with immigration reform. the president's aides said over
the last several weeks that he's going to take executive action on immigration before the end of the year. now a lot of republicans are saying that's not a good idea. mitch mcconnell said within the last hour that would be like waving a red flag in front of a bull. so i assume the president will be asked that question during the course of this news conference. there's also key foreign policy question of this nuclear deal with iran. there's a deadline of that deal of november 24th. lots of members on the republican side who would like a say in that debate and probably would like to see the president kick that can down the road. and so a lot of questions for this president. i think also ultimately what is his relationship with mitch mcconnell? the incoming senate majority leader said he wanted to make barack obama a one-term president. does president obama want to make mitch mcconnell a two-year senate majority leader? i think one of the things that might get resolved today is whether the bad blood that exists between these two leaders
might be put to rest in the near future. we'll see if that transpires on friday when congressional leaders come to the white house. my sense of talking to people inside this administration is they feel very weary in terms of dealing with republicans. they feel like they have given republicans a chance to come over to their side of the table and compromise. they like to point out john boehner was give be a chance to do immigration reform and it didn't happen. the president feels really sort of like he has no choice. he's told the latino community over and over again just wait a little bit longer. your time is coming. we'll do immigration reform and then it just doesn't happen. the president is in a box as jay carney was saying. it's a key question for this president. there are legacy questions to be asked of this president as well. how will last two years of his administration going to go down? will it be marked by political combat with republicans side of the aisle? this is a president who said that he wanted to change that part of washington. wolf, instead of mastering washington and being on top of
washington, this is a president coming into this news conference today who sort of looks like washington is on top of him and it will be interesting to take his pulse and temperature and see where he is mentally and even physically after what was a very bad night last night, wolf. >> very bad night indeed. he'll meet for lunch with the bipartisan congressional leadership. the new republican majority in the senate and house friday at the white house. we heard mitch mcconnell say that. the white house told us about that last night. next week he gets out of town and he'll go to china and berma and a trip to asia. here's the question. a lot of foreign leaders may see this president as being weakened right now as a result of the huge republican gains and may seek to take advantage whether friends or foes. i assume they are worried about that at the white house. the president has a strategy to deal with that? >> reporter: as you know, wolf, they tried to knock down these questions before when the president drew that red line in
syria and vladimir putin made moves in ukraine and reporters are making that connection wondering whether foreign leaders were making that connection saying this president is weak and wouldn't follow up with what he said with action. when the president goes to china next week, keep in mind the kremlin said vladimir putin will be in china at the apex summit. there's a chance the president will come face to face with vladimir putin. they're not planning on former bilateral meeting but they may meet on the sidelines. it's a question for this president. has his standing been diminished? will world leaders look at what happened in washington on tuesday night and say this is somebody that's on his way out of office and lame duck whose feathers have been plucked. the president could resolve a lot of those questions today. if he shows a willingness to do compromise, he might find some willing partners on the other side of the aisle. as you know, you have talked to senator bob corker from the foreign relations committee on a number of occasions. this is someone on the other
side of the aisle who expressed a willingness to work with the president on key foreign policy issues. keep in mind, the president has a lot on his plate already before even going into midterm elections. he had isis. he had ebola. the administration today said they want to commit $6.2 million asking that of congress to fight ebola. he has to deal with those things and those problems have not gone away. and so i think more than anything, wolf, this is a break for the president. an opportunity to pivot away from this turmoil and dysfunction in washington and perhaps to refresh himself and reset things somewhat. as we know in the second terms of many administrations, presidents look to foreign policy not only for legacy reasons but also to get a break from washington, wolf. >> all right. get ready to sit down. jim accosta, hopefully you'll get to ask the president of the united states a question at this news conference. he's about to walk in. we saw the white house chief of staff over there so once he's in
there, president momentarily will be walking in. jay carney is with us. president's former press secretary and now a cnn contributor. what happens in the minute or two or three before a major news conference like this with the president? >> there will have been some prep beforehand where they talk about what the statement will be and speech writers will have worked on it because this is one that will matter so it says wha he wants it to say. can you still be relevant? can you compromise? are you going to sign an executive order on immigration? are you just a lame duck? there will be questions that challenge and aim at provoking him to be dismissive of the results of last night.
>> does he do a formal rehearsal where staffers say a specific tough questions, an irritating question sometimes and you've had a lot of those. >> sometimes there is a little of that. there's nothing formal. we never had in my experience a formal set piece mock press conference. there would be -- we would throw out some questions just to give him a sense of what we expected him to hear and what the tone might be. so that he was ready for it. he's pretty savvy. he understands and he does follow what's happening. i think he has a good feel. >> during the last few years, mcconnell and vice president biden negotiated a lot of things. biden being an old senate hand and having known mcconnell for decades literally. but then biden was sidelined. harry reid objected to it. he didn't care for it. biden was sidelined. do you think in a new senate
with mitch mcconnell as majority leader, biden's role will go back to what it was because he and mcconnell could cut deals. >> in short, yes. i think that that channel was always an effective one. both those men have deep respect for traditions of the senate and role the senate plays in getting compromises through. and in our experience, my experience in the white house and it was mcconnell in that situation where we were trying to deal with republicans in both houses who tended to come in and work through joe biden and with the president to pick up the pieces after the house failed to get something done. looking at eric cantor, i know that he experienced some heart stopping moments when that leadership simply could not get anything through. >> you think biden has an easier time dealing with mcconnell than he did with harry reid? >> harry reid is a close ally.
when it comes to reality of who holds the power and republicans will hold the power, there will be a clarity to it. i think a shared objective of demonstrating they can get something done. i think the vice president will be effective in that. >> the president is about to walk into the east room of the house and begin with his opening statement. a statement that clearly has been carefully crafted, drafted. the president wants to be precise and he'll read the statement and he has a teleprompter in there and then he'll open it up to questions and answers. the president would stay in the white house east room at least 45 minutes we're guessing. maybe an hour. here comes the president of the united states right now. he knows not only people in the united states but around the world are watching. >> today i had a chance to speak with john boehner and congratulated mitch mcconnell on becoming the next majority
senate leader. i told them both i look forward to finishing up this congress' business and working together for the next two years to advance america's business. and i very much appreciated leader mcconnell's words last night about the prospect of working together to deliver for the american people. on friday i look forward to hosting the entire republican and democratic leadership at the white house to chart a new course forward. obviously republicans had a good night and they deserve credit for running good campaigns. beyond that i'll leave it to you and professional pundits to pick through the results. the american people sent a message. one they sent for several elections now. they expect the people they elect to work as hard as they do. they expect us to focus on their ambitions and not ours. they want us to get the job
done. all of us in both parties have a responsibility to address that sentiment. still, as president, i have a unique responsibility to make this town work. to everyone that voted, i want you to know that i heard you. to two-thirds of voters that chose not to participate in the process yesterday, i hear you too. all of us have to give more americans a reason to feel like the ground is stable beneath their feet, that the future is secure, there's a path for young people to succeed and folks in washington are concerned about them. i plan on spending every moment of the next two plus years doing the my job the best i can to keep this country safe and make sure more americans share in its prosperity. this country has made real progress since the crisis six
years ago. more americans are working. unemployment has come down. more americans have health insurance. manufacturing has grown. our deficits have shrunk. dependence on foreign oil is down as are gas prices. graduation rates are up. our businesses aren't just create i creating business, the economy is outpacing most of the world. we got to keep at it until every american feels the gains of a growing economy where it matters most and that's in their own lives. obviously much of that will take action from congress. i'm eager to work with the new congress to make the next two years as productive as possible. i'm committed to make sure that i measure ideas not whether they're from republicans or democrats but whether they work for the american people. that's not to