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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  November 3, 2010 4:30pm-5:00pm PST

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on our broadcast tonight, from our election head quarters, the surge american voters sweep republicans into office. the gop takes command of the house. >> what we need to do is listen to american people. they sent a very loud message last night. >> it feels bad. >> tonight, the election. the message, and the fallout. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television .
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good evening. and about last night, what were the voters across this country trying to say? well, they split up the government, they made it very clear they don't like the way things are being run. that means the president, that means the democrats, the government as a whole. and the u.s. economy most of all. some veteran office holders are packing up and going home and some newcomers are coming to washington. about a third of them, 32% of the candidates are affiliated with the tea party movement. it was a tough message from the voters, a clear message. the president was asked today whether he got it. and for a lot of incumbents, there was no mistaking it. our team is here, reassembled on no sleep. we begin with our political director chuck todd. what a night it was. >> that's for sure. the day after an election is all about defining the meaning is. it was done at duelling press conferences today.
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from president obama to republican speaker-to-be john boehner. republicans made it clear they are going to reset the agenda. >> the american people have spoke and it's clear that the obama-pelosi agenda is being rejected by the american people. they want, as i said last night, they want the president to change course. and i think it's change course we will. >> reporter: while a chastened president tried to put the best face he could on the results. >> every election, regardless of who wins and who loses, is a reminder that in our democracy, power rests not with those of us in elected office, but with the people we have the privilege to serve. >> reporter: asked repeatedly what went wrong for democrats, mr. obama accepted some responsibility. >> i think the overwhelming message that i hear from the voters is that we want everybody to act responsibly in washington.
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we want you to work harder to arrive at consensus. we want you to focus completely on jobs and the economy, and growing it. >> reporter: and he admitted his campaign promise to change washington fell short. >> we were in such a hurry to get things done that we didn't change how things got done. and i think that frustrated people. >> reporter: but republican john boehner, poised to become speaker of the house, said the anti-washington message goes much deeper. >> i think it's a mandate for washington to reduce the size of government and continue our fight for a smaller, less costly and more accountable government. >> reporter: boehner is a 20-year veteran of congress from suburban cincinnati. known to wear his emotions on his sleeve, like last night. >> i've spent my whole life chasing the american dream. >> reporter: his first challenge as speaker will be to bridge the perceived divide between the
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so-called establishment wing of the gop and the newly elected tea party representatives. he's no stranger to insurgency. here's first-term representative boehner, one of the gang of seven from 1991, who used paper bags over their heads to demonstrate their embarrassment at washington. as for president obama today, he showed new willingness to compromise on several issues, including extending all of the so-called bush tax cuts. >> how that works itself out i think it's too earlier to say. we're not going to play brinksmanship. we're going to act responsibly. >> reporter: and the president became self-reflective, with bill clinton's portrait peering over his shoulder. the president even invoked clinton and ronald reagan by name and their tough defeats in for their political parties in 1982 and 1994. and he was very blunt about yesterday's losses. >> i'm not recommending for every future president that they take a shellacking like i did last night.
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i'm sure there are easier ways to learn these lessons. >> reporter: the president did a similar conference call with supporters and donors and said i'm not going to sugarcoat it. we had a tough night. the president friday leaves for asia for a ten-day trip. he's got to do a few things, g-20 meeting, the asian economic meeting. but before he goes. he's going to tape another national television interview and "60 minutes" onldz where we'll hear more about his reflections on this election. >> remarkable day after a remarkable night. and this election last night, chuck, triggered a lot of changes. in washington, yes, and across the country. for starters, there are a lot of new faces trading places in the capital. that's where our own kelly o'donnell is stationed again tonight. kelly, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. looking at the lineup of winners and losers from across the country tells us what made voters so angry and what makes them demand change again. while the victory party moment
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passes quickly, the newly elected insist they know what voters want -- >> we need to restore fiscal sanity to this nation. >> reporter: and what voters reject. >> they're tired of games. they're tired of people that go to washington, d.c. and forget everything they ran on. >> reporter: now that voters turned to republicans to clean house -- >> retire nancy pelosi. >> reporter: today, with a more gracious tone -- >> we need to listen to the american people. >> reporter: speaker in waiting john boehner was more measured on an issue that ignited voter outrage, health care reform. >> we have to do everything we can to try to repeal this bill and replace it with common sense reforms that will bring down the cost of health insurance. >> reporter: running against the president's plan propelled tea party candidates. at least four are headed to the senate. >> it's not about one piece of legislation. it's that government is broken at not responsive to the people. >> reporter: though not on the ballot herself, sarah palin's political muscle was on the line.
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of 59 candidates she endorsed, at least 32 won, including south carolina governor nikki haley and the nation's first la lina governor, new mexico's susanna martinez. but voters did not agree with palin on delaware's christine o'donnell. or california's carly fiorina who conceded to barbara boxer today. for democrats, the good news is a convincing win for harry reid over the tea party backed sharron angle, with strong support from nevada's latino voters. >> the main lesson i got from what the vote was yesterday, people want us to work together. >> reporter: this afternoon, colorado was called for democrats. appointed senator michael bennett wins the seat on his own. >> i'm not going back to washington to play politics, i'm going back there to fight for more jobs, better jobs. >> reporter: and with joe manchin's win, democrats held west virginia, where the president is unpopular. >> i believe washington can learn a few lessons from west virginia.
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a little common sense goes a long way. i can tell you that. >> reporter: in the house, republicans picked up at least 60 seats. six in the senate, but there democrats hold onto control. and we're still waiting for winners in two senate races, alaska and washington state. it will take a while. and brian, change can sweep you in and out. 18-term congressman jim overstar, one of several democratic committee chairs, defeated. he first came to office in the wave that followed watergate. brian? >> kelly o'donnell on the hill, which will take on a new feel starting with this new congress. kelly, thanks. since our election night team is back together tonight, we want to talk about some of the lessons of last night, beginning here with andrea mitchell. andrea, how did various groups vote as we look at the numbers this day after? >> well, the president had reason to feel chastened today at that news conference, because as you look at the numbers and the voters, the coalition that elected him only two years ago
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really fell apart. let's look at independent voters. they voted for barack obama by 56-44% only two years ago. and this time -- excuse me, that was 56% to 38% only two years ago and a majority voted republican, 56% to 38% this time. it was two years ago, 52-44. so the independents really abandoned him this time around, the democrats. the youth vote, another big part of the democratic coalition, this time only 11% of them turned out. 18% of them came out to vote for barack obama. he went to college campuses, mtv, "the daily show," it didn't work. he couldn't inspire them. and older voters did turn out, but contrasted to two and four years ago, older voters in the last midterm split evenly. this time they were overwhelmingly voting republican. why did they vote? 6 out of 10 said they wanted to repeal health care. >> a lot of talk about the president himself, especially today.
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we were watching so closely during that press conference savannah guthrie who traveled from new york back down to washington, had a front row seat at that news conference. savannah, you could almost watch the president form his reaction before your very eyes. >> it was fascinating to be in the room. we saw this evolution. at first, we saw the president we recognized, somebody who is a master of the policy details. as time wore on, he became increasingly introspective, talking about his relationship with america and how it's evolving. talking about his sense at times of being isolated here in the white house and feeling he's lost some connection to americans. but he stuck to his policy guns saying he did feel he made the right choices in a series of crises, but signaled a new willingness to negotiate and compromise. brian? >> and david gregory traveled back to washington in the wee small hours of the morning. david, you have the interesting job this sunday on "meet the
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press" of getting your arms around the meaning of all this. how do you think the city is different today than it was even yesterday? >> i think there is a sense of a new normal, brian, in politics right now. that there is a lurching toward the right, and this is not a static moment in politics. it can change again. president obama said today, in effect, struggling, figuring out how he's going to connect with the american people, because he doesn't have that much time. he's got to make a decision about the push and the pull, how does he pull republicans toward him, how does he push them away? and gird for a fight in 2012. it will come sooner and the voters are still restless. >> and chuck todd, you and i were sitting in this studio, watching the president's new conference. i wrote down one quote from him, "this is something every president needs to go through." you found it a remarkable piece of self-analysis today. >> it was and it reminds me something that paul begala, bill clinton's former top adviser said, remember, this is the son of an anthropologist.
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his mom was a student of human behavior, and he was almost as savannah put it, very introspective studying things about what it means right before our eyes. he does more self-an less in public frankly that previous presidents, although i think that former president bush is doing the same thing, though after his presidency. >> our thanks to our team. i almost hate to break up the gang, but we'll be at it again before any of us would like to admit. on this day after the election. one more note on the economy. such a big issue in this election. just today, the federal reserve worried about the slow pace of recovery, announced it will spend $600 billion buying up treasury bonds. that is supposed to lower long-term interest rates in this country, make it easier for consumers and businesses to borrow money. but there is a raging debate over whether or not it will work, even among the experts. as for wall street, the dow was up 26 points while the nasdaq up almost seven points. on the subject of the economy, as well.
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the last president is now making news on that front. recently, matt lauer flew to texas for an exclusive sit-down interview with former president george w. bush. this economic collapse we're still paying for happened toward the end of the bush presidency. matt asked the former president about the t.a.r.p. bailout program, started under him and continued, of course, under president obama. >> you went with the t.a.r.p. program. >> we did. >> a lot of people call it the bank bailout and they hate it. >> yeah, they do hate it. i can understand it. the idea of spending taxpayer's money to give to wall street and the banks to save them, a lot of people think they created the crisis in the first place. so i can understand the angst. but in my case, i wasn't worried about personal angst, i was worried about the economy going down. and i believe t.a.r.p. saved the economy. >> if you were president again
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and t.a.r.p. came up again, you would do the exact same thing? >> absolutely, given the same circumstances. the other thing about t.a.r.p. people forget is we structured it so that people would be repaid with a really good rate of return. and that turns out, that aspect of t.a.r.p., that's what happened. >> former president george w. bush, who has just published a new book and in it he covers a lot of other key questions about 9/11, two wars, hurricane katrina and more. nbc news will have more of the interview next week in a one-hour primetime special "decision points" it's called, airing next monday night at 8:00, 7:00 central time. when our broadcast continues, the other big story taking shape tonight, new and powerful storm headed for haiti and new worries about what might happen there. and later, more on this election, what a few of those that voted yesterday are saying today about the results.
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we mentioned we're watching a potentially serious situation tonight. the progress of tropical storm tomas as it bears down on haiti. forecastits ldsay ou c reach hurricane strength once again au it nears haiti in the next 24 to 48 hours. even as a tropical storm, the impact of tomas could be devastating. our mark potter is in port-au-prince for us tonight. >> reporter: at a tent city for 10,000 people jammed together in port-au-prince, relief workers raised a red flag today, signaling imminent danger. they warned residents to take the storm seriously, and in visits door to door, urged families to secure their tents and protect their possessions from what they fear will be a deluge of rain at the very least. >> this doesn't have to hit haiti as a hurricane or tropical storm to be catastrophic. our concern is rain. >> reporter: the biggest fear
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is that mudslides will threaten villages throughout the country, just ten months after the massive earthquake here killed 300,000 people. with an estimated 1.3 million haitians living under tarps and tents after the earthquake, the fact is most of these people here have nowhere else to go to get away from the storm. this is where they'll ride it out. health officials also fear the storm will worsen the cholera epidemic, which so far has killed more than 300 haitians and hospitalized nearly 5,000. cholera is spread by contaminated water. >> it seems so cruel after everything haiti has been through this year that they should be facing this. >> reporter: the united states is deploying the "uss iwo jima" and relief agencies are stockpiling supplies, struggling to find enough tarps and sanitation kits, fearing widespread damage and the loss of life as haiti braces for yet another disaster. mark potter, nbc news, port-au-prince. when we come back here tonight, the next thing the airlines may ask us passengers
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to do for ourselves.
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here's another service that airlines used to perform for us
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that we might now have to do ourselves. how about tagging your own bags. the most basic service an airline performs, at least for those who can afford to check a bag these days. there's a report that american airlines and air canada are reportedly in talks with the tsa to begin a trial run at boston's logan airport. delta is also discussing the idea, which they say, of course, would speed up the check-in process. at this rate, the next step may be training passengers in the art of aircraft refueling. voters in california said no to proposition 19, which would have legalized marijuana. supporters blame this defeat on older, more conservative voters who tend to turn out in greater numbers than young people in midterm elections like last night. and the owner of ten mcdonald's franchises in san francisco says that city's government is about to take the happy out of happy meals. we've talked about this story before. starting next month, mcdonald's happy meals and others like it
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can only include toys in the bag if the meal contains less than 600 calories, all aimed at cutting back childhood obesity. mcdonald's for its part say it's extremely disappointed. fair to say, some of the children in the san francisco area might be, too. there was a happy scene in san francisco today, as tens of thousands came out to celebrate the giants and their world series championship over the texas rangers. one fan described it as christmas, new year's and your first born all rolled into one. up next when we continue, we'll hear from four voters we profiled last night. what do they have to say now on this day after the election?
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we are back from our "decision 2010" headquarters at 30 rockefeller plaza in new york. last night before the polls had closed, we heard the personal stories of four voters from around this country and what was on their minds as they went to cast their ballots. well, tonight, those results are in. our own rehema ellis asked the very same voters about the message they sent. >> reporter: these four voters knew what they wanted when they went to the polls.
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the question today -- how do they feel about what they got? >> cautious. >> disappointed. >> i have very mixed feelings. >> very optimistic. >> reporter: in rock hill, south carolina, sheila huckabee watched the late nike election returns from home. an independent, this mother and school administrator lives in a state where 70% of eighth graders are behind in math. she split the ticket yesterday, but it didn't go her way. >> i'm also a little nervous, because all of the candidates who were elected have mixed records on their views of public education. and i'm very concerned about the funding for public education in the future. >> reporter: brad, a businessman and father in san diego, is a long-time democrat, but voted against his party in the senate race. saying he was looking for change, especially when it comes to immigration. >> this is something we need to get off the table. the immigration issue is definitely been a dark cloud over our country.
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>> reporter: in chicago, 23-year-old law school student j.c. angelo, campaigned for the republican ticket and is happy with the election. he's part of the wave of white male republicans who helped shift the balance of power in the house of representatives. an extension of conservatives' unhappiness with president obama. nationwide, 54% of all voters said they wanted change. >> i think it's very exciting for job growth and the economic outlook for the next few years. >> reporter: in miami, democrat arlona davis is staying strong, considering her party took a beating. even so, now she wants both sides to get to work. >> don't focus on president obama and him getting out of there. that's neither here nor there. you were sent there to work for the people to help this country and that's what you need to be doing. >> reporter: the day after an election, voices of voters who exercised their power. rehema ellis, nbc news, new york. >> and what a 24 hours it's been.
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that is our broadcast for this wednesday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams, and we hope to see you back here in new york tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac -- . and do you believe! >> hundreds of thousands of giants fans showed their faith, celebrating a victory, decades in the making. good evening. tom sinkovitz and lisa kim are live