NBC's Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro discuss the electoral challenges faced by the GOP in the wake of last week's election.
NBC's Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro discuss the electoral challenges faced by the GOP in the wake of last week's election.
And then there were three -- undecided House races, that is.
On Thursday, two close California races were decided: Republican incumbents Dan Lungren in CA-7 and Brian Bilbray in CA-52 lost their seats.
The Undecided Three now include LA-3 (which is scheduled for a runoff in three weeks) and NC-7 and AZ-2 (where Democratic incumbents cling to narrow leads).
Meanwhile, in FL-18, Rep. Allen West has asked for a recount in his tight re-election race, but he trails by nearly 2,000 votes.
Below is a breakdown of each race:
NC-7: This one is still really close. Incumbent Mike McIntyre (D), one of the few remaining Blue Dog Democrats in the House, continues to cling to a 436-vote lead over challenger David Rouzer. McIntyre leads by .14% of the 335,000 votes cast.
AZ-2: Gabby Gifford’s old seat remains too close to call. Incumbent Ron Barber, a former Giffords staffer, continues to lead Republican challenger Martha McSally by 654 votes, as of this morning. About 31,000 remain uncounted in Pima County, though not all pertain to this race. Pima County, which makes up the bulk of the district, is where Barber won a slight advantage on Election Day.
LA-3: Two Republican incumbents are headed for a runoff on Dec. 8th in this district. Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. leads Rep. Jeff Landry by a 45-30% margin on Election Day, but under Lousiana law, they must face each other in a runoff because no candidate won a 50% majority of the vote. Just because Boustany lead handily last week doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll prevail in the runoff, when only the most hardcore voters usually cast ballots. Landry has strong Tea Party support.
CA-7: This one is over, and longtime congressman Dan Lungren (R) lost his re-election race. Lungren hasn’t conceded, but what had been a close race of less than 200 votes has now ballooned to a lead of more than 5,700 votes for Democratic challenger Ami Beri. There are still about 39,000 votes left to count in Sacramento County, but only a fraction of them pertain to this race.
CA-52: With every passing day, Democrat Scott Peters continues to pad his lead over incumbent Brian Bilbray (R). After Election Day, Peters led by fewer than 700 votes, but that lead has now grown to 3,877. Peters gained nearly a thousand votes yesterday alone. Now local columnists are starting to call for Bilbray to concede. Both men are in Washington this week for freshman orientation, but Peters appears to have has won this one.
FL-18: Rep. Allen West (R) has formally petitioned the FL Secretary of State for a recount, but he appears to have lost to Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy. West trails by 1,907 voters -- just outside the window for a mandatory recount under Florida law.
So now Republicans say Romney wasn’t specific enough.
But, the Wall Street Journal reports: “Two weeks after their presidential election defeat, Republican Party leaders are falling into roughly two camps as they struggle to explain what happened and devise ways to broaden the party's base. Some top GOP officials worry their message is wrong for a rapidly diversifying population, and that fundamental shifts in policy may be required. But the more dominant voice, and the one gaining currency within the center of the party, says such drama isn't necessary. It asserts that Mitt Romney's loss to President Barack Obama was primarily a tactical failure….”
The Maine Republican Party Chairman claimed in an interview with NBC affiliate WCSH: “In some parts of rural Maine, there were dozens, dozens of black people who came in and voted on Election Day. Everybody has a right to vote, but nobody in town knows anyone who’s black.”
Despite defending his comments yesterday, he later apologized. In defending his comments, he said this: “There’s nothing about me that would be discriminatory. I know black people. I play basketball every Sunday with a black guy. He’s a great friend of mine.”
While Mitt Romney has attributed his defeat, in part, to "gifts" President Obama was able to shower on key constituencies, a Republican National Committee report on the election points to other reasons -- like changing demographics, Hurricane Sandy, George W. Bush, and the failure to win over the middle class.
This RNC report of exit poll data, which NBC News has obtained and which RNC Chair Reince Priebus presented to GOP senators on Wednesday, states that "demographic change" in the United States "is real." It notes that the white share of the electorate has declined from 81% in 2000 to 72% in 2008. And it points out that "3 in 10 voters will be minorities in 2016."
In addition, the report (which Politico also has written about) includes data from the exit poll showing that voters -- by a 53%-to-38% margin -- blamed Bush for the state of the economy instead of Obama.
It also observes that Obama's response to Hurricane Sandy "provided a bump" to the president, with 42% saying it was either the "most important" or "an important" factor in their vote. Obama won those voters by more than a 2-to-1 margin
And the presentation observes that 44% of voters believed Obama's policies favored the middle class, versus 34% who said that of Romney's policies.
But the RNC report also notes the positives from the election:
-- Romney outperformed John McCain from 2008, especially in battleground states
-- Fewer than a combined 400,000 votes in Florida, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Virginia separated Romney from the presidency (though even fewer than that amount separated Al Gore and John Kerry from the presidency, too)
-- And Romney improved among whites and independents from 2004 and 2008.
At the end of this presentation, the RNC says it will conduct a fuller "deep dive" report into what worked in 2012 and what didn't. That will include conducting a post-election survey, meetings with party leaders, and getting feedback from volunteers.
NBC's Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro talk about yesterday's busy day in politics that included a presidential press conference and words from two of President Obama's former rivals, both Mitt Romney and John McCain.
Obama leaves himself some wiggle in fiscal-cliff talks (on where the top tax rate ultimately ends up)… The fundamental question: Are there Republicans who would vote for a temporary increase in the top rate?... Why Romney’s “gifts” explanation for his loss is laughable… Obama vs. McCain: Hard to separate the personal from the professional… Obama heads to New York to survey Hurricane Sandy damage… Autopsy 2012: looking at the African-American vote… And David Gregory interviews Doris Kearns Goodwin in his weekly “Press Pass” video.
Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images
President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference Nov.14, 2012 in the East Room of the White House.
*** Wiggle room: Besides rebuking John McCain on his criticism of UN Ambassador Susan Rice and besides praising Gen. David Petraeus’ service, President Obama made some other big news at yesterday’s press conference. He gave himself some wiggle room in the upcoming fiscal cliff negotiations. Obama did draw a line in the sand, arguing that he would oppose extension of the Bush tax cuts on all income above $250,000. “When it comes to the Top 2%, what I’m not going to do is to extend further a tax cut for folks who don’t need it, which would cost close to a trillion dollars.” But where he left some wiggle room was where those top rates would ultimately be. When one of us asked him if the top rates must be the 39% from the Clinton years, Obama responded, “I just want to emphasize I am open to new ideas. If Republican counterparts or some Democrats have a great idea for us to raise revenue, maintain progressivity, make sure the middle class isn’t getting hit, reduces our deficit, encourages growth, I’m not going to just slam the door in their face.”
*** The fundamental question: Are there enough Republican votes? The news here isn’t just what Obama said; it’s also what Republicans heard -- that there is the possibility for a deal on where the top rates eventually end up. They were relieved to hear what the president said. Folks, realize this: For 2013, the rate could go up to, say, 37% for some folks and 39% for millionaires, or maybe it’s just the millionaires. The point is, that’s where the president hinted he’s willing to negotiate and there certainly sounds like there is an openness among some Republicans to negotiate on those grounds. For their part, the wiggle room that GOP leaders have indicated is that they’re in favor of more revenues, just not higher rates. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan gave a statement to Breitbart News saying that any new revenue must come without raising rates. “We can find common ground on responsible spending restraint and greater revenue through economic growth, but we have yet to see either a serious plan or leadership from President Obama,” Ryan said. So here’s the fundamental question given the wiggle room from both sides so far: Can House Republicans tolerate a temporary increase in the top rate with the assumption that the rate could later be negotiated as part of broader tax reform? Could GOPers -- thinking about the prospect of a primary challenge -- consider doing that?
*** We come bearing “gifts”: In a conference call with his top donors yesterday, Mitt Romney blamed his defeat on the fact that President Obama and his administration were able to offer “gifts” to African-American, Latino, and young voters, according to the L.A. Times and New York Times. What were those gifts in Romney’s telling? The health-care law. Help with student loans. Free contraception under the health-care law. The executive action stopping the deportation of qualified young illegal immigrants. Some Republicans weren’t too pleased by Romney’s words, which seemed like a rehash of his infamous “47%” comments. “I think that’s absolutely wrong,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) said at a Republican Governors Association meeting, per Politico. “Two points on that: One, we have got to stop dividing the American voters. We need to go after 100% of the votes, not 53%... And, secondly, we need to continue to show how our policies help every voter out there achieve the American Dream.” Latino Republican Alfonso Aguilar, a Romney supporter, called the remarks a “slap in the face” to the Latino community and added, “He lost the election by making comments like that to Latinos.”
While President Barack Obama was paying Mitt Romney compliments in his post-election press conference, the former GOP presidential candidate was telling donors on a conference call a different story. The Daily Rundown's Chuck Todd reports.
*** Why Romney’s “gifts” explanation is laughable: When you think about it, Romney’s explanation for Obama’s victory is laughable -- the president won because he successfully delivered to his voters. Isn’t that what politicians and presidents are supposed to do? In addition, Romney’s “gifts” rationale doesn’t explain why he lost Iowa, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin, states with older and whiter populations. What’s particularly striking here: Jindal’s criticism. He was the first Republican to step up here, and it’s an easy brave moment if you’re an aspiring 2016er. A softball to hit out of the park. Romney, sounding more bitter than big in those comments, is giving plenty of aspiring Republican leaders to now use this moment to distinguish themselves from Romney. Watch for a bunch of folks on the GOP side to pile on actually.
*** Hard to separate the personal from the professional: Then we come to yesterday’s back-and-forth between President Obama and John McCain over Susan Rice. It all began in the morning, when McCain, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham, essentially tried to declare Susan Rice’s potential nomination as Secretary of State to be D.O.A. because of her performance on the Sunday shows days after the Benghazi attack. Obama seemed particularly fired up at the opportunity to respond at his press conference: “If Sen. McCain and Sen. Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. And I’m happy to have that discussion with them. But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador, who had nothing to do with Benghazi, and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received, and to besmirch her reputation is outrageous.” McCain then took the Senate floor: "If the president thinks that we are picking on people, he really does not have any idea of how serious this issue is." Part of this is the bulldog in McCain; when he gets focused on an issue (see campaign finance reform), he doesn’t let go. And McCain’s been focused on Benghazi since the get-go. But make no mistake here: It’s very hard to separate the personal from the professional (especially when McCain supported the other Rice -- Condi -- despite intelligence failures that happened under her watch). McCain and his party have now lost twice to Obama, and that frustration shows.
*** Rice’s chances of being nominated just increased: One other thing here: If you thought that Obama might decide to pass on nominating Susan Rice to be the next Secretary of State, think again. Yesterday’s confrontation might have been the best thing to happen to her chances of being nominated. The president is a pragmatist and is usually someone who likes to avoid confirmation fights for his appointees. But the more the GOP attacks Rice, the more dug in the White House and president might get.
*** Obama’s day: The president heads to New York City to survey the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. This is Obama’s second Sandy-related trip and his first since winning re-election.
*** Autopsy 2012: The size of the African-American vote: With just two exceptions, in every state where there’s a sizable African-American population (and 2012 exit polls), the share of the African-American vote either stayed the same -- or increased in last week’s presidential election. Where it increased: Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio. Where it stayed the same: Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia. Where it decreased: Alabama and New York (and in both cases, it was by just one percentage point). Bottom line: One of the most bogus storylines of the last four years (driven by some African American leaders who have never been Obama fans) is the idea that somehow African-Americans weren’t going to be as fired up about Obama or were somehow disappointed and would show that disappointment by not showing up to the polls.
Alabama: 2008: 29%; 2012: 28%
Florida: 2008: 13%; 2012: 13%
Michigan: 2008: 12%; 2012: 16%
Mississippi: 2008: 33%; 2012: 36%
Missouri: 2008: 13%; 2012: 16%
New Jersey: 2008: 12%; 2012: 18%
New York: 2008: 17%; 2012: 16%
Ohio: 2008: 11%; 2012: 15%
North Carolina: 2008: 23%; 2012: 23%
Pennsylvania: 2008: 13%; 2012: 13%
Virginia: 2008: 20%; 2012: 20%
*** More Autopsy 2012: “Daily Rundown” MSNBC producer Dave Murphy offers some additional analysis of the exit polls, ranking where the battleground states stood on some of the top issues. The battleground state that most wants the government to do less? Iowa. The state that most wants to repeal all or some of the health-care law? Colorado. The state that most wants to keep it or expand it? Wisconsin. And the state that most wants to raise taxes on everyone or those making $250,000-plus? Nevada.
Government should do less
New Hampshire: 53%
National Average: 51%
Health care law
Colorado: +16 repeal some/all
Iowa: +15 repeal some/all
Ohio: +12 repeal some/all
Florida: +9 repeal some/all
National Average: +5 repeal some/all
Nevada: +2 repeal some/all
Virginia: +1 repeal some/all
New Hampshire: even
Wisconsin: +3 keep/expand
Raise taxes for $250K+ earners or everyone
New Hampshire: 61%
National Average: 60%
*** David Gregory, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Lincoln: In his weekly “Press Pass” video, “Meet the Press” host David Gregory interviews historian Doris Kearns Goodwin about the new “Lincoln” movie, which Obama screens at the White House today upon his arrival from New York.
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AP’s Babington: “President Barack Obama walked a narrow path between ambition and realism, defiance and accommodation when he addressed reporters for the first time since winning a hard-fought election that gives him four more years to carve his place in history. While he avoided terms like ‘transformational,’ Obama signaled that he still hopes to accomplish big things in spite of Congress’ almost paralyzing partisanship. That could include an overhaul of immigration laws, which could become a coveted bookend to his 2010 health care revision. There was a bounce in Obama’s step Wednesday in the White House East Room. But there was no dancing in the end zone, no taunting of defeated opponents.”
The New York Times: “If there was still any thought that President Obama and Senator John McCain might eventually move past their once-bitter White House rivalry toward a cooperative governing agenda, it was all but dashed on Wednesday.”
The Boston Globe: “President Obama aggressively defended ambassador Susan Rice on Wednesday, using his first postelection news conference to pointedly rebut Republican charges that the diplomat misled the American public in the aftermath of the attacks in Libya.”
Politico: “President Barack Obama just finished his second presidential campaign — but he’s not finished lashing out at his opponent from his first. Obama’s irritation at his 2008 rival, Arizona Sen. John McCain, flared Wednesday during the president’s first news conference since winning reelection. It was a startling moment in an otherwise unremarkable appearance — and hinted at lingering tensions with McCain.”
USA Today: “President Obama hasn't picked his nominee to replace Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, but he made clear Wednesday that he doesn't think much of Senate Republicans' warnings that he not choose United Nations envoy Susan Rice.”
Bloomberg: “President Barack Obama’s spirited defense of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice has moved her a step closer to being named to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.”
National Journal: “Obama Calls Out Bullies From the Bully Pulpit.”
“In the midst of a political tempest that has engulfed his former CIA director and his top military commander in Afghanistan, President Barack Obama is traveling to New York City to view recovery efforts from the massive East Coast storm Sandy,” the AP writes. “While there Thursday, Obama will meet with affected families, local officials and first responders who have been dealing with the deadly storm, which slammed into New York, New Jersey and other East Coast states late month, killing more than 100 people and leaving millions without power.”
“President Barack Obama spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi Wednesday night about rocket attacks being launched from Gaza into Israel and escalating violence in the Gaza Strip,” AP writes. “The White House said Obama reiterated U.S. support for Israel’s right to self-defense from rocket attacks being launched against its civilians and urged Israel to ‘make every effort to avoid civilian casualties’ in its response.”
National Journal: “President Obama is pressuring lawmakers to complete work on immigration next year. If they were starting from scratch, such a major endeavor would seem impossible. But under the Obama administration’s vision, it is more than doable because he is simply picking up the conversation where it left off in 2007, when an massive immigration bill died on the Senate floor.”
The L.A. Times: “Mitt Romney told his top donors Wednesday that his loss to President Obama was a disappointing result that neither he nor his top aides had expected, but said he believed his team ran a “superb” campaign with ‘no drama,’ and attributed his rival’s victory to ‘the gifts’ the administration had given to blacks, Hispanics and young voters during Obama’s first term. Obama, Romney argued, had been “very generous” to blacks, Hispanics and young voters. He cited as motivating factors to young voters the administration’s plan for partial forgiveness of college loan interest and the extension of health coverage for students on their parents’ insurance plans well into their 20s. Free contraception coverage under Obama’s healthcare plan, he added, gave an extra incentive to college-age women to back the president.”
The New York Times: “Saying that he and his team still felt “troubled” by his loss to President Obama, Mitt Romney on Wednesday attributed his defeat in part to what he called big policy ‘gifts’ that the president had bestowed on loyal Democratic constituencies, including young voters, African-Americans and Hispanics.”
Of health care, Romney said: “You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free health care, particularly if you don’t have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family, in perpetuity — I mean, this is huge. Likewise with Hispanic voters, free health care was a big plus. But in addition with regards to Hispanic voters, the amnesty for children of illegals, the so-called Dream Act kids, was a huge plus for that voting group.”
More: “Mr. Romney’s comments in the 20-minute conference call came after his running mate, Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, told WISC-TV in Madison on Monday that their loss was a result of Mr. Obama’s strength in ‘urban areas,’ an analysis that did not account for Mr. Obama’s victories in more rural states like Iowa and New Hampshire or the decrease in the number of votes for the president relative to 2008 in critical urban counties in Ohio.”
The New York Daily News: “Mitt Romney can’t lay off the ‘47%.’ The losing GOP presidential candidate unloaded a cartful of sour grapes on his top donors Wednesday, saying President Obama won because he handed out ‘big gifts’ to blacks, Hispanics and young voters. Romney’s statement echoed the ‘47%’ gaffe he made at a fundraiser that alienated voters he said were ‘dependent upon government.’”
Hotline’s Reid Wilson: “Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney failed to offer a vision that connected with everyday Americans, failed to respond to an early and ultimately successful attempt to define him as an out-of-touch corporate raider and failed to portray his party as anything other than the party for rich white males -- at least according to some of the prominent Republicans who served as his top surrogates just a few weeks ago. Romney's campaign came in for a series of tongue-lashings at a meeting of the Republican Governors Association, where two dozen chief executives hobnobbed with big-dollar donors and swapped notes on what they called a disappointing election cycle. And as several among their ranks privately ponder their own potential presidential campaigns four years down the line, they said there are lessons to be learned from this year's Republican shortcomings.”
Previewing the president’s 1:30 pm ET news conference… Obama’s two promises to the left: 1) $1.6 trillion starting position on revenue, 2) decoupling the Bush tax cuts… The GOP’s red line: It doesn’t want tax RATES to go up… Decision Day on Capitol Hill for Pelosi, King, and McMorris Rodgers vs. Tom Price… Getting the message on immigration… and Autopsy 2012: the marriage gap.
NBC's Mark Murray discusses President Obama's first press conference since his re-election. Plus, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and incoming Maine Senator Angus King make important announcements.
*** Previewing the president’s presser: At 1:30 pm ET from the White House, President Obama will hold a news conference. This will be his first press conference since winning re-election last week. It also will be his first public statements about the Petraeus-Allen-Broadwell-Kelley story. (About the only good news for the White House today on this story -- we don’t have a new “name” to add to a hyphen!) Here is something to chew on: Had Obama held this press conference immediately after his victory last week, he wouldn’t have had to answer questions about Petraeus or Allen. Now? We bet questions about this sex scandal make up about half the news conference. But your First Read team will be paying more attention to what the president has to say about the upcoming fiscal cliff negotiations. How willing is he to let all the Bush tax cuts expire if there isn’t a deal? Is he willing to bargain on entitlements? And what lessons did he learn from the debt-ceiling standoff a year ago?
*** Obama’s two promises to the left: We can report that Obama made two promises to the labor and progressive leaders he met with yesterday. One, his starting position is extracting $1.6 trillion in additional revenue, and the Wall Street Journal picks up on that figure today. This is a clear sign to the left that Obama has stopped beginning his negotiations from the middle -- something Democrats have often complained about. (Obviously, the White House knows it won’t get $1.6 trillion but they would like $1 trillion or $1.2 trillion to be an option, and isn’t it interesting how $1.2 trillion is exactly halfway between Boehner’s July 2011 $800 billion offer and the president’s $1.6 trillion?) Two, Obama said it was his goal to decouple the Bush tax cuts: keep the lower rates for those making less than $250,000 but eliminate them for those making more than that and get that into law for 2013 while the larger tax reform legislation is negotiated. Notably, it appears that the left is willing to give Obama some space when it comes to entitlement reforms on Medicare and Social Security, if the president sticks to his guns on the Bush tax rates. At 2:45 pm ET today, after the news conference, Obama and Vice President Biden meet with business leaders to discuss the upcoming fiscal cliff negotiations.
Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
President Barack Obama makes Veterans Day remarks at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Nov. 11, 2012.
*** The GOP’s red line: Meanwhile, in speaking with Republicans, the GOP’s red line is this: They’re willing to give up additional REVENUES; they just don’t want to see tax RATES go up. The two sides actually aren’t that far apart. The question is whether they can agree on a revenue target for tax reform. That’s Step 1; Step 2 is how the temporary agreement is forged regarding the tax rates for 2013, sequestration, payroll tax, etc. The White House’s view: If you let the Bush tax rates expire for the Top 2%, it makes negotiating the issues surrounding sequestration (even the farm bill!) a lot easier. But the hurdle is big: getting the votes in the House. No Republican wants to vote for a tax RATE hike; it’s likely a primary suicide mission. And while one could argue the big picture for the GOP that says, “Let Obama own the tax rate hike,” that doesn’t mean individual GOP House members won’t have to walk the plank to get to 218 votes. Ironically, the GOP may end up giving the president and Democrats MORE cover on taxes by agreeing to a revenue goal within tax reform, essentially, covering up tax hikes while the politicians can claim they’ve lowered tax RATES. Ah, the politics of the now vs. the politics of the long term. It’s the GOP’s challenge in managing its own base right now.
*** Decision Day on Capitol Hill: Also on this Wednesday, we’ll find out decisions to three separate stories on Capitol Hill. First, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she would be holding a 10:00 am ET news conference, apparently to answer questions about her political future. (Will she stay on as leader? Will she run for re-election in 2014?) In addition, Sen.-elect Angus King (I-ME) is expected to decide as soon as today which party he’ll caucus with. (It will be a HUGE surprise if it isn’t the Democrats, especially given all the outside GOP money spent against him in Maine, and King hasn’t had a one-on-one meeting with either McConnell or Cornyn to discuss joining the GOP side.) And finally, per the New York Times, House Republicans will choose between Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Tom Price (R-GA) to be chair of the House Republican Conference, the No. 3 position in House GOP leadership. Conservatives like Paul Ryan, outgoing Conference Chair Jeb Hensarling, and Gov.-elect Mike Pence are backing Price, the Times says, while Fred Upton, Peter King, and Darrell Issa are supporting McMorris Rodgers.
In the latest turn in the scandal involving two top US generals, the FBI said they have uncovered "flirtatious" emails between General John Allen and socialite Jill Kelley but have found no wrongdoing.
*** West isn’t giving up: Meanwhile, NBC’s Frank Thorp reports that Rep. Allen West (R-FL) is continuing the fight to hold onto his Florida congressional seat, even though his opponent has already declared victory (and spoke at his first Capitol Hill press conference yesterday). West, who is trailing Democrat Patrick Murphy by .58 percent of the vote, has not conceded, even though the race is not tight enough to require an automatic recount (.50 or less needed). "We have to maintain the honor and integrity of the electoral process," West told NBC News, "You cannot sit up and say to the voters in Congressional District 18, to the American people, that when there are issues that are there, an incredible 4,400 vote swing in a 30-35 minute period at one o'clock in the morning, and no one is explaining that to them." West has filed a complaint in Florida state court asking for a recount of the early ballots, which he says could bring him within the threshold to trigger an automatic recount. "No one is explaining to me how you can go from being up by 1,800 to being down by 2,400 in a 30-to-35 minute period," West said, "The people deserve better."
*** Getting the message on immigration: How losing Latinos by more than 40 points will suddenly change a party’s tune… “Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), three key Republican players on immigration, told The Hill they're ready to start working on broad-based reforms next year that could include a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the United States. All three are expected to be key players on any immigration-reform negotiations, which are expected to move first in the Senate.” A path to citizenship is supported by a 57-39% majority, a Washington Post/ABC poll finds.
*** Autopsy 2012: The marriage gap: In the latest installment of our look at the presidential exit poll, we examine the marriage gap. Yes, there was a significant gender gap -- Obama won women by 11 points (55%-44%), while Romney won men by 7 points (52%-45%). But an even wider gap existed when it came to marriage. Sixty percent of the electorate identified themselves as being married, and Romney won that segment by 14 points, 56%-42%. But Obama won the 40% who aren’t married by nearly 30 points, 62%-35%. In fact, Obama won non-married women by a whopping 36 points, 67%-31%. What’s more, Romney won people married with children by 9 points, 54%-45%. To quote Beyonce, “All the single ladies, now put your hands up.”
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While Paul Ryan called it a “bit of a shock” that he and Romney lost, Obama “won fair and square. He got more votes, and that’s the way our system works, and so he ought to be congratulated for that.’’
But Ryan said Obama’s victory was not a “mandate.” "I don't think so,” Ryan said, “because they also reelected the House Republicans. So whether people intended or not, we've got divided government. This is a very close election, and unfortunately divided government didn't work very well the last two years. We're gonna have to make sure it works in the next two years.”
(Actually, Republicans suffered losses at all levels last week – Democrats picked up not just two Senate seats, but also expect to net seven seats in the House, Ryan’s chamber.)
“Texas Gov. Rick Perry won’t be joining the roughly 77,000 people who have signed a petition calling on the White House to allow his state to secede from the Union,” the New York Daily News writes. “Perry has famously joked in the past about his state breaking away from the United States of America, but his spokesperson said he doesn’t approve of the Internet campaign that has swelled to include secession petitions for more than 35 states.”
McKay Coppins’ reflections on a year as “A Mormon Reporter on the Romney Bus.”
MSNBC’s Michael LaRosa profiles Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Executive Director Guy Cecil, whose committee had quite an Election Night. “‘Guy did a terrific job, not just maintaining but expanding the Democrats majority,’ said Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren. “He was a sounding board for me, and I valued his advice and hard work throughout this campaign.’ In Virginia, where former Gov. Tim Kaine faced a massive ad campaign from third-party groups and his opposition, the Kaine team also relied on Cecil’s leadership and counsel. ’Guy’s strategic advice and support for our campaign were invaluable,’ the governor said. ‘His efforts paid dividends by electing strong, results-oriented Democrats in close races all across the country, and we thank him for his leadership.’”
For all the talk about how Mitt Romney and the Republicans lost when it came to demographics, the turnout, and the tactics, the exit polls also show that they lost when it came to the issues.
For years, the GOP has branded itself as the party that supports low taxes (especially for the wealthy) and opposes abortion and gay marriage.
But according to the exit polls from last week’s presidential election, a combined 60% said that tax rates should increase either for everyone or for those making more than $250,000. Just 35% said the tax rates shouldn’t increase for anyone.
What’s more, 59% said that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
And by a 49%-to-46% margin, voters said that their states should legally recognize same-sex marriage.
Even on comprehensive immigration reform -- a subject that some Republicans (like George W. Bush) once supported, but most no longer do -- 65% said most illegal immigrants should be offered a chance to apply for legal status. (And since the election, GOP senators like Lindsey Graham and John McCain are now signaling renewed support for comprehensive immigration reform.)
The one bright spot for Republicans on the issues: A majority of voters -- 51% -- indicated that the government is doing too many things better left to businesses and the individuals. By comparison, 43% said government should do more to solve problems.
That’s a reversal from 2008, when 51% said the government should do more and 43% said it is doing too much.