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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  June 20, 2017 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT

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we are out of time. time to hand things over to don lemon for the latest on georgia's special election and much more tonight. cnn tonight starts right now. >> thank you very much. we've got breaking news to tell you about right now. results are coming in in the most expensive house race in history. this is cnn tonight". i'm don lemon. cnn projects right now karen handel is the winner in the georgia consequential race down in the 6th district in georgia. cnn's david chalian joins us with now with analysis. right off the top at 10:00, karen handel is the winner georgia, the republican. >> that's a huge projection that we just made, don. this is a big victory for republicans. i know it is in a republican district. really in other years, this would not have been a competitive district, but democrats went all-in on this.
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they raised a ton of money significantly outspent republicans. this was the best shot democrats in these special elections to try to make a victory in the trump era. and they came up short, which now of course, is going to create a whole series of questions about how the democratic party should run in the year of donald trump because they came up short here. >> what's interesting is that breaking news, a republican wins in georgia it shouldn't be breaking news. this is the way it should happen. but the fact that it was so close at least it appeared in the polling and in the results, as well. the results are really close. what does this say about the state of affairs especially the trump, is there a mandate for donald trump? will he keep his support? will it stay the same? are democrats looking at there as necessarily a loss or they got close and maybe there's hope for them in the midterms? >> i don't think there are moral victories here. the democrats lost this race. that is a loss. they went all-in on it, and with
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all the energized base threw had, the small dollar donations, yes, they were running in a district whose dna is a republican district. it was an uphill battle all along but they lost. i don't think we should gloss over that. what i hear you saying though, don, you are right. it is important to note, donald trump is still a 36% approval nationwide. obviously this one district in georgia isn't going to change that. what this does do, don, all the republicans nervous this spring about trump's numbers and is he going to be a big drag on the republican party in november 2018, that still may come to be. we have no idea what the political landscape will look like then. mitch mcconnell and paul ryan just got vet good news with this victory. it will calm some of the gop waters in congress as they try to get health care and tax reform through. had the results been the other way, you might have seen republicans panicking fleeing the party to look out for themselves. now mitch mcconnell and paul
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ryan and donald trump have a case to make to republicans that though his numbers are low, it is not taking the party down yet electorally. >> stand by. we're going to need your help to get through the next couple hours. if you're joining us, karen handel, a close race in georgia in the 6th congressional district. cnn is predicting her the winner against jon ossoff, the democrat. the magic wall now, before we get to reporters, magic wall, john king, take us through the numbers here. what happened? >> take a look. this is georgia's 6th congress did district. 352-48 is the count as we speak. we've called the race for the republican karen handel. this is the district when you look at the entirety of it, i want to show you the district by counties. as a stretch this out, i want to draw a line. the district is in the northern part of these counties here. the northern part of fulton county which contains atlanta but the atlanta is south of the district. cobb county and dekalb county,
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three counties make up this district. why the karen handel is the winner, number one, start with the blue. jon ossoff did what he needed to do in decal can be county. he needed to run it up, 5-42 at the current vote count. that's what he needed to do. here is the giant problem for jon ossoff. starting here in cobb county. this number, this is the number democrats will look at. both pares in this race said for jon ossoff to win this race tonight, he needed to to be around 43% in the most republican area of the district. he's below 40%. that right there is game over. then move over here, the most populous part of the district is fulton county. jon ossoff again is below not only below 50% but to win the district he had to be about 43% or so in cobb county and had to keep fulton county where most of the vote ares are in the district. he had to keep it closer.
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51-49. 53-47, karen handel wins this district. let's get back to what david was just talking about. republicans will celebrate. number two, just like in the final days of 2016 when the fire army was sounded, republicans proved they could turn out their vote better on the mechanics than the democrats in a competitive race. number three, back to david's point, one of the things that would have happened if jon ossoff won this race, if you were a republican, maybe getting tired of being in the house, maybe not in love with your republican president donald trump, a lot of republicans were thinking if the climate is going to be horrible, maybe we'll retire. this republican victory tonight likely to stem at least some of the republican retirement talk in the house of representatives. number two, this is going to make it harder for democrats to recruit candidates in other republican districts. the democrats wanted this win tonight to go to mayors, state legislators, prominent democrats in other districts around the country and say, see, we can do this in 2018. we need to you run. a lot of those democrats now, a lot of people will say how can
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you take one district for national implications, it's the wade politician dozen it. a lot of democrats in other places in the country will see a loss after all the money going in and say maybe not. >> i want to say something because some of the analysts, john, were saying it's going to be really tight. as i was speaking to republicans down in georgia, they were saying one of them said to me, as a matter of fact, who knows politics said jon ossoff is in a dream. we'll prove tonight that karen handel will win. democrats should have taken the $40 million to fix their failing party instead of throwing it all away on a 30-year-old man who doesn't live in the district. how do you respond to that? >> both parties will spin this and overreact to one house district. here's a couple things. donald trump picked four republican house members to join his cabinet. at the close of business tonight, republicanss will have held all four seats.
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only this one in georgia was viewed as competitive. democrats tried in kansas. didn't try in south carolina. that was closer than people thought. all races won by republicans democrats can say were closer than 2016, 2012, closer than last time. but close doesn't count. democrats can say the climate is better for us but they're still not winning. back to your other point, here's a very interesting thing. if you're thinking about 2016, donald trump won. he was the outsider and ran against the republican establishment. before he ran against hillary clinton and the democratic establishment. he was the fresh face, the nonpolitician. a lot of democrats thought that was jon ossoff. 30 years old, not in politics. be the trump in the race. >> john kinks i hate to cut you off. >> i'm sorry. karen handel said i have experience she won. >> let's go to handel headquarters in sfleent and do that -- >> you won!
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>> now, all of you know that i am a person who always loves to dot every i and cross every t. make sure we do that and i'll be back down in just a very short time. thank you all for everything. >> so in the end, do we still have john with us? >> i'm here. >> it sounds like she didn't want to declare just yet, she said she wanted to dot the is and cross the ts, but we're projecting her the winner. is that what you got from that. >> yeah, she's come down a couple times to keep supporters in the game saying everything looks good far. there are still more votes to be counted. the democrats are saying they don't want to the concede till they know about the absentee ballots and the like. can he possibly come back. >> i've been in communication was democrats and republicans on
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the ground who have been on the ground in the last few days. they both, democrats and republicans say no way. but if you're karen handel and through this before, she's lost a couple primaries before in other races, so she's just being extra careful. we're very confident in our projection. she will be back saying is thank you, i win. i. >> john and david standing by. why don't we get to karen handel's headquarters. caylee har tung joins us. they must be thrilled they pull this had out. again, karen handel said stand by. we just want to make sure. take us behind the scenes there. what's happening? >> the two the television screens in this ballroom are both on fox news. fox news has not yet declared handel the winner here. this crowd not react together news we've shared on our airwaves. so karen handel and the state republican party not yet comfortable declaring her the winner, and this all goes back to a thought process they had
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coming into this night. they knew that dekalb county would go heavy for ossoff and knew cobb county would be where their strongest numbers would be. they thought all along this race race would come down to the numbers out of fulton county being the largest of these three and known to be the last in this district to get their results in because they're dealing with such a high volume of vote ares in that area. so karen handel being cautious, but the crowd here booing at this moment as they watch what's on the screen, but otherwise, the crowd here very upbeat and really anticipating a big celebration at the end of this night when all those is are dotted and ts crossed. >> all right. thank you, caylee har tung. it's unusual because we just projected her to be the winner and they're booing. brianna keilar is live at jon
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ossoff's headquarters. i'm sure the mood is not quite the same where you are, brianna. >> reporter: no, and the part of that is because the televisions have been here on cnn. so the folks here are aware of the call and they're disappointed. i will tell you, don, having been to parties where you've seen people and their candidates have lost, they've been a lot more disappointed. the music is still going here. they're waiting to hear from jon ossoff. it was pretty clear from the beginning of the night when some of those early votes were coming in that the democrats close to the race were uncomfortable. republicans feeling very good. the one thing i will say, talking to republicans who even certainly were supportive of karen handel, they do warn, any look back, for instance, on 2009 and they say they were feeling really discouraged by having lost special elections. and then they got into 2010 where they actually won the house back.
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so they say this is a great night for them obviously, but they warn too much about extrapolating too much from the bigger picture especially when you have a race like this where tens of millions of dollars have come in and people on right argue that it changes the landscape of the race. but talking to democrats, they're saying this is a race where ossoff never should have had any business being competitive and they're hoping that will encourage democrats especially in races that could be more competitive than this one. >> stand by. i want to bring in mark preston, gloria borger, dana bash, david axal rod and kevin madden. dana, you first. it wasn't supposed to be a swing district. that's what brianna just said. this seat in the atlanta suburbs has been held by a republican for nearly 40 years. >> that's absolutely right. newt gingrich held it and most recently tom price who vacated the seat because is he now the secretary of health and human
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services. and with him, he was a popular guy in the district, well-known. he won by 20 plus points. just in november, 30 plus points two years before that. so this has been a traditionally republican district. however, don, it hasn't necessarily been a trump kind of district, which is one of the reasons democrats put so much time, money and effort into this race. and when i say not sort of a traditionally trump district, what i mean by that is, it is highly highly wealthy. a lot of college educated plus plus voters there. the kind of voters that democrats were hoping would be turned off by a donald trump presidency. that weren't necessarily all-in for the kind of republican nomination that they saw, never mind winning the white house. and you know, we're going to analyze where the votes came from, exactly how this went
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down, but the bottom line is, they were wrong. and so this is going to be a huge, huge morale buster for democrats who were hoping that all of the grassroots, the marching, you name it, they have been trying to figure out how to harness and turn into actual votes at the polls whatever they did here, this wasn't the answer. and they haven't figured out how to win against a republican in the trump era. even though this has been a republican district, he only won by about 1% in this district in 2016. >> gloria, whatever it is, whatever the analysis is, we certainly do know they spent a lot of money there. the most expensive house race ever. >> ever. estimates are over $40 million for this single race. and most of the money came from out of the district. i mean, there was one estimate for every penny that came from
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inside the district spent on this race, there were 10 fd that came from outside the district. so you can imagine that. look, this was a race the democrats thought they could win. it was the kind of district affluent, some minority, higher educated they thought they could take a candidate and run against donald trump. but what the republicans did, and i've been communicating with a consultant who worked on this race tonight, what the republicans did was they had karen handel run against jon ossoff as a liberal and a pelosi democrat. and not focus as much on donald trump. i mean, he was about 45% popularity in the district although we're not sure about that which is higher than the national level. >> she didn't focus on donald trump and neither did he, right? >> right. well, and neither dg he. he focused on health care, he focused on the issues. and she wasn't hugging donald
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trump that hard. she was just saying, look, you know, this is just another liberal and they tried to get republicans, you know, to put their shirts back on. there were 36,000 of them we're told who sort of didn't vote in the primary and they tried to get those, they targeted those people and said come back and vote in this election because we need you and they did. >> interesting. what do you make of that david a axeal rod? she didn't hug donald trump. he didn't really mention him, as well. but yet, they thought this at least nationally, it would be some sort of referendum on the trump administration depending on which way this race went. >> well, there's no doubt that if democrats had won this district, it would have been an earthquake on both sides of pennsylvania avenue. the white house would have been reeling and been faced with questions whether trump was mentioned a lot or not down there whether there was a referendum on him and on the hill as john king mentioned
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people would be very, very nervous. you'd see incumbents more serious about retiring. and you'd see less of an appetite for supporting some of the trump priorities and standing up for trump in the congress. they avoided that you disaster, but it wasn't a stellar showing for republicans as was mentioned, for nearly 40 years this was republican. but democrats, you know, this isn't horseshoes. you don't get anything for coming close. the question is, are there any augerings here. this was a district unlike some of the others that we've seen so far where with you would expect democrats to do a little bit better because twice as many voters here are college educated voters, anti-trump voters. as you point out, this wasn't a race about trump. the republicans ran a very smart race and kept it away from trump, made it a classic liberal versus conservative race. and they did motivate their
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voters. i think one of the things democrats were hoping for was a slightly lower turnout today. and there were far more voters participated today than they anticipated. they were count on this vote by mail program of theirs to overcome the election day margin of republicans and that just didn't happen. >> i have a couple of responses that i want to get. the president's son. i think it's more important the house speaker, his son doesn't speak for him. paul ryan, this is for you, mark. paul ryan says congratulations to karen handel on a well deserved victory. democrats from coast to coast threw everything they had at this race and karen would not be defeated. then he goes on to talk about how important this is and how important this fight is. what do you make of the response from the house speaker, mark preston? >> it's predictable. karen handel should be lauded for running a very good campaign and he's right the democrats did try to throw everything in this case including millions and
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millions of dollars, most if not all of it from out of the state of georgia. you know, just so people have an understanding about when we talk about this being not trump country but conservative, don, you would know this having lived in atlanta, i lived there for three years. i was a newspaper reporter in that district. this is old south meets new south. these are social conservatives in this whole area, specifically up in cobb county and northern fulton county that saw and i flux of northerners come in the 1990s during the olympics. these are not necessarily liberals but they weren't necessarily hard-core social conservatives. they were fiscal conservatives. when you look at that time and the buildup of this district and we saw industry moving down there, as well, is that those aren't necessarily trump voters and that's why democrats thought they had a shot at it, but the bottom line is that that is a republican area. democrats were hoping to pick one off and by picking one off, they would hope then to try to boost the morale to try to
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recruit candidates across the country. i don't think this is necessarily going to depress that, but it's not necessarily going to spark an outcry of people trying to run against republicans in the next 24 hours or so. >> ken madden, who is that? is that kevin? >> that's david. i just want to make one point that needs to be made, which is that there are 23 suburban districts, somewhat like this one that hillary clinton carried and that's where democrats are going to be focusing in 201. this was not a pure test of their ability to make gains in those districts. as these districts tend to follow their presidential vote. and so democrats are still going to look at those districts and say we've got a fighting chance there, especially since we reduced the margin in many of these races in republican districts in this special election season. >> that sets me up perfectly for kevin madden having been there. as you know, with most elections, republicans and democrats, republicans and democrats usually come home to how they always voted.
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i thought and maybe i guess i'm proven right, he thought that unless jon ossoff had a huge lead that republicans would eventually come home in this district and karen handel would pull it off. >> well, yeah, i think but also i think the key to victory here was that republicans were not complacent. i think they're highly cognizant of the tough environment they have. they know that the president can be a challenge. and particular districts like there as dana bash pointed out. this was not necessarily a trump district. understanding that they had some of these challenges what did they do. first off, as david axelrod pointed out, they were very aggressive in defining jon ossoff as out of step with the district. they made sure that every voter knew he didn't actually live in the district and couldn't vote there. they went out and raised a ton of money to make sure they defined him very early and often and aligned him with nancy
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pelosi. nancy pelosi is still a drag on some of these districts. one of the other things the democrats failed to do is they haven't found a workable message that they can unify not only the democratic base around but some more moderate democrats and they haven't been able to get a lot of these grumpy republicans that may not be so thrilled with president trump but don't see elections like this as a referendum on him. instead they come home to support a traditional republican. >> history on their side. >> karen handel. >> they have history on their side. >> yeah. >> it's been 40 years they've carried this district. >> i think the question is, would they be complacent and think the district's natural tendencies will help them win the day knowing there's a tremendous amount of outside money coming in, they raised money and fought. them vp of this campaign would have to be paul ryan and his congressional leadership fund, outside groups knew this would be a battle of resources just as much as a battle of ideas came in and helped fill the void.
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>> that's why i wanted to read the house speaker's response. cnn projecting karen handel winning the special election in the sixth district down. georgia. we'll be right back. she's nationally recognized for her compassion and care. he spent decades fighting to give families a second chance. but to help others, they first had to protect themselves. i have afib. even for a nurse, it's complicated... and it puts me at higher risk of stroke. that would be devastating. i had to learn all i could to help protect myself. once i got the facts, my doctor and i chose xarelto®. xarelto®... to help keep me protected. once-daily xarelto®, a latest-generation blood thinner... ...significantly lowers the risk of stroke in people with afib not caused by a heart valve problem. it has similar effectiveness to warfarin.
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>> for people here in georgia, for people across the country, and for people around the world, this small community in georgia which has become the epicenter of politics, sometimes to my chagrin, for months now, and it's had nothing to do with me. it never has. it's about you. it's about an extraordinary community at an extraordinary moment in history. the first opportunity in this country to make a statement before values that can still unite people.
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at a time when politics has been dominated by fear and hatred and scapegoating and division, there is community stood up, women in this community stood up you did. you did. and you pick this had campaign up and you picked me up, and you picked alicia up and you carried us on your shoulders. and we showed the world that in place whereas no one thought it was even possible to fight, we could fight. we showed them what courage and kindness and humility are
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capable of. we showed them that we can still build coalitions of people who may not see eye to eye on everything, but rather than demonizing each other, we find common ground to move forward. and that's the only way this country will move forward. so this is not the outcome many of us were hoping for. but this is the beginning of something much bigger than us. so thank you, thank you for the most extraordinary experience i've ever had the honor of being a part of. thank you for knocking on hundreds of thousands of doors. thank you for making hundreds of thousands of phone calls.
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it's extraordinary what you have done here. the fight goes on. hope is still alive. i thank you all so much. i thank you. i thank my family. and most of all, i want to thank alicia. who has been on the campaign trail for months after working long hours every day in the operating room, who has lifted me up, after long days and shown what true partnership is. so thank you, alicia. thank you, everybody. have a good night. >> jon ossoff down in atlanta giving his concession speech. of course, cnn projecting him the winner. he's coming out conceding to karen handel.
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he lost. and so he conceded to karen handel who is the republican candidate. i want to bringing in david chalian. they thought they had a chance. but he fell short in the end. >> he did indeed. it's so interesting listening to his words there, don, because as you know, in the closing days of the campaign, in the closing weeks of the campaign, he really didn't want to make this about donald trump. he was really trying to talk about the economy, getting jobs in the district, hi-tech jobs. he was really trying to play to the district knowing that it is a republican district even one that is tricky for donald trump, he only one it by one point last year. but in his concession speech as he's leaving the stage, i brought back the themes without mentioning donald trump by name but talking about our politics of hatred and division and clearly trying to say this was the beginning of a response to that kind of politics, one would assume he means the politics that he believes donald trump exemplifies. it's interesting that now that
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the race is over, he was sort of getting back into that kind of messaging. >> the groups he did well, he specifically wanted to when you said he talked about the messages that were carried through the campaign, but he also wanted to speak specifically to women. i guess he carried a high number of women in especially suburban women. >> it's a suburban district. we don't have exits to look at the exact break down. women were a huge part of his coalition talking to folks on both sides of the aisle about this race. even though he was running against obviously a female candidate who won here. women are part of the democratic base overall and in this district, that was definitely one of his targets to get out. so he certainly wanted to give a shoutout to that group of voters. >> i want to bring in john king live for us at the magic wall. john, you heard jon ossoff's speech there and you heard david and i talking about the groups that made up the folks who voted for him. he did pretty well. he didn't pull it off in the end
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though. what is the latest? >> the conversation that's going to happen again, four republican seats join the trump cabinet. republicans have held all four of these seats including georgia's sixth viewed as the most competitive. are there things democrats can find to say there's hope for 2018, lessons we can learn, sure. did they get any wins, no and in a place they spent all the money, absolutely not. 52-48 at the count now. we're getting close to, we're counting now up to 160 plus of the precincts in this district. i want to show you what happened here. for one second, i want to go back and draw a line. the congressional district is north of this line. the counties report the vote. you ceclored in areas not in the congress is districts because the counties report the votes. number one is, here's the painful thing for democrats to take back the house next year,
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democrats have to win 24 seats. so you have to take away 24 republican seats which means you have to go to places where republicans win and convince them to switch and vote for democrats. cobb county is the most conservative, the most republican part of this district. ossoff got only 39% of the vote. he's at roughly 39%. he needed to be around 43, 44 to have a chance to win the district. democrats have to ask themselves how do we get republicans to vote especially in a district where donald trump just barely won it, why is it he couldn't get cross overvotes. in the most democratic part of the district, account reason we know the race is over, dekalb county is the most democratic vote. all the votes are counted. ossoff did quite well in that country, 58-42. there are no more votes for him to come back. that's why we know that karen handel will win this race. in fulton county, the atlanta
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suburbs out to the exurbs, 53-47. strong performance by the republican candidate. out of 2008, after 2012, a lot of talk the republicans didn't get the mechanics of the digital age of politics. donald trump's provied late and republicans have proved they can turn out voters on election day and compete in early voting. that's a painful lesson for democrats as we move from the special elections into the 2018 climate. i want to make the button up with what i said before. if you're republicans you are afraid if you lost tonight, a lot of incumbents would retire. not saying they won't. incumbents always retire but the number of republican incumbents retiring is likely to be impacted by this tonight. that's one of the reasons republicans are very, very happy with this win. >> john king for us at the magic wall. stand by, as well. i want to bring in larry sabah da from the center for politics at the university of virginia.
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welcome to the program. the bigger picture in georgia, what can you tell is about what the voters were looking for here? >> well, the bigger picture to me is that the 2018 congressional elections are a year and a half away and a million things can happen that can change the picture. for democrats obviously, it's pretty depress. that's the word i've seen on twitter more than any other from democrats about the result. i think if democrats learn a lesson from this election, it's that the euphoria they felt for the last several months as an donald trump has fallen in the polls and they began to believe that this would be not easy but doable to take over the house of representatives and eventually replace donald trump, that euphoria is gone and it's replaced with reality. and the reality is, it's going to be a long twilight struggle. day in and day out if they're going to be able to retake the house and eventually defeat donald trump.
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it won't be easy. it may not be possible. but it certainly won't be easy. >> i want to ask you this because as you mentioned that, this is from massachusetts sixth district. you probably know him. congressman seth mewton. he says race better be a wake-up call for democrats. time to stop rehashing 2016 and talk about the future. he added we need a genuinely new message, a serious jobs plan that reaches all americans and a bigger tent not a smaller one. focus on the future. what do you think of that, larry? >>. >> well, clearly dras didn't do that in 2016. it's one of the reasons why they tlaust noncollege blue collar workers and therefore, lost pennsylvania and wisconsin and michigan. but that's one side of it. the other side of it is to recognize the reality in this incredibly polarized era. donald trump has polarized things even further if that were
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possible. when that happens, in the end, the vast majority of voters return to their party. they do it sooner or later. >> larry, i got to get to karen handel. she is down there and she is about to give her victory speech. thank you, larry. >> i have to start first of all by saying thank you. there are literally hundreds of people to thank, and scores of elected officials and gop leaders who put their confidence in me right from the beginning and i'll probably miss a few, but there were several who stepped up write from day one. including my very good friend, bob ott, joann burrell, terry knoll, joe gebby, joe lockwood, my hometown mayor jerry wood.
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and i need to thank on april 1th, i said to everyone that this was going to be a very, very tight race. it was going to be contentious and it was going to require all hands on deck. and that's exactly what we had. from -- from all of the others who were the gop competitors in the primary, including several who are here tonight, i see bob gray, thank you for your help. single member of the republican georgia yongs o congressional delegation, our constitutional officers, the legislators, governor nathan deal and first
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lady sandra deal, senator perdue, senator isaacson and my very close friend, senator saxby chambliss. i need to also thank speaker ryan and the house leadership and so many of the members across this country who also united to help us hold the sixth. and a special thanks to the president of the united states of america.
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but let's not forget our equally great vice president mike pence. and i think it's appropriate to take a minute to acknowledge a new friend that i was able to make over the course of that campaign, this campaign. and that was majority whip steve scalise. right up till that tragic day on ballfield, steve would drop me a text message every single week. just to make sure i was doing okay and hanging tough. i think he even called me the terminator in one of them. wasn't sure about that one, steve, but has ta la vista. let me just tell you. but really and truly, what
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happened on that ballfield was a terrible tragedy. and we need to all continue to lift up steve and the others who were injured that day. and we need to also lift up this nation so that we can find a more civil way to deal with our disagreements. because in these united states of america, no one, no one should ever feel their life threatened over their political beliefs and position. and i say that, ladies and gentlemen, in regards to both sides of the political aisle.
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through this campaign, i have had a really great joy of getting to know any number of our leaders in washington. and let me tell you, even though within our own gop family we sometimes have disagreements, these are fine men and women who are doing their level best for this country. i really am honored to be able to stand before you tonight and so extraordinarily humbled. but as everyone knows, most big things are not accomplished by one person alone, and i had a tremendous amount of support in this campaign. from each and every one of you to a great campaign team, they really are -- yes, give them a hand.
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to individuals on the ground who put in countless hours knocking on doors and making phone calls in some of the hottest days ever, y'all, whoo. but through it all, everyone persevered. and then there's this guy. how about steve handel. this man is my heart. he tells you he's my number one
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supporter, and i can tell you that in everything i have ever attempted to do in my life, he has been my number one supporter. and there are no words to say how much i love you. a little while ago, i had the opportunity to speak with jon ossoff. he was more than gracious, and he thanked me for a spirited campaign. and i wish him and alicia all the best in the new life that they are going to be starting.
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now, tonight, tonight, tonight i stand before you extraordinarily humbled and honored at the tremendous privilege and high responsibility that you and the people across the sixth district have given to me to represent you in the united states house of representatives. i will do -- we have had a legacy of tremendous leadership in the sixth district. our very own tom price who is now secretary of hhs. now senator johnny isakson. and former house speaker newt gingrich.
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these men, these statesmen have created very, very big shoes to fill. and i will do my level best to live up to the standards that they have set. to the jon ossoff supporters, know that my commitment they extend to every one of you, as well. we may have some different beliefs, but we are part of one community, the community of the sixth district. and i will work just as hard to earn your confidence in the weeks and months ahead. and i give every georgian this promise. my promise is to work every single day relentlessly to make our state and there country a better place.
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my pledge. >> all right, karen handel giving her victory speech down in atlanta. again, the sixth district down in georgia and she is the winner. jon ossoff, the democrat lost that race. very close for a district that's been republican, voed republican for the last 40 years. i want to bring my panel back in. david axelrod, gloria borger, dana bash, mark preston and kevin madden. health care on the menu right now. what happens in the short term for what the agenda is for the trump administration right now? >> i think this is one of the most potentially important implications. we talk a lot about the 201 election. the question is what about tomorrow and the next day as senate republicans are trying to hammer out an agreement amongst themselves on a piece of legislation to repeal and relays obamacare. the fact that this republican
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didn't lose, not so much that she won but that she didn't lose is one of the main things that is allowing republican leaders to breathe a sigh of relief because she would have lost and the democrat in this race did pound away on health care as an issue, there's no question that is some skittish republicans and there are lots of them, would have taken that as a -- as a issue and said you know what? this is not something we should touch right now. and perhaps moved away from it. we don't know the if this is definitely going to seal the deal amongst republicans that they can't come up with a piece of legislation that they can pass the united states senate next week. but it's certainly giving them a little bit more breathing room. one other thing i wanted to point out is that karen handel, we just heard from her, she is going to be the first republican congresswoman from the state of georgia. there have been democrats but
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first on the gop side, excuse me, the republican woman i should say. make sure it's on the female side. >> david, i was looking through your twitter feed. you tweeted something. i can't find it now. you believe that jon ossoff had a better chance initially than they would tell you his best chance was to win in the first race where she had gotten over 50%, she would have been elected because the republicans were factualized, they were divided. there were more than a dozen republican candidates. what happened since that time is republicans coalesced behind karen handle and they ran a very good race for her and you could see it in the turnout today. they got those numbers way up in terms of republican turnout add
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the polls today. it over came the democratic vote by mail advantage that democrats were counting on. yes, i think he would have had a better shot. in retrospect, he fell a point 1/2 or something short and now we know what the it result is. i do want to say a couple of things. i think larry is right. we are a very polarized country. more than ever. party matters more than ever. people voted party in a district that has a history of voting republicans. this is sobering for democrats. there were 23 republican reps in districts that hillary clinton won. they need 24 seats to win. so they'll need do very well among those 23 in order to win.
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they'rologiy also going to have to do a better job recruiting candidates. they did it in part because they had a very asidge ws recruiting process to go and find competitive candidates district by district. john ossoff was not the perfect candidate for that district. they're going to add focus on how they get the strongest possible candidates. >> and their job may have got a little bit harder. there's no shortage of people in a democratic party who want to run but you find the best candidates and to add what david is saying the democratic party is going to start go tlooug the process of was the message wrong? why is nancy pelosi, for
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example, such a lucrative target for republicans? and i was looking at a tweet from congressman seth whose rar junior member of the house -- >> where i'm from it's more like muton. >> not in connecticut. >> he says a wake up-call. we need centto have better jobs democrats. >> what he is talking about and i don't want to put words in our mouth is let's stop talking about 2016. let's see where we're going in the house. you can be sure there's going to be a vigorous debate inside the democratic party not only because they lost this race, which they hope they can win but also because they want to have a message and they don't seem to coalesce around anything at this point and that's problematic for
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them. being antitrump is one thing but maybe you need something else. >> republicans are saying -- right now the president is saying we won. congratulations to karen handle in her big win in georgia. fantastic job. we're very proud of you, kevin. >> he went all in on it. and they probably came at the right time where they need to turn out folks on election day. but there is something we have to be very aware of. there is democrat enthusiasm out there. they are coalescing around this resistance movement. the problem is it's just not enough and they cannot be happy with moral victories. what they need is actual victories. and to gloria's point, this is aperty going through a transition and they have not found a message in a post-obama world. they haven't found out how to
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win in a post-obama world. the thing i'm encouraged about is that republicans do recognize we have maybe head winds we're facing but we're takeing all the necessary steps to survive in this particular environment and to focus on how we have to message in suburban districts like this and to k be used to counterprogram that democrat enthusiasm out there. >> are you surprised at all these wins? there was no democratic money, no national attention. so what does that say about how voters in the deep south active without the party influence? >> i think we are very polarized and often times wh you have weak candidates like we have had in many of these special elections, the environment takes over and because it's so polar sized,
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these races are all going to be closed. the one thing i found encouraging is that every time i talk to republicans on the ground working in them, they're taking it seriously. they're not being complacent. they're racing the money. karen handle, for all the outside money, she raised 5 to $6 million by herself. >> when we come back, much more on our breaking news. what tonight's big win means for democrats. their hopes in the midterms. we'll be right back. (baby crying) ♪ fly ♪ me to the moon (elegant music) ♪ and let me play
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it's the only way to know for sure. this is cnn breaking news. >> this is our breaking news at this hour. cnn projects republican karen handel has defeated jon ossoff in that special election in georgia. handel's win denies democrats of their first victory of a donald trump era. and here at karen handel's head quarters in georgigeorgia. she thanked president trump tonight. what's t

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