tv PBS News Hour PBS November 2, 2010 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> lehrer: good evening. i'm jim lehrer. >> lehrer: voters finally had their say this election day with control of the congress at stake. >> ifill: i'm gwen ifill. on the newshour tonight, we'll have the latest results and reporting from our entire newshour team including mark shields and david brooks, david chalian and stewart rothenberg, updates from republican headquarters and the white house, plus field reports from our pbs colleagues in key states. >> lehrer: that's all ahead on
and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. polls have just closed in the first half dozen states in the east. they're being closely watched for signs of a republican wave. now with details on what's happened so far, here's harry
veen veen in our news room. >> sreenivasan: good evening, jim. just a few first results to tell you about right now. the associated press. let's start with the indiana senate race. the associated press with about 3% of the precincts reporting, you can see the numbers here. they've actually called the race for republican dan coats, switching to the indiana second district here, this is what gwen and david chalian were just speaking about a little while ago. this is walorski, the state representative there, against democrat joe donley. republican jackie walorski, the tea party candidate here has a significant lead. that's with 5% of the precincts reporting. and then switching gears now to the kentucky senate race. according to the associated press with 3% of the pre-singtses reporting they are projecting that rand paul should defeat democrat jack conway in this race. finally the south carolina senate race. it hasn't crossed the 2%
threshold yet for us to have the numbers on the screen but the associated press is projecting that senator jim demint will defeat alvin green in this race. we'll have more results throughout the hour for you. jim? >> lehrer: just a reminder, of course, that the republicans need 39 seats tonight to take control of the house. 10 to win a majority in the senate. our overview thus far shows no major change except the one we just reported. we have a net gain here of one. that is dan coats who was the heavy favorite. former senator... he already served earlier in the united states senate from indiana. and here now are... we will keep these going, these overview totals going as they come in. both in the senate races, the house races and the governor's races as we come up. here now are mark shields and david brooks. mark, is there a philosophy
difference on the table here tonight? i mean, are people voting because they are... they want... or is it about a specific thing they want changed? are they being driven by a philosophy or being driven mostly by facts on their ground? >> well, i think there's always a philosophical element to every election, jim. people have a predisposition for one party and what that party's priorities are. but i think this is a reality- based election. i think this is an election that people voted for the democrats in 2008 that promised first of all a change. the way washington worksçózv tt hasn't happened. but more importantly to people their own lives are not better. the economy is not better. >> lehrer: that affects liberals as well as
conservatives. >> and independents. >> lehrer: do you agree with that? >> 60% of it is the economy. the economy ised bad. people are fearful over the next two years. they expect their own situation to get worse, a lot of people. i do think there's a philosophical layer on top of that. do you support or oppose the obama policies? they clearly do not. health care is quite unpopular. stimulus package has remained quite unpopular. the democrats bet their political prospects on the idea that if they borrowed $800 billion from the future that they could stimulate enough growth to give people some faith in the economy. and that has been rejected i think. if the polls turn out to be correct. i don't think it's an embrace of the republican agenda. but the idea that we were in for another new deal or a permanent democratic majority i do that certainly has been hit. >> i don't think there's any question that we had a defining election in 2004. that the republican majority, karl rove the architect and there wasn't going to be a democratic majority for the
next 40 years in 2008. both of those have been corrected. i think the emphasis on the deficit is fascinating because we've been through, you know, a decade where we had two wars that were unfunded. we've had a prescription drug bill that was unfunded. we've had a tax cut that weren't paid for. you know, so all of a sudden wake up, it's like the piano player in the house of ill repute. oh, my goodness there's a deficit going on. >> this is actually the acheechl of the republicans somehow. they're at least as responsible as the democrats. yet i think because of the tea party, people have a sense and this vind vindicated in the polls that the republicans are not like the tom delay republicans. they've changed. the tea partyists have said we're totally different. whether you disapprove or approve of the tea party that sense has caught on among independent voters. >> lehrer: david, pick up on what mark said. two wars. why is it that neither of these wars is an issue in this
campaign? >> well, 9.6% unemployment. that's part of it. the second part i think is because the people who served in the military are a minority. that's become the military service is often passed along from father and mother to son and daughter. so there's become a separation. it's had a much less pervasive effect on society than it did in the past. the final thing i guess i would say is 65% of americans think this country is in decline. that's reflected the poll after poll and the anxiety that undergirds this entire election. so when you have a sense my kids are going to live in a declining country that sort of does overwhelm everything else. >> it's a terrible indictment. it really is of our political process and political parties and our leadership. >> lehrer: we're not talking about.... >> the most memorable speech of this whole political year was not given by any candidates or anything or any office holder. it was given by bob gates the secretary of defense at duke university where he stood up in front of duke student body
and to their credit has rotc on the campus and said we are now embarked upon a society where those who serve are separated from those who don't. i'm challenging you who are advantaged and gifted and talented to consider joining the military to serve your country. it's something that neither of the presidents under whom he has served, either george bush or barack obama has ever said. they talk about service. but they never say join the military. to a select and privileged group. i just think it's a terrible admission that we haven't confronted that reality. david makes the point 1% of all the fighting, suffering and sacrifice, that one percent of our population. they're the ones who are doing it. the other 99, nothing. nothing. >> lehrer: we'll be back in a few moments with more. >> ifill: joining me now are david chalian stewart
rothenberg of the rothenberg political report. lo and behold we actually have results. let's talk about the indiana senate race which has been called for form he senator dan coats. it's not exactly an outsider candidate but he's coming back to washington over the democrat. >> this is the first pick-up for republicans in the night. jim said they need 10 to get to the majority. this now is the first in that category. there was a great dissatisfaction when evan bye the democratic senator announced his retirement earlier this year. it caught a lot of people off guard. certainly the white house had hoped he was going to run again. he decided that he saw what was coming perhaps and decided to get out of town. >> ifill:. >> i think this is a stunning result not because of the result but because we thought that dan coats was going to win this. this race never engaged. i mean this was a democratic open seat. evan bye, a star, considered running for president before. brad elsworth in the evan bye mold, tall, good looking, a sheriff, a moderate to
conservative democrat against dan coats, a former sun tore who became a lobbyist. democrats had tape of him telling an audience that when he was going to retire he would move to north carolina not necessarily the best news for folks in indiana. yet the race never engaged. it became a republican run-away. startling. >> ifill: let's talk about a race that did engage and which we now have results in. that's in kentucky. the senate race. rand paul tea party favorite son of a libertarian congressman elected tonight. over jack conway the state attorney general. >> we saw jack conway losing steam toward the end of his campaign and ran paul pulling away here, gwen. remember what this means now. this was the only potential opportunity come the end of this campaign where the democrats were playing offense, where they were trying to pick up a republican state. this is now off the bat. for the rest of the evening all you have to look at are these democratic held seats that republicans are going to be trying to pick up. this was it. this was their only hope to pick up a republican seat on
the democratic side. >> remember this is a race where democrats said aha the tea party won a republican primary we have a weaker republican nominee. we're going to beat him. we're going to show that the tea party is going to be a liability for a republicans. it may well be sometime later this evening but not in this race. >> ifill: even mitch mcconnell the other senator from kentucky early on. >> he supported the rand paul's primary opponent the siting secretary of state. the republican establishment folks weren't excited with rand paul. >> he told a reporter today we're going to challenge mitch mcconnell everyday. i mean that's the senior senator in kentucky, the guy who is the minority leader of the united states senate but his party's leader and rand paul who is now coming in as his junior senator says we're going to challenge the leader every single day. >> ifill: the race we won't be able to call yet so far because people are going to be counting it for a while is west virginia. we're wait to go see what happens there. joe manchin the democratic governor running against john
raese republican businessman. neck and neck. >> key race. this is a race if the republicans win it, nine or ten seats is back on the table. manchin a popular governor with job approval of 70% yet he's having a tough time putting away raese who has run a number of tiles statewide and never won. it's all about party label here. manchin has a d behind his name. that's why even though he has 70% job approval this is a close senate race. >> ifill: joe manchin the famous democrat who took aim at the cap-and-trade bill literally with a gun in the ad and brought in bill clinton who is famously pro gun control to campaign for him at the end of the. >> bill clinton does still have appeal to those rural white blue dollar demate coras. hillary clinton won this state in the 2008 democratic primary process. the other thing joe manchin today was refer to that bill as bakke care. that is how joe manchin referred to it in that ad, as the republicans do. >> ifill: do you, jim.
>> lehrer: now to judy woodruff. >> woodruff: let's get an update on another closely watched senate race that one in nevada. majority leader harry reid facing a tough challenge from tea party candidate sharron angle. our own ray suarez is at reed's headquarters at the aria casino and resort in las vegas. he joins me now. ray, you've been there. what are you picking up on the ground? we know the polls don't close for another three hours. >> suarez: well, i visitd several polling places during the day. the traffic you'd have to say was slow but steady in all cases. some of the poll workers said what you should really be looking out for the early voting. it was exceptionally large this time around. some 400,000 nevadans cast their vote early or by absentee ballot. really those are votes in the bank for somebody. the democrats are saying it favors them. because right now they're ahead in the number of registered voters who voted by earlier voting but their
registration advantage is so much larger than their advantage in the early vote that it is hard to count that as a definite advantage. the republicans are saying, no, you see it's the other way around. we're the ones who are getting out more of our vote. a larger percentage of our registered voters early. in the early vote, the unions were heavily involved, latino civic organizations were heavily involved. bringing bus loads of voters to polling places around clark county. this the largest jurisdiction in the state. both parties are spinning it their way. we'll have to see in the next couple of hours how that vote really came in. president obama was on the air here in las vegas. no resting on election day. this campaign continued right through the day. here in nevada. >> woodruff: and so, ray, we know that michelle obama, the first lady, was there. i believe just yesterday. >> suarez: that's right. >> woodruff: trying to get that vote out. has it come down to getting
out the vote? we know harry reid has been in trouble for some time facing very tough energetic challenger in sharron angle despite some mistakes she's made in her campaign. this race is going right down to the wire. >> suarez: harry reid is one of the most powerful and influential democrats in the united states. when the kmep went sour here, he worked the phones hard to deliver for this state. bringing in very kinds of federal money, keeping the building going. on this enormous complex that i'm standing in tonight. but that isn't doing him any favors here in his home state as he has never been personally popular even in some of his previous victories, very low approval ratings for recently elected incumbent. and now his disapproval rating is well past 50%. so even nevadans who say, yes, he delivered for the state say they don't like him
personally. that's really been a tough tough thing for him to get around. >> woodruff: i know that some of the people around harry reid have said the one thing that could save him in a very close race is the fact that there are other names on the ballot. i think one of those is... has declined to state giving people a place to go who are unsatisfied with harry reid but who may not necessarily be ready to go sharron angle. ray, just quickly one of the things i saw when i was there a few weeks ago is just the flood of negative television ads. is there a sense that voters are just to some extent just turned off by this campaign? >> suarez: when i was at a phone bank earlier today, a lot of workers would start their spiel to say i'm calling from such-and-so. i want to know if you voted. they would get the first sentence-and-a-half out and then abruptly hold the receiver away from their ear. they had been hung up on. several voters said they can hardly turn the television on because it's just wall-to-wall
ads. from the top to the bottom of the ticket in this state. this has become one of the most expensive senate races in the united states even though this state nevada has fewer residents than the city of chicago. that ought to tell you something. >> woodruff: and a textbook case in how to sling some mud on television. ray suarez, we'll be womaning back to you through the night. thanks. >> suarez: talk to you later. >> lehrer: and now tracking the influence of outside money this election season, newshour economics correspondent paul solmon has that story. it's part of his regular reporting, making sense of financial news. >> dhaliwal: fiorina ♪ >> carly fiorina, you laid off 33,000 employees. >> would you give convicted child molestors viagra with our tax dollars? incredibly that's exactly what boxer did.
>> reporter: $3 billion spent this midterm year up from $2.6 billion during the last midterm. >> conway is the wrong way for kentucky. >> reporter: a recent supreme court decision citizens united lifting limits on corporate and union spending is making a big difference says political scientist tom ferguson. >> citizens united for sure made it not only legal but respectable to just spend any amount of money you want on anything as long as you didn't hand it to a politician formally in a bag. >> politicians and parties still face spending restrictions, but, asks republican lawyer ben ginsberg... >> how can you have too much speech in a democracy? the supreme court decision said that the restriction on speech by corporations and individuals was an unconstitutional infringement on their free speech right now.
>> sharron, you're too dangerous to have real people over real people. >> reporter: so we have unions battling corporations as never before. >> paid for by the u.s. chamber of commerce. >> reporter: but the citizens united decision, coupled with the republican filibuster of the bill to forceful disclosure of third party ad buyers, has also meant more money from anonymous groups this year. >> obama cut $455 billion from his medicare. >> reporter: this ad is part of an estimated $90 million blitz against so-called obamacare. >> i don't know what smells worse: my diaper or this new pull. >> protect seniors is responsible for the content of this advertising. >> reporter: who is the coalition to protect seniors? >> well, we don't know. >> reporter: evan tracey runs the campaign media analysis group which tracks political ad spending. >> there's a lot of these groups that have names very similar to this that really aren't disclosing who is funding the ads. >> reporter: even the "new york times" couldn't trace the wise guy baby.
reporter mike mcintyre tracked the funding back as far as one j.handline, who brokers health insurance in florida and runs an exercise venture with no obvious political bent. >> when students leave here, i want them to turn around and look back and go whoa. >> reporter: he didn't return our call. he told the "times," "i can't give you any details about where the money came from." >> you've seen the ads. millions being spent by right wing groups to buy an election. all from secret donors. >> reporter: democrats have tried to make hey of the fact that republicans seem to be relying heavily on secret funding this year. but when it comes to spending by candidates and parties with the old contribution limits and disclosure rules, says ad tracker tracy, democrats hold the edge. >> it's almost like the fridge is constantly being restocked. in other words there's nobody that's lacking for money. >> reporter: tom ferguson of the liberal roosvelt institute wrote the book on politics and money
"golden rule," as in he who has the gold makes the rule. he said vermont senator jim jeffords' 2001 switch from republican to democrat proved that firms get what they pay for. >> when senator jeffords switched parties he also changed the balance of power in the senate from control by the republicans to control by the democrats. right at that point, the stock values of companies that were heavy givers to republican and soft money dropped. >> reporter: ben ginsberg advised the bush campaign in the florida hanging chads recount and the soft money swift bowed ads against john kerry. to him, the citizens united decision and anonymous donors are not the problem. >> the reason that the system is out of whack is that the reforms of the last 35 years have tried to reduce the amount of money in politics. what they have succeeded in doing is reducing the amount of money that candidates in political parties can raise and spend. therefore, the loudest voices in the political debates belong to
special interest groups at the expense of candidacy. >> reporter: do you think public financing would be a good thing if we had the resources? >> the government ought not to be providing what amounts to food stamps for its politicians. >> reporter: tom ferguson disagrees. >> the bottom line on this is very simple. campaigning is expensive. somebody has to pay for it. either we all pay a little or they control it by paying all of it. >> this ad is not paid for by the corporate front groups. >> reporter: pernicious propaganda, free speech, both? you get to decide. >> american crossroads is responsible for the content of this advertising. >> woodruff: for what's at stake for both parties tonight, we're joined by leslie sanchez, a political analyst and former deputy press secretary for the republican national committee. and karen finney, an independent consultant. she served as director of communications at the democratic national committee. thank you both for being with us.
we just heard about the role of money that poured into this campaign. karen finney, we hear so much about how democrats are not as enthusiastic. in this election cycle. why is that? >> you know, i actually don't buy that because i think when we've talked about or we've heard about the enthusiasm gap, people fail to actually recognize that the enthusiasm that we saw is really tea party enthusiasm against the republican party. i think what we have seen is very strong democratic enthusiasm in the early vote and so i'm not so convinced. maybe we were a little bit late to show our enthusiasm, but i'm not completely convinced that there was a true gap. >> woodruff: how much of a gap do you see, leslie? >> wide. a very wide and very dramatic... i respectfully disagree from my brilliant colleague. i would say that what we realize is a very simple
lesson. the message was less government governs best. i think it's an idea and a philosophy that many feel the republican party forgot. the republican party in many ways was punished for moving away from fiscal discipline, you know, they are now again being given hopefully we expect the power of the purse. this responsibility particularly in the house is something that i think a lot of these voters especially tea party voters are paying attention to. can you have this divided government where there's more transparency and expectation where they will move forward with fiscal discipline and again we did hear in the broadcast about deaf sis. we cannot forget 1992. ross proceed. a lot of times voters send this message. the message in '92 was concern of the growth of these deficits. the message again you're seeing these kind of independents, these floating voters who come back in when they're concerned about the direction of the country as it
relates to our economic prowess. >> woodruff: let me just pick up on that quickly, leslie sanchez. that is, you know, we get the sense that so much of the republican energy this year was negative energy. it was anti-obama, anti-spending, anti-obama agenda. how much positive energy is there coming in to this election and what needs to be done next? >> i think there's an excitement in the sense that now is the time to move forward with fiscal discipline, good ideas are going to grow jobs and the economy. i think there's excitement among the leadership and what can be done. but there's a very strong sense that these are... very fickle voters. they will discipline this party, the republicans just as easily as they will the democrats in 2012. this is a very short-term kind of benefit of the doubt. but i think you're going to see the leadership is going to come from the governors. the governors have been taking on, you know, these fiscal
challenges coming up with innovative ideas. washington should heed that. they're going fof to make some very difficult choices with respect to spending and growth. >> woodruff: and conversely, karen finney, how much... how united are democrats coming back after these midterms? we don't know what the results are going to be. the projections look pretty bad. for democrats. but are they in agreement about what president obama needs to do next? >> well, you know, obviously there's going to be a lot. finger pointing over the next couple of days but i think both the democratic party and the republican party, i want to pick up on something that leslie said, recognize that they are very, very unpopular with the american people. so actually both parties frankly their necks are on the line here to show that they can work together and get something done. ironically should it happen that the republicans take control of the house, which i'm hoping that doesn't happen,
their interests will be more closely aligned frankly with the white house interests in terms of showing the ability to get something done. in the house obviously because they're up in two years and obviously the president going through a re-election will want to show that he too can get something done. so it will be interesting to see really the inter-play and the dynamic between, you know, the house, the senate and the white house not just within each of the political parties. >> woodruff: leslie sanchez, there's not necessarily agreement among republicans about the extent to which they want to work with this president. is that correct? >> no. i think that from day one i think you're going to have a lot of people very concerned about getting this economy going. jobs is the message. the voters are very frustrated. they're very frustrated with the direction the stimulus. what can republicans do differently? there's not a lot of time. the clock is already ticking come these election results. republicans are going to heed that. overall to the extent that
they are true to the idea of being fiscally responsible, doing something about the bush tax cuts, doing something to limit the amount of regulation and maybe reduce the corporate tax rate, move swiftly with ideas that are going to help grow jobs, i think it's to the extent they're going to find common ground. i expect gritting of the teeth. expect some so-called gridlock but i think overall will the president move more centrist like bill clinton, work together like they did on welfare reform, balancing budgets, state children's health insurance program? you can see some positives to allude to. or will he stand on the ground and think he had a mandate from '08 that is is clearly being rescinded? >> woodruff: which do you think he'll do? >> i think what you're going to hear from the president is really the message that we need to put sort of the uglyness of this campaign behind us and that the real message of the election is people are rejecting the status quo so we need to come together and get something done. again i think both the democrats and republicans in congress are acutely aware of
the fact that they are very unpopular. i think republicans actually are going to have to be held much more accountable. i mean if the republicans take control of the house, they own some of, you know, more of the share of these problems. i think the president is obviously going to hold them accountable but again key message is going to be the people have rejected the status quo. now we have to come together and move the country for. >> judy, if i can just put on point on this. it's not to that they rejected so much the status quo. they rejected the president's ideas and leadership. >> i would disagree with that, lessy. >> he was overreaching, overextending our financial obligations. and to what end? >> woodruff: all right. we are going to leave it there. we appreciate it both of you. leslie sanchez, karen finney. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> lehrer: again to mark shields and david brooks. okay, mark, do you think picking up on what karen and leslie said that if the result goes the way it's projected to go republicans win the house,
a narrow margin but it stays democratic in the senate and barack obama is still the president of the united states. are these people going to work together? >> jim, 80% of people, voters want two parties, both branches of government, congress and the executive to work closer together. >> lehrer: every poll shows that. liberals, conservatives, republicans, demate karats, independents, mostly independents. >> the wall street journal/nbc poll asked a wonderful. request it came down to you for a choice inour vote this year between somebody who will make compromises in order to achieve consensus to pass legislation or somebody who will stand his positions and refuse to make a compromise even if no consensus can be forged, no policy can be achieved, which would you vote for? by 73 to 21, better than 3 to 1, tea party voters said they
wanted somebody who would not compromise in any sense. david's point out there is that the energy, the real activism of this election has been with the tea party people. they've driven this election. that's a message that's going to be delivered. we're heading toward, as tom davis said, gridlock on steroids. >> lehrer: gridlock on steroids. is the tea party going to drive the way the republicans conduct themselves in the new congress? >> i'm not sure. obviously they'll be a big effect. one thing to remember is that if you ask... have the house republican canned dalts and senate candidates served before in elective office, this is the most legislatively experienced crop of republicans in recent history. so it's not like you have a bunch of outsiders. you have a lot of people like marco rubio and dan coats who is already in the senate. rob portman who is probably going to win. >> lehrer: actually it's just been called. we've just been told that the
rob portman victory in ohio has been called. he was expected to win. >> a house member. certainly a long-term house member served in the budget office. you have the tea party movement. but in washington the people who are going to come have been experienced legislators. i was talking to republican leaders this week. they say we have to be really careful not to overreach. lamar alexander the number 3 republican senator said he would put a picture of nancy pelosi in the cloak room as a reminder don't overreach. the public doesn't raely trust us yet there's some desire to actually strike some deal s with the president but then once they get here, they're sort of a polarizing dynamic that takes over and makes that tough. >> lehrer: let's talk about the tea party specifically for a moment. and of course rand paul won kentucky against jack conway. paul did not back off of any of his... well, maybe around the edges a little bit.
basically he didn't back off. he didn't back off the basic tea party message at all. he won by a sizable margin. >> he did. >> lehrer: we don't know the exact numbers yet. >> 55-45. something like that. i mean it was an impressive victory. he was the issue. there's no question about it. >> lehrer: which is what the democrats wanted. >> that's what the democrats hoped was to make him the issue. it's a republican state. make no mistake about it. barack obama got 41% of the vote in kentucky. he really got thumped in 2008. lost the state by 300,000 votes. it's a pretty dependably solid republican growing more republican all the time. but it's still an impressive victory by rand paul. he beat the establishment of the republican party to win the nomination. as you say he apparently won without trimming his sails. >> if you're a republican this year even a tea partyer or whatever you have to people over the head with your confidence not to get elected in a close race.
rand paul had a mistake early where he wackter philosophical about the civil rights act. he did not make any big mistakes. sharron angle may have beat people over the head a little too much. the republicans were not the issue in this campaign. if you could make yourself not the issue you probably did okay in a close race. >> lehrer: let's go again to judy woodruff. >> woodruff: let's turn now to some newshour team members who are out in the field tonight. kwame holman is at the white house. and geoffrey brown is at the grand hyatt hotel in downtown washington d.c., that is the headquarters for the republican congressional campaign committee. geoffrey brown, i'm going to come to you first because the republicans are the ones that have some good news so far. three senate victories. one senate pick-up. tell us what's going on there. >> judy, hello. there's music in the background here. but i've got to tell you it's very quiet so far. i'd almost call it like a
steady calm. there's a purposeful attempt not to be celebratory. at least in the early hours, judy. that's what they tell us. they tell us and they tell us again. i just want to read something to you that we were given all the media were given. this is from ken spain, communications director of the national republican congressional committee. he says, this event is not a fund-raiser. that's a little jab at the democrats who are at an event across the way. it is not a quote, party. even if voters remove democrats from power you don't celebrate at a time when one in ten americans are out of work and our children's future is threatened by mountains of debt. that's one of the things going on here is they don't want to look like they're really happy about what's going on in the country. the other thing, of course, is they just want to wait and see how things play out over the evening. >> woodruff: we don't see any balloons yet at the republican headquarters. >> brown: i don't think you're going to, judy. >> woodruff: kwame holman, what about at the white house?
i know it's nighttime there and they don't typically decorate but maybe especially not tonight. what's going on there? >> judy, at the republican... if the republicans are calm, that's the word here at the white house as well. the president has come off the road after a whirlwind visit to mid western swing states to gin-up first-time voters, the people who supported him in 2008 to help prevent an electoral catastrophe for democrats. and sort of retired here to the white house in the last 24- 48 hours to do a few radio calls and that sort of thing. but not to, as one white house official told us a little while ago, but not to hunker down in the war room and watch every return as it comes in. rather the belief here that they are exhibiting is that they have done everything they could in a difficult situation,
difficulty born of the economy and not so much what barack obama did or did not do, though he admits he didn't advertise as well the accomplishments of his administration as he might have. they say they are not looking back. they are looking forward and we're told that the president is in the residence perhaps not watching every return. in fact, the official we spoke to said he may, like any other american, be helping his daughters with their homework tonight. >> woodruff: although i guess we have a feeling there's somebody there keeping an eye on these returns. >> reporter: a strong feeling. >> woodruff: geoffrey brown, back to you. whom do you... if there's a studied calm at republican headquarters, whom do they say is going to come out and talk at some point in the evening? what are they waiting to see before they do say something? >> the word, judy, that we got from john boehner's office is that he is in the hotel. he is watching, monitoring the
results. he's going to be calling republican winners as they're announced. he and others are going to come out and speak but not until they feel relatively confident about the way the night unfolds. until they're fairly confident about the results. now, we were handed a sheet of paper that told us about some people who might come out to speak between 8:30 and 9:30. that includes the rnc chairman michael steele. 9:30 to 11:00 is for john boehner and several other people. john boehner, you know, the man who would be speaker to cap the night clearly. but that's a big window. 9:30 to 11:30, judy. i know you guys are all in the studio talking about when we'll know things. there don't seem to be anymore clear here. i have to add one more thing. you know, speaking of one of the speakers here is haley barbour. i can't help i'm standing here and thinking about that interview he did with you last night, judy, where he talked about republicans having to
accept the fact that the results here may not necessarily be about them or at least that's the way they want to... that's the way they have to take it right now. we don't know how much of this is against the other guys or for us. clearly that's the message that he and others are spreading around here is let's not... let's not say this is all about us. let's take the results in. we'll make our speeches later on. we're not going to jump around. as we said probably no balloons. now i'll be here all night and we'll talk later on and see what happens. but that's the situation now. >> woodruff: you're going to keep an eye on it. we will be coming back to you. one more time back to kwame. you're saying they're not confessing to be closely watching the returns. is anybody going to come out and talk to the media? we know nancy pelosi the current speaker of the house will be speaking, is going to be talk to go the press elsewhere in washington shortly. what about at the white house? >> judy, that is what they have been saying here at the white house all along. for the last three days or so.
letting it be known that there would not be statements coming out of the white house an appearance by the president, that sort of thing. they did move to let it be known today that they would schedule this news conference for 1:00 tomorrow. the official we talked to tonight said we thought there might be some interest in the president's reaction to what will have transpired by then. so he said it's a chance to bring everyone together to talk about going forward. but nothing tonight, judy. >> woodruff: we're going to come back to both of you, kwame holman at the white house and geoffrey brown at republican headquarters in downtown washington. thank you both. >> ifill: back here with david and stu. three states where polls have closed that everyone is watching, south carolina governor's race. ohio governor's race and a little humble house race in virginia. let's start with what's happening in south carolina.
nicky haley the republican candidate and vincent shaheen the democrat. >> obviously south carolina is a very republican state but nicky haley is an indian- american republican legislator. very poised and or tick articulate. she was close to mark sanford and was banking on him when his reputation soured it looked like nicky haley was toast. there's then sarah palin endorsed her and she won. i would look for this race, if she wins and she's a favorite, i would look for it to catapult her to a significant role in the republican party. >> ifill: no favorites in ohio, john. the current governor running against a former member of congress. >> ohio is the classic battle ground we always look at. ted strickland his numbers were suffering more early on in the race. he has fought back. to almost a dead heat in the public polling going in. republicans that i've talked to and democrats but the
republicans feel better about this race than the democrats do going in here. we do have the former congressman in kasich. they were hoping that his attachment tolyman brothers would be a big drag on him. the whole collapse of the economy. they tried to pin that on him. that did not have as much traction as the democrats hoped. ted strickland is suffering under an economically bruised midwest state like ohio. >> ifill: we should say it's to nobody's surprise they've declared a winner in the senate race and that's rob portman former trade commissioner under president bush and now apparently the senator-elect. let's go to virginia. a little district tom, the president tried to campaign on his behalf. his first time... first-term incumbent returning against two other people. >> well the republican and state ten tore robert hurt and jeffrey clark is the independent candidate in the case. the district stretches from charlotte all the way south to
the north carolina border. it has traditionally been viewed as a conservative district but perriello voted with the president on the stimulus, cape and trade and on health care reform and has been aned advocate for the president. >> ifill: with 22% of the vote in, 55% for mr. hurt and 2% for mr. clark. >> i don't think where charlottesville is centered. that would be tom's base in the district. >> ifill: and the base of the university of virginia where a lot of young people are where president obama went to go rally the troops both african- american voters and younger voters. i would say that the chairman of the democratic campaign committee told me that tom is the great experiment. as stu said, if you can be in the mccain district and vote for stimulus, for cap-and-trade, for health care and get re-elected in this campaign year, you are a different kind of candidate indeed. >> ifill: that would be a bright spot, david chalian.
stu roetenberg, we'll be talking to you all night. >> woodruff: the polls did close in the state of ohio at 7:30 p.m. eastern. and joining us now is karen kapler, the state house bureau chief for ohio public radio and television. and she is in columbus. karen, it's good to see you. you know, we've been talking about these two statewide races in ohio. the senate race. it's been called. rob portman the republican has been declared the winner. your governor's race, john kay sich running against your incumbent. governor strickland is still on the bubble. help us understand the difference between these two races. >> well, it's very interesting because in both races you have former republican congressmen john kasich and our apparently senator-elect rob portman. on the democratic side you have the incumbent side strickland. two democrats who have very
similar... the races couldn't be more different. rob portman has had a 20-plus point lead in almost every poll in the recent polling results that we've seen. so it wasn't a surprise when i heard you project rob portman as the winner but the strickland race is a dead heat in most polls. it's within the margin of error. in fact we've even seen experts who were saying that they are expecting a recount to come out of this. it is that close. ted strickland has gained back on john kasich who was leading by 17 points in one poll a couple weeks ago. >> woodruff: we know that ohio has had a difficult time with the economy, like the rest of the country but probably more pronounced in some ways. what have been the issues most on the voters' minds in this governor's race? >> well i think the economy is absolutely the most important issue. we do have an unemployment rate that's been dropping for last six months. but it's still at 10%. that's pretty high. i mean it's definitely a lot higher than its low point back in february of 2007. but it's been very difficult
for reporters as we've been chasing these two candidates for governor to get answers about what they're going to do about job creation and really more importantly for many people there's a huge budget deficit. many states are facing budget deficits coming up. ohio's is estimated between $4 billion and $8 billion. the candidates aren't talking about ha they intend to do about that. they've been talking more about this election is about jobs. it's about the economy. it's about bringing it back. but there aren't a whole lot of specifics that we're hearing here from either candidate. that's been very frustrating i think to a lot of people. >> woodruff: what is it about governor strickland's report that has made him vulnerable some. >> well, he certainly had some problems with his base. he's had to make aate low of budget cuts that have angered some people in his base. he's had to cut safety net services. he's had to cut things like mental health services and other things that some of the people who helped support him to get elected were very concerned about. and we have some other issues happening here in ohio. there was a big scandal in one
county in northeast ohio where cleveland is located at fairly widespread mostly democratic scandal that seems to be eating away at some voters up there. so the democrats have had some real issues here in getting their base rallied. we saw governor strickland even this weekend president obama was here for his 12th visit since he got elected. he's been here two times in the last three or so weeks. we saw he and governor strickland rallying together. the governor rally ing with union members. many people might be surprised to see strickland rally ing with union members this late in the game. wouldn't he have that part of the base already wrapped up? so there have been some concerns i think about getting the base out to vote. democratic party is saying today they're on track to make a million calls today. 2,000 calls in a minute they're doing out with their get out the vote efforts. so it will be very interesting to see how this all shakes out. >> woodruff: finally for right now and i know we'll come back to you later on tonight, just for right now. why is this governor's race so important to democrats nationally? >> well i think it's critical
to democrats nationally to hold this governor's seat because ohio had 16 years of republican governorships, and i think it's critical for democrats. they feel they need to hold this. but it's also evidently very critical for republicans. republican governor's association has been running ads in the state for months. in fact last week we saw three rock stars in the republican party in terms of governors, haley barbour from mississippi, chris kristie from nng and tim pawlenty from minnesota who were all here campaigning with john kasich. this seat is critical for both parties. >> woodruff: ohio being the home state of john boehner of the house minority leader. >> absolutely. >> woodruff: he would be the house speaker if republicans take control. all right. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: we will come back to you later. >> lehrer: a final word or two from mark and david. mark, you spent some time in ohio. do you agree with the assessment of the criticalness of the ohio to both partys? >> well it has been. it's been the battle ground in this entire century.
if you think about it. 2000, 2004, 2008 it was a critical battle ground state. it's a fascinating race. karen is absolutely right. john kasich had a double-digit lead. the chairman of the house budget committee, left the house voluntarily. energetic and interesting figure here. >> lehrer: he was on the cable television networks for fox. but he went worked for ms-nbc before that. >> he worked forlyman brothers as a partner. whatever. he trumpeted this as a private sector. lyman brothers goes belly up and john kasich has been running away from it ever since. it was comparable to the fellow who was working for the b.p. and said let's just run a service station. he said i was running a two-man office in columbus. that's all i was doing. ted strickland the governor that lost 400,000 jobs since his governorship through no fault of his.
he's sort of the steady dependable respected one of the... former methodist minister and former prison psychologist its the flashy first date kasich against the steady. he's cut into it. it's thelyman brothers connection that struck len has emphasized. wall street has brought him back. >> lehrer: do you see it that way? >> i think there is a formula emerging for democrats who are surviving. strickland is a tenacious more populist campaigner i guess. that's true in west virginia. you're begin to go see some democrats say i'm with you. i'm a man of the people. i'm not with those washingtonians. not overwhelmingly but they're doing okay. if you take the night overall from the results we have so far it's obviously a good republican night. one of the questions would i and gigantic tidal wave? so far i guess i'm not seeing that. i'm seeing a very good republican night. >> lehrer: how would you classify kasich within the republican party. >> it's a wonk. he was in the english revolution he was the budget guy. he was for really radically
restructuring cutting 236 government agencies and programs, more libertarian. but also with some christian roots. just published a roots on his bible study group. he was sort of the classic republican. very free market. but also with some social connections. social conservative connections. >> one big difference between strickland and manchin in west virginia. he embraced barack obama. he was from with barack obama on cleveland, on sunday. when barack obama. >> lehrer: strickland was. >> barack obama came to columbus ohio state they had 35,000 people. so he has been... he hasn't run away. you know, when you're from ohio you stick with your friends. >> lehrer: i feel the same way about the two of you. please don't run away. >> (laughing). >> ifill: the non-election developments of the day, at least 76 iraqis were killed in a bombing blitz aimed at shiites in baghdad.
new violence in afghanistan took the lives of three more nato troops. there was no word on their nationalities. mail bombs exploded outside two embassies in athens, greece, but no one was hurt. and in germany, police disarmed a bomb sent from greece to chancellor angela merkel's office. hari sreenivasan is in our news room. >> sreenivasan: gwen, just to give you an idea of some of the momentum that people have been talking about through the results right now. let's go ahead and take a look at the indiana 9th district. this is where mr. elsworth actually i think this is the senate race here that we're looking at. that has been called already for mr. coats. over whether elsworth, the republican there has beat out... all right. and then going off to the second house district in indiana. this was a race that people were watching. walorski the tea party candidate who is endorsed by sarah palin is leading handily over joe donley the democrat there. and then the next one we've
got the west virginia senate race. we have no precincts reporting yet. spolls did close in wt virginia around 7:30. this is a key race that a lot of people are watching to filson tore byrd's seat. and then we've got the governor race in ohio that mark shields and david brooks were just talking about between governor ted strickland and john kasich. not enough information for the associated press to make a projection. and then the senate race i think that's about it. that has been called as jim lehrer pointed out a little earlier in the program. for rob portman. back to you. >> ifill: that's newshour for tonight. i'm gwen ifill. >> lehrer: i'm jim lehrer. we'll see you online here later tonight for that pbs newshour election special at 11:00 p.m. eastern time, and then on the newshour tomorrow night. for now, thank you, and good night.