ABC's AMY WALTER: With election losses comes soul searching. Republicans have to learn to accept the new demographic reality: One in which they can no longer ignore or antagonize the fast growing and politically potent Latino population. Priority number one for Republicans next year should be to build a bipartisan deal on immigration reform that will put the GOP on the right side of this demographic divide. Paging Marco Rubio.
ABC's MICHAEL FALCONE: President Obama had it right when he reportedly congratulated Mitt Romney last night on a "well-fought" campaign. From the moment he jumped into the presidential race at a New Hampshire farm in June 2011, he seemed to be destined to be this year's Republican standard-bearer. But it wasn't easy: He first had to fend of challenges from a slew of insurgents within his own party with names like Gingrich, Perry and Santorum. After dispatching with them, months of general election combat with the president awaited. Romney started behind, but made up ground on questions of trust to handle the economy, empathy and enthusiasm. But it wasn't until late in the game - too late, as we learned last night - that GOP voters started to come around to Romney for who he was rather than who he wasn't.
ABC's RICK KLEIN: Demography and strategy converged in near-perfect fashion for President Obama, the Democratic Party's reliable base uniting with a new face of America - helped along by an avalanche of well-timed attacks. That magic formula allowed a president with significant weaknesses to power past them, while shattering the Republican way of winning elections, probably for a long time. It's a toolbox, though, that isn't available to Obama again - it wins races, but it doesn't help in governing, at least not yet. That's where the president can display what he spoke of as he started his next four years - that he has learned, that he can govern in a way that begins to deliver on his promise.
ABC's MATTHEW DOWD: "The race for 2016 starts the day after election day. Both parties are going to be searching for their new leaders. A huge question for Democrats is, 'What does Hillary Clinton do?' Based on that decision, the race could go many ways. Besides Clinton, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, who is a popular but unknown figure in the party, is considering. Joe Biden, who seems to be intimating he will run, is on the shortlist, but the question becomes whether that is too status quo. Antonio Villaraigosa, the mayor of Los Angeles, is on the list, and has tremendous support in the Latino community. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York would be a formidable figure if Clinton doesn't run. She is popular in a big state and a woman candidate is important, because 60 percent of Democratic primary voters are female. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been rumored to want to run and comes from a key state with access to party faithful and money. There's also the chance of an unknown candidate who may emerge in the aftermath of this year's election."
"For the GOP, the journey ahead is more perilous. They will be going through civil war after this Romney loss: the very conservatives vs. the establishment; the cultural conservatives vs. the economic conservatives; the populists vs. old school. And there is no clear leader ahead. Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, would be formidable with his name and money." http://bitly.com/SMAafw
FOUR MORE YEARS OF PRESIDENT OBAMA. On "Good Morning America," ABC's political analysts look at what lies ahead for the president, as he returns to office. As Jonathan Karl points out, there is no time for a second-term honeymoon with the "fiscal cliff" looming at the end of the year. WATCH: http://abcn.ws/PWRJLK
ROMNEY CONCEDES. ABC's David Muir reports for "Good Morning America" that Romney's campaign aides were emotional after his loss, thinking right up until the end that their candidate could defeat President Obama. WATCH: http://abcn.ws/UjH8vn
INSIDE OBAMA'S WIN. ABC's Jake Tapper reports for "Good Morning America" on the president's long road to victory. WATCH: http://abcn.ws/Xjq9dg
TRACKING THE HOUSE AND SENATE. ABC's Jonathan Karl reports that Democrats have held their majority in the Senate-and that the new Congress may be even more deeply divided than the one we have now. The Senate is a story of missed opportunities for Republicans, with losses in Massachusetts, Indiana, and Missouri. WATCH Karl's "Good Morning America" report: http://abcn.ws/SSHx68
FLORIDA: STILL TOO CLOSE TO CALL. Thankfully the free world isn't on the edge of its seat this time, but Florida's votes are once again too close to call the day after Election Day. With ABC and other networks yet to project, ABC's Cecilia Vega reports on the razor-thin margin for "Good Morning America." WATCH: http://abcn.ws/Stf2Z4
LATE-NIGHT COMIC RELIEF. Watch GMA's highlights of late-night television poking fun at the presidential race, as the results came in: http://abcn.ws/RFgtXf
ABC's Jake Tapper, Devin Dwyer, Mary Bruce and Arlette Saenz report from Chicago:
-OBAMA VOWS TO FORGE CHANGE WHERE HE FAILED. The president struck a hopeful, optimistic note in his acceptance speech in Chicago. ABC's Devin Dwyer and Mary Bruce report: After four years of trying and, by his own admission, failing to change the nature of politics in Washington, President Obama tonight vowed in a second term to forge bipartisan compromise in a way a large majority of Americans desire. … "When we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy. That won't change after tonight. And it shouldn't," Obama said. "But despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America's future." "By itself, the recognition that we have common hopes and dreams won't end all the gridlock, resolve all our problems or substitute for the painstaking work of building consensus and making the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward," he continued. "But that common bond is where we must begin." http://abcn.ws/T0Axle
OBAMA'S 2013 CABINET: WHAT TO EXPECT. Now that he's returning to the White House, President Obama will almost immediately move to shore up his team of top aides and Cabinet officials, ABC's Devin Dwyer reports-some of whom had only signed on for the first four years. From Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Attorney General Eric Holder, here's a list of possible replacements: http://abcn.ws/U8Nbgz
WATCH OBAMA'S VICTORY SPEECH. ABC video from Chicago: http://abcn.ws/XjwHZr
ABC's David Muir, Emily Friedman and Shushannah Walshe report from Boston:
-ROMNEY: I PRAY FOR THE PRESIDENT. ABC's Russell Goldman reports on Mitt Romney's concession speech; "I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes….but the nation chose another leader," Romney told heartbroken supporters at his Boston headquarters. "I pray the president will be successful in guiding our nation," Romney said before running mate Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and their families joined Romney on the podium. http://abcn.ws/SMTol6
WATCH ROMNEY'S CONCESSION SPEECH. ABC video from Boston, Mass.: http://abcn.ws/UwaW2u
with ABC's Chris Good ( @c_good)
MORE ON HOW OBAMA DID IT: From the National Journal's Ron Brownstein, analyzed the election results for ABC News last night "President Obama won a second term by marrying the new Democratic coalition with just enough of the old to overcome enduring economic disenchantment and a cavernous racial divide. In many places, particularly across the Sun Belt, Obama mobilized the Democrats' new "coalition of the ascendant," winning enough support among young people, minorities and college-educated whites, especially women, to overcome very weak numbers among blue-collar whites and college-educated men. But in the upper Midwest, where there are not enough of those voters to win, Obama attracted just enough working-class whites to hold the critical battlegrounds of Wisconsin, Iowa, and above all Ohio against Mitt Romney's forceful challenge. Navigating those two tightropes, Obama held enough states to win a comfortable margin in the Electoral College, despite the headwind of the frustratingly slow economic recovery." http://bit.ly/PWai2o
OBAMA CLAIMS BIG WIN AMONG LATINOS. From ABC's Richard Morin: President Obama claimed two out of every three Latino votes nationwide, matching his performance among Hispanics four years ago, according to exit polls. With votes still being cast in the far West, Obama was winning 69% of the Latino vote to Republican challenger Mitt Romney's 29%. http://abcn.ws/UiXsfV
GENDER GAP OPENS IN LATINO VOTE. From ABC's Richard Morin: Overall Obama won three out of every four votes (75%) cast by Hispanic women and 63% of Hispanic men, a 12-point gender gap. Four years ago the gap was only four points as Obama won 64% of men and 68% of Latino women. Romney won 35% of Latino men and 24% of women. http://abcn.ws/TvPcVw
OBAMA CONGRATULATES ROMNEY ON 'SPIRITED CAMPAIGN.' Tuesday afternoon, before results had started coming in, President Obama thanked his opponent, ABC's Mary Bruce and Devin Dwyer report: President Obama today congratulated GOP nominee Mitt Romney on a hard-fought race and expressed confidence he would have the votes to win a second term as he kicked off Election Day with a visit to his local campaign office. "I also want to say to Gov. Romney, 'Congratulations on a spirited campaign,'" the president told reporters after thanking volunteers at his local Hyde Park, Ill., field office. "I know that his supporters are just as engaged and just as enthusiastic and working just as hard today." With polls open across the country, the president expressed confidence that "we have the votes to win." http://abcn.ws/TuZlBW
-SENATE OUTLOOK: DEMS COULD GAIN 2 SEATS. The election cycle began with Republicans eyeing a return to majority in the Senate, with 23 Democratic seats and only 10 Republican seats up for election. But candidate missteps and some losses in competitive races have cost them that opportunity. In Missouri and Indiana, Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock emerged as underdogs in their primaries-Mourdock unseated a strong incumbent, six-term Sen. Dick Lugar-and faltered after making controversial comments about rape. Republicans lost both races, which they had been expecting to win earlier in the campaign cycle.
KEY SENATE RESULTS: DEM WINNERS …
CONNECTICUT (Dem seat) - Murphy (D) 55 percent, McMahon (R) 43 percent
INDIANA (GOP seat) - Donnelly (D) 50 percent, Mourdock (R) 44 percent
MAINE (GOP seat) - King (I) 53 percent, Summers (R) 30 percent, Dill (D) 13 percent
MASSACHUSETTS (GOP seat) - Warren (D) 54 percent, Brown (R) 46 percent
MISSOURI (Dem seat) - McCaskill (D) 55 percent, Akin (R) 39 percent
NEW MEXICO (Dem seat) - Heinrich (D) 51 percent, Wilson (R) 45 percent
OHIO (Dem seat) - Brown (D) 50 percent, Mandel (R) 45 percent
VIRGINIA (Dem seat) - Kaine (D) 52 percent, Allen (R) 48 percent
WISCONSIN (Dem seat) - Baldwin (D) 51 percent, Thompson (R) 46 percent
KEY SENATE RESULTS: GOP WINNERS …
ARIZONA (GOP seat) - Flake (R) 50 percent, Carmona (D) 45 percent
NEVADA (GOP seat) - Heller (R) 46 percent, Berkley (D) 45 percent
YET TO BE CALLED BY ABC NEWS …
MONTANA (Dem seat) - Tester (D) 49 percent, Rehberg (R) 45 percent
NORTH DAKOTA (Dem seat) - Heitkamp (D) 50 percent, Berg (R) 45 percent
TAMMY BALDWIN: THE FIRST OPENLY GAY U.S. SENATOR. With her win in Wisconsin over former GOP governor and Health and Human Services secretary Tommy Thompson, Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin has made history by becoming the first openly gay U.S. senator. ABC's Abby D. Phillip reports: In her victory speech in Wisconsin, Baldwin acknowledged that she makes history as both Wisconsin's first female senator and the country's first openly gay senator. "Now, I am well aware that I will have the honor of being Wisconsin's first woman senator. And I am well aware that I will be the first openly gay member," Baldwin said to loud cheers and chants of "Tammy, Tammy!" from her supporters. "But I didn't run to make history. I ran to make a difference." http://abcn.ws/T22bOW
WHY TODD AKIN LOST: THE RAPE COMMENT. Missouri's Todd Akin made strides to recover from his "legitimate rape" comment, which became the largest misstep by any candidate in the country in this election cycle. He worked to shore up support among social conservatives and told Missouri voters that he agreed with them on most issues. But it wasn't enough, and exit polls tell us that "rape" was the issue in Missouri-where Akin lost even as Mitt Romney carried the state with 54 percent. Women voted 56 percent for Sen. Claire McCaskill, who won 67 percent of self-identified moderates and bested Akin by 11 percentage points among independents. Akin's comment clearly helped McCaskill capture the middle: 21 percent of voters said Akin's "rape" comment was the single most important issue for them when they voted, while 40 percent said it was one of several important factors. http://abcn.ws/VSVDSo
-HOUSE OUTLOOK: SMALL GAIN FOR DEMS. With 435 House races across the country, the final House margins will take a bit longer to figure out than the White House's next occupant. With 10 races yet to be called by the AP and 20 yet to be called by ABC News, Democrats appear poised to pick up three or four House seats. That would leave Republicans with a 238 - 197 majority, as John Boehner remains speaker of the House. Check back with ABC News today, and in the coming days, for a final number on Republicans' remaining edge.
-BACHMANN, WEST CLING TO NARROW LEADS. John Parkinson reports: Some of the Republican Party's most controversial House members are clinging to narrow leads in races where only a few votes are left to count. Rep. Michele Bachmann, the chairwoman of the Tea Party Caucus, led by almost 2,300 votes with 84 percent of precincts reporting as of early this morning. That race is still too close to call and shifted back and forth all night long. Rep. Allen West of Florida, one of the most outspoken Republicans in the House of Representatives, trailed Patrick Murphy by fewer than 3,000 votes with all precincts reporting. The race is still too close to call, according both to ABC News and the Associated Press, but barring surprises, West looks poised to lose. http://abcn.ws/XjkbJA
-HOW'D THEY DO: THE HOUSE GOP CLASS OF 2010. From ABC's John Parkinson: Of 87 Republican freshmen, just nine have lost their bids for a second term at last count. There is a common perception that the freshman class was stocked with tea partyers, but just 19 of 87 GOP freshmen joined the Tea Party Caucus after the 2010 landslide. Two freshmen Democrats, Reps. Mark Critz of Pennsylvania and Kathy Hochul of western New York, also lost. http://abcn.ws/XjkbJA
-HOW'D THEY DO: THE TEA PARTY CAUCUS. More from ABC's John Parkinson: Of the 60 members of the Tea Party Caucus, 46 have already clinched victory. Four others, including Bachmann and West, remain in races too close to call. Six Tea Party caucus members were defeated at the polls, plus another seven who retired, lost a primary or sought higher office. Both tea party candidates who ran for the Senate, Reps. Denny Rehberg of Montana and Todd Akin of Missouri lost, while Rep. Mike Pence won his bid for governor of Indiana. http://abcn.ws/XjkbJA
-HOW'D THEY DO: SUPPORTERS OF THE RYAN BUDGET. Members who voted for Paul Ryan's budget in either 2011 or 2012-almost every Republican, that is-have seen a few casualties on election night. With 11 of their races still undecided, 14 of the 218 Ryan-budget-backing candidates have lost their races.
-HOW'D THEY DO: INCUMBENTS. After the anti-incumbent wave of 2010, last night wasn't nearly as terribly for House incumbents-but with a handful of races yet to be called by ABC News, that could change. Out of 400 incumbents seeking office in the House, only 22 have lost so far, with 20 races still undecided. Compare that to 2010, in which 49 House Democratic incumbents alone were unseated as their party lost the majority. This year, 13 Republican incumbents and 9 Democratic incumbents have fallen so far.
@JonHusted : Thanks to my staff and the elections staff in our 88 counties who worked early into the morning to make sure the job was done.
?@MaeveReston : Very odd to wake up this morning without three alarms blaring & buses and planes waiting to spirit us away to other states. I miss my FPPO.
@jmartpolitico : What happened last nite? The country is getting less white and the GOP coalition is becoming more white http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1112/83472.html?hp=t1_3 …
@TheFix : Things I was wrong about: Obama couldn't repeat his '08 victories in VA and FL. He did both. Both states have changed - big time.
@AriFleischer : Today will be my first day in about 180 days that I don't look at Realclearpolitics.
@feldmike: Now what?