Mood Swing: Mitt Romney's Loss Re-Examined (The Note)

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By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone ) and AMY WALTER ( @amyewalter )


  • DIANE SAWYER SITS DOWN WITH THE SPEAKER: ABC's Diane Sawyer sat down with House Speaker John Boehner for an exclusive interview assessing the state of play in Washington after the election. Diane asked the speaker how the 2012 race and President Obama's reelection changes House Republicans' agenda and what it means for the fiscal cliff. WATCH:
  • BOEHNER: RAISING TAXES 'UNACCEPTABLE.' The House speaker signaled willingness to raise revenues-but not by raising tax rates. Boehner told ABC's Diane Sawyer: "Raising tax rates is unacceptable," Boehner said. "Frankly, it couldn't even pass the House. I'm not sure it could pass the Senate."
  • BOEHNER: OBAMACARE IS THE LAW OF THE LAND. Asked by ABC's Diane Sawyer whether Republicans will still attempt to repeal the president's health-care law after his reelection, Boehner responded: "I think the election changes that. It's pretty clear that the president was reelected, Obamacare is the law of the land, I think there are parts of the health-care law that are going to be very difficult to implement and very expensive. … There are certainly parts of it that we believe need to be changed. We may do that. No decisions at this point." WALK BACK: The speaker tweeted yesterday, before the interview aired on "World News": @SpeakerBoehner ObamaCare is law of the land, but it is raising costs & threatening jobs. Our goal has been, and will remain,#fullrepeal.
  • ON THE AGENDA: According to the White House: "In the afternoon, the President will deliver a statement in the East Room about the action we need to take to keep our economy growing and reduce our deficit."
  • ABC/YAHOO! VIDEO: ROMNEY IN OBAMA'S CABINET? In the latest installment of "Bottom Line,' ABC's George Stephanopoulos says we shouldn't expect President Obama to invite Mitt Romney to join his team, but that the president may consider business executives for high-level posts. WATCH:
  • THIS WEEK ON 'THIS WEEK': This Sunday, the "This Week" powerhouse roundtable joins George Stephanopoulos to analyze President Obama's re-election victory, what went wrong for Republicans on Election Day, and what it's really going to take to get the White House and Congress to make a deal and avoid falling off the "fiscal cliff." Check the "This Week" page for full guest listings. Tune in Sunday:
  • FLASHBACK - ONE YEAR AGO TODAY: A blast from the past, Nov. 9, 2011, ABC News' Arlette Saenz reported from a Republican primary debate in Michigan: "Rick Perry delivered his biggest fumble of the campaign to date when he failed to name the third agency he would eliminate if he were to become president during a Republican presidential debate in Rochester, Mich. 'It's three agencies of government when I get there that are gone - Commerce, Education and the um, what's the third one there? Let's see. Oh five - Commerce, Education and the um, um,' Perry said. … He tried to name the third mystery agency. 'But you can't name the third one?' CNBC moderator John Harwood asked. 'The third agency of government I would do away with - the education, the uh, the commerce and let's see. I can't the third one. I can't. Sorry Oops.'"


ABC News Political Director Amy Walter:

After every election, the losing side usually engages in a combination of introspection and rationalization. Currently, the Republican Party is both acknowledging that it has a demography problem, while also continuing to insist that this election was a demographic fluke.

Republicans were shocked by the high percentage of African-Americans and Hispanics at the polls, but gave as much of the credit to Obama's superior turn-out operation as blame to their own inability to expand their base. Sean Trende of Real Clear Politics suggests that an unexplained seven million person drop in the white vote may be responsible for Obama's big win. His argument:

"Had the same number of white voters cast ballots in 2012 as did in 2008, the 2012 electorate would have been about 74 percent white, 12 percent black, and 9 percent Latino (the same result occurs if you build in expectations for population growth among all these groups). In other words, the reason this electorate looked so different from the 2008 electorate is almost entirely attributable to white voters staying home. The other groups increased their vote, but by less than we would have expected simply from population growth. Put another way: The increased share of the minority vote as a percent of the total vote is not the result of a large increase in minorities in the numerator, it is a function of many fewer whites in the denominator."

"I'm not a trained demographer," Walter notes, "but I can say with certainty that: 1) This country is not getting any whiter and 2) older people die."

If winning an election depends on appealing to and then turning out a base of old, white people you are going to lose every presidential election from here on out. That model may still be enough to help Republicans win midterm elections - older and white voters turn out at higher level than minorities and young people in off-year elections.

More important, demography alone wasn't the only trend working in Obama's favor:

-VOTERS WERE FEELING BETTER ABOUT THE DIRECTION OF THE COUNTRY: Last November, just 19 percent of Americans thought the country was "on the right track." Exit polls from Tuesday's election showed that number had climbed to 46 percent by Election Day.

-VOTERS WERE FEELING BETTER ABOUT THE ECONOMY: [W]while a majority of Americans still disapproved of the job the president was doing on the economy, they gave him higher marks today than they did just a year ago.

-ROMNEY NEVER OPENED A GAP IN 'TRUST TO HANDLE THE ECONOMY': Buoyed by a solid performance in the first debate, Romney opened up an eight point lead over Obama on October 24. But, just five days later, that lead shrunk to 2 points. Exit polls showed Romney ended the campaign with a measly one point advantage over the president on this question.

-OBAMA'S JOB APPROVAL CONTINUED TO CLIMB: [H]is job approval steadily climbed to the high-40-s. And, by October, he was regularly polling at 50 percent. The final ABC/Washington Post tracking poll put Obama's approval rating at 51 percent.


The Note's virtual political roundtable:

ABC's AMY WALTER: In 2006, 2008 and 2010 voters punished the party it saw as too consumed with its own agenda and unfocused on the concerns of average Americans. But each "wave election" only served to convince the winning party that they had a mandate for their ideological agenda. Ironically, it took a "status quo" election to finally convince the two sides to hear what voters have been telling them along: stop the posturing and work together to get something done to fix the many problems this country is facing.

ABC's RICK KLEIN: The debate over the future of the GOP isn't academic - or even all about 2014 or 2016. We're seeing immediate movement by the Republican Party that will have long-term policy and political consequences. Even aside from talk of revenues as part of "fiscal cliff" talks, House Speaker John Boehner told Diane Sawyer he is now in favor of "comprehensive" immigration reform, and Sean Hannity is talking about a "pathway" to citizenship. Any such pathway still has obstacles, but the movement can set a new tone for the party and the Congress - a template, perhaps, for actually getting some things done.


-PAUL RYAN: NOT THE LEADER OF THE GOP. ABC's John Parkinson notes: "Because he ran for the vice presidency, is he the leader of the Republican Party now?" Sawyer asked. "Oh, I wouldn't think so. Paul Ryan's a policy wonk," Boehner said. "He's involved in the cause of trying to bring us pro-growth economic agendas for America and making sure that we're doing this in a fiscally responsible way.

-'WE DON'T HAVE A TEA-PARTY CAUCUS TO SPEAK OF.' ABC's Diane Sawyer asked Boehner whether tea-party House members would be ready to compromise after the election. Boehner's response: "I think this has been the most misreported story of my two years as tenure. We don't have a tea-party caucus to speak of in the House. All of us who were elected in 2010 were supported by the tea party. These are ordinary Americans who've taken a more active role in their government. They want solutions. But we've all come a long way over the last two years-I think we all understand each other a lot better."


with ABC's Chris Good ( @c_good)

GIFFORDS, KELLY FACE JARED LOUGHNER AT SENTENCING. ABC's Ryan Owens reports that Jared Loughner, the man who shot former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was sentenced to life in prison at a hearing where Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly faced him. Kelly tells ABC's Diane Sawyer in an interview: "She stood up tall there as I read her statement, and I'm very proud of her … I saw a person who certainly has major mental illness, but also somebody that knew where he was and why he was there and a was a little bit defiant … in the way he was looking at us and looking at Gabby. I got a sense he was trying to intimidate us a little bit, but he certainly wasn't able to do that, especially with my wife."

TEARFUL OBAMA CREDITS HIS STAFF. The president wept as he thanked his campaign, ABC's Devin Dwyer reports: The morning after he won re-election, an emotional President Barack Obama credited his youthful staff of several hundred with running a campaign that will "go on in the annals of history." "What you guys have accomplished will go on in the annals of history and they will read about it and they'll marvel about it," said Obama told his team Wednesday morning inside the Chicago campaign headquarters, tears streaming down his face. … The moment, captured by the Obama campaign's cameras and posted online, offers a rare glimpse at the president unplugged and emotional. During the first four years of his presidency, Obama has never been seen publicly crying.

NOTED: WILL CABINET SECRETARIES GET THE BOOT? Traditionally they offer to leave, ABC's Ann Compton reports: There is an unwritten tradition in Washington that cabinet secretaries all submit pro forma letters of resignation at the end of a first term for a re-elected president, but apparently it doesn't really work that way. The last two-term president was George W. Bush and according to an official in the West Wing at the time, such letters were requested, but some secretaries had to be prodded to comply. Some notable figures departed the administration including Secretary of State Colin Powell.

FLORIDA DEMOCRATS DECLARE OBAMA THE WINNER. A statement from Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith: "On behalf of Florida Democrats, I wish President Barack Obama congratulations on his re-election and on winning Florida's 29 electoral votes … It is appalling that two days after the election, Florida was not able to report our Presidential election results. This embarrassment lays at the feet of Governor Rick Scott who made a decision to cut early voting in half and continually refused to extend early voting hours in light of the record turnout."

GOP SOUL-SEARCHING COULD LEAD TO IMMIGRATION REFORM. ABC's Z. Byron Wolf writes: Romney lost the Latino vote by a significantly wide margin. Republicans failed to adapt to the changing country, the storyline goes. .. "This issue [immigration] has been around far too long," House Speaker John Boehner told Diane Sawyer two days after the election. "A comprehensive approach is long overdue, and I'm confident that the president, myself, others can find the common ground to take care of this issue once and for all." … Hispanics were 10 percent of voters this year, double digits for the first time. How Republicans react could buoy prospects for a comprehensive immigration plan like the one President Obama promised Univision he would pursue next year.

2016 LIKE IT'S TODAY: RUBIO TO IOWA. The 2016 primary might have already begun, ABC's Shushannah Walshe reports: Florida Senator Marco Rubio is heading to the first caucus state of Iowa on Nov. 17 to headline an annual campaign fundraising birthday party for Iowa governor Terry Branstad. Last year all the presidential hopefuls, except for Mitt Romney, came to the party to court the governor and Iowa political dignitaries who attended the bash. The governor's spokesperson, Tim Albrecht, a caucus expert himself, told ABC News that Branstad invited Rubio "a couple of months ago" and is "excited he accepted."

BOWLES, SIMPSON TOGETHER AGAIN. ABC's Sunlen Miller reports: The group founded by Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan Simpson announced today a national "Fix the Debt" campaign to mobilize corporate and citizen support to put pressure on Congress to avoid the fiscal cliff. The fiscal cliff, which includes a elements such as expiring tax cuts for the rich and middle class, $1 trillion in automatic cuts set to take effect next year, and a debt limit increase, remains the most daunting challenge for Congress during the lame duck session, which begins Nov. 13.

OBAMA CALLS WORLD LEADERS. ABC's Jake Tapper reports that President Obama called a handful of world leaders on Thursday, according to the White House, including Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron.

GOP TO REVIEW WHAT WENT WRONG. The soul-searching will be methodical, The Washington Post's Peter Wallsten reports: "Top Republican officials, stunned by the extent of their election losses Tuesday night, have begun an exhaustive review to figure out what went so wrong and how to fix it. … Party officials said the review is aimed at studying their tactics and message, not at changing the philosophical underpinnings of the party. 'This is no different than a patient going to see a doctor,' said Sean Spicer, the Republican National Committee's spokesman. "Your number one thing is to say, "I'm not feeling well. Tell me what the problem is. Run some tests on me."'"

A SHORT-TERM BUDGET DEAL? BOEHNER THINKS SO. USA Today's Susan Davis reports: "House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, says he will resist any effort to make major tax or spending changes in the lame duck session of Congress beginning next week, seeking instead a short-term deal to delay the year-end 'fiscal cliff.' 'I've never seen a lame duck Congress do big things. And as speaker I feel pretty strongly that a lame duck Congress shouldn't do big things,' he said in an interview with USA TODAY. Boehner said retiring and defeated members-who get to vote in the lame duck-should not decide such major legislation. There will be at least 84 new House members in the next Congress beginning in January, 49 Democrats and 35 Republicans. 'I think it's important to wait,' Boehner said."

OBAMA PLANS HISTORIC ASIA TOUR, WILL VISIT MYANMAR. ABC's Devin Dwyer reports: With a second term now guaranteed, President Obama is setting his sights abroad, planning a four-day tour of Southeast Asia to begin next week with stops in Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia. The trip, scheduled for Nov. 17-20, will be Obama's first foreign jaunt since attending the G20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, in June. The anchor of the regional visit will be the East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, officials said. While American presidents have visited Thailand-a long-standing U.S. ally-and Cambodia before, the stop in Myanmar, previously known as Burma, will be a historic first.

MORE ON THE MYANMAR VISIT. More from ABC's Devin Dwyer on the president's visit to Myanmar: It caps a years-long effort by the Obama administration to encourage democratic government there and the work of Nobel laureate and human rights advocate Aung San Suu Kyi, with whom the president met in September. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cleared the way for Obama's Myanmar visit during her stop in the country in December, the first time the top U.S. diplomat had visited in 56 years. Obama will "encourage Burma's ongoing democratic transition" in meeting with President Thein Sein and Aung San Suu Kyi, the White House said.

SEALS DISCIPLINED FOR WORK ON VIDEO GAME. ABC's Luis Martinez reports: Seven current members of the Navy's elite SEAL Team Six, including one involved in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, have received non-judicial punishments for having served as paid consultants for the video game "Medal of Honor: Warfighter." Four other SEALs who previously belonged to the unit remain under investigation. … A Navy official says 11 active duty SEALS worked as consultants on the game over two days earlier this year. At the time all of them were members of SEAL Team Six.

A NAME TO WATCH - GEORGE P. BUSH: "George P. Bush, a nephew of former President George W. Bush and son of one-time Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, has made a campaign filing in Texas that is required of candidates planning to run for state office, an official said Thursday night," the Associated Press reports. "The younger Bush, a Fort Worth resident, filed a campaign treasurer appointment Wednesday, a requirement for someone to become a candidate under campaign finance law, Tim Sorrells, general counsel for the Texas Ethics Commission, told The Associated Press. Sorrells said the report does not specify what office Bush might seek, if any, and he had no other details on the filing, which wasn't available online. Bush did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment, and no phone listing for him could be found. The 36-year-old said in September his goal was to run for office and acknowledged that he had his eyes on several statewide offices. Raised in Florida, Bush decided to settle in Texas, home to his uncle and his grandfather, former President George H.W. Bush. He runs a consulting firm and has been active in Republican Party outreach to college students. He's also the co-founder of Hispanic Republicans of Texas, a group that seeks to elect Hispanic candidates."

RESULTS CHALLENGED IN PUERTO RICO STATEHOOD VOTE. ABC's Christina Ng reports: A vote in Puerto Rico over the island's status as a U.S. territory has triggered a fierce debate over whether a majority voted to become the 51st state. The island territory has been debating the issue for decades and pro-statehood politicians are celebrating Tuesday's vote claiming it was the first time in 45 years that Puerto Ricans have voted for statehood. Others, however, are challenging that conclusion and argue that the vote indicates opposition to statehood.

'WORLD OF WARCRAFT' CANDIDATE WINS. ABC's Elizabeth Hartfield reports: Colleen Lachowitz, the Democratic state senate candidate in Maine whose race drew national attention when the state's Republican party attacked her for her world of warcraft persona, won election on Tuesday, ousting Republican incumbent Tom H. Martin Jr. by a little over 900 votes, according to the Morning Sentinel. Lachowitz drew criticism from the Maine state GOP for comments the candidate made online while playing World of Warcraft (Lachowicz is a level 85 orc in the popular multi-player online role-playing game.) Only, it wasn't Lachowicz herself who made the comments-it was Lachowicz's warcraft alter-ego, Santiaga.

ALLEN WEST PUSHES FOR RECOUNT. Trailing Democratic newcomer Patrick Murphy by 2,456 votes, Rep. Allen West's recount push has been delayed. Palm Beach's WPTV reports: "West's legal push for a recount was delayed Thursday evening when his hearing at Palm Beach County's main courthouse was bumped. It was unknown when the hearing will be held as of early Friday morning. The Palm Beach Gardens Republican filed injunctions against the supervisors of elections in Palm Beach and St. Lucie to impound voting machines and ballots. West didn't target Martin County, where he won by almost 11,000 votes. … Holding onto a razor-thin edge with all precincts reporting, Murphy started a three-day, three-county 'thank-you' tour … The Jupiter Democrat said he was confident with his lead … West announced the legal action 10 hours after Murphy declared himself the District 18 winner …"

MCAULIFFE RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR. ABC's Jake Tapper flags that former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe is once again running for governor of Virginia in the state's off-year election. McAuliffe lost to Creigh Deeds in Virginia's Democratic primary in 2009, but he's much better positioned today. McAuiliffe writes in an email to supporters: "Over the past four years, I've traveled to every corner of Virginia for over 2,400 meetings and events. It is absolutely clear to me that Virginians want their next Governor to focus on job creation and common sense fiscal responsibility instead of divisive partisan issues."


@TonyFratto: An excellent report (that went nowhere): the 2005 President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform …

KellyAyotte: 6th graders reading Veterans Day reflections at special ceremony at Woodbury School in Salem

@mlcalderone: Frum ebook already out. Alter's next Obama book coming Spring 2013; Game Change sequel in Fall.

@lovenheim: Condi Rice weighs in on the election: Republicans sent 'mixed messages' #immigration #women

@MarkMellman: Always a winner " @schaller67:biggest winner of 2012 cycle? Could be Harry Reid, as I argue in latest Salon piece here: …"

@ckanal: +1 RT @SabrinaSiddiqui: Happy Birthday and #FF to @arthurdelaneyhp!