AC360° Digital Producer
(CNN) – Fresh off a victory Tuesday in her hotly contested and closely watched re-election bid, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, refused to identify specific cuts to the federal budget while, at the same time, criticizing what she called “over-the-top” spending for an upcoming presidential trip.
When asked in an interview that aired Wednesday on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360° whether she would support cuts to Social Security and Medicare, Bachmann slammed the White House for the costs of President Obama’s forthcoming trip to India.
The Minnesota Republican called the trip’s costs “over-the-top.”
She added, “We have never seen this sort of an entourage going with the president before. And I think this is an example the massive overspending that we’ve seen – not only just in the last 2 years, really in the last four.”
Pressed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper about whether she would support cuts to Social Security and Medicare proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, Bachmann said those entitlement programs need to be given a closer look.
Tonight we're getting a much better picture of how the votes broke down for each party in the midterm elections. John King will show us who voted for whom and why. Plus, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Keeping her honest, see how Anderson tried get her to be specific about how she'd cut the deficit.
Want more details on what covering? Read EVENING BUZZ
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President Obama spoke of last night's Democratic party's "shellacking" in the midterm elections during a news conference at the White House this afternoon.
"Over the last two years, we've made progress," he told reporters. "But clearly too many Americans haven't felt that progress yet, and they told us that yesterday. And, as president, I take responsibility for that."
Pres. Obama pointed to the economy as a big reason for his party's loses at the polls.
"We've stabilized the economy. We've got job growth in the private sectors. But people all across America aren't feeling that progress. They don't see it," said Mr. Obama.
Tonight, Keeping Them Honest, we'll look at whether he truly gets it. Even after the president spent nearly 60 minutes at the microphone today some believe he does not get what happened last night.
Here's what did happen: Republicans earned at least 60 seats in the House of Representatives, regaining control of the chamber for the first time since 2006, according to CNN projections. That number could rise with 11 undecided House races still to be resolved.
In the Senate, Democrats lost six seats but keep control of the chamber, according to projections based on exit polling. The latest victory for Democrats came in Colorado, where incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet won a tight race against Republican Ken Buck, CNN projects. This gives Democrats 52 members in the Senate, with races still too close to call in Washington and Alaska.
Back to the House, where Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, is expected to become the new leader of that chamber in January.
"We are humbled by the trust the American people have placed in us and we recognize this is the time for us to roll up our sleeves and go to work," Boehner told reporters this morning on Capitol Hill.
Boehner, and other Republicans, would like to repeal the health care bill and extend the Bush tax cuts. But can they get it done?
Keep in mind, Boehner and Pres. Obama have had a rocky relationship these past two years. We'll dig into that with our political panel.
We'll also have our political gurus look into their crystal balls and predict who they think will seek the White House in 2012. Mark your calendar. That election is now 734 days away.
Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET. See you then.
CNN Wire Staff
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama on Wednesday blamed the anemic economy for the "shellacking" his fellow Democrats experienced in this week's midterm elections, but he acknowledged his policies hadn't done enough to bring down high unemployment.
His administration has "stabilized" the economy and spurred private-sector hiring, "but people all across America aren't feeling that progress," Obama said in a news conference the day after Republicans seized majority control of the House and whittled down the Democratic majority in the Senate.
He called the results a "shellacking" for him and said: "I've got to take direct responsibility for the fact that we have not made as much progress as we need to make."
"If right now we had 5 percent unemployment instead of 9.6 percent unemployment, then people would have more confidence in those policy choices," Obama said.
The president faced reporters a day after voters replaced at least 60 Democrats in the House of Representatives, according to CNN projections, returning control of the chamber to Republicans, who lost it in 2006. In the Senate, Democrats lost at least six seats but retained control of the chamber, according to the projections based on analysis of exit polling.
Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite! Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:
House Minority Leader John Boehner, center, answers questions from reporters at the U.S. Capitol with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, left, and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, right, November 3, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions! Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.
Update: Beat 360° Winners:
“And I want to give an extra special shout out to the man behind the look, my tanning guy, Tony “The Spray” McGee. No one does Bronze #32 like you, guy!!!”
Amy in K.C., Missouri
"You think my face is more orange than my tie?"
CNN Senior White House Correspondent
Washington (CNN) - When Republican Trent Lott sat down for lunch with Democrat Tom Daschle on Monday afternoon, mere hours before voters shellacked President Obama and his party in the midterm elections, it was more than just two former Senate gladiators getting together to reminisce about old times
Despite their many differences over the years, Lott and Daschle managed to find a way to work together during the bruising days of the Clinton and Bush administrations, where everything from impeachment to Iraq caused deep divisions between the parties.
"He and I are whispering back and forth," Lott told me of his conversations with Daschle.
The two still keep in close touch and are now working back channels to try to get Obama and incoming House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to see that a divided government does not have to mean that the government comes to a screeching halt.
"Tom and I went through this situation on both sides," said Lott, who was the Senate majority leader while Daschle was minority leader. "We've been through three different iterations of circumstances where we found a way to get things done."
(CNN) - House Minority Whip Eric Cantor issued a warning Wednesday to Republicans after the party's takeover of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections.
"This is a second chance for us," he told CNN. "If we blow it again, we will be in the wilderness for a very long time. We have to deliver."
Cantor, who described himself as "energized" despite only three hours of sleep, said the overall message from Tuesday night was a repudiation of Democratic policies, including health care reform.
Cantor is expected to replace Democrat Steny Hoyer in January as the next majority leader, the second-ranking position in House leadership.
Meanwhile, in an emotional speech Tuesday night at a GOP election rally in Washington, the presumptive speaker of the House, Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, told a crowd of supporters, "This is not a time for celebration."
Boehner said, "It is a time to roll up our sleeves and go to work. We can celebrate when small businesses begin hiring again. We can celebrate when the spending binge here in Washington has stopped. And we can celebrate when we have a government that has earned the trust of the people that it serves."
CNN Deputy Political Director
(CNN) - If every end results in a new beginning, then the start of the next race for the White House begins now.
With the midterm elections barely behind them, the dozen or more possible contenders for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination no longer have to keep up the charade that all of their activity on the campaign trail over the past couple of months was solely about helping fellow Republicans this year and had nothing to do with the next race for the White House.
Among those considering presidential bids who were criss-crossing the country were Mississippi governor and Republican Governors Association chairman Haley Barbour, who made a five-day, 13-state swing in support of GOP gubernatorial candidates; former Massachusetts governor and 2008 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who campaigned for Republicans in 25 states since August; Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who made a seven-day eight-state tour; and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who finished up a 12-state, two-week tour.
Other potential White House hopefuls on the campaign trail this fall for fellow Republicans: Sen. John Thune of South Dakota; former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania; former Arkansas governor and 2008 GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, now a talk-show host; Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana; Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who also ran for his party's last presidential nomination; and former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
Jeffrey A. Miron
Special to CNN
Editor's note: Jeffrey A. Miron is senior lecturer and director of undergraduate studies at Harvard University and senior fellow at the Cato Institute. Miron is the author of "Libertarianism, from A to Z." The opinions in this blog are solely those of Jeffrey A. Miron.
California voters have just rejected Proposition 19, the ballot initiative that would have legalized marijuana under state law. Where did Prop 19 go wrong?
Prop 19 failed in part because many proponents emphasized the wrong arguments for legalization. Many advocates promised major benefits to California's budget because of reduced expenditure on marijuana prohibition and increased revenue from marijuana taxation. Other supporters claimed that Mexican drug violence would fall substantially.
Both claims were overblown. The budgetary benefits, while not insignificant, would have been small compared with California's fiscal mess. Mexican drug violence is mainly associated with the cocaine and methamphetamine trades, as well as from marijuana traffic to other states.
Many voters sensed that Prop 19 supporters were overreaching, and this made them suspicious of all the arguments in its favor. Common sense should have recognized that since marijuana was close to legal already, Prop 19 would not have had dramatic effects.
Prop 19 failed also because it overreached. One feature attempted to protect the "rights" of employees who get fired or disciplined for using marijuana, including a provision that employers could only discipline marijuana use that "actually impairs job performance." That is a much higher bar than required by current policy.
Editor's note: The hotly contested campaign for the midterm elections is over. As the results come in, CNN's political contributors share their quick thoughts on what's making news.
Avlon: A victory for checks and balances
So far, the election isn't quite the far-right stampede it was supposed to be. Sen. Michael Bennet in Colorado and Rep. Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania were putting on strong showings in their Senate races; Independent gubernatorial candidates Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island and Eliot Cutler in Maine were also hanging tough.
This election is not - and was never - an outright endorsement of the GOP. It is about independents swinging against unified Democratic control of Washington.
There's also a lot of evidence of ticket splitting this year; look at the GOP's Tom Corbett sailing into the governorship in Pennsylvania, but Pat Toomey trailing his total. In Oregon, Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden was returned to office, but GOP candidate (and former NBA star) Chris Dudley was also elected. This is happening across the country: Voters want the checks and balances but aren't willing to straight-ticket vote if one of the candidates is on the extremes. This is about trying to re-balance government, not empower a new ideological movement.
It's a victory for the founding fathers' vision of checks and balances.
John P. Avlon is a CNN contributor, senior political columnist for The Daily Beast, and author of "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe Is Hijacking America."
Bennett: Vice President Rubio in 2013
Tuesday was a great night for Republicans because as Marco Rubio said, we now have a second chance. It's still important to remember this country is not quite yet a Republican country, but as of Tuesday night it is saying it is most definitely not a Democratic Party country either.
Let us celebrate, but then let us get to work, the serious work we promised.
We must keep our promises, and we must never cease explaining not only our positions but also why we hold them. And look forward to Vice President Rubio in 2013.
William Bennett, a Republican strategist and radio talk show host, is a former education secretary and federal drug czar.