TODAY   |  November 07, 2012

Kaine: GOP can’t put ‘hard face’ to Latino voters

Virginia Senator-elect Tim Kaine weighs in on what made the difference for him and the president in his state, how Obama plans to work with the GOP and why it may be a more cooperative relationship in this second term.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> the president's keys to victories, his wins in battleground states like virginia . that state was also home to a very bitter senate race. former governor and ex-dnc chairman tim kaine holding off a challenge from republican george allen . senator-elect kaine joins us now.

>> matt, great to be back with you guys.

>> what made the difference. you heard our experts talk about what made the difference nationally what. made the difference for you and for the president in virginia ?

>> well, matt, first, virginia has moved from reliably red to just complete battleground. some people thought the president's win here in 2008 was a fluke, but it's not, as we showed last night. the president won by about three points. i won by about five. the growth of the northern virginia suburbs around d.c. has been very helpful, but we're just also seeing, you know, virginians embracing an economy that is quite strong here. they believe in a balanced approach to dealing with the deficit and especially virginians want people who can find common ground . that's who we are and that's what it said last night.

>> i want to talk about the common grown. the electoral number 303 for the president, and we don't know what happened in florida yet, so obviously people are going to say does that give him a mandate? how would you qualify or quantify the mandate that president obama won last night?

>> well, the way i would say it, matt, is this. i think the president definitely has a mandate likely with florida, but because the nation put a democratic senate and made it a little more democratic and a republican house and kept it, you know, fairly republican, i basically think the american public is saying to us we want cooperative government. we don't want all the levers in one party's hands. we're going to force you to work together.

>> didn't the american public say that after 2008 as well, and look what happened? why is it going to be different?

>> because the -- there's so much bad that's going to happen by year end if we go over this fiscal cliff that i think that's going to bring both parties together for a solution that will then springboard into a bigger picture budget deal, and second i was listening earlier. i do think the republican party is going to look in the mirror and decide that they need to work hand in hand with democrats on issues like immigration reform . in the future of the republican party , they are not going to continue to put such a hard face towards latino voters, and so that's going to provide an opportunity for another significant issue where we can build bridges i think early in 2013 .

>> going back to the fiscal cliff for a second, negotiations over that. you're going to have paul ryan , governor romney's running mate and the chairman of the house budget committee sitting across the table from the president. what do you think that's going to be like?

>> well, it's -- you know, look, i think these folks have been in this line of work for a while. there's going to be some tender feels, but at the end of the day we have to put the country first. nobody wants to see this fiscal cliff without a deal because the cuts are severe and the tax increases are severe, and so we've got to find a path forward, and i think -- i was talking to senator webb who is a wonderful senator who i will be succeeding in the senate, and he was reminding me, a senate staffer a number of years ago, he said we see these things happen. there's some jousting before election day , but he feels real confident that we'll find a deal, and i think that deal will start to unleash a shackle on the american economy . congress is the major shackle right now, the dysfunction in congress. we see other signs of lift. we've got to have a congress that can work together and between now and year end i think that's going to be our opportunity to take that first big step.

>> senator-elect tim kaine down in virginia , once again, congratulations to you.