On Wednesday's NBC Today, political director Chuck Todd cited Florida as evidence of "this demographic time bomb went off and caught the Republicans off guard," referring to the Hispanic vote in Tuesday's election. He then predicted the same "bomb" could go off in other states in the future: "...it's going to happen in Georgia....Texas and the state of Arizona..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
During a panel discussion moments earlier, there was universal consensus among NBC journalists that GOP must abandon its principles to attract more voters. Meet the Press moderator David Gregory proclaimed: "The party has got to find a way to reach out to Latinos, the fastest growing voting bloc, to become a more diverse party with the ability to shed some of the orthodoxy around taxes, around spending over the role of government, and this process is going to begin this morning, the soul searching and redefinition."
Andrea Mitchell declared: "...it's going to be the Republican governors that end up leading the Republican party to rethink its destiny because it is not in this – it cannot ignore demography." Tom Brokaw agreed: "...there's something else under way this morning within the Republican Party, saying, 'We have to change. We cannot go on like this because we keep narrowing the base.'"
At one point, co-host Savannah Guthrie exclaimed: "Some people say it will be Republican soul searching, other Republicans have said it will be civil war." She was referring to former McCain campaign adviser Steve Schmidt asserting on Tuesday's Today that such a "civil war" would erupt if Romney lost the election. During the same segment, left-wing PBS host Tavis Smiley announced that the GOP was "toast" in a "multiracial" America.
On Wednesday, Mitchell fretted over Republicans remaining in control of the House of Representatives: "This is a more partisan House among the House Republicans....you have both houses with Republican leadership saying no new taxes, no compromise." She then touted: "There are some people willing to work around that. You've got John Cornyn who made a very gracious statement. Others leaning – they've been working behind the scenes. Can they come together, and can we find leaders outside of Congress?"
Here is a full transcript of the November 7 segment:
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Our political team is here to break things down. NBC's Andrea Mitchell, NBC News special correspondent Tom Brokaw and David Gregory, moderator of "Meet the Press" collectively sleepless in Democracy Plaza. Good morning, everybody.
ANDREA MITCHELL: Good morning.
GUTHRIE: Let's go to the bottom line here, if we look at the electoral results it looks like a rout. If you look at the national polling, you see a much closer race. How close is this race David, and what does it mean for governing?
DAVID GREGORY: Well, I think it ultimately wasn't as close because the Obama team did what it had to do. It believed the electorate would look a certain way, namely be considerably more diverse and that they could get those voters out, despite the fact that a lot of younger voters, Latinos, other minorities were not as fired up about the president four years on after a very tough four years, but they got those folks out, overwhelmed that enthusiasm for Romney and against the president but there's still a lot of divisions here. We heard it from some leaders on Capitol Hill last night saying that there's no mandate here for the president. That will be debated given these results.
GUTHRIE: Leads me to the next question. We have a status quo election. You wake up, you have a Democratic senate, you have a Republican house. You have a president, President Obama. Business as usual. Does that mean we're going to have status quo gridlock? In my mind it reminds me of an old expression it's like winning a pie-eating contest and the prize is more pie.
MITCHELL: You know. This is a more partisan House among the House Republicans. The Democrats did not pick up seats. They lost seats. The Senate is a different animal. The Democrats did very well there, but you have both houses with Republican leadership saying no new taxes, no compromise. There are some people willing to work around that. You've got John Cornyn who made a very gracious statement. Others leaning – they've been working behind the scenes. Can they come together, and can we find leaders outside of congress? I continue to believe that it's going to be the Republican governors that end up leading the Republican party to rethink its destiny because it is not in this – it cannot ignore demography.
GUTHRIE: I want to talk about the Republican party in a moment, but first this is not an abstract proposition can they work together, Tom? We face a fiscal cliff, huge issues, and there's going to have to be some kind of compromise.
TOM BROKAW: Well. it's judgment day, the day after the election for everybody frankly, and I don't think that there's anyone in the House or the Senate or anyone that I know and certainly not the president who wants to go off that cliff come January because it's going to be a terrible scar. Not only on those individuals and on their parties, but on this country at a very crucial time. So my guess is that the president will initiate something reasonably bold, and as Andrea indicated, I think there will be pressure from the outside in Washington.
Simultaneously, there's something else under way this morning within the Republican party saying we have to change. We cannot go on like this because we keep narrowing the base. There are a lot of Republicans, very senior Republicans who have had success in the past who looked at that primary procedure and saw that as a prescription for what happened last night. They were running a retro campaign in the 21st century when things have changed, and the Obama people were running a post modern campaign with technology and looking at the diverse electorate that we now have.
GUTHRIE: Some people say it will be Republican soul searching, other Republicans have said it will be civil war, David.
GREGORY: Well there's no question. Paul Ryan is going to be a leader of this party. Is it that they weren't conservative enough? Sort of defining the new conservatism. The reality is Mitt Romney won a near historic portion of the white vote in America, and he suffered a very bad loss. That's because the country looks different. It has changed. The party has got to find a way to reach out to Latinos, the fastest growing voting bloc, to become a more diverse party with the ability to shed some of the orthodoxy around taxes, around spending over the role of government, and this process is going to begin this morning, the soul searching and redefinition.
GUTHRIE: Alright, Andrea, Tom and David, we know you'll be watching, but i hope you sleep at some point today.
MITCHELL: Thank you.
GUTHRIE: Thank you so much. Matt.
MATT LAUER: Savannah, thanks. Chuck Todd, NBC's Political Director and Chief White House correspondent continues to crunch the numbers, even at this early hour. Chuck, good morning to you.
CHUCK TODD: Good morning, Matt. You know, one of the ways, the best ways to show this election is frankly, the state of Florida. Yes, we have it uncalled right now and all the remaining vote, it really does look like, unless there's some sort of accident in Florida, missing ballots, and it is Florida, so you never know. The president is likely to carry Florida, but I want to show you sort of how this demographic time bomb went off and caught the Republicans off guard. It happened right here in the I-4 corridor, and in particular right here in Orlando. I'm going to give you Osceola County, this is a county that the president won by 25 points, 27,000 votes. Just two election cycles ago, this was a county won by President Bush by 5,000 votes. The big change in this county, is an influx of non-Cuban Hispanics in Florida. This tells you more really than anything else.
We can go into the other states, and talk about how it happened in Virginia and how it happened a little bit in Colorado. But really, Florida just shows you the next place where this will happen. Where this demographic time bomb went off, it's going to happen in Georgia. The fastest growing bloc in Georgia is Hispanics, Texas and the state of Arizona and this is where, to just sort of add to this – add to this story line here of what the Republican party is facing, this issue with Hispanics potentially becoming a 75-25 Democratic voting bloc here. It's how Florida – where Mitt Romney outperformed John McCain and still lost, simply because of Hispanics. Matt.
LAUER: Yeah, Chuck Todd using his gadgets to illustrate what David Gregory was just talking about here in the studio. Chuck, thank you very much.