A 'Bad News Day' for Democrats

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," November 3, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Joe, Fox News obviously projects Jon Corzine loses this election, but is it really that Christie won it? I mean, what happened in this race?

JOE TRIPPI, FORMER HOWARD DEAN CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I don't think so. I mean, I think Corzine's the incumbent governor. With the approval ratings he had, most consultants or pundits would say those numbers are terminal. But Christie...

VAN SUSTEREN: So he lost it?

TRIPPI: Christie...

VAN SUSTEREN: So he lost it.

TRIPPI: Yes. I think, you know, you're looking at -- if Christie had been a stronger candidate, he should have really, really done some damage here. He's barely going to win this thing. (INAUDIBLE) 100,000 votes maybe. He's held that margin throughout the night, and we'll see how that holds up.

But look, that -- I really think that this is about people throwing out the ins with the outs. And if George Bush were president of the United States today, they -- and there was a Republican governor of New Jersey, they'd be throwing them out and moving a Democrat in.

And what's really significant is how Daggett and Hoffman up in New York 23, independent third party candidates, are getting enough support to affect the outcome or mess with -- meddle with the two parties. I think both party incumbents should look out in 2010. It's a mistake to think either party's incumbents are safe. They're both in trouble in 2010.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is that right, Karl? Are these independents or sort of insurgent candidates splitting the Republican Party, or is this a really bad message tonight for the Democrats certainly in Virginia and now an incumbent in New Jersey?

KARL ROVE, FORMER GEORGE W. BUSH ADVISER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I respectfully disagree with Joe. Look, there's a huge -- when you go from having a 16,000-vote margin in a Republican county four years ago to having a 79,000-vote margin, that means you got a lot more turnout, and it means you're also winning a bunch of independents. We do know that in Virginia, the exit polls -- excuse me, in New Jersey -- the exit polls four years ago show independents going for Corzine. This year, it shows the independents going significantly for Chris Christie, the Republican.

Look, this is a deep blue state. John McCain got 42 percent of the vote, Barack Obama got 57 percent. And tonight we are seeing Christie winning it with close to 50 percent of the vote in a three-person race.

VAN SUSTEREN: So you don't see it as a threat that the -- the sort of insurgent candidate -- Daggett, of course, didn't have much of an impact in New Jersey...


VAN SUSTEREN: ... but this Hoffman certainly did upstate in New York.

ROVE: And he did because he represented mainstream Republican views, and the Republican candidate who was nominated by 11 county chairmen sitting in a pizzeria turned out not to represent Republican views. I don't disagree with Joe's point that incumbents have got to worry. This is a year in which there's going to be a lot of unpredictability.

But this is -- this state is a bad news story for the Democrats. President Obama came here and made five stops. Vice President Biden was here. They dumped millions of dollars into this. The Republican was outspent 3 to 1. At the end of the campaign, Corzine will have spent north of $30 million and the Republican will have spent $11.5 million.

TRIPPI: I just want to -- tonight's a bad news night for the Democrats. I'm not -- I'm not saying...

VAN SUSTEREN: I understand that.

TRIPPI: It is. I am saying don't misread this and think Republicans are resurgent and safe. There are going to be problems for incumbents regardless of ideology, party, whatever, in 2010 if the economy's still where it is and we still have some of the problems we're facing and we're not getting things done on Capitol Hill.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, back to Bret Baier -- Bret.

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR, "SPECIAL REPORT": All right, Greta. Just moments ago, we got a reaction from the Republican Governor Association, the chairman of that, Governor Haley Barbour releasing a statement saying, "Chris Christie secured a major victory for the Republican Party," and he said, "Defeating a deep-pocketed incumbent in a Democrat state like New Jersey is a tremendous accomplishment and signals the beginning of the GOP's comeback."

We're back with the panel, Brit and Juan. Juan, this is significant. How significant?

JUAN WILLIAMS, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: Well, I thin, it's a -- tomorrow, the narrative of this moment will be that this was a loss for the Democrats. And what you've got to understand is Democrats control the state. Now, you can talk about this as a blue state, but the fact is, the people who turned out to vote tonight are not the same people who turned out to vote in 2008 and gave the state to Barack Obama -- again, fewer young people, fewer blacks, fewer Hispanics, fewer of those people who were sort of energized.

But the people who did turn out -- the people who did turn out tonight have sent a clear message of discontent. And it's even overcome the fact that the state is organized and held by Democratic interests, people who might have turned out votes in the middle of the night if (INAUDIBLE) That didn't matter. The machinery, the Democratic Party machinery, could not deliver New Jersey.

BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: The change in the demographic behavior that Juan just described, the voting behavior of various demographic groups, is a reflection of a difference -- of another change, and that is a change in the intensity of this election. Democrats had the intensity a year ago. They turned out in record numbers. Particular groups within the Democratic Party turned out in really record numbers. Now the intensity is all with - - is all on the other side, with the tea party movement, with the protest votes and so on.

And that's why you see -- I mean, Corzine was unpopular for a lot of reasons and you could make a pretty good case that if Christie had been better candidate, he'd have won by more. I think that's probably a fair statement. Nonetheless, though, tonight, between -- you put the McDonnell race (INAUDIBLE) pretty attractive candidate in McDonnell, ran a disciplined race on the issues, on bedrock conservative issues, together with the loss by Corzine in New Jersey, and you do have a very different atmosphere and picture in this country than you had just a year ago.

BAIER: Much more to talk about the political landscape. Shep, Chris Christie, obviously, a former U.S. attorney, now we're projecting the next governor of New Jersey. He's also a guy who's seen 120 Bruce Springsteen concerts. So I wonder what song he's going to be singing tonight, "Tougher Than the Rest"? What is it?

SHEPARD SMITH, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: That could be it. And you know, one of the things he was attacked by, by the Corzine campaign -- the race got so nasty in the state of New Jersey that the local ads in the city of New York and the city of Philadelphia, which border New Jersey, were saying how fat he was. That, and then on the radio, Chris Christie's like, OK, I'm fat, look at you, you're bald. It came down to that and you wonder how it affected the exit polls.

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