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CBS's Schieffer: Obama Win 'No Stamp of Approval' for Agenda; Spotlights 'He Almost Lost The Popular Vote'

Bob Schieffer poured cold water on President Obama's victory during CBS's post-election coverage on early Wednesday morning: "He's not going to have a mandate here. The President has been re-elected, but nobody's put the stamp of approval on his program. I mean, when the vote is this close...he's going to have a very, very difficult time."

Schieffer repeated these same points on Wednesday's CBS This Morning, and pointed out that the incumbent liberal "almost lost the popular vote...so people are going to step back, and they're going to say, why should I cooperate with him?"

Just after the bottom of the 12 midnight Eastern hour, the Face the Nation host, whose left-leaning bias didn't emerge when he moderated the last presidential debate between Obama and Mitt Romney, noted that "from the standpoint of trying to govern, I think – even if he wins the popular vote by only 10 or 15 votes, I think it will be a little easier. He's not going to have a mandate here."

Schieffer later added that "this was a tactical victory tonight....This was not an election about big ideas - about what is America's role in the world going to be. This was a victory by some very clever politicians, and, I mean – my hat's off to them. They figured out that they had to define Mitt Romney under their own terms."

The veteran CBS journalist expanded on these points on the morning newscast over six hours later:

CHARLIE ROSE: ...So, what's next?

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, a lot of trouble – that's what's next. I mean – and I mean this with no disrespect - Barack Obama won. He won the battleground states. That's what this was - a battleground state election - but I don't think he got what I would call a mandate last night. I don't see any stamp of approval on his programs. He's still got to face that same Congress; he's still got to face a Washington that is totally gridlocked - and what happens next? Maybe...the election will have some impact, but I'm going to wait and see....

You know, he won all these battleground states, but he almost lost the popular vote. I mean – so people are going to step back, and they're going to say, why should I cooperate with him? I mean, you know, we talked about this last night, Norah: you've got a – you've got a Congress there with approval ratings down there – you know, down there – and, and, and – yeah, they all got reelected.

The transcript from CBS's live coverage of the election results on early Wednesday morning:

SCOTT PELLEY: Let's have a look at the popular vote - this is the national popular vote - and as you can see, nearly tied - 49 million for the President, 49 million for Mitt Romney - just almost an exact tie. A lot of count – a lot of votes are still being counted, and this will go on probably for several days. We won't know what the exact national tally will be for several more days. But it's interesting that the two men, at this point, are dead even, but that the President has a significant advantage in the electoral vote count, which, of course, is the only count that matters. Bob?

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, I think it is interesting that we're now seeing Barack Obama pull ahead – you know, slightly, but at least he's pulling ahead. I think from the standpoint of trying to govern, I think even if – if he wins the popular vote by only 10 or 15 votes, I think it will be a little easier. He's not going to have a mandate here. The President has been re-elected, but nobody's put the stamp of approval on his program. I mean, when the vote is this close, he – he's going to have a very, very difficult time.

PELLEY: He had 200 – he has 290 electoral votes, according to our projection at this point in time. But in 2008, Norah, he won with 365 electoral votes - a very different story.

NORAH O'DONNELL: That's right. It was a very different story, and that's why Obama had a large margin of victory in 2008. And then, he was able to – that shrunk - that coalition shrunk, and he did not do – have as big a margin as he had, certainly, in 2008, which was a – seven points he won nationally over John McCain.

The – there's other, just, some interesting trends, though, I just think that are interesting tonight - the composite of the electorate, the number of women that have been elected to the Senate, a record number of Latinos that have been elected to the House of Representatives. So, there are some other interesting stories out there that are, sort of, changing the way politics as – even though we have, for the most part, a status quo election.

SCHIEFFER: But this was a tactical victory tonight-

O'DONNELL: That's a good point-

SCHIEFFER: This is what we saw. This was not an election about big ideas - about what is America's role in the world going to be. This was a victory by some very clever politicians, and, I mean – my hat's off to them. They figured out that they had to define Mitt Romney under their own terms, and they turned Mitt Romney - rightly or wrongly - they – while he was talking about fixing the economy, they were talking about, you know, a vacation house that had car elevators. They were talking about, you know, trying to keep taxes low for his rich friends. This was a tactical victory.

— Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.