President Obama, reflecting on the Democrats’ historic losses in Congress in the midterm election, appealed Wednesday for both parties to find “common ground” while continuing to stand by his administration’s policies.
Though those policies were used to tarnish Democrats in races across the country, Obama described his decisions to date as “tough” but “right.” But as he faces down a new landscape in Congress starting in January, the president said he must take “direct responsibility” for the frustration over the economy that led to those changes and pledged to do more to reach “consensus” with Republicans.
“No party has a monopoly on wisdom,” the president said. “I want to engage both Democrats and Republicans. … I do believe there is hope for civility. I do believe there’s hope for progress.”
The news conference in Washington gave Obama his first opportunity to explain what his approach will be to a split Congress, with Republicans decisively in charge of the House and cutting deep into the Democrats’ majority in the Senate.
Pressed for specifics, Obama suggested he’d be open to joining Republicans in calling for a moratorium on earmarks and taking a second look at a controversial provision in the health care law that requires businesses to file 1099 tax forms for large purchases.
Republican leaders, in a series of speeches since Tuesday night’s victories, have called on Obama to move toward the center. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, calling the election a “referendum” on Obama’s policies, pointedly said Wednesday that the Democrats can either “work with us” or face another “change” election in 2012.
Obama on Wednesday directly attributed GOP gains to frustration over the economy, declining to sign on to claims that it was a referendum on his policies.
“Some election nights are more fun than others. Some are exhilarating. Some are humbling,” Obama said. “Yesterday’s vote confirmed what I’ve heard from folks all across America. People are frustrated, they’re deeply frustrated with the pace of our economic recovery.”
Republicans are projected to pick up about 65 seats in the House of Representatives, surpassing the gains they made in the 1994 election. They will not take the majority in the Senate but so far have snatched six seats away from Democrats.
Source: Fox News