President Obama's day-after reaction to election 'shellacking'

By Jon H. Harsch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, Nov. 3 - In a White House press conference Wednesday, President Obama called the mid-term election results which put Republicans back firmly in control of the House, near parity in the Senate, and with far greater control of state governorships and legislatures “a shellacking.” He said he looks forward to working with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the presumptive new House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to find “common ground” after an election which he found “humbling.”

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Obama said that as with every election, Tuesday's results are another “reminder that in our democracy, power rests not with those of us in elected office but with the people we have the privilege to serve” and that “no person, no party has a monopoly on wisdom.” He said that it's now time for “honest and civil debate about the choices that we face.” He called for “all of us, including me, to work harder at building consensus.” He called for switching from campaigning to governing.

Concerning the country's continuing economic problems, Obama acknowledged that he has to “take direct responsibility for the fact that we have not made as much progress as we need to make.” He said he's optimistic that despite the challenges, Republicans and Democrats will be able to find “a whole bunch of areas where we can agree.” Specifically, he said he expects agreement to coming up with a new energy policy focused on achieving energy independence, to include more development on natural gas, energy efficiency, electric vehicles, and nuclear power.

Obama said a second basis for agreement should be education, so that “our kids are equipped in terms of their education, their science background, their math backgrounds, to compete in this new global economy.”

Obama also engaged in a bit of blame shifting, nothing that that when he took over in January 2009, “We already had a big deficit that I inherited, and that has been made worse because of the recession.” He also said that while he will welcome having Republicans present their specific ideas for economic recovery and creating jobs, he doesn't believe that recovery and jobs can be created by “tax cuts alone.” He also noted that he begins his 10-day trip to Asia on Friday, going to India, Indonesia, South Korean and Japan. He said his focus will be on new efforts “to open up markets,” so that American businesses can prosper and create jobs.

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