Obama: Elections Don’t Indicate Rejection of Administration’s Policies
(CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama said the Republican electoral win of the House of Representatives, with a 61-seat majority over the Democrats, “feels bad.” But the president refused to say that it reflected a rejection of his policies.
“Voters are not satisfied with the outcomes,” Obama said at a Wednesday afternoon post-election news conference. "If, right now, we had 5 percent unemployment instead of 9.6 percent unemployment, then people would have more confidence in those policy choices."
"I think I've got to take direct responsibility for the fact that we have not made as much progress as we need to make," Obama said.
But when asked if he dismissed the idea that the election results were a rejection of his policies, the president said, “Yes.”
Obama said the public might have misperceived the government’s bailout of the banks and auto industries as the “agenda as opposed to a response to an emergency,” adding, “I am sympathetic to those who looked at this and saw it as a potential overreach.”
One reporter asked the president how it felt to see the Democrats lose their majority in the House.
“It feels bad,” Obama said. “The toughest thing for the last couple of days is seeing public servants not being able to serve any more.”
He also said that many Democratic members had cast votes that were politically unpopular, “even though a lot knew it would cause political problems. The courage that they showed, the vision that they showed, is something I value so much I can’t overstate it.”
“I question on my part whether I could have done something different,” the president said.
Obama stressed that he wanted to find common ground with incoming House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), taking questions on the contentious issues of deficit reduction, whether to extend the Bush tax cuts for all or only some taxpayers, and the GOP’s campaign pledge to repeal the $1-trillion health care overhaul.
But he was short on answers to those questions. On health care, Obama said the public did not want their elected representatives to spend the next two years re-litigating the past two years.
And perhaps to fend off predictions of his political demise, Obama pointed out that two-term Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were “pretty good communicators” who took a “shellacking” at the polls after their first two years in office when the economy was not performing well.