White House: Tuesday's GOP Wins Not About Obama

November 4, 2009 - 11:44 AM
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters Wednesday that voters went to the polls in Virginia and New Jersey to work through "very local issues that didn't involve the president."
Washington (AP) - The White House says that Republican wins in two governors' races were not referendums on the president.
 
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters Wednesday that voters went to the polls in Virginia and New Jersey to work through "very local issues that didn't involve the president."
 
The presidential spokesman said voters were concerned about the economy. He said "I don't think the president needed an election or an exit poll to come to that conclusion."
 
Republicans turned aside Democratic candidates in both states, raising questions about the limits of the president's influence on his party's base of support and on the moderate lawmakers he needs to advance his legislative priorities.
 
As for reports that Obama did not watch the election returns Tuesday night, Gibbs said it’s true:  "He did not watch election returns. I would not read a lot into that because he did not watch election returns when he was running,” the spokesman said on Wednesday.
 
Gibbs told reporters that he sent the president election updates Tuesday evening. Instead of watching election returns, Obama reportedly was watching an HBO documentary about his own election in 2008.
 
Gibbs said the president called the losing Democratic candidates Creigh Deeds and Jon Corzine Tuesday night and will call the Republican victors – Bob McDonnell and Chris Christie – today.