After elections, Obama’s in the Red

A subdued President Barack Obama yesterday pledged to seek compromise with Republicans who won big in congressional elections and admitted he had lost touch with voters who delivered a “shellacking” to him and his Democrats.

A subdued President Barack Obama yesterday pledged to seek compromise with Republicans who won big in congressional elections and admitted he had lost touch with voters who delivered a “shellacking” to him and his Democrats.

But on issue after issue, Obama gave little ground on his positions as the two sides prepare to enter negotiations over how to tackle the sour economy.

At a White House news conference Obama confessed to having suffered a long night on Tuesday as Republicans romped to control of the House of Representatives and made gains in the Senate — handing him the biggest political defeat of his career.

While stressing his commitment to finding common ground with Republican opponents he has battled for two years, Obama made clear there were some lines he would not cross.

“I’m not suggesting this will be easy,” Obama said. “I won’t pretend that we’ll be able to bridge every difference or solve every disagreement.”

Gone was the campaign rhetoric in which Obama skewered Republicans for wanting to take the country back to economic policies he believes have been discredited. Looking tired, Obama spoke in a subdued monotone.

Asked if he had fallen out of touch with Amer­icans, Obama said that “in the rush of activity, sometimes we lose track of the ways that we connected with folks that got us here in the first place.”

He said a readjustment in thinking in response to political setbacks is something every president has to experience.

“Now I’m not recommending to every future president that they take a shellacking like I did last night,” he said with a wry smile. “I’m sure there are easier ways to learn these lessons.”

GOP vows to roll back Obama agenda

Exuberant Republicans promised yesterday to exercise their new power in Congress to roll back some of the president’s key accomplishments, but a somber Obama said voters wanted both parties to work harder to find consensus.

“It’s pretty clear the American people want a smaller, less costly and more accountable government,” Republican John Boehner, in line to become the next House of Representatives speaker, told reporters.

Boehner, the current House minority leader, put lower government spending at the top of Congress’ agenda next year.

Republicans have also been pushing for bigger tax cuts than Obama wants, which would add more to the federal debt than would Democratic tax-cut proposals.

 
 
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