Day after the midterm debacle for Democrats, President Barack Obama pledged to do all he can to work with a Republican congress but, he made clear, there were red-lines.
He will veto any attempt, for instance, to legislate a recall of his signature healthcare reform. And, he made clear, he will use executive authority to move the ball on immigration.
Mitch McConnell, Republican senator slated to take charge as the senate majority leader, also vowed to work with the president, but warned of potential friction points.
Such as the president’s plan to use executive action on immigration. That will “poison the well”, he said at a news briefing. It would be was like “waving a red flag before a bull”.
But both Obama and McConnell spoke of some issues that they felt they could move on right away — trade deals to boost exports and corporate tax reforms, for instance.
Republicans took the senate Tuesday night with seven net wins (they needed only six), and tightened their grip on the House of Representatives adding 13 new seats to their majority.
Addressing a news conference on Wednesday, President Obama said he had heard the voters — “I hear you” — but insisted their message was intended for both parties.
Observers noted the president’s relative lack of remorse or contrition over the drubbing when compared to his admission of getting a “shellacking” in the 2010 midterms.
Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank wrote Wednesday that the president spoke at the news briefing as if “Tuesday (election night) had been but a minor irritation”.
“He announced no changes in staff or policy, acknowledged no fault or error and expressed no contrition or regret.”
Obama did say at the news briefing that he had seen enough ups and downs in politics to get “mopey” about electoral defeats.
And — he pressed this point several time — only a third of registered voters had voted on Tuesday, most of them had stayed away— not everyone.
But he will do his best.
“I’m going to try different things -- whether it’s having a drink with Mitch McConnell or letting John Boehner beat me again at golf,” Obama said in a lighter vein.