WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama pledged Wednesday to work with Republican lawmakers after their midterm election win but warned he would act without them to protect his core agenda, starting with immigration reform.
The US leader stopped short of accepting direct responsibility for his Democratic party’s colossal defeat at the hands of opponents who successfully turned the election into a repudiation of his policies.
The GOP snatched control of the Senate, tightened its grip on the House of Representatives and won key Democrat governorships, in an election Obama admitted was “a good night” for Republicans.
“To everyone who voted, I want you to know that I hear you,” Obama said.
Congress’s two top Republicans said the new legislature would focus on jobs and the economy, and move to repeal Obama’s signature achievement – the health care bill known as Obamacare, which provides medical insurance for millions who lack it.
“We’ll also consider legislation to help protect and expand America’s emerging energy boom and to support innovative charter schools around the country,” House speaker John Boehner and the incoming Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell wrote in an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.
Democrats suffering from the whiplash of their overwhelming defeat were left to contemplate what went wrong.