WASHINGTON (November 4, 2010) – A somber President Obama took the podium on the State Floor of the White House on Nov. 3 to discuss the election nightmare Democrats face in the wake of the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives.

The press conference lacked the charm and clever rhetoric the president has displayed throughout his career and especially on the campaign trail in recent months. Instead, he was more like a general taking a stock of his troops after suffering major casualties in battle. “Over the past two years we’ve made progress, but clearly many Americans haven’t felt that progress and they told us that yesterday,” Obama said. “As president, I take that responsibility.”

The president said lessons must be learned from what happened on election night and one of those lessons is that the American people do not want to see competition between the two dominant political parties in the country. Instead, he said, America wants to see progress so the entire country can compete globally.

“Both Democrats and Republicans have certain beliefs and certain principles that each believes cannot be compromised,” he said. “What I think the American people are expecting is to focus on those issues that affect their jobs, their security and their future – reducing our deficit, promoting a clean energy economy, making sure that our children are the best educated in the world, and making sure that we’re making the investments in technology that’ll allow us to keep our competitive edge in a global economy.”

The gathered press peppered the president with a barrage of difficult questions regarding his policies, his personal feelings for friends who were defeated and whether or not he was out of touch with the American people. The president answered those questions very deliberately but categorically denied that the election was a sign that his policies were driving the country backwards instead of forward as he claimed on the campaign trail. “Here’s the bottom line: When I came into office, the economy was in freefall,” the president said. “The economy has stabilized. The economy is growing. We’ve seen nine months of private sector job growth. I think it would be hard argue that we’re going backwards. What we can argue is that we’re stuck in neutral.

“We are not moving the way we need to make sure that folks have the jobs, opportunity and are seeing economic growth the way they need to,” he continued. “That’s going to require Democrats and Republicans to come together to look for the best ideas.”


George Barnette

Special to the AFRO