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Obama: Election Confirms Americans' Frustrations

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U.S. President Barack Obama says the midterm vote on Tuesday confirmed that the American people are deeply frustrated with the struggling U.S. economy.

Mr. Obama says he traveled around the country for the last few months, and the results confirmed what he heard from Americans -- that people are frustrated with the pace of economic recovery. He said the people want Washington to work for them -- and not against them. He said the vote is a reminder that power lies with the people.

He said there is no doubt that the number-one concern for people is the economy.

Mr. Obama spoke at the White House Wednesday, the day after the midterm elections which saa the opposition Republican Party won control of the House of Representatives from the president's Democratic Party.

Republicans made gains in the Senate, but did not win the majority from the Democrats.

During his remarks to the media, Mr. Obama also acknowledged that reaching consensus will be not be easy because both parties have beliefs and principles they feel cannot be compromised.

But the president added political leaders owe to it to Americans to work together on important issues such as job creation, security, clean energy, education and investment technology. The president said the country will need to be strong and united to compete globally.

No person and no one party has a "monopoly on wisdom," said Mr. Obama. He added he is eager to hear good ideas regardless of which party they come from.

"What the American people don't want from us is to spend the next two years re-fighting the political battles of the last two," said the president. And he added, "I do believe there is hope for civility; I do believe there is hope of progress."

The new Congress begins in January.

Mr. Obama acknowledged that reaching consensus will be not be easy because both parties have beliefs and principles they feel cannot be compromised.

But the president added political leaders owe to it to Americans to work together on important issues such as job creation, security, clean energy, education and investment technology.

President Obama said the country will need to be strong and united to compete globally.

He said no person and no one party has a "monopoly on wisdom." He said he is eager to hear good ideas regardless of which party they come from.

The U.S. leader said "what the American people don't want from us is to spend the next two years re-fighting the political battles of the last two."

President Obama added, "I do believe there is hope for civility; I do believe there is hope of progress."

Mr. Obama says there are policy areas where his administration will have to do better.

He says he is looking to find common ground with Republicans.

The president acknowledged that the American people may have viewed his policies dealing with banks, the auto industry and economic recovery as potential over-reach by the government. He said those decisions were made because of the emergency nature of the situation, as institutions were on the verge of collapse and the country was at risk of slipping into a second Great Depression.

The president says he will work harder to reach consensus to get work done.

On the Republicans' threat to slow down the implementation of Mr. Obama's health care reform law, Mr. Obama suggested both sides talk about specific provisions that concern Republicans.

The president said many Americans support key portions of the new law, such as ensuring medical coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and helping elderly Americans get prescription drugs.

President Obama also addressed Republican opposition to the level of stimulus spending his administration has pushed through. The president said the key will be for both sides to find ways to sustain and expand the current economic recovery, while making budget choices that still stimulate job growth.

The president urged all sides in Washington to negotiate "with an open mind." He acknowledged that without Republican support, it will be difficult to push through his agenda. But he expressed hope they could work together.

President Obama says the American people want to reform how Washington works and want to see a more transparent open government.

He says the toughest thing about the election is that many lawmakers, who he called good public servants, will not have the opportunity to continue their service. He says they cast votes knowing it would cost them politically. He says he wonders if he could have done more to help them stay in office.

He also strongly defended his administration efforts especially his passage of health care reform, which passed in Congress earlier this year with strong opposition from Republicans.

He was also asked about the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that prohibits openly homosexual people from serving in the military needs to be repealed. Mr. Obama says people should not be prevented from serving their country because of their sexual orientation, but he says the change needs to be done in an orderly manner.

President Obama says the American people want to reform how Washington works and want to see a more transparent open government.

He says the toughest thing about the election is that many lawmakers, who he called good public servants, will not have the opportunity to continue their service. He says they cast votes knowing it would cost them politically. He says he wonders if he could have done more to help them stay in office.

He also strongly defended his administration efforts especially his passage of health care reform, which passed in Congress earlier this year with strong opposition from Republicans.

He was also asked about the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that prohibits openly homosexual people from serving in the military, saying repealing the policy should not be a partisan issue. Mr. Obama says people should not be prevented from serving their country because of their sexual orientation, but he says the change needs to be done in an orderly manner.

© VOA -


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