Thu, Nov 06, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Disaster for Obama as Republicans win Senate, fortify House


Red lights illuminate the Empire State Building in New York to mark a victory for the Republican Party as the midterm US Senate elections results are announced on Tuesday.

Photo: AFP

Republicans rode a wave of voter discontent to seize control of the US Senate, dealing a punishing blow to US President Barack Obama that will limit his legislative agenda and may force him to make a course correction for his last two years in office.

The Republican rout on Tuesday was wide and deep in what was bound to be seen as a sharp rebuke to Obama, who has lurched from crisis to crisis and whose unpopularity made him unwelcome to Democratic candidates in many contested states.

Obama, who watched election returns from the White House and saw little to warm his spirits, scheduled a news conference for 2:50pm yesterday. He invited Democratic and Republican leaders of the US Congress to the White House tomorrow to take stock of the new political landscape.

The Republicans also sealed their grip on the US House of Representatives. When the new Congress takes power in January, they will be in charge of both chambers for the first time since 2006.

The Republican takeover in the Senate will force Obama to scale back his ambitions to either executive actions that do not require legislative approval, or items that might gain bipartisan support, such as trade agreements and tax reform.

It also will test his ability to compromise with newly empowered political opponents who have been resisting his legislative agenda since he was first elected in 2008. Americans elected him to a final four-year term in 2012.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a possible presidential candidate in 2016 who campaigned for fellow Republicans around the country, said the Senate results put the onus on Obama.

“We need to get things done ... and put things on the president’s desk and make the president make some decisions,” Christie said on CBS This Morning.

The shift in the Senate also could prompt a White House staff turnover as some exhausted members of the Obama team consider departing in favor of fresh legs.

In Tuesday’s comprehensive rout, Republicans won in places where Democrats were favored, taking a Senate race in North Carolina and victories where the going was tough, like a Senate battle in Kansas. They also swept a number of governors’ races in states where Democrats were favored.

Yet once the euphoria of their victory ebbs, Republicans will be under pressure to show Americans they are capable of governing.

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