Obama admits party's electoral defeat his fault

US president calls midterm elections results "a shellacking," admits that most Americans have turned against the bank and automaker bailouts and increasing gov't intrusion into their lives with the new healthcare law.

311_Obama says talk to the hand (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
311_Obama says talk to the hand
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama said Wednesday that voters frustrated by the pace of economic recovery contributed to a Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections. He added, "as president I take responsibility" for the failure to restore job growth more quickly.
Obama ruefully called the Republican victories in Tuesday's election "a shellacking."
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Asked to reflect on the returns, he said, "I feel bad," adding that many Democrats who went down to defeat had done so knowing they risked their careers to support his agenda of economic stimulus legislation and a landmark health care bill.
The president said he was eager to sit down with the leaders of both political parties "and figure out how we can move forward together."
"It won't be easy," he said, noting the two parties differ profoundly in some key areas.
The election was a humbling episode for the once-high-flying president, and the change showed during his news conference. Largely absent were his smiles and buoyant demeanor, replaced by somberness and an acknowledgment that his policies may have alienated some Americans.
"I think people started looking at all this, and it felt as if government was getting much more intrusive into people's lives than they were accustomed to," he conceded. But he wasn't talking surrender either.
He sought to tread a careful line, suggesting he would cooperate with Republicans where it was possible and confront them when it was not.
The president said the economy had begun a recovery since he took office but Americans became wary when they saw government bailouts of failing banks and two of the Big Three US automakers.
"I think people started looking at all this, and it felt as if government was getting much more intrusive into people's lives than they were accustomed to," he conceded.