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Press (Finally) Toughens Up to Obama

4:13 PM, Nov 3, 2010 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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The last time the Republicans gained this many seats in the House while also regaining control of the chamber was in the 19th century. Moreover, at President Obama's press conference following this historic repudiation of him and his party by the American voters, the first three questions offered a striking indication of how little the press corps is now buying into President Obama or his explanations of events:

Press (Finally) Toughens Up to Obama

From Ben Feller, AP:  "Are you willing to concede at all that what happened last night was not just an expression of frustration about the economy, but a fundamental rejection of your agenda? And, given the results, who do you think speaks to the true voice of the American people right now, you or John Boehner?"

From Savannah Guthrie, NBC:  "Just following up on what Ben just talked about, you don't seem to be reflecting [on] or second-guessing any of the policy decisions you've made, instead saying the message the voters were sending was about frustration with the economy, or maybe even chalking it up to a failure on your part to communicate effectively. If you're not reflecting on your policy agenda, is it possible that voters can conclude, you're still not getting it?"

From Mike Emanuel, Fox News:  "Health care:  As you're well aware, obviously a lot of Republicans ran against your health-care law.  Some have called for repealing the law.  I'm wondering, sir, if you believe that [the] health-care reform that you worked so hard on is in danger at this point and whether there's a threat as a result of this election?"

President Obama's answer to the last question is worth noting in part, as it's an eye-opener:  "I think we'd be misreading the election if we thought that the American people want to see us for the next two years re-litigate arguments that we had over the last two years." 

In response to Emanuel's follow-up question that cited exit polls showing that about half of all voters want Obamacare to be repealed (fully triple the number who are content with it as is), Obama – perhaps reflecting on the loss of at least 60 Democratic congressional seats in the wake of Obamacare's passage, and of about two-thirds of the 37 Senate and 37 gubernatorial seats that were up this time around – did grant this much:  "[O]bviously, this is an issue that has been contentious." 

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