Obama calls for consensus in post-election speech

US President Barack Obama evoked the need for common ground and consensus in a speech Wednesday, following the Democratic party’s loss of the House of Representatives in Tuesday’s midterm elections.

Reuters/Larry Downing

“No one party will be able to dictate where we go from here,” he told a press conference Wednesday, calling for both parties to work together to tackle the problems facingthe country.

“No person, no party, has a monopoly on wisdom,” he added.

“There are going to be areas of policy where we’re going to have to do a better job,” he conceded. He defended his economic recovery package and the bank and auto industry bailouts saying that they were a “response to an emergency”.

Obama rejected the notion that the election results are a rejection of his policies, but their results.

“Voters are not satisfied with the outcomes,” he said.

Evoking the 2012 presidential election, he said he does not want politics to get in the way of economic recovery, the “number one concern”.

“I hope to make progress on the very serious problems facing us right now,” he said. People “want jobs to come back faster, they want paychecks to go further”.

When asked about how the government will create jobs, with voters making it clear they want no more stimulus spending, he said there were areas to cut. But he stressed there were areas that should not, like education, research and development, and investments in infrastructure.

“We should be able to agree now that it makes no sense that China has better rail systems than us, Singapore has better airports,” he said. “They’re making investments, because they know investments will pay off in the long term.”

He said there was a need to "distinguish between stuff that isn’t an investment in our future, and those things that are necessary for us to deal with increased job growth in the future.”

Obama said the health care reform would not be overturned, because there are many provisions supported by voters. Instead, he called on Republican ideas to improve it.

“What is going to be useful is for us to go through the issues that the Republicans have issues on,” he said, like pre-existing conditions or prescription drugs. “Let’s talk specifics.”

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