As prospects for Democrats holding onto the U.S. Senate dimmed, the White House sought to distance President Barack Obama from Democrats getting voted out of office in today’s midterm elections.
“Ultimately, you know, it’s the quality of these candidates that’s going to be the driver of their success in this election,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said today when asked about Democratic gubernatorial races that were the focus of the president’s campaigning.
That the White House is leaning away from taking blame if Democrats suffer losses is a change in tone from four years ago, when Obama took responsibility for what he called a “shellacking” of his party in the 2010 midterm elections.
Obama has no public events scheduled today, keeping a low profile as Americans vote. He has closed-door meetings scheduled about the U.S. response to the Ebola outbreak, as well as with International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
The president will be watching the election results in the White House, Earnest said. “He’ll be gathering information that’s not publicly available” from his political advisers, he said.
The White House hasn’t released details of the president’s schedule for tomorrow, when the results of some states’ Senate elections may still be undetermined.
Republicans need to gain a net six seats to assume control of the Senate. A Washington Post poll analysis gives Republicans a 97 percent chance of achieving their goal, while the New York Times says they have a 70 percent chance.
Four years ago after the elections, Obama said he was taking to heart the signal sent by the election, as Republicans took control of the U.S. House and gained seats in the Senate.
“The voters sent us a message, which is they want us to focus on the economy and jobs,” Obama said then. “We have to take that message to heart and make a sincere and consistent effort to try to change how Washington operates.”
© Copyright 2023 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.