The Morning Line: Republican Resurgence

BY David Chalian and Terence Burlij  November 3, 2010 at 8:14 AM EDT

House Minority Leader John Boehner
Rep. John Boehner. Photo by Tom Williams/Getty Images
The Morning Line

It was swift and it was certain. The Republican wave that swept over the House of Representatives last night will not only shuffle the balance of power in Congress, but will also cause President Obama to adjust his approach and his agenda in the final half of his term.

The GOP will end up gaining north of 60 Democratic seats when all the counting is done, besting what the party did in 1994 when they won 54 seats to overtake the chamber for the first time in 40 years.

The presumptive next Speaker of the House, Rep. John Boehner, urged supporters last night to immediately join him in getting to work on the ailing economy.

The Democratic losses were widespread throughout the South, a region falling away from Democrats for decades, and through the Midwest, a key battleground in American politics.

Not only did Democrats hang on to their majority in the Senate, but they also hung on to their leader with Sen. Harry Reid’s surprisingly strong defeat of Republican Sharron Angle.

But some Republican star power is headed to the United States Senate as the party held on to all of their own seats and picked up at least six Democratic Senate seats in Pennsylvania, Illinois, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Arkansas and Indiana.

Outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a written statement after most of the votes had been tallied.

“Over the last four years, the Democratic majority in the House took courageous action on behalf of America’s middle class to create jobs and save the country from the worst economic catastrophe since the Great Depression,” she said.

“The outcome of the election does not diminish the work we have done for the American people. We must all strive to find common ground to support the middle class, create jobs, reduce the deficit and move our nation forward,” she added.

It will be a busy day in Washington.

President Obama, who called Speaker-to-be Boehner last night to congratulate him, will face the music at a news conference with reporters in the East Room of the White House at 1:00 p.m. ET.

House Republican leaders John Boehner and Eric Cantor will appear before cameras on this first morning of the promise of new power at 9:15 a.m. ET.

At 11:30 a.m. ET, Speaker-to-be Boehner, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Republican Governors Association chairman Gov. Haley Barbour will hold a news conference to champion the GOP’s big night.

Speaker Pelosi is also expected to sit down with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer for an interview later today.

MORNING HEADLINES

New York Times: G.O.P Captures House, but Falls Short in Senate

“Republicans captured control of the House of Representatives on Tuesday and expanded their voice in the Senate, riding a wave of voter discontent as they dealt a setback to President Obama just two years after his triumphal victory,” writes Jeff Zeleny.

Washington Post: Republicans capture control of House; Dems to retain Senate

“Just four years after surrendering power, Republicans recaptured control of the House and made gains in the Senate on Tuesday night, in a major rebuff of President Obama and the Democrats by an electorate worried about the economy and the size of the government,” writes Dan Balz.

Wall Street Journal: GOP Wins House in Huge Swing

“Republicans won control of the House of Representatives as voters dealt a stiff rebuke to President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party in a historic wave that swept the GOP to power in states and districts across the country,” write Laura Meckler and Jonathan Weisman.

USA Today: Republicans win House, Democrats retain Senate

“Republicans, tapping into widespread anger over the ailing economy and disappointment with President Obama’s leadership, wrested control of the House of Representatives from Democrats in Tuesday’s midterm elections, but fell just short of winning the Senate,” writes Douglas Stanglin.

REID SURVIVES GOP WAVE

A big night for Republicans could have been bigger, but in the Nevada Senate race – one of the most highly prized GOP targets of the midterms – Majority Leader Harry Reid fended off a challenge from Republican Sharron Angle.

Reid’s five-point victory gave Democrats at least 51 seats in the Senate, including two independents who caucus with the party, enough to retain control of the chamber. That number could still tick upwards depending on the outcomes in Colorado, Washington state and Alaska.

Reid took a victory lap on the network morning news shows this morning. On “Good Morning America,” he was asked about how the more closely divided parties in the Senate will work together.

“As happened in all presidencies just like this one, the second Congress of a presidency takes a different turn and we’re going to do that,” said Reid.

“We all know that our majority is smaller than what it was. But, I hope that the leader of the Republicans, Sen. McConnell who is a veteran, will understand that we have to work together. Just saying ‘no’ doesn’t do the trick,” he added.

ABC’s Robin Roberts pressed him on whether or not compromise can be found in the upcoming lame duck session on how to deal with the Bush-era tax cuts.

“Of course,” Reid replied. “My number one goal is to make sure we have tax cuts for the middle class, that is people making up to $250,000. But, again, anything above that, we’re going to have to do it together. I hope we can do that,” he added in a nod that a deal on extending the tax cuts for upper income Americans may be in the offing.

Reid reflected on the win before a raucous crowd at an election night rally at a hotel on the Las Vegas Strip: “I’ve been in some pretty tough fights in my day. They’ve been in the street, in a boxing ring, and in the United States Senate. But I have to admit, this has been one of the toughest. But it’s nothing compared to the fights families are facing all over Nevada right now. This race has been called but the fight is far from over.”

In the Las Vegas Sun’s recap of the race, Anjeannette Damon reports on two key statistics that shed some light on how Reid was able to hold off Angle:

  • 3,000 more Republicans than Democrats voted early in Angle’s home Washoe County, but Reid still trounced her in early voting returns.

  • Despite earlier polling data that indicated Hispanics would skip this election, exit polls showed they accounted for a record 16 percent of total voters.