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President Obama: ‘I’ve Got to Do a Better Job’

President Obama held a White House press conference Wednesday after the GOP swept to new gains in the 2010 midterm elections.

Updated 4:42 p.m. ET

NewsHour correspondent Kwame Holman was at the White House for the presser. He checked in with some thoughts afterward:

President Obama said both parties now must move on from the campaign to engage the “most important contest” — between the United States and its economic competitors, who are surging ahead in technology and innovation.

To the strengthened Republican Party he faces, he made a plea for civility and willingness to find common ground with him and Congressional Democrats. For his part, he signaled that he may consider extending some Bush-era tax cuts for the highest income earners, if tax cuts for the middle class were assured.

“With respect to the tax cut issue, my goal is to make sure that we don’t have a huge spike in taxes for middle-class families,” he said.

Mr. Obama also said the new Congress might usefully “tweak” the health care reform law, but any repeal of major features – as called for by some Republicans — is very unlikely, given that the law’s individual components actually are quite popular.

He said he’d soon meet with likely new House speaker John Boehner, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic leaders to discuss legislation aimed at bolstering the recovery both in the lame duck Congressional session and beyond.

The president will soon hit the road for a foreign-policy tour – a four-nation Asia trip with U.S. business leaders in tow to push American exports.

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