More conciliatory than contrite, Mr. Obama used that phrase, “take responsibility,” six times but rejected the suggestion that his policies were moving the country in the wrong direction. He conceded that legislation to limit greenhouse gases was dead and said he was “absolutely” willing to negotiate over the extension of tax cuts, including for the wealthy. But he drew the line at any major retreat from signature priorities, saying he would agree to “tweak” his health care program, not “relitigate arguments” over its central elements.
While Republicans also called for more cooperation, they suggested that Democrats might not have fully absorbed the lessons of their drubbing.
“Their view is that we haven’t cooperated enough,” said Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican minority leader. “I think what the American people were saying yesterday is that they appreciated us saying no to the things that the American people indicated they were not in favor of.”
The trials awaiting a fractured capital could arrive swiftly when the departing Democratic-controlled Congress returns in lame-duck session this month with contentious issues like tax cuts, the federal debt limit, unemployment insurance, an arms control treaty with Russia and gay men and lesbians in the military all on the table.
Read it all.