Reading the Exit Polls: Today’s Qs for O’s WH — 11/4/10

By Jenny Schlesinger

Nov 4, 2010 4:28pm

TAPPER: You have said and the president also suggested that the message of Tuesday's elections is that the American people want the parties to work together.  Where do you get that from?

GIBBS:  Well, again, I think if you look at — both parties are — both parties in the exit poll were not held in tremendously high regard.  I think Washington writ large was not held in high regard, and I think people disapproved of, according to those polls, the way Congress worked. I think if you — if you were to look at how to fix that, it's working together.  I think that's — I think that's — I think that's what most people took. 

TAPPER:  A majority of the American people think that the president's policies will do long-term harm to the nation.  I know the president said that if unemployment were lower, they'd have more confidence in the policies.  But if you're going by the exit poll, it would seem that the message from Tuesday is they don't like what this administration is doing and therefore when the Republicans say they were elected to stop what the president is doing, at least based on the same exit poll you cite, they have a case to make.  

GIBBS:  Well, look, I think if you look at — let's take the issue of health care, which I think is what Senator McConnell's speech was on.  I think most of the people that cited health care as an issue for voting supported the Democratic Party. And I think almost evenly split were improving or keeping what we have versus repealed.  So, again, I think we are — we're in the midst of — and we've seen independents in — quite frankly, in the last three election cycles, side with different political parties. I think that's because they want Washington to work for them, not against them, and I think that's — again, that's the message that we took from this campaign.  

TAPPER:  Since Senator McConnell today did say that the Republicans would be pressing repeatedly, in his words, to repeal the health care bill and to repeal the financial bill — he suggested also the financial regulation reform — will the president veto any efforts to do either of those?  

GIBBS:  Well, I — I honestly don't think it will come to that. Let's take financial reform.  I just mentioned health care reform.  You know, there is certainly nothing in the message, I think, that came out of Tuesday that suggests that going back to the health care system that allowed insurance companies to control whether or not patients that — think they have policies, are covered when they get sick, I don't think that's — I don't think any data suggests that that's what people want to see after Tuesday.  

And as it relates to the financial reform, you know, there — rules were — rules were put in place to change the behavior of Wall Street and to prevent what happened in September of 2008 and what led up to it from ever happening again. I think that's what — I think those are common-sense policies that the American people strongly believe in.  I think, whether it's protecting consumers, ensuring that people aren't hoodwinked into bad loans, making sure that trading things like derivatives are done in the light of day on an exchange, rather than — rather than not, is — is what people want.  

TAPPER:  McConnell said he's going to try to — you say he can't repeal the bill, which he said — he suggested that you won't be able to — Republicans won't be able to because of the president being in the White House and Democrats still controlling the Senate.  They will at least try to starve the health care bill by depriving it of funding.  I should have been more specific.  Is that — would the president veto those kinds of efforts?  

GIBBS:  Again, I don't — I don't think it's going to — I don't think we'll get to that. 

- Jake Tapper

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