Takes Two to Tango? Dems & GOP View Cooperation Through Vastly Different Lens

Nov 3, 2010 3:40pm

ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe reports:

Leaders in both parties have repeated again & again today that they need to “work together” in the wake of the election, but a closer look at how they’re interpreting yesterday’s results could be the first indication of the type of gridlock we might see in Congress for the next two years.

Take Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s opinion:

“They may have missed the message somewhat,” McConnell said of Democrats at a press conference this morning on Capitol Hill. “I get the impression they're thinking – their view is that we haven't cooperated enough. 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. So I think the group that should hopefully get the message out of yesterday's elections is our friends on the other side of the aisle. And we hope that they will pivot in a different direction, work with us.”

Now listen to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s take:

“Republicans must take the responsibility to solve the problems of ordinary Americans,” he told reporters on a conference call this afternoon. “Simply saying ‘no’ as we’ve had this past Congress, where we have to procedurally figure out ways through and around everything, won’t bring jobs back, it won’t strengthen the economy, and it won’t help families who are trying to make ends meet.”

“The message, I repeat, today is that the ball is in their court,” he added. “Remember, 53 [seats] – over my time in the Senate, that’s a pretty good majority. We wish that Russ [Feingold] had won, we wish that Blanche [Lincoln] had won, we wish that a few of the open seats had been won, but we’re comfortable where we are. And we have made the message very clear that we want to work with Republicans. If they’re unwilling to work with us, there’s not a thing we can do about it.”

Not only did Senate Democrats differ with Republicans in how they viewed last night’s results, but they also differed with President Obama.

The President’s description of the election at today’s White House press conference:

“A shellacking.”

But that wasn’t the spin that Bob Menendez, head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, put on it:

“I think we had a good night considering the totality of the history against us and the economic challenges that we inherited and have worked assiduously to turn around,” he said. “I think the result of the election only strengthens our resolve to deal with the economic challenges that families are facing. We heard it loud and clear.”

“We actually beat history last night,” he explained. “Since World War II, every time the House of Representatives has switched control, the Senate has switched control. And we beat that history last night.”

There was one other noteworthy moment from the conference call. When Sens. Dick Durbin and Chuck Schumer, who were set to duke it out to replace Reid as Majority Leader if the Nevada lawmaker lost to Sharron Angle yesterday, were asked if they support Reid keeping the top post, they instantly replied in unison, “Absolutely.”   


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