President Barack Obama said Wednesday that voters frustrated by the pace of economic recovery dictated a Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in elections, adding, "As president I take responsibility for a failure to restore job growth more quickly."
He spoke at a White House news conference on the day after Republicans captured control of the House and cut deeply into the Democratic majority in the Senate.
"Every election, regardless of who wins and who loses, is a reminder that, in our democracy, power rests not with those of us in elected office, but with the people we have the privilege to serve," Obama said of the Democratic defeat.
The U.S. president added he was eager to sit down with the leaders of both political parties and figure out how they can move forward together.
"I'm not suggesting this will be easy," Obama said. "I won't pretend that we will be able to bridge every difference or solve every disagreement."
"No one party will be able to dictate where we go from here," he said a clear warning to Republicans that he won't simply bow to their demands for a sharply conservative switch in economic policy.
With his comments, Obama largely followed the lead of Republican leaders who said earlier in the day they were willing to compromise - within limits.
With unemployment at 9.6 percent, both the president and the Republicans will be under pressure to compromise. Yet neither must lose faith with core supporters - the Republicans with the tea party activists who helped them win power, Obama with the voters whose support he will need in 2012.
The president said the economy had begun a recovery since he took office but Americans became wary when they saw government bailouts of failing banks and two of the Big Three U.S. automakers.
"Now moving forward, I think the question's going to be, can Democrats and Republicans sit down together and come up with a set of ideas that address those core concerns? I'm confident that we can," Obama said.
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