And so the scene is set for the second half of Barack Obama’s first term as US President.
Chastened and contrite in the wake of the Republicans’ midterm surge, he told America his priority for the next two years is to make progress, particularly on the economy.
But without clout in the House, turning his plans into laws will be easier said than done:
“Yesterday’s vote confirmed what I’ve heard from folks all across America: people are frustrated, they are deeply frustrated with the pace of our economic recovery and the opportunities that they hope for their children and grand-children. They want jobs to come back faster, they want paychecks to go further”
Emphasising consensus, Obama also had a veiled rebuke for the grassroots Tea Party movement which has held the US in its grip in recent months.
“No one party would be able to dictate where we go from here. And we must find common ground in order to make progress on some uncommonly difficult challenges. And I told John Boehner and Mitch McConnell last night, I’m very eager to sit down with members of both parties and figure out how we can move forward together”
Obama said representatives from both parties will get together in the next few weeks to work out how they can move forward.