Discuss as:

1994 Flashback

NBC's Chris Donovan points out that on the day after the 1994 midterm elections, President Clinton held an afternoon news conference in the East Room.  He said he was reaching out to Republicans and asking "them to join me in the center of the public debate where the best ideas for the next generation of American progress must come."  When asked by a reporter if the election was a repudiation of him, Clinton responded:  "Well, I think that I have some responsibility for it.  I'm the President.  I am the leader of the efforts that we have made in the last two years.  And to whatever extent that we didn't do what the people wanted us to do or they were not aware of what we had done, I must certainly bear my share of responsibility, and I accept that." 

Writing about the 1994 election 10 years later in his memoir "My Life," Clinton pointed out that "we got the living daylights beat out of us."  He wrote: "The Republicans were rewarded for two years of constant attacks on me and for their solidarity on the contract.  The Democrats were punished for too much good government and too little good politics."   "I was profoundly distressed by the election, far more than I ever let on in public," he said, noting that he believed some of his "hard decisions" on policy issues cost those Democratic members who supported him their seats.  And he wrote that "on the day after the election, I tried to make the best of a bad situation, promising to work with the Republicans."