Obama takes responsibility for Democrats' election rout

AFP , Sunday 9 Nov 2014

US President Barack Obama has taken responsibility for his party's crushing defeat in last week's midterm elections, he said in comments broadcast Sunday.

The president had previously stopped short of explicitly shouldering the blame for his Democratic party's drubbing at the polls on November 4.

But in an interview with CBS News, Obama acknowledged that "the buck stops right here at my desk," echoing a refrain made famous by late US president Harry Truman.

"Whenever, as the head of the party, it doesn't do well, I've got to take responsibility for it," Obama said.

The Republicans snatched control of the Senate, tightened their grip on the House of Representatives and won key Democrat governorships in the midterms.

"The message that I took from this election, and we've seen this in a number of elections, successive elections, is people want to see this city (Washington) work," Obama said.

"They feel as if it's not working," the US leader said, adding that there had been a "failure of politics" in America.

Obama also renewed his vow to use his executive powers to make changes to the immigration system -- unless Republicans approve legislation by the end of the year.

"The minute they pass a bill that addresses the problems with immigration reform, I will sign it, and it supersedes whatever actions I take," Obama said.

John Boehner, the top Republican in Congress, and other party leaders, have warned Obama against taking unilateral action on immigration.

Boehner said he'd told Obama such a move would "poison the well," and that there was "no chance" for immigration reform happening in this Congress.

"When you play with matches, you take the risk of burning yourself," Boehner said last week. "He's going to burn himself if he continues to go down this path."

The Senate passed historic, bipartisan legislation on comprehensive immigration reform in 2013 when Democrats were in control but it foundered in the House where conservative Republicans branded attempts to bring illegal immigrants out of the shadows as amnesty.

The CBS News show, "Face the Nation", also featured an interview with former president George W. Bush, who said there was a "50-50" chance his younger brother Jeb would run for president in 2016.

"I know that he's wrestling with the decision," said the former president, who led the US government from 2001 to 2009.

"He is not afraid to succeed ... he knows he could do the job. And nor is he afraid to fail," Bush, who led the United States government from 2001 to 2009.

If Jeb Bush were to make a successful run for the presidency, he would become the third member of the Bush dynasty to take the White House. The father, George H. W. Bush, was in office from 1989 to 1993.

Among Democrats, former first lady and ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is considered an early frontrunner among contenders expected to seek the party's 2016 presidential nod.

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