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Top Senate Republican: Obama Must 'Move in Our Direction'

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks at a news conference on 3 Nov 2010
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks at a news conference on 3 Nov 2010

The top Republican in the U.S. Senate says his party is set on taking the White House back from President Barack Obama after trouncing the president's Democratic Party in midterm elections.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will lay out some of his party's agenda Thursday in a speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington.

Priorities

In excerpts from his prepared remarks, McConnell defends comments he made that the Republicans' top priority in the next two years should be to ensure President Obama does not get re-elected. McConnell says the only way for his party to accomplish its goals of repealing Mr. Obama's health care law, cutting spending and reducing the size of government is to put someone in the White House who will not veto such measures.

The next presidential election is in 2012.

Republicans won enough seats in Tuesday's vote to regain control of the House of Representatives, and took some seats from Democrats in the Senate as well. The new Congress takes office in January.

Heavy defeat

Mr. Obama acknowledged his party took a heavy defeat "shellacking" in the polls, saying the Democratic losses reflect frustration with the troubled state of the economy.

McConnell is planning to say Thursday that Republicans in the new Congress will repeatedly propose and vote on a repeal of President Obama's health care legislation. As they cannot expect the president to sign legislation repealing the health care reforms, he said they will also work in the House to deny funds for the law, and in the Senate, vote against what he described as its "most egregious" provisions.

Undecided races

Democrats have held onto at least 52 seats in the 100-member Senate, enough to maintain a thin majority. Two Senate seats are still undecided - one in the western state of Washington and the other in the far northwestern state of Alaska.

In Alaska, incumbent Republican Lisa Murkowski staged a write-in challenge after losing the Republican nomination to Joe Miller, who won the party nomination with the backing of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and the conservative Tea Party movement. Results may not be known for two weeks. Partial results show there are more write-in votes than votes for Miller, although not all the write-ins may be for Murkowski.

Several races in the House of Representatives are also too close to call, and all of them involve Democratic incumbents.

What this means

The Republican victory represents a major comeback for the party, which lost control of the House and Senate to Democrats four years ago. All 435 seats in the House and 37 of the 100 Senate seats were at stake in the vote. Republicans also gained at least 11 state governor posts previously held by Democrats. There are still some gubernatorial races that have not been called.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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