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Democrats Mull Recent Electoral Defeat - 2002-11-10

Members of the Democratic Party are trying to figure out why they lost recent Congressional elections so decisively to the opposition Republican Party. There is a range of Democrat views.

Democrat Tom Daschle will step down as head of the majority in the Senate when the next Congress is sworn in early next year. His party lost its majority to Republicans in Tuesday's elections.

Senator Daschle, appearing on the NBC television program Meet the Press, was philosophical about the loss, saying Democrats underestimated the popularity of America's Republican chief executive, George Bush.

"The backdrop was the war on terror, the war in Iraq, (and) I think the president's popularity and his ability to campaign for candidates all over," Mr. Daschle said.

But Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, a potential Democrat presidential candidate, thinks there needs to be a change in politics in the United States, especially where international issues are concerned.

"America has never been as at low an ebb as it is in the world today on a whole series of global responsibilities - AIDS in Africa, the environment, our attitude about war," Senator Kerry said. Senator Kerry also made his comments on Meet the Press.

Congress returns this week with Democrats still briefly in control of the Senate. Republicans are hoping their decisive victory in recent elections will spur legislative action on a number of measures that Senate Democrats have not brought up for a vote.