Earnest to Karl: Obama's Policies "Are Strongly Supported" By Those Who Voted


JON KARL, ABC NEWS: If you remember back to the days when the government shutdown was dominant in the news, the president said, "if you don't like a particular policy, go out and win an election." So, apparently those who didn't like a lot of particular policies of this White House went out and won a bunch of elections. Doesn't that suggest that there should be some course correction here in terms of policy? I know the president talked about spending more time with Republican leaders but I didn't hear any suggestion of any change in any actual policy direction.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE: Well, I do think that there is ample data to indicate that a lot of policies that the president himself has advocated are strongly supported by those who participated in the election. From support for a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who have been in this country for an extended period of time to the president's handling of things like Ebola and ISIL.

There is strong support for what the president has pursued. Even when it comes to an issue like the economy, the electorate -- again, those who actually participated in the election -- were split evenly between Democrats and Republicans in terms of praising their handling of that particular policy area.

Now, these results are notable for a couple of reasons. One is, as you point out, that the electorate skewed Republican, that more Republicans showed up. But yet, according to the findings to these exit polls, there is strong support for some of the priorities and policies that the president has carried out.

KARL: You're not suggesting that the results of this election are a reaffirmation of the president's policies are you?


KARL: You just did. You just went through --

EARNEST: That's what you suggested in your question and certainly you're entitled to raise that question. What I'm saying is I think the clear message that is sent by voters across the country is that they want to see results in Washington, D.C. And I think that Democrats and Republicans, anybody who has been paying any attention to Washington, D.C. has seen that Congress hasn't gotten that much done in the last two years. And that's something that the president has some frustration about. There's some members of Congress who have expressed frustration about that.

Clearly the voters are frustrated about that, and as the president of the United States, the most powerful person in Washington, D.C., the president bears greater accountability and responsibility for that than anybody else. And he understands that and part of the reason that he has asked the 16 most powerful members of Congress to come to the White House for a meeting is he wants to start right away looking for opportunities to cooperate and find common ground and help move the country forward. And again, it doesn't mean that we're going to agree on everything. I'm sure there will be plenty things for us to disagree about. But if there is an opportunity for us to find some common ground let's make sure that our differences don't get in the way for us making some progress for the American people.

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