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Wednesday, 6 November, 2002, 08:09 GMT
Bush factor boosts Republicans
President George W Bush
The president fought a hands-on campaign
The BBC's Paul Reynolds

President Bush has emerged as the clear winner in the mid-term elections as the Republican party gained control of the Senate and maintained control of the House of Representatives.

There was a bonus for him when his younger brother Jeb was re-elected governor of Florida - and by a much larger margin than expected.


The president went to the people and it worked

Rudy Giuliani,
Former New York mayor
One leading Democratic party commentator placed a rubbish bin over his head during a television results programme - while praise was heaped on the head of President Bush.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said: "The president went to the people and it worked. He prevailed. He is a president the people have faith in".

Mr Bush's old presidential rival Senator John McCain joined in: "You've got to give credit to President Bush. He did a great job".

The Democrats are left devastated and almost leaderless.

They had swung behind Mr Bush over the war on terrorism and Iraq even though many Americans are doubtful about a war with Iraq.

But this did them little good.

Win after win

The Republican scoreboard began to notch up wins early in the evening.

Elizabeth Dole, wife of former Senator and presidential candidate Robert Dole, took her home state of North Carolina.

Elizabeth Dole
Elizabeth Dole was an early Republican winner
John Sununu, son of a another Republican political family (his father was George Bush senior's chief of staff) won New Hampshire.

And there was a major upset in Georgia where Congressman Saxby Chambliss beat the incumbent Democratic Senator Max Cleland.

In that race, the issue of national security was important. Mr Cleland, who lost both legs and an arm in Vietnam, was accused of not supporting the president.

The Republican Senate victory was sealed when Democratic Senator Jean Carnahan conceded Missouri.

Bush's gamble

The story of the mid-terms has turned out to be the president. He went out and about in the country, risking his reputation but rousing the troops.


I am looking for some good spin but I can't find any

James Carville,
Democrat commentator

Pat Caddell, a leading pollster for the Democrats praised Mr Bush's boldness: "Bush gambled and in politics gambling pays off".

James Carville, in between placing the waste bin over his head, said: "I am looking for some good spin but I can't find any". The Democrats, he said, "need a new message".

Perhaps he can discuss this with his wife, Mary Matalin, who happens to be a senior official in Vice-President Cheney's office. They make an interesting political couple.

Mr Bush appears to have reassured many - though by no means all - Americans that he can be trusted at a time of fear over terrorism and concern over a possible war with Iraq. He managed to see off their worries over the economy.

Political commentator Tom Mann from the Brookings Institution in Washington said that the outcome of the elections would have little effect on foreign policy, but it might well have an effect on George Bush and increase his confidence that, whatever his critics at home and abroad may say, he is on the right track.

And that track might lead to war.


Key races

Analysis

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Results Latest: 13:58 GMT
House:
206 seats 227 seats 2 seats
Senate:
49 seats 51 seats 1 seats
Seats: House/Senate
Democrats: 206 / 49
Republicans: 227 / 51
Independents: 2 / 1
See also:

15 Oct 02 | Americas
06 Nov 02 | Americas
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