BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Spanish Portuguese Caribbean
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Americas  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 6 November, 2002, 19:24 GMT
Winning Republicans praise Bush
George W Bush holds a baby at a rally
George Bush's simple, direct approach appeals to many
The BBC's Paul Reynolds

The Republican sweep in the midterm congressional elections has demonstrated the power and influence of a popular president at a time of crisis.

Mr Bush managed to energise his own forces, while the Democrats were left floundering.
Ari Fleisher
Ari Fleischer says it is an historic victory for the Republicans

The victory has strengthened Mr Bush for the next challenge - dealing with Saddam Hussein.

A new Security Council resolution is expected to lay down strict new conditions for weapons inspections and if Iraq fails to cooperate, disarmament will be carried out by the United States not the United Nations.

The White House called it a "historic night".

Never before, said spokesman Ari Fleischer (whose old boss Elizabeth Dole won a seat in the Senate) had a first term president gained seats in the House of Representatives and won control of the Senate.

Underestimated

The midterms are often used as a signal of dissatisfaction.

Not this time.

Perhaps its a case of "There's a war on, you know".

And yet, the issues were there for the Democrats.


We were facing an unprecedented amount of money. We were unable to get our message out over the war on Iraq and over the war on terrorism

Patty Murray, Democratic Senator
There is considerable underlying doubt about a war against Iraq and many people have suffered from the falls in the stock market and the weakened economy.

But the Democrats could not counter the president's message on Iraq and the war on terrorism and could not exploit the economic arguments.

In a country divided politically, the president made the difference.

George Bush, as so often, was underestimated.

'Unprecedented challenge'

The traits that make him a divisive figure, especially abroad - his simple, direct approach - are seen as strengths by his supporters and have appeal beyond the hard core of his own party.

This is even more true in the post 11 September America.

From the outside, the United States is seen as the megapower.

Republican Senator Trent Lott
Senator Lott: the vote had been a 'referendum' on the president.
From the inside, it feels much more vulnerable and many people are ready to rally round a decisive leader.

Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington state blamed the defeat on the money spent by the Republicans and on the drumbeats of war.

"We were facing an unprecedented amount of money," he said.

"We were unable to get our message out over the war on Iraq and over the war on terrorism. We faced an unprecedented challenge trying to yell above the White House."

The Democratic leader in Senate Tom Daschle, whose mild manner is not perhaps the best answer to the directness of George Bush, said of Mr Bush's concentration on security issues: "The president made that his drumbeat. It resonated."

People's faith

Republicans were in no doubt as to who to thank.


The president went to the people and it worked. He prevailed. He is a president the people have faith in

Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York
The Republican Senate leader Trent Lott said of Mr Bush: "He showed commitment and leadership. He did not just stay holed up in the White House... he got out there and put his prestige on the line."

Trent Lott, likely to resume his previous role as Senate majority leader, said that the vote had been a "referendum" on the president.

The former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, a heroic figure for all Americans who lent his glamour to many a Republican candidate, also praised Mr Bush.

"The president went to the people and it worked. He prevailed. He is a president the people have faith in," he said.

Not all the people, I have found, have faith in him - but enough do.

Democrats leaderless

One of the masterstrokes of the Bush campaign was to get Congress to pass a resolution supporting him over Iraq in advance of the elections.

Democrats, perhaps unwisely, wrapped themselves in the flag as well but it unravelled around them.

They are left picking up the pieces - the governorships in the important states of Illinois, Michigan and Pennsylvania, which do perhaps give them hope for 2004.

And they are left without leadership.

The field is now open to a new crop of candidates for 2004, including perhaps Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, Senator John Edwards of North Carolina and even Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The Democratic party needs some new faces and some new policies.


Key races

Analysis

TALKING POINT

FORUM

AUDIO VIDEO
Launch LAUNCH POP UP
arrow
arrow
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
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Americas stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Americas stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes