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Thursday, 7 November, 2002, 11:01 GMT
Ask the experts about the US mid-term elections
Americans have given their backing to the Republicans in the US mid-term elections.
Control of the House of Representatives and the Senate is now with the Republican party in what is being seen as an endorsement of President's Bush's two years in office.
He had criss-crossed the US in an effort to make sure his party came out on top.
Was this election a referendum about George W Bush? How do you think the "war on terror" impacted on the election? What will this mean for American domestic and foreign policy.
You put your questions to World Affairs correspondent Paul Reynolds in Washington.
Americans have given their backing to the Republicans in the US midterm elections. Control of the House of Representatives and the Senate is now with the Republican Party in what's been seen as an endorsement of President Bush's two years in office.
The President crisscrossed the US in an effort to make sure his party came out on top. So was this election a referendum about George W. Bush?
Well, here to answer your questions is Paul Reynolds in Washington. Paul thanks for joining us.
The first question e-mailed to us is from Anthony Jones, UK: Is it true that "The Republicans' victory in Congress means President Bush is only the third US president in a century to make mid-term gains"?
He will be energised by this just as he energised his Republican voters, I think he now faces a future crisis - the first of which will be Iraq - with greater confidence. But certainly he will pursue his agenda.
I found Democrats demoralised. They didn't really have an answer on the whole war on terrorism thing. They'd swung behind the President, they'd passed his resolution in Congress supporting a war against Iraq as well and it did them no good. The Republicans were fired up, the Democrats were nowhere.
Freedom-loving democracies - some support Mr Bush - Britain supports Mr Bush, the Australian government supports Mr Bush. So it depends on your political point of view.
Not only among Democrats - and here in Washington of course Democrats predominate. But out in Maryland and other places I went to, you find Republicans who were uneasy about this but clearly others are not. Clearly others feel that Mr Bush has made his case and now with the resolution in the UN about to be passed, I think that is the next crisis we face.
Clearly the Democrats wanted to make more of the economy hadn't they?
It's very interesting to me the kind of questions we're getting because there is this hostility worldwide to George Bush. He came into office saying he was a uniter not a divider. Yet obviously worldwide he is quite a divisive figure.
Iraq will not go away - no. I think the administration however would much prefer Iraq to disarm through the United Nations rather than have the United States do the job itself.
As you know, these midterm elections often hinge on local races. No, that's not going to make inevitable. What will make it inevitable is a refusal by Saddam Hussein to co-operate with the new weapons inspection regime which will be laid out by the Security Council. That is almost agreed. It will lay down a timetable, free access by the inspectors, Iraq will have to make a declaration of what it has in the way of weapons of mass destruction and if it defaults on that, that is when the United States - probably supported by Britain - will move in. But that is the issue now.
Minnesota, of course where the very fiery and very popular Senator, Paul Wellstone, was tragically killed in a plane crash and Walter Mondale, the former vice-president, stepped in. That was a real hot race and could have determined the result of this whole election. People did turn out there. They also turned out in Florida where Jeb Bush, the President's younger brother, was up for re-election and won by a margin far larger than the media had supposed.
But yes, this is a fierce debate here. I think most Americans have accepted some diminution of their civil liberties. But I know Americans quite well, they're not going to accept a significant reduction in those rights. Although of course people argue as to whether that's happened or not already from their individual perspective.
I think it does partly explain Mr Bush's popularity because he has managed to put a very simple message across on the security issue and making people more receptive to stricter measures.
So I think the numbers of Latino voters are certainly having some effect, though they haven't got a huge breakthrough. Black voters, I'm afraid, have not done hugely well out of this. I think they had hoped to do better.
For too long the Democrats, have pandered to the interests of minorities and tried to assert their own agenda and done things half-heartedly. However, if Bush is going to go to war with Iraq, then why has he not gone to war with Saudi Arabia - a lot more oppressive and tyrannical?
Saudi Arabia does not have weapons of mass destruction - that is the issue - it's the oppression of the regime so much as the possession of weapons of mass destruction. There are many oppressive regimes around the world which the Americans are not going to attack.
Mr Bush, now again, the perception of George Bush abroad is of this rather simplistic cowboy figure. Among his supporters, those are his very strengths and it is very import for people to remember that.
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