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Biden calls midterm election "a good day" for democracy

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Democrats hold off Republican "red wave"
Democrats hold off Republican "red wave" 04:15

Washington — Coming off an Election Day in which Democrats seemingly exceeded expectations and overcame historical trends in the battle for control of Congress, a smiling and emboldened President Biden said he plans to do "nothing" different in his approach to the presidency, and offered a message for the millions of voters who don't want him to run again: "Watch me." 

Mr. Biden fielded reporters' questions at the White House for about an hour Wednesday, in keeping with a tradition of presidents holding news conferences following midterm elections. Mr. Biden, who said it's his "intention" to run again but gave no definitive answer on that front, called Tuesday a "strong night" for Democrats. 

"It was a good day, I think, for democracy," Mr. Biden said. "And I think it was a good day for America. ... Our democracy has been tested in recent years, but with their votes, the American people have spoken and proven once again that democracy is who we are."

Biden holds post-election news conference, calls it "a good day" for democracy 54:55

CBS News currently estimates the fight for the House is leaning in Republicans' favor, and the battle for the Senate remains a toss-up, as several key races in the upper chamber are still unresolved. Democrats picked up a Senate seat in Pennsylvania, where CBS News projected Lt. Gov. John Fetterman defeated Republican Mehmet Oz, who conceded the race on Wednesday. 

Overnight, a top White House official told CBS News senior White House correspondent Weijia Jiang there was a mix of "excitement" and "validation" as returns showed there was no "red wave" of Republican victories in House and Senate races. Although Democrats have lost some House seats, White House officials see a victory in the relatively moderate or low number of losses compared to midterms under previous presidents. As of early Wednesday morning, they were "cautiously optimistic" about keeping the Senate. 

 

Biden to voters who don't want him to run again: "Watch me"

A correspondent pointed to exit polling showing that two-thirds of voters didn't want him to run again, and asked the president how that factors into his decision. 

"It doesn't," he responded. 

What is his message to those Americans who don't want him to run again?

"Watch me," he said. 

By Kathryn Watson
 

Biden says it's his "intention" to run and he'll likely make that call likely early next year

Asked if Tuesday night's results influence his decision to run again, the president said he and First Lady Jill Biden had intended for him to run again, regardless of the outcome of the midterms. 

"Our intention is to run again," Mr. Biden said. "It's been our intention, regardless of what the outcome of this election was."

Still, the fact that the Democratic Party "outperformed" expectations gives everyone a "sigh of relief," he said. Mr. Biden said it's his "intention to run again" but he is a "great respecter of fate," and this is ultimately a family decision."

Mr. Biden said he doesn't feel "any hurry" one way or the other, adding it's his guess it would be "early next year" he and the first lady make that decision.

By Kathryn Watson
 

Biden says House is going to be "very close"

Control of the House is going to be "very close," Mr. Biden said. 

"Well, based on what we know as of today, we've lost very few seats for certain," Mr. Biden said of Democrats. "We still have a possibility of keeping the House but it's going to be close."

He added that the House is a "moving target right now, but it's going to be very close."

The president offered no detail on his relationship with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, but said he thinks he's speaking with McCarthy later Wednesday. 

By Kathryn Watson
 

Biden says he plans to do "nothing" differently moving forward

In the first question of the day to Mr. Biden, a reporter asked Mr. Biden what he plans to do differently the next couple years, particularly as he contemplates a reelection bid.

"Nothing," the president responded. 

"The problem is the major pieces of legislations we passed, some of it bipartisan, takes time to be recognized," he explained. "For example, you've got over a trillion dollars worth of infrastructure money."

Mr. Biden said there are "a lot of things that are just kicking in." 

"I'm not gonna' change anything in any fundamental way," he said. 

By Kathryn Watson
 

Biden says he's prepared to work with Republicans, with some clear lines

Without projecting who will win the House and Senate, Mr. Biden said he's ready to work across the aisle. The president said this while acknowledging that some states' votes are still being tallied.

"Regardless of what the final tally of these elections go ... I'm prepared to work with my Republican colleagues," Mr. Biden said. 

Still, the president claimed he wouldn't sign off on any GOP legislation that worsens inflation, and he still wants to ensure that no one earning less than $400,000 a year will see their federal taxes go up. 

Mr. Biden also said that "under no circumstances" will he support a GOP proposal to cut programs like Medicare and Social Security. 

The president also said he will veto any bill from Republicans to ban abortions nationwide. Republicans, even if they do take back both chambers of Congress, will not have a veto-proof majority. 

"I will veto any attempt to pass a national ban on abortion," Mr. Biden said. 

By Kathryn Watson
 

Biden says voters sent clear and unmistakable message

Speaking to reporters and to the nation, Mr. Biden said voters sent a "clear" and "unmistakable" message to Washington that they want to preserve democracy and that they are concerned about the economy and costs. 

"I get it," the president said. "I understand it's been a really tough few years in this country for so many people."

Mr. Biden said they're "just getting started" on infrastructure projects across the country. Historic investments from the CHIPS and Science Act will bring about good, high-paying jobs as well as much-needed technology, he said. The president went on to tout other aspects of his economic agenda and the weakening of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"After 20 months of hard work, the pandemic no longer controls our lives. It's still a concern but it no longer controls our lives," he said. 

By Kathryn Watson
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