A chastened Barack Obama is starting Act Two of his presidency. To succeed, he has to meet Republicans in Congress more than halfway.
Obama's performance during a White House news conference Wednesday suggested he heard the right messages from Tuesday's election that gave the GOP control of the House.
Americans are deeply frustrated with the pace of economic recovery, he said, and he took responsibility for that. It's on him to work harder to reach consensus and to help make sure Democrats and Republicans don't refight the battles of the past two years in the next two.
Obama doesn't do "humble" particularly well. But he conceded that he has failed to deliver one of his main campaign promises: reforming how business is done in Washington. "We were in such a hurry to get things done that we didn't change how things got done," he said.
Taking advantage of Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, Obama pushed through his mandate: the $787 billion economic stimulus package, a remake of the health care system and sweeping reform of the financial system.
The confrontational strategy and Obama's sometimes imperious style, however, also alienated Republicans and many Americans.
In the next Congress, the president said, "no one party will be able to dictate where we go from here. We must find common ground."
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