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Mid-terms grim for Democrats -

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Barack Obama will face an even more hostile Congress for the next two years after the Republicans
were handed control of the House in mid-term elections dominated by economic woes.


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: In a US election dominated by economic woes, Republicans have stormed to
victory, looking set to take control of the House in a mostly grim night for Democrats.

As predicted, the Democrats did hold onto the Senate, but the president now faces a tough two years
trying to get his agenda through a hostile Republican-dominated Congress.

North America correspondent Lisa Millar reports.

LISA MILLAR, REPORTER: In a year when the Tea Party took centre stage, it was apt that one of its
darlings was an early victor, and he had a message:

RAND PAUL, SENATOR-ELECT: We've come to take our government back!

LISA MILLAR: Anti-tax campaigner Rand Paul claiming a Senate seat in Kentucky.

RAND PAUL: But tonight there's a Tea Party tidal wave and we're sending a message to 'em.

LISA MILLAR: That wave swept Marco Rubio into the Senate and the Florida Republican had a warning
for his party.

MARCO RUBIO, REPUBLICAN SENATOR-ELECT: And we make a grave mistake if we believe that tonight these
results are somehow an embrace of the Republican Party. What they are is a second chance.

LISA MILLAR: The Republican senator, considered a Tea Party kingmaker, easily won re-election in
South Carolina.

JIM DEMINT, REPUBLICAN SENATOR: But I can almost feel the ground shaking here because there's an
earthquake election going on all over this country.

LISA MILLAR: But one of his protégΘs did not.

CHRISTINE O'DONNELL, REPUBLICAN: This is just the beginning.

LISA MILLAR: Christine O'Donnell, who famously declared she was not a witch, will also not be a

There was early bravado from the Democrats.

NANCY PELOSI, HOUSE SPEAKER: We have taken the country in a new direction. We are not going back to
the failed policies of the past. We are fighting for the middle-class. Thank you for being part of
that fight.

LISA MILLAR: But it was clear within a few hours of polling booths closing, a power shift was
coming to Washington and the Republicans were taking the House.

MITCH MCCONNELL, REPUBLICAN SENATE LEADER: I'm gonna be the leader of a large army after tonight.
Thanks for all you're doing. Congratulations.

LISA MILLAR: The Democrats appeared destined to cling on to the Senate, winning a crucial seat in
West Virginia.

JOE MANCHIN, DEMOCRAT SENATOR-ELECT: When I look at what challenges we have ahead of us in
Washington, I know it's time to take that fight there.

LISA MILLAR: In Nevada, the Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid emerged the winner from one of the
tightest political races.

HARRY REID, REPUBLICAN HOUSE LEADER: Today Nevada chose hope over fear.

LISA MILLAR: In California, Democrat Barbara boxer also pulled through.

But this was a night for Republicans and a teary thank you speech from the man destined to be the
new Speaker.

JOHN BOEHNER, REPUBLICAN HOUSE LEADER: I've spent my whole life chasing the American dream.

LISA MILLAR: The victory message, though, was deliberately tempered.

JOHN BOEHNER: Frankly, this is not a time for celebration - not when one out of 10 of our fellow
citizens is out of work, not when we've buried our children under a mountain of debt and not when
our Congress is held in such low esteem. This is a time to roll up our sleeves.

LISA MILLAR: Whether that will involve any compromise or negotiation with the president and his
team is unclear.

With the power shift on Capitol Hill, Barack Obama will have to decide his next step. The president
is holding a press conference in a few hours' time, where Democrats will be watching to see if he's
going to change course to adapt to this new political reality.

Lisa Millar, Lateline.