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Ahead of Midterms, the White House insisted Biden's programs were popular


OK. We're going to broaden this out now with national political correspondent Don Gonyea and White House correspondent Tamara Keith. Control of Congress is still undetermined at this hour, but we do know that the overwhelming victories that Republicans predicted did not happen, despite historic trends that usually give the party out of power huge wins in the midterms. Tamara, what are you hearing from the White House about the results?

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: The White House is obviously quite happy with these results because it could have been a night that was much worse for them and for the president's party. You know, not knowing control of the Senate, not knowing control of the House - it's not exactly time for them to spike the football, but, you know, it's just not as bad as they feared.

MARTIN: So Don, you have covered past presidents often on this day - the day after their parties lose the midterms. And we should say, we still don't know about control of Congress, but Republicans are still poised to take control of the House and maybe the Senate. How do last night's results compare, historically, to the ones faced by former Presidents Obama, George W. or Clinton?

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: Historically, it has been a day when I've seen rare moments of presidential humility in the Rose Garden or somewhere. Let's run the numbers. In 1994, Bill Clinton - his first midterm - this was the year of Newt Gingrich and the Republican revolution. He lost 52 seats in the House, eight in the Senate. Bush in '06 - the Iraq war going bad - he lost 30 House seats. He called it a thumping. 2010 - Obama - this was after Obamacare, the rise of the Tea Party - lost 63 seats, called it a shellacking. They used different language in private, I'm sure.

MARTIN: Right. The shellacking, the thumping - it has a language all its own. NPR's Don Gonyea and NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith. Thanks to you both. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Rachel Martin is a host of Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.
You're most likely to find NPR's Don Gonyea on the road, in some battleground state looking for voters to sit with him at the local lunch spot, the VFW or union hall, at a campaign rally, or at their kitchen tables to tell him what's on their minds. Through countless such conversations over the course of the year, he gets a ground-level view of American elections. Gonyea is NPR's National Political Correspondent, a position he has held since 2010. His reports can be heard on all NPR News programs and at NPR.org. To hear his sound-rich stories is akin to riding in the passenger seat of his rental car, traveling through Iowa or South Carolina or Michigan or wherever, right along with him.
Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.

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