Biden press conference on midterm elections results: Watch live

The president will deliver remarks and hold a rare news conference Wednesday afternoon as results from the midterm elections continue to affect key races.

WASHINGTON – Joe Biden’s record was on the ballot even if his name wasn’t. And regardless of the bottom line of Tuesday’s midterm elections, his presidency will see profound changes.

Biden watched from the White House early Wednesday morning, calling to congratulate more than 30 Democratic candidates and gathering with advisers to monitor the upcoming comeback. The White House announced that he would make the remarks and hold a rare press conference at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday to discuss the results.

RELATED: Election 2022: Dems Show Surprising Strength; Congressional control is unclear

In public, the president declared his optimism to the end, telling Democratic officials ahead of the election that “we’re going to surprise the demon that lives out of man.”

On a private level, though, White House aides have made contingency plans in place should Republicans take control of one or both chambers of Congress — a scenario Biden admits would make life difficult. his “more difficult”.

Control of Congress was still well balanced on Wednesday morning, but the comeback pointed to the surprising strength of the Democrats as the party scored victories in key races, including the entered the Senate in Pennsylvania, where John Fetterman gave up the Republican-controlled seat, key to the party’s hopes of maintaining control of the chamber.

Regardless of the outcome, the vote will help reshape the rest of Biden’s term after his ambitious first two years and will realign his priorities in the White House.

The president last week urged Americans to be patient as votes are counted and avoid engaging in conspiracy theories, a message he is likely to repeat Wednesday about pending returns. physical.

Biden, in his first two years, pushed for sweeping bills to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, tackle climate change, and boost competitiveness. America’s war with China – it’s all up to a congressional majority. Now, aides and allies say, his focus will shift to sustaining those gains, implementing massive legislation that – perhaps while under the intense scrutiny of the GOP – maintains maintain effective governance in an environment of even more accountability and elevate his party’s standing against the next president in the election.

Biden’s job approval has rebounded from this summer’s lows, but he’s still less of a favorite with midterm voters. According to AP VoteCast, a survey that spans 93,000 voters across the country, about six out of 10 disapprove of his handling of the economy. A similar percentage disagree on how he’s handled the presidency as a whole.

If Republicans gain control of Congress, Biden’s allies are preparing for battles to keep the government funded and its financial obligations met, maintaining support for the Republican Party. Ukraine and defended his signature legislative achievements from attempts to abolish it. The Republican victory could also open up a host of GOP candidates that Biden has viewed as a threat to democracy for refusing to acknowledge the outcome of the 2020 presidential race, limiting his children. potential cooperation paths and pose new challenges before 2024.

The Biden administration has been preparing for months for an expected round of GOP investigations if Republicans take over one or both chambers, laying out legal and media strategies to tackle the investigations. investigating everything from the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan to the business dealings of the president’s son Hunter Biden.

Princeton University historian Julian Zelizer said that if Republicans come to power, history shows it would be “very effective” for Biden to “focus on their extremism and turn new power against them.” “.

White House aides and allies have been closely watching the move to demand the right to investigate or even impeach Biden. While they have pledged to cooperate on what they see as legitimate surveillance, they are eager to pinpoint a political damage to Republicans if they overreach, leaving the GOP focused on meetings. investigate instead the issues most important to American life.

The potential shift comes as Biden, at the age of 79, has repeated his intention to run for office. He will need to make a final decision soon, perhaps preparing for a rematch with former President Donald Trump, who made his own tentative announcement on November 15.

In a potential warning sign for 2024, about two-thirds in the AP VoteCast survey said they think Biden is not a strong leader. More than half of the people said that the president is dishonest or unreliable and that he is not mentally fit to serve effectively as president.

A bad midterm result doesn’t rule out a president’s re-election – historically incumbents have been favored to win another term. However, Princeton University historian Julian Zelizer says that even presidents who try to defy history and avoid major losses or hold onto their professional positions are forced to change course in order to balance the odds. their tenure.

“What effective presidents often do, is that protecting what they have done is a priority,” he said. “And then come election time, your record, even if it hasn’t increased since midterm, it looks good. What you don’t want is for it to be demolished, unable to do it, and then your opponent in 2024 will say, “Look, what he did was just incredibly effective and ineffective. fruit.”

While tacitly acknowledging his shrinking ambitions, Biden’s midterm message to voters was largely focused on boosting his record and warning of the consequences of a GOP takeover. Bigger elements of his 2020 agenda have fallen to the lowest level in his two years of legislation – such as the expansion of free early childhood care and two years of community college – almost as not included in his speeches.

The hints he has made about what he hopes to pass in the next two years are the slim chance that Democrats will expand their slim majority in Congress: pass an assault weapons ban, Voting reform and nationwide abortion rights legislation.

On Monday, emphasizing why Biden isn’t doing more to outline what he hopes to achieve in the next two years, Jean-Pierre said: “Why not just tell the country what we do. did? Why not just lay it out? Which we have. “

The president’s advisers have highlighted the difficulties Democrats face this year, as inflation combines with historical trends unfavorable to the party in control of the White House. They maintain that Biden’s agenda remains popular with voters and accepted, not shunned by candidates in his party – unlike 2010, when Democrats fled the unpopularity. favored by the Affordable Care Act, the Obama-era health law, and went on to lose 63 House seats and six Senate seats.

Republicans under Trump lost 40 House seats but won two Senate seats in 2018, and Democrats under Bill Clinton lost 52 House seats and eight Senate seats in 1994.

Biden’s allies have begun looking at potential areas of bipartisan cooperation that could also pay dividends in 2024 if Republicans block them, such as veterans care and lowering insulin costs for all even Americans. The Democrats’ August Health and Climate Bill limits drug costs to $35 a month for seniors.

Cedric Richmond, a former Louisiana congressman and former Biden aide who is now a top adviser to the Democratic National Committee, said Biden will focus on areas of bipartisan cooperation in the second half of his term. his first.

“Whoever gets involved, he will work to try to accomplish his goals,” says Richmond. He pointed to Biden’s ability to push through the infrastructure bill and legislation to improve health care for veterans as areas “where he brought Republicans with him, so he will continue to do what he is doing, which is to strive for achievement.” Biden press conference on midterm elections results: Watch live

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