President Joe Biden from the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex in Washington on Nov. 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) WASHINGTON (AP) — The hazard lights are blinking for President Joe Biden after Democratic setbacks in this week’s elections , but the president professes to see no reason for panic.
Just one year after he rode to the White House with a record 81 million votes, Biden saw Democratic stalwart Terry McAuliffe fall to first-time Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin in the governor’s race in Virginia, a state that Biden had won by 10 percentage points. In New Jersey, incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy barely won in a state that Biden had won by 16 percentage points.
But with some on the left warning that Democrats face a five-alarm fire, Biden is making the case that the electorate’s mood — and Democratic fortunes — will improve when he gets Congress to pass his domestic agenda .
“People need a little breathing room. They’re overwhelmed. And what happened was I think we have to just produce results for them to change their standard of living and give them a little more breathing room,” Biden said Wednesday.
The president parsed the election results after delivering remarks at the White House to showcase federal approval of COVID-19 shots for young children , pronouncing it “a day of relief and celebration” for families.
But even as he argued that his administration was making progress in moving past the coronavirus pandemic and that his domestic spending plan is the balm to soothe an angry electorate, the president rejected the idea that the Democrats’ poor showing at the polls was linked to intraparty delays in advancing a stalled $1 trillion infrastructure bill and a 10-year, $1.75 trillion package of social and environmental initiatives.
Instead, Biden said, even if the bills had passed ahead of Tuesday’s election, it probably wouldn’t have mattered much for McAuliffe, who drew more votes than any Democratic gubernatorial candidate in the commonwealth’s history.
“I’m not sure that I would be able to have changed the number of very conservative folks who turned out in the red districts who were Trump voters,” Biden said. "But maybe. Maybe.”