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Mr. Obama ran on a pledge to cut taxes for Americans making less than $200,000 and to pay for those, as well as other spending, by raising taxes on those making more than $250,000.

On several talk shows Sunday, Rep. Rahm Emanuel, the Illinois Democrat whom Mr. Obama has tapped to be his chief of staff, would not commit to a specific course of action, instead saying the focus will be on the middle class.

He also didn’t embrace or reject the call from congressional Democrats for the president to spend part of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout package to help automakers.

Mr. Emanuel said first the automobile manufacturers must tap the $25 billion fund that the federal government recently set up to aid them, and then policymakers should look at what other authority they already have.

“There’s authorities, both on the $25 billion that’s been laid out, as well as other authorities to help the auto industry, but all part of a strategy that’s going forward on a retooled auto industry that’s focused on our energy independence and our economy,” he said on CNN.

Meanwhile, on “Fox News Sunday,” Reps. Eric Cantor of Virginia and Mike Pence of Indiana, both of whom are likely to ascend to the elected leadership of House Republicans, said Mr. Obama’s win was not a victory for liberal government.

“This was not some kind of realignment of the electorate, not some kind of shift of the American people toward some style of European social big government type of philosophy,” Mr. Cantor said, instead arguing that Americans were punishing Republicans for their governance over the past eight years.