- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 20, 2010

While acknowledging voter “anger and frustration” in the aftermath of Tuesday’s Massachusetts special Senate election, the White House Wednesday played down the role of health care reform in Republican Scott Brown’s victory and offered no plans to change course now that Democrats have lost their filibuster-proof Senate majority to push President Obama’s agenda through.

“I think it would be inaccurate to just boil down the results of yesterday to one issue,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters, later adding, “I think that is a wake-up call for everybody in this town.”

Saying the anger seen in Massachusetts is not new and is part of the reason Mr. Obama was elected, Mr. Gibbs said much of the reason it is now focused on Democrats is because they’re in charge.

But administration officials gave no sign that Mr. Obama is reconsidering his agenda. Asked what the administration is going to do differently in light of the election, Mr. Gibbs said said the president and his team will “continue to focus on and have people understand an agenda that’s focused on jobs and getting this economy moving again.”

Mr. Gibbs demurred when asked who was to blame for the loss by state Attorney General Martha Coakley, at one time a prohibitive favorite in the race to succeed the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, saying, “There are a lot of people that bear responsibility for some aspect of what happened last night.” The spokesman said he did not want to “get into the blame game.”

Mr. Obama and his fellow Democrats are currently discussing the way forward on health care legislation, Mr. Gibbs said, refusing to get into specifics of whether they will be forced to strip the bill down or rewrite large portions of it.

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