01/02/2011 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

How Bill Clinton Reacted To The GOP Sweep In '94

The big drama right now is just how large the GOP's gains will be. The consensus seems to be a House pickup in the 55-60 range, roughly, and 6-8 seats in the Senate, leaving Democrats with a narrow and largely unworkable majority in that chamber. (Jon Chait has some sociological complaints with those forecasts.) But I'm also very curious to see how Barack Obama will respond to the coming Republican wave in his just-announced Wednesday afternoon presser. How much humility will he show, how much will he promise cooperation versus standing his ground?

As a reference point, here's the transcript from Bill Clinton's November 9, 1994 press conference, with the rubble of the old Democratic Congress--and, some thought, his presidency--freshly smoldering around him. It's an interesting read--Clinton struck a hard note of conciliation, admitting that Democrats had not done enough to change the culture of Washington (sound familiar?) and urged Republicans to "join me in the center of the public debate where the best ideas for the next generation of American progress must come." But he also warned against "jeopardizing this economic recovery by taking us back to the policies that failed us before." (Sound familiar?)

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