It took nearly an hour on Thursday, but White House press secretary Josh Earnest finally conceded that Tuesday's midterm election results were not "good" for the Democrats.
Earnest tried to keep what he called a “sunny disposition” as reporters pressed him on his positive spin of the results, which saw Republicans retake control of the Senate.
Echoing President Barack Obama's remarks Wednesday, Earnest repeated several times that the message voters sent was for Republicans and Democrats to work together in Washington.
Asked whether the White House saw any negatives at all from the midterms, Earnest said that Obama himself "said that the election was good for Republicans."
“There are a lot of public servants from the Democratic Party that have served their states very well and very capably who didn’t win. Some of these are individuals who the president got to know when he served in the United States Senate, and he saw up close and personal how they handled their business, and the president is disappointed that they were not re-elected to another term.”
On whether Tuesday was a big loss for Democrats, Earnest said he didn't want to be a pundit — prompting a reporter to say, “so if it’s good for Republicans, it’s bad for Democrats.”
“I know that is the mentality of Washington D.C.,” Earnest said. “I also know it’s the mentality that voters aren’t very happy with. “
A reporter pressed, “So, you’re saying it could be good for Democrats?”
After a pause, Earnest answered, “Well, no.”
“I’m not going to pass judgment on this," Earnest said. "I’m certainly disappointed in the outcome of the elections.”
Asked if Obama could have done more to get beyond the gridlock with congressional Republicans before, Earnest responded "probably" — but then preceded to blame the GOP.
“Republicans have acknowledged publicly on a variety of occasions, sometimes in news-making ways, their chief political goal was to defeat the president of the United States politically,” Earnest said. “This is not like a secret strategy. It was an overt strategy by Republicans to try to block everything the president did in hopes it would benefit them politically. And look, they got a lot of seats out of it."