Biden says red wave ‘didn’t happen,’ Americans voted to ‘preserve democracy,’ ‘protect the right to choose’

President Biden pronounced Election Day a “good day for America,” saying the red wave “didn’t happen” and that voters cast ballots to “preserve democracy” and “to protect the right to choose in this country,” while saying he intends to run for re-election in 2024.

The president, from the White House Wednesday afternoon, said he would reach across the aisle and work with Republicans in Congress but vowed to “veto any attempt to pass a national ban on abortion” and to block any cuts or changes to Social Security and Medicare.

U.S. President Joe Biden greets people on South Lawn after arriving on Marine One from a trip to Delaware at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 24, 2022.
(REUTERS/Leah Millis)

The balance of power in Congress still hangs in limbo as races in the House and Senate have yet to be called. And despite pundits predicting massive wins for Republicans, Biden celebrated, what he called, “a strong night” for Democrats.

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“Well, we had an election day yesterday, and I think it was a good day for democracy–and I think it was a good day for America,” Biden said. “Our democracy has been tested in recent years, but with their votes, the American people have spoken and proven once again that democracy is who we are.”

Biden said there was “record voter turnout” and said that “voters, poll workers and election officials did their jobs and fulfilled their duty, apparently without much interference at all–without any interference it looks like–and that’s a testament, I think, to the American people.”

“While we don’t know all the results yet, at least I don’t know them all yet, here’s what we do know–the press and the pundits were predicting a giant red wave–it didn’t happen,” Biden said, noting that he always “thought we were going to do fine.”

U.S. President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama attend a campaign event for Democratic U.S. senatorial candidate John Fetterman and Democratic nominee for Pennsylvania governor Josh Shapiro in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Nov. 5.
(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

“While any seat lost is painful, some good Democrats didn’t win last night, Democrats had a strong night, and we lost fewer seats in the House of Representatives than any Democratic president’s first midterm election in the last 40 years, and we had the best midterm for governors since 1986,” Biden said.

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The president said that voters “spoke clearly about their concerns,” including inflation and rising costs, crime and public safety.

But Biden said voters “send a clear and unmistakable message.”

“They want to preserve our democracy and protect the right to choose in this country,” Biden said.

Biden went on to thank the “young people of this nation” who he said “voted in historic numbers again, and just as they did two years ago, they voted to continue addressing the climate crisis, gun violence, their personal rights and freedoms and student debt relief.”

The president said he plans to “work across the aisle to deliver for the American people,” touting the more than 200 bipartisan bills he has signed into law since taking office.

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“I’m prepared to work with my Republican colleagues. The American people have made clear, I think, that they expect Republicans to be prepared to work with me as well,” Biden said.

But the president said that “under no circumstances” would he support proposals to make cuts or changes to Social Security or Medicare.

“That’s not on the table, I will not do that,” Biden said. “I will veto any attempt to pass a national ban on abortion.”

He added: “But I’m ready to compromise with Republicans where it makes sense on many other issues, and I always put the needs and interests of the American people first.”

But looking ahead, Biden said the American people have “made it clear they don’t want every day going forward to be a constant political battle.”

“There’s too much of that going on and there’s too much we have to do,” he said. “The future for America is to promise not to be trapped in an endless political warfare,” he said. “And I really mean it.”

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Biden, throughout the midterm election cycle, warned that the future of democracy was at stake–specifically warning against the ideology of “ultra MAGA” Republicans.

“I don’t think we’re going to break the fever for the super mega MAGA Republicans,” Biden said. “I think they’re a minority of the Republican Party. I think the vast majority of the members of the Republican Party, we disagree strongly on issues, but they’re decent, honorable people.”

Biden said that those Republicans are “honest, and they’re straightforward” and “decent folks.”

As for 2024, Biden told reporters Wednesday that his “intention” has been “to run again.”

“That’s been our intention, regardless of what the outcome of this election was,” Biden said.

Biden said that he is a “great respecter of fate, and this is ultimately a family decision.”

“I think everybody wants me to run, but we’re going to have discussions about it, and I don’t feel in any hurry, one way or another, what to, to make that judgment today, tomorrow or whenever–no matter what my predecessor does,” Biden said, referencing former President Trump and his plans to make a “major” announcement regarding his 2024 plans on Nov. 15.

Biden said his “guess” is that he would make his announcement “early next year.”

“We’ll make that judgment. But my plan is to do it.”