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White House downplays Democrats' losses in special elections

(Xinhua)

09:51, September 15, 2011

WASHINGTON, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- The White House on Wednesday downplayed Democratic losses in two House special elections in New York and Nevada, saying the results cannot portend what will happen in November 2012.

"Special elections are often unique, and their outcomes don't tell you very much about future regularly scheduled elections," White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, as President Barack Obama continued the selling tour of his jobs plan.

"You can make those predictions and look foolish in 14 months or not. I'm simply saying that we do not view it that way," Carney said, when asked whether the results can be viewed as anything other than a referendum on the president.

Obama's party suffered a significant blow Tuesday when it lost a House seat in a heavily Democratic district in New York City in a special election. Democrats have a 3-1 registration edge in the Brooklyn and Queens-area district and have held the seat for nearly a century. On the same day, Democrats suffered another setback by losing a House special election in Nevada.

Many interpreted the results as evidence of voters' frustration over the economy and Obama's policies, saying it may well portend an even more rugged path forward for the president to win a second term.

Republicans did not hesitate to grab the opportunity to attack Obama's agenda.

"Tonight New Yorkers have delivered a strong warning to the Democrats who control the levers of power in our federal government," House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement Tuesday night. "It's time to scrap the failed 'stimulus' agenda."

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