White House officials rejected what they said was over-hyped conclusions about the impact on Obama of losing the governorships in New Jersey and Virginia, and instead sought to focus attention on the Democratic victory in New York's 23rd Congressional District.
"We won a congressional seat that's been in Republican hands since Ulysses S. Grant was president, in part because of the disunity in the Republican Party," senior adviser David Axelrod said in an early-morning phone interview. "That was the only truly national
contest on the ballot."
Axelrod said the intervention of national conservatives in pushing the moderate GOP candidate out of the New York race will be the only lasting impact of the night.
"The most portentous thing that happened yesterday was that the right wing of the Republican Party ran a moderate Republican essentially out of the race, and lost a seat they had held for more than 100 years," he said. "I don't take that as discouragement."