WASHINGTON, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Mitch Daniels, Indiana's Republican governor, said weak candidates prevented the GOP from capturing control of the U.S. Senate on Election Day.
Republicans gained six Senate seats overall in Tuesday's elections but needed to take 10 to become the majority party in the upper chamber. Republicans took control of the House of Representatives.
Daniels said the party "didn't turn up the strongest (Senate) candidates," The Hill reported Friday.
Tea Party-backed Republican candidates in Colorado, Delaware and Nevada were defeated.
Daniels, in an interview with the Washington publication, cautioned Democrats against assuming they lost their House majority because of the recession alone.
Voters "recoiled from the advancement of state power" through policies Democrats pushed, said Daniels, considered by some political observers as a possible 2012 presidential contender.
Now that the election is over, the focus should be on the economy, Daniels said.
Washington should "quit talking about raising taxes and get serious about spending restraint," he said.
"Debt is heading for terrifying levels if we don't grow the economy," said Daniels, a budget director in President George W. Bush's administration.
Republicans and Democrats could come together on some issues, he said, because "(it's) in the interest of everyone."
Daniels urged President Obama to tackle the national debt by taking on entitlement reform, including raising the retirement age for Social Security, and putting Defense Department spending cuts on the table.
The governor also suggested that Obama spend less than what's appropriated when revenues are down, and ease regulations that hamper business.
"He could tell his agencies to give America a reprieve in regulations they are working on and he could tell the (Environmental Protection Agency) 'No, we're not going to start regulating carbon dioxide,'" Daniels said.