Republicans take back congress

Published: 1994
Play Audio Archive Story - UPI
HOU96030601-06MAR96-HOUSTON, TEXAS, USA: Presidential candidate Sen. Bob Dole (R-KA) arrived in Texas to meet with former President George Bush in Houston Wednesday March 6. Sen. Dole received the endorsement of Texas Governor George W. Bush. UPI sw/George Wong

Bill Paxon: "It's a knock-out, there was a take-down, it was a slam-dunk, it was a tidal wave."

Announcer: It was the year the opposition overthrew the government in Washington.

Bill Paxon: "This wasn't even close, this was a blow-out."

Announcer: Republicans blew out democratic majorities in both house and senate.

Bill Paxon: "This was and is history big time."

Announcer: New York Congressman Bill Paxon was right. Republicans hadn't controlled Congress since the 50s and it's been even longer than that since they had controlled where the democrat was President.

Bill Clinton: "Now, I do think they send us a message, I will try to hear it."

Announcer: It would be hard not to hear a message this loud.

George Pataki: "Tonight, the people of this State spoke loudly and clearly that they want change."

Announcer: That's George Pataki, the newly unknown Republican State law-maker who ousted New York's nationally known Governor Mario Cuomo.

Mario Cuomo: "I surely made mistakes as Governor, but I am as proud as I can be of what we have accomplished."

Announcer: How bad was the route for democrats? The voters have spoke in Washington forcibly retired the Speaker of a House. Tom Foley blamed voters not knowing about progress.

Tom Foley: "As for example the deficit is going down. Poll after poll shows the American people believe the deficit is going up."

Announcer: Wrongly or rightly, voters from both parties turned out democrats left and right, from Texas, Governor Ann Richards who lost to a son of former President Bush.

George Bush: "I know Texas will join me, in thanking Governor Richards for her service to our State."

Announcer: To the same states Conservative Congressman Jack Brooks first elected in the 50s, the last time republicans were in the House majority. GOP national chairman Haley Barbour.

Haley Barbour: "Although some referred that this is an anti-incumbent year, not a single republican incumbent in House, in the Senate or Governor was defeated."

Announcer: California’s Republican Governor Pete Wilson been big troubled only weeks before was reelected.

Pete Wilson: "I faced longer odds than George Foreman."

Announcer: Florida’s popular Democratic Governor Lawton Chiles facing another son of Bush felt lucky to squeak by.

Lawton Chiles: "We could have lost this race, could have lost it easily."

Announcer: California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein had to wait for days before learning she won her close one.

Dianne Feinstein: "And I want to just say what a cliffhanger."

Announcer: Iran-Contra figure Oliver North was one Republican who couldn’t catch the wave, losing his bid for a Senate seat in Virginia. North said his loss was really a win altering politics forever.

Oliver North: "Every future candidate for office will have to explain to the electorate their vision."

Announcer: But the biggest exception to the rule came in the Massachusetts Senate race. The republican son of a former Michigan Governor failed to one seat Ted Kennedy. One of the Senate’s most liberal members.

Unknown Speaker: "We thank him before, the battle he had waged and we are glad about the outcome."

Announcer: There were interesting election outcomes.

Marion Barry: "And if God can forgive me, so man, woman can do the same."

Announcer: The voters of Washington, DC made Marion Barry their Mayor again.

Marion Barry: "I am here and I have that testimony to his amazing grace."

Announcer: Even though he did time after using cocaine on an FBI candid camera.

Sonny Bono: "I will go and fight as hard as I can with every breath that’s in me."

Announcer: Former pop singer Sonny Bono was elected to Congress from Palm Springs, California.

Sonny Bono: "I won't let you down."

Announcer: The day after the election, Alabama Senator Dick Shelby switched from Democrat to Republican.

Dick Shelby: "I am changing parties to a party of hope for America."

Announcer: Tennesseans gave the Senate its first heart surgeon and also elected Fred Thompson, former counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee and an actor playing a sub-skipper in Hunt for Red October. Maine chose a Republican for the Senate seat vacated by retiring Democratic leader George Mitchell.

George Mitchell: "They've had the luxury of simply being in the opposition, being able to simply say no to things."

Announcer: Republican Bob Dole about to switch from minority to majority leader said, “That’s true”.

Bob Dole: "We do have the majority. We have a responsibility to the President, responsibility to the people."

Announcer: And there were similar sediments from the election’s single biggest winner.

Newt Gingrich: "We had a hard fought campaign and we fought back very hard."

Announcer: Georgia Congressman Newt Gingrich had risen rapidly in the minority leadership, now he will be speaker of the House. Gingrich enumerated issues on which he felt he and Bill Clinton agreed.

Newt Gingrich: "Line-item veto, welfare reform, I think those are things that the President feels strongly he'd like to see passed, and we are able to find some bi-partisan ways early on."

Announcer: The President also vowed cooperation.

Bill Clinton: "I will do everything in my power to reach out to the leaders and members of this new Congress."

Announcer: But some republicans were already looking forward to 1996.

Phil Gramm: "I am excited because the American people gave the Republican Party a very strong clear mandate."

Announcer: Texas Senator Phil Gramm talks like a rancher but is really a former Economics Professor, and incidentally a former democrat. At year's end Gramm was seen as a GOP Presidential hopeful and therefore a rival to Bob Dole, who allowed as how he thought about the presidency some.

Bob Dole: "I've thought about it. Heck, I just thinking about it a while ago. But I... but I saw Phil Gramm, it remind me --"