WASHINGTON (AP) — Five things to look for the morning after Election Day:
OBAMA HAS SOME EXPLAINING TO DO
What word will President Barack Obama use to describe this election?
He already used "shellacking" after his party lost the House four years ago. How will he describe the loss of the Senate? Obama is following the presidential tradition of holding a news conference the day after an election. Midterm elections tend to go against the party that occupies the White House, so it's not usually a comfortable moment for presidents. He'll speak to the press Wednesday afternoon.
GRIDLOCK OR ACTION?
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, in his victory speech, pledged to turn around the country. But he added: "I don't expect the president to wake up tomorrow and view the world any differently than he did this morning. He knows I won't, either."
Obama has invited congressional leaders to the White House on Friday. Can they find ways to work together?
KICKOFF TO 2016
Look for Republicans in pursuit of the White House to hold up their party's gains as a sign of things to come.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, head of the Republican Governors Association, probably will take credit for extending the GOP's political map into Democratic-leaning states such as Maryland, Massachusetts and Illinois, Obama's home state.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is elevated to the top tier among potential 2016 contenders with a re-election following a divisive recall attempt in 2012.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul already is saying the election was a referendum on the most prominent Democrat in the 2016 mix. "I think it's a repudiation basically of the president's policies but also Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton have been all over the place," Paul said on Fox News.
BUT FIRST, THE MIDTERM EXTENDS
Louisiana is heading to a Dec. 6 runoff between Republican Bill Cassidy and Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu after neither got a majority of the vote. Groups on either side were rushing a new round of attack ads, extending a negative campaign for a few more weeks.
Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin also could not reach 50 percent of the vote, with a third-party challenger in the race, so Legislature will decide the race in January.
REPUBLICANS ON TRACK TO BUILD ON THEIR HOUSE MAJORITY
Look to see whether the GOP was able to mass their biggest House majority in the post-World War II era. Republicans were on track to track to match or surpass the 246 seats they held in President Harry S. Truman's administration more than 60 years ago.
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