In front of a raucous crowd at Washingtons Hyatt Regency, House and Senate Democratic leaders all but declared victory for themselves even though many Congressional races had yet to be determined in their favor.
This is not a mandate for a party or an ideology, said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). But really, this is a mandate for change and for hope. Its a mandate to stop fighting over the things that divide us and start working on the things that [unite] us.
With Senate Democrats picking up at least five seats so far in the evening and House Democrats picking up a handful of their own, both Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) said more gains were on their way as the night progressed.
There are more to come, Schumer said. The days of obstruction are over.
Despite their jubilance, Reid and other leaders attempted to be gracious in victory.
Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) congratulated Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on a hard-fought presidential campaign and said they were prepared to welcome him back into the Senate.
We look forward to working with him in a spirit of bipartisanship and civility, Pelosi said.