Clinton pledges to work with Republicans

2010-11-03 18:10

Port Moresby – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton vowed to work with the new Republican-led House of Representatives as she prepared to leave Papua New Guinea on Wednesday during an Asia-Pacific tour.

The resurgent Republicans, powered by the ultra-conservative Tea Party group, steamrollered the Democrats by taking at least 50 seats in the House of Representatives, leaving broad Democratic control in tatters.

"You can build coalitions and you can make your case and you can find allies on issues that are in America's interests and in the furtherance of our security and our values," said Clinton, who pointed out that she worked as part of a Senate minority for several years.

"And I will be working very hard in the weeks and months ahead to get to know new members and new leadership and to work with them on behalf of the United States of America."

Clinton was in the Pacific nation to discuss ways to fight climate change with Prime Minister Michael Somare and other officials when she gave her reaction to voters' stinging rebuke of the Democrats in the mid-term elections.

Foreign policy

"When it comes to foreign policy it's important to remember that politics stops at the water's edge," she added.

Republicans needed 39 seats to capture the House and force the first-ever woman speaker Nancy Pelosi from power – a barrier they smashed soon after polls closed as the Democratic monopoly on power crumbled.

By early on Wednesday, with a handful of the 435 House seats still up for grabs, several US media outlets were reporting a projected gain of at least 59 seats, the chamber's largest shift in power since 1938.

Beleaguered Democrats clung onto the Senate, but the Republicans netted six seats, with two more battleground states yet to be declared. They had needed an unlikely 10 pickups to take the Senate as well.

Clinton's visit is part of an Asian tour which has so far included Guam, Vietnam, China, Cambodia and Malaysia. After Papua New Guinea, Clinton will visit New Zealand, Australia and American Samoa.