To reprise Al Hunt in yesterday morning’s Wall Street Journal (see posting below): After his 1984 re-election, Hunt claims, President Reagan “could have claimed a mandate for more of the same; he didn’t.”
From President Reagan’s press conference the day after that 1984 re-election (emphases mine):
Q: Clearly, you won a tremendous personal victory last night. But given the fact that the Republicans lost two seats in the Senate and that you didn’t win as many seats in the House as you lost in the 1982 elections, how much of a mandate can the Republicans claim for next year?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I feel that the people of this country made it very plain that they approved what we’ve been doing. And we’re going to continue what we’ve been doing and, if need be, we’ll take our case to the people. But we have the same number of Senators that we had in 1981 when we got this program passed. And there’s a possibility — I know that there are some seats still to be decided in the House — but there’s a possibility of as many as 17, and that’s more than have happened in elections of this kind — mid- or second-term elections — for Presidents in the past.
Q: Are you claiming a mandate then, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: I’m claiming that I think the people made it very plain that they approved of what we’re doing….And that’s what we’re going to continue to do.
Thanks to Corner reader Thom Nykamp, and to the University of Texas, on whose website Thom found the transcript—and where anyone, including Al Hunt, may read it online.