"We saw a convergence of events that created a perfect storm against the Democrats," Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union." "What this was all about, and understandably so, was a referendum on 9.5 percent unemployment… We had not made enough progress."
But he said it would be a "big mistake" for Republicans to assume they now have a mandate to do more than address the economy.
"In some ways the good news is our Republican colleagues now have to share some of the responsibility for getting us out of the mess," Van Hollen told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.
He also came out in strong support of Pelosi, who announced this week she is running for House minority leader in the next Congress.
"Nancy Pelosi's been fighting for middle-class Americans for the last 24 months… on Tuesday this was a lot bigger than Nancy Pelosi," Van Hollen said.
He declined to say who he would support for the House position of minority whip, but said both candidates - James Clyburn of South Carolina and Steny Hoyer of Maryland - would "stay in Democratic leadership."
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