U.S. Rep. Bob Filner, D-Chula Vista, is grinning his way through Golden Hall, followed by a loud group of sign-wavers.

Filner says the Democratic takeover of the House is “obviously very thrilling.”

But he says he’s not gloating.

The result today, Filner says, is a “referendum on [President Bush] and the war.” Filner says Bush has scheduled a press conference tomorrow that will set the tone for the next two years.

“I hope he’ll take a more flexible approach and say: ‘I’ve heard the message,’” Filner says.

Filner is using the word “pragmatic” a lot tonight. And he’s got a few talking points about the Democrats’ plans now that they’ve taken the House. If you’re watching television, you may have heard them:

  • Raise the national minimum wage.
  • Implement the Sept. 11 Commission’s recommendations.
  • Negotiate with drug companies to cut the costs of prescription drugs.

With the switch in the House, Filner shifts from being the ranking Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee to being its chairman. His plans with the new job: “A 21st century G.I. Bill,” Filner says.


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