Returning to the White House in the dark, Biden declined to answer questions about the race, which he’d incorrectly predicted Democrats would win eight hours earlier. The results had been called a half-hour before Biden touched down at Joint Base Andrews. Aboard Air Force One, people familiar with the matter said the mood was grim as a weary team returned to what has become a swirl of recrimination and second-guessing.

A subdued Biden told reporters at the White House on Wednesday that the results of the election must be accepted, and said that he was proud of the race McAuliffe ran — arguing that the former governor had received the most votes a Democratic gubernatorial nominee had ever received in the commonwealth.

But, Biden said, there’s not much that could have been done given historical trends and enthusiasm among Republican voters.

“I think it should have passed before Election Day,” Biden said of his legislative agenda, “but…

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