President Bush said Thursday Republicans didn't do as well as he had hoped in elections and that the lesson he learned from Tuesday's defeats of governors was that "people feel they've been taxed too much."

He said he would "absolutely" promise to oppose any new tax increases. However, Bush hedged somewhat, adding that, "sometimes you run into realities."In a gloomy assessment about the economy, Bush said, "We're in some tough times." He said he would consult with economists both in and out of government to discuss ways to soften the blow.

In his first public appearance since election night, Bush was asked whether he thought he had damaged himself politically by accepting $140 billion in tax increases as part of a budget accord with the Democrats.

"I oppose raising taxes," he said. "We had this one compromise, and that just reinforced my views."

Bush said, "I wish I had a Congress that would do it just my way, because I am convinced we can do it (cut the deficit) without any tax increases."

Bush said he expected Democrats would attempt to pass more tax hikes, and said, "they're going to do it over my dead veto."