An emotional Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner (Ohio) proclaimed the midterm elections “a repudiation of Washington” and said voters had sent a message to President Obama to “change course.”

“Across the country right now we’re witnessing a repudiation of Washington, a repudiation of big government, and a repudiation of politicians who refuse to listen to the American people,” Boehner told cheering GOP supporters on Capitol Hill.

The Ohio congressman, likely the next Speaker, spoke shortly after 11:30 p.m. Eastern as Republicans appeared close to passing the 39-seat gain they needed to capture control of the House.

Boehner claimed a mandate to reduce spending and the size of government, and he pledged a GOP House that would respect the will of voters – something Republicans have argued Obama did not do in pursuing an ambitious domestic agenda.

“The people’s priorities will be our priorities, and the people’s agenda will be our agenda,” Boehner said.

He said the American people “sent an unmistakable message” to the president. “And that message is change course,” Boehner said to loud cheers. “We hope President Obama will now respect the will of the people, change course, and to commit to making changes that they are demanding. And to the extent that he’s willing to do that, we’re ready to work with him.”

Pledging humility, Boehner said “this is not a time for celebration,” but rather “a time to roll up our sleeves and go to work.”

Boehner began to weep as he described his rise from a blue-collar upbringing in Ohio to the corridors of power in Congress, and his efforts “chasing the American dream” as a small businessman.