Despite losing the Senate and more seats in the House, Obama doesn’t think too much should be read into election results from a handful of states that never approved of his job performance anyway. Apparently rather than seeing this as any kind of repudiation on his policies, he sees it as America’s frustration over government (congress) not getting anything done.
“The American people sent a message they’ve sent for several elections now,” the president said, adding that Americans “want us to get the job done” on crucial challenges confronting the country. “They expect the people they elect to work as hard as they do.”
And what his remarks about working with congress boiled down to was: “I want bipartisan solutions. As long as it goes my way. If it doesn’t, I’ll use executive orders.”
WHAT LANDSLIDE? Obama threatens vetoes and executive orders – including immigration reform THIS YEAR – after Americans reject him by giving Republicans historic gains in Congress
President Barack Obama came out swinging on Wednesday just 14 hours after a Republican wave swept over the U.S. Congress in an election that largely repudiated his policies.
‘Congress will pass some bills I cannot sign,’ he said, threatening to dust off a veto pen that he has used only twice in nearly six years.
And he hinted at executive orders that will enrage conservatives.
‘I’m pretty sure I’ll take some actions that some in Congress will not like,’ he said. ‘That’s natural. That’s how Democracy works.’
Much of reporters’ tussling with the president focused on executive orders related to immigration reform – what some tea party Republicans call an ‘amnesty’ – which he plans to implement this year.
He acknowledged that the GOP won Tuesday’s elections, but framed the results as a mandate for Republicans to work with him, instead of the other way around.
‘Obviously the Republicans had a good night,’ he said.
But he said he would principally work with them ‘if there are ideas that the Republicans have that I am confident will make things better for ordinary Americans.’
‘I want to just see what works,’ he said.
‘The American people sent a message,’ he claimed, ‘one that they’ve sent for several elections now.’
‘They expect the people they elect to work as hard as they do. They expect us to focus on their ambitions, and not ours.’
He then rattled off a list of economic indicators that he said buttressed his case that Republicans should accept his point of view.
‘More Americans are working. Unemployment has come down,’ he claimed, glossing over the part-time employment shift that the Obamacare law’s employer mandate has ushered in.
‘Our economy is outpacing most of the world. But we’ve just gotta keep at it. Much of that will take action from Congress. And I’m eager to work with the next Congress.’
He cited infrastructure building projects and international trade as areas where he thought his agenda overlaps with the GOP’s.
Responding to hot-button questions about the fate of Obamacare in the age of a Republican Congress, the president didn’t budge.
He said he would only work with Republicans if they seek to ‘make responsible changes’ to the law. ‘I’m going to be very receptive to hearing those ideas.’
‘Despite all the contention,’ Obama claimed, ‘we now know that the law works.’