Obama: I Have Bent Over Backwards Working with the GOP
President Obama told CNBC’s John Harwood that while he’s been president, he’s “bent over backwards to work with the Republican party.”
During the course of my presidency, I have bent over backwards to work with the Republican party. I think I’m pretty well known for being a calm guy. Sometimes people think I’m too calm. And am I exasperated? Absolutely, I’m exasperated. Because this is entirely unnecessary. I am exasperated with the idea that, unless I say that, ‘Twenty million people, you can’t have health insurance,’ these folks will not reopen the government. That is irresponsible.
The President asserted that he’s the most malleable of men; he said he was prepared to “negotiate on anything.” There’s just one tiny catch: the GOP has to submit a bill that’s a clean piece of legislation (read: funds Obamacare) to reopen the government and let him raise the debt ceiling.
Until we get that done, until we make sure that Congress allows Treasury to pay for things that Congress itself already authorized, we are not going to engage in a series of negotiations. It is not acceptable for one faction of one part in one chamber to say, ‘Either we get what we want or we’ll shut down the government.’ Or even worse, ‘We will not allow the U.S. Treasury to pay its bills and put the United States in default for the first time in history. If we get in the habit where a few folks, an extremist wing of one party, whether it’s Democrat or Republican, are allowed to extort concessions based on a threat of undermin[ing] the full faith and credit of the United States, then any president who comes after me, not just me, will find themselves unable to govern effectively.
Obviously bitter that the initial stock market reaction to the government shutdown was an uptick, Obama warned Wall Street to get its act together and start worrying, saying, Wall Street “should be concerned. It is not unusual for Democrats and Republicans to disagree. That’s the way the founders designed our government. Democracy’s messy. But when you have a situation in which a faction is willing potentially to default on U.S. government obligations, then we are in trouble.”