Obama: Dwindling Years As President ‘Concentrates The Mind’

President Barack Obama waves as he arrives in Portland, Ore., Thursday, May 7, 2015. On Friday, the president will visit Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., to make his trade policy pitch as he struggles to win over Democrats for what could be the last major legislative push of his presidency.
AP/Don Ryan

At a fundraiser in Miami last night, President Obama told supporters that he felt liberated by his dwindling years left in the White House, admitting that he thinks he’s surprising Americans by the things he was accomplishing though executive order.

“It is a liberating feeling in the sense that the amount of time I have left, it concentrates the mind, and I think a lot of folks have been surprised at the degree to which we are moving and pushing and trying whatever we can to advance the goals of making sure that every American in this country and every child in this country, if they’re willing to work hard, can get ahead, and that opportunity and prosperity is broad-based,” he said.

Obama touted a wish list of spending proposals that includes early child education, college affordability and infrastructure spending. He also touted the importance of immigration reform.

“We’ve done great work, but we have so much more that we could be doing,” he said. “And the reason it’s not getting done is not because we don’t know what to do; it’s because we’re stuck in Congress on so many of these issues.”

On immigration reform and other issues, Obama explained he had given up waiting for Congress to accomplish his agenda years ago, and informed his staff that he would strike out on his own.

“We’re not waiting for Congress,” he said. “We’re moving forward on everything from precision medicine to rationalizing where we can our immigration system.”

Obama pointed out that two terms as president was actually “pretty short” compared to the history of the United States, but he was optimistic about the future of his ideas in the hands of his presidential successor.

“We can get a lot done, but part of what we’re also doing is laying the foundation so that we then pass that baton to the next administration and we institutionalize some of the progress that we’ve been making,” he said, without mentioning former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by name.

Obama attended two fundraisers last night for the Democratic National Convention with a total of approximately 90 supporters who paid up to $33,400 to see the president.