During a roundtable discussion with business leaders, President Obama pushed back against the notion that somehow America was losing to China and Russia.
Obama’s speech focused largely on economic policy, but he digressed at one point “to go on a quick rant for a second” about the growing uneasiness about America’s position in the world.
“This whole notion that somehow, we’re getting outcompeted, out-dealt, we’re losing … Nobody matches us,” he said defiantly.
Obama did not mention anyone specific by name, but it was clear he was reacting to recent rhetoric from presidential candidates on the campaign trail.
“Our problem’s not that China’s going to out-negotiate us or that Mr. Putin is out-strategizing us … that’s not our problem. The problem is us, typically,” he insisted, pointing to “self-inflicted” economic problems like government shutdowns and congressional gridlock in Washington D.C.
“I’m being generous when I say we,” he added lightly, likely referring to Republicans.
Obama insisted that countries overseas were actually envious of American prosperity.
“America’s in the drivers seat if we make some smart decisions,” he said, suggesting that one way to improve the U.S. economy would be to start welcoming more immigrants into the country.
“The best talent in the world still wants to come here if we just let them come,” he said.
Obama made his remarks during an economic roundtable discussion in Washington D.C. with business leaders.