A powerful Q&A happened today after President Obama met with leaders of Congress. The president held a press conference to talk about what happened in his meeting and took questions from reporters. One of the question was from a CNN reporter, Jessica Yellin, who implied that the President was not doing everything possible to force Republicans into see things his way.
In his response, President answered that he is “not a dictator,” and if Republicans say they have to go catch a plane, he “cannot have Secret Service block the doorway.” He continued;
I know that has been some of the conventional wisdom that’s been floating around Washington, that somehow, even though most people agree that I’m being reasonable, that most people agree I’m presenting a fair deal, that fact that they don’t take it means that I should somehow do a Jedi mind meld with these folks and convince them to do what’s right.
Well they’re elected. We have a constitutional system of Government. The Speaker of the House and the Leader of the Senate and all those folks have responsibilities. What I can do is I can make the best possible case for why we need to do the right thing. I can speak to the American people about the consequences of the decisions that Congress is making or the lack of decision making by Congress.
But ultimately, it’s a choice they make. This idea that somehow there’s a secret formula or a secret sauce to get Speaker Boehner or Mitch McConnell to say, you know what Mr. President, you’re right. We should close some tax loopholes for the well off and well connected in exchange for some serious entitlement reform and spending cuts to programs we don’t need, I think if there was a secret way to do that, I would have tried it. I would have done it.
What I can do is I can make the best possible argument. And I can offer concessions, I can offer compromise, I can negotiate, I can make sure that my party is willing to compromise and is not being ideological or thinking about this just in terms of political terms. And I think I’ve done that and I will continue to do that. But what I can’t do is force Congress to do the right thing.
But there was a follow-up. Jessica had another statement/question to make. She asked about New York’s Mayor Bloomberg who stated that the effects of the Sequester was being overstated. Jessica wanted to know if Bloomberg was correct. The President responded with a few examples, one of them being that the Department of Defense now had to figure out how to continue providing full education to the children of military families if their teachers were furloughed . And he pointed out that Mayor Bloomberg will not feel that pain.
Watch the full exchange below;0