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Must see: Presidential Remarks at House Republican Conference


alexey

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http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/01/29/obama.gop/index.html?hpt=T2

Obama, House GOP try to bridge partisan divide

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

NEW: President Obama: Some Republicans acted as if health plan was "some Bolshevik plot"

Obama says Democrats, Republicans both are to blame for "sour climate" on Capitol Hill

President also defends stimulus plan before GOP House members

Question-and-answer session turns testy sometimes at House GOP retreat

Baltimore, Maryland (CNN) -- President Obama and House GOP leaders promised greater efforts to step back from the partisan brink Friday, acknowledging that Washington's toxic political climate has made it increasingly tough to tackle major problems.

The pledge was immediately called into question, however, as the two parties repeatedly expressed sharply differing viewpoints during a rare meeting at a House Republican retreat in Baltimore.

Obama accepted an invitation from House GOP leaders to address their caucus. His speech Friday was followed by an often testy question-and-answer session.

The president accused Republicans of frequently mischaracterizing his policy proposals, particularly in the health care debate.

Republicans, in turn, complained the White House and congressional Democrats had ignored their ideas, locked them out of the policy-making process and unfairly labeled them as obstructionists.

"Both sides can take some blame for a sour climate on Capitol Hill," Obama said, adding that Democrats and Republicans "need to be careful" in choosing their rhetoric. "A ton of civility instead of slash and burn would be helpful."

The president highlighted what he said was problematic GOP rhetoric on his health care proposals. Republicans, he said, had characterized the proposed program as some "kind of Bolshevik plot."

In fact, he said that much of his plan was similar to what Republicans had proposed during the failed Clinton-era push to overhaul health care.

Both sides need to "close the gap a little bit between rhetoric and reality," the president argued. Calling his health care plan "some wild-eyed plot to impose big government in every aspect of our lives" leaves little room for bipartisan negotiation, Obama said.

The president questioned how Republicans could negotiate in good faith after using such rhetoric without exposing themselves to conservative primary challengers.

At the same time, however, Obama conceded there's been a failure on his part to "try to foster better communications even if there's disagreement."

Obama has promised regular meetings with GOP leaders in the future.

The president also defended his stimulus plan before GOP House members.

"There is not a single person in here who, had it not been for what was in the stimulus package, wouldn't be going home to more teachers laid off, more firefighters laid off, more cops laid off," Obama said.

"The component parts of the Recovery Act are consistent" with what many Republicans say are important, he said.

Obama cited "rebuilding our infrastructure, tax cuts for families and businesses, and making sure that we were providing states and individuals some support when the roof was caving in."

The president told House Republicans that Americans don't "want us to focus on our job security. They want us to focus on their job security."

Obama said Americans don't want more gridlock, partisanship and obstruction.

"They didn't send us to Washington to fight each other in some sort of political field cage match to see who comes out alive. That's not what they want. They sent us to Washington to work together, to get things done and to solve the problems that they're grappling with every single day."

He pointed to bipartisan efforts, citing support for putting troops in Afghanistan and denying al Qaeda a safe haven.

Obama took aim at wasteful spending, saying, "I would love for Congress itself to show discipline on both sides of the aisle."

He said that "wasteful spending is usually spent somehow outside of your district."

"Have you noticed that? The spending in your district tends to seem pretty sensible. So I would love to see more restraint within Congress."

He said he intends to create a commission to confront deficits by executive order.

"The idea of a bipartisan fiscal commission to confront the deficits in the long term died in the Senate the other day," he said. "So I'm going to establish such a commission by executive order, and I hope that you participate fully and genuinely in that effort."

The recommendations of a commission created by executive order would not be binding; those from a commission created by Congress would have been.

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Might this possibly lead to an outbreak of (gasp) Leadership?

:)

Let's hope so. I'm glad to see Obama showing some real backbone in his second year. Maybe we'll finally get some "change", we'll see.

This thing is worth a watch. Don't just read the summary.

I'm trying to watch but I keep getting an "error connecting to C-Span", is it working for you, or is anyone aware of a place to actually watch a working video?

Edit: Nevermind looks like the 3rd time was the charm. It's working now.

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Let's hope so. I'm glad to see Obama showing some real backbone in his second year. Maybe we'll finally get some "change", we'll see.

I'm trying to watch but I keep getting an "error connecting to C-Span", is it working for you, or is anyone aware of a place to actually watch a working video?

Edit: Nevermind looks like the 3rd time was the charm. It's working now.

http://cspan.org/Watch/Media/2010/01/29/HP/R/29045/President+Speaks+at+GOP+Retreat.aspx

And as others have said. It is actually really interesting.

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He said he intends to create a commission to confront deficits by executive order.

"The idea of a bipartisan fiscal commission to confront the deficits in the long term died in the Senate the other day," he said. "So I'm going to establish such a commission by executive order, and I hope that you participate fully and genuinely in that effort."

Isn't that usurping Congress's job and a attempt by the Executive to frame the debate?

It's good O accepted the invitation and that they had a fairly open exchange of ideas,but that should have already been happening in congressional committees and private meetings with O....instead we got the I won mentality,at least from my perspective..

The fact he had to be invited to a separate retreat to have such a exchange should tell ya something.

Perhaps he and congressional leadership will show true leadership traits now ,but I doubt it.

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I like his spirit of teamwork. Really wish more of our pols would act as adults like this.

I wish bipartisanship didnt always mean bigger government and more spending though

Agree. The sad thing is when gov't works together, it gets bigger (see NLCB and Medicare Part D for examples)

Gridlock is clearly best. Hardly anything got done between 2006-2008, and of course the record between 1994-2000 was unmatched in terms of gridlock and the lack of expanding gov't

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Huge mistake for the House Republicans to invite him. Even bigger mistake for House Republicans to agree to have this on camera. Obama just ate their lunch.

I'd agree if the GOP was the majority in Congress

Seeing that this is the smallest minority since Watergate, well its 100 percent absurd and dishonest to blame the GOP for anything.

The lack of Obama's success in 2009 lays at his feet and Democratic leadership

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