News / USA

Obama Rallies Democrats, Predicts 'Tough Election' Ahead

President Barack Obama speaks at the House Democratic Issues Conference, Jan. 27, 2012, in Cambridge, Md.
President Barack Obama speaks at the House Democratic Issues Conference, Jan. 27, 2012, in Cambridge, Md.

Multimedia

Audio

U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday predicted a "robust debate" ahead with Republicans, and the party's eventual presidential nominee, about the economy and future of the country. The president spoke at an annual gathering of congressional Democrats following a cross-country trip to underscore themes of his State of the Union address.


Cheers and a standing ovation greeted Obama in Cambridge, Maryland, where House Democrats met for three days to discuss their legislative game plan and sharpen their political message in this election year.

Relations between the president and his fellow Democrats often were strained in the first three years of his administration, amid difficult negotiations with Republicans over government deficit reduction and taxes.

Obama told members of the Democratic Caucus that the "tough votes" they took enabled progress made since the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009.

"Over the last 22 months we have seen 3 million jobs created, the most jobs last year since 2005, more jobs in manufacturing than we have seen since the 1990's. A lot of that has to do with tough decisions that you took," said Obama.

The president repeated key themes of his State of the Union address, including his call to ensure that all Americans have a "fair shot" in the economy, and "play by the same set of rules."

He said Democrats in the House, where majority Republicans have blocked many of his key jobs proposals, were willing to make tough cuts amounting to more than $2 trillion in deficit reduction.

As is often the case in a major election year, there is little expectation of being able to accomplish much legislatively in the months before Americans vote in November.    

The Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, this past week blamed the president for the absence of compromise.

"While I have tried to reach out and work with the president, I can tell you that for the last four months since last Labor Day, the president has been in campaign mode every day," said Boehner.

But Representative John Larson of Connecticut, a key Democratic leader who introduced Obama at the conference in Maryland, said Republicans were to blame for the gridlock in Washington.

"You have made every attempt humanly possible to get them to bring your legislation that will put this country back to work, to the floor. We stand committed, we stand with you, to make that happen in this session of Congress," said Larson.

Addressing the same gathering earlier in the day, Vice President Joe Biden blasted congressional leaders for continuing to obstruct the president's efforts.

Biden said the 2012 election will present "stark contrasts" between President Obama's vision and Republicans, and predicted that obstruction would eventually backfire on them.

"Guess what? The American people are figuring it out. [That Republicans] reject the word, they reject the notion of compromise," said Biden.

Lawmakers addressed Friday by Obama also are nervous about their re-election chances amid ongoing struggles between the president and Republicans.

Obama said they need to find ways to work with Republicans, but vowed he will not stand for more obstruction.

"We have got to be right there ready to meet them. On the other hand, where they obstruct, where they are unwilling to act, where they are more interested in party then they are in country, more interested in the next election than the next generation, then we have got to call them out on it. We have got to call them out on it. We have got to push them," said Obama.

It will be a tough election, the president said, because many Americans have "lost faith in the capacity of Washington to get anything done."


You May Like

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbasi
X
Scott Stearns
August 21, 2014 9:20 PM
The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid