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

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora