President Obama said in an interview aired on CBS News last night that about 40 percent of Americans aren’t hard-left or hard-right, and “they just want to see us make progress and do what works.”
“There’s a segment of the country that’s deeply divided. You know, it would be a hard to put a number on it, but I suspect that there are 30 percent hard-core partisans on the Republican side and 30 percent hard-core partisans on the Democratic side, and then you’ve just got a lot of folks who spend most of their time thinking about how do I pay my bills,” he said.
And he accused House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) of not having a good handle on his partisans.
“I actually think that he is a good and decent man, who I think wants to do the right thing for the country,” Obama said. “His challenge is that there’s a wing of his caucus now that is prominent, vocal, and thinks compromise is a dirty word, and he hasn’t been able to control that caucus.”
The president said he “absolutely” has a working relationship with the speaker, but stopped short of claiming they’re getting things done together.
“Two months before an election, the speaker is obviously supportive of my opponent and his party, and he wants to win as many seats as he can, and he’s not going to go out of his way to try to help me get things done that he thinks I may be able to take credit for,” Obama said.
Obama was asked is his “aloof” personality gets in the way with negotiating with members of Congress.
“If your theory is that the president is your political opponent and our number one goal is to beat him, then it doesn’t matter how much of a charm offensive I put on, how often I have them over to Super Bowl parties or watch movies in the theater or have a drink on the patio,” he said. “At a certain point, they can’t say yes. You know, I’ve joked in the past to my staff and to some Republicans, look, if you want me to come over, wash your car, walk your dog, you know, I’m game, if it means that we’re actually getting stuff done on behalf of the American people.”