Obama to Fundraiser: We're Debating 'About What, Benghazi? Obamacare? It's Not Serious'
President Obama quipped to an "intimate dinner" crowd at a Potomac, Md., residence Monday night that "in five years it will no longer be called Obamacare" -- stating that "when something is working" it will need "a whole renaming process."
"I don’t know if it will be 'Reagancare,' but it will definitely be -- it will be something different," he added.
Democrats long regarded Obamacare as a derisive term coined by the right, then changed course and accepted it around the time of implementation in order to try to use the recognition of the term to their advantage. Most congressional Democrats still refer to the law as the Affordable Care Act.
"I’m at the tail end of my fifth year in office, and that gives you some perspective," Obama said, rattling off a slate of points for which he took credit, including a Latino dropout rate cut in half since the year 2000 and "the unemployment rate is as low as it’s been since before the Lehman Brothers crash and the financial crash."
Ticket prices for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser ranged from $10,000 to $32,400. The White House pool reporter said the press pool was socked away in a second-floor bedroom of the home while waiting for Obama's remarks.
Attendees included Maryland Democratic Reps. Steny Hoyer, John Delaney, Elijah Cummings, Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, and Donna Edwards.
"There are some jobs that aren’t coming back," he said. "...We know that we’re going to have to transition to a clean energy economy. If we’re the ones at the forefront of that, that will position us well for the rest of the century. We know it has to happen."
He also promoted more shovel-ready projects. "We’ve got $2 trillion worth of deferred maintenance right now that at some point is going to have to be rebuilt. Why not now, when there’s still so many folks out of work, and that their ripple effects from rebuilding our roads and our bridges and our ports and our air traffic control systems would allow businesses to move products and employees faster and make sure more dynamic and competitive. We know that."
Obama said the problem is Republicans in Congress "who don’t believe that we as a community, as a country have any serious role to play in giving people a hand up, whose budget reflects an interest in cutting back commitments to the most vulnerable and freeing the most powerful from any constraints, and whose principal focus at any given point in the day is trying to figure out how can they make people sufficiently cynical, sufficiently angry, sufficiently suspicious that they can win the next election."
"I hate to be blunt about it, but that’s the play. And, by the way, when I say a party has been captured, it’s because I actually want an effective, serious, patriotic, capable, sober-minded Republican Party. And we’ve had that in the past," he continued. "I come from the land of Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln thought infrastructure was a pretty good idea. That’s part of why we got a Intercontinental Railroad system."
"...The debate we’re having right now is about, what, Benghazi? Obamacare? And it becomes this endless loop. It’s not serious. It’s not speaking to the real concerns that people have."
He added that not only do Americans think nothing can get done in Washington, they’ve "been persuaded in part because of how it’s presented that it’s the fault of both parties -- Democrats are just as unreasonable as Republicans, and that must be why nothing works."
"Well, you know what, when Nancy Pelosi was speaker, we got a lot done and it made a big difference to the people and it helped folks," the president said.
"Despite the current frustrations when it comes to Washington, we’ve got the best cards when it comes to our future.... But we’ve got to seize the moment, and to do that we’ve got to have a Congress that functions. And to have a Congress that functions, we’ve got to make sure that Democrats are making progress in this midterm."