Election 2020

Obama Goes After 'Shameless' Issa, Who Slammed 'Most Corrupt' Admin, in Re-election Bid

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) shares a laugh with Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) in the House Chamber on Oct. 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) spent his term at the head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee going after the Obama administration, and now President Obama is going after the congressman in his re-election bid.

Issa has been on Capitol Hill since 2001, and is being challenged by retired Marine Corps Col. Doug Applegate in a district that includes Camp Pendleton and some 80,000 veteran households. A poll earlier this month showed Applegate opening a four-point lead on Issa.

At a Sunday event in La Jolla, Calif., to raise funds for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Obama poked fun at congressional Republicans who “are not even organized enough to get their own stuff done” even after winning back control of the House and Senate.

“I thought that for the last two years I was going to spend a lot of time vetoing bills. I didn’t have to,” he said to laughter.

The president said he’s campaigning for “passing the baton not only to Hillary Clinton, but also to a Congress that is willing to do the people’s business,” and “there’s no greater microcosm for why we need to get this done” than the Applegate and Issa race.

“Issa’s primary contribution to the United States Congress has been to obstruct and to waste taxpayer dollar on trumped-up investigations that have led nowhere. And this is now a guy who, because poll numbers are bad, has sent out brochures with my picture on them touting his cooperation on issues with me,” Obama continued. “Now, that is the definition of chutzpah. Here’s a guy who called my administration perhaps the most corrupt in history — despite the fact that actually we have not had a major scandal in my administration — that, when Trump was suggesting that I wasn’t even born here, said, well, I don’t know, was not sure. We can pull up the quotes.”

“This guy has spent all his time simply trying to obstruct, to feed the same sentiments that resulted in Donald Trump becoming their nominee. I think somebody called Darrell Issa — was this you, Doug, who said Darrell Issa was Trump before Trump? And now he’s sending out brochures touting his cooperation with me.”

In 2010 Issa called Obama “one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times”; in 2011, he called the White House “one of the most corrupt administrations.” In 2012, the chairman slammed the administration as “the most corrupt government in history.”

“This money, at the American people’s expense, going through the hands of political leaders, is in fact corrupting the process, whether that’s Solyndra, or GSA, or a number of other scandals,” Issa told Bloomberg news.

The Issa campaign mailer shows a picture of Obama signing a bill at his desk, with Issa’s quote, “I am very pleased that President Obama has signed into law the Survivors’ Bill of Rights — legislation I co-sponsored to protect the victims of sexual assault.”

Obama to the DCCC event that Issa’s mailer was “shameless.”

“To his credit, I will say that he has been very pleasant to me at our Christmas parties,” he added. “No, he is. I’m serious. I mean, he’s said hello, and he’s brought some of his family members, and I’m always happy to take pictures with family members. This is true — a number of Republican caucus members, like Michele Bachmann, they’ll show up and there’s like good cheer and bipartisanship for one evening. Some of them say, I’m praying for you. And I don’t question the sincerity that they are praying for me: Please, change this man from the socialist Muslim that he is.”

“No, I’m sure it’s more sincere than that. But beyond these interpersonal conversations, this is not somebody who is serious about working on problems.”

Obama stayed overnight in La Jolla for a morning tee time at Torrey Pines Golf Course.