President Obama mentioned neither his Iran nuke deal or the bungled Obamacare rollout to supporters at a fundraising stop in Seattle on Sunday evening, calling Congress the biggest impediment to future progress.
Obama didn’t show up at the private home event, for which ticket prices ranged from $16,200 per person to $32,400 per couple, until two and a half hours after it began. It benefited the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and included Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and DCCC chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.).
“Obviously, there are such enormous challenges that we face all across this country and internationally, and this year we’ve seen issues ranging from the tragedy of Sandy Hook to disclosures at the NSA to the shutdown and the potential of default to continuing issues surrounding the Middle East and peace there,” he told the crowd. “And so it’s understandable, I think, that sometimes people feel discouraged or concerned about whether or not we can continue to make progress. And one thing that I always try to emphasize is that if you look at American history, there have been frequent occasions in which it looked like we had insoluble problems — either economic, political, security — and as long as there were those who stayed steady and clear-eyed and persistent, eventually we came up with an answer; eventually we were able to work through these challenges and come out better on the other end.”
Among noting his accomplishments, Obama said, “We’ve been able to not only create the possibility of all people enjoying the security of health care, but we’ve also been driving down the cost of health care, which benefits people’s pocket books, their businesses.”
The president said he’s “incredibly optimistic” about the future, but “the biggest barrier and impediment we have right now is a Congress — and in particular, a House of Representatives — that is not focused on getting the job done for the American people, but is a lot more focused on trying to position themselves for the next election or to defeat my agenda.”
“I’m not a particularly ideological person. There are some things, some values I feel passionately about. I feel passionate about making sure everybody in this country gets a fair shake. I feel passionate about everybody being treated with dignity and respect regardless of what they look like or what their last name is or who they love. I feel passionate about making sure that we’re leaving a planet that is as spectacular as the one we inherited from our parents and our grandparents. I feel passionate about working for peace even as we are making sure that our defenses are strong,” Obama continued.
“…What we’re looking for is the advancement of ideas that are going to vindicate those values that are tried and true, and that have led this country to the spectacular heights that we’ve seen in the past.”
To do that, he said, Pelosi needs to become speaker again.
“There will not be a point in time where I’ve got an opportunity to get something done where I don’t do it simply because of politics,” Obama said. “But those opportunity have been few and far between over the last several years, and the American people can’t afford to wait in perpetuity for us to grow faster, create more jobs, strengthen our middle class, clean our environment, fix our immigration system.”