President Obama compared outgoing House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) willingness to work on the recent budget deal to a Chris Rock routine, noting “there is an element of a low bar of passing a budget and making sure the full faith and credit of the United States of America is sustained.”
“I wish John Boehner hadn’t waited until he was leaving to decide to work with us on this, but I want to give credit where credit is due,” Obama told a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser in New York. “I think that the Republicans worked with Nancy and Harry and the White House the way it’s supposed to work. ”
“I am reminded — because I think I’m going to see Chris Rock over at the event we’re doing in Hamilton — of Chris Rock’s standup concert — now, I can’t quote him directly because it’s not family-friendly. But there’s a whole sequence where he starts talking about guys bragging about doing things they’re supposed to do anyway. It’s like ‘I take care of my kids.’ I mean, you’re supposed to take care of your kids. ‘I haven’t been to jail.’ You’re not supposed to go to jail,” he said, eliciting laughter from the audience.
The fundraising dinner was held at the Fifth Avenue home of Jonathan Soros (George’s son) and his wife, Jennifer. Obama referred to them as “early angel investors” in his national political career. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was there along with a few other congressional Dems.
Obama said the budget deal, which he signed Monday, “would not have happened had it not been for Nancy’s incredible leadership and the unity that the Democrats showed throughout these budget discussions, including taking some tough votes on things like, for example, defense authorization.” The president’s veto of defense funding because of domestic spending drew sharp rebukes from Armed Services Committee leaders in both chambers.
Then came Obama’s standard stump: “Seven years have passed since I took office. There’s almost no economic yardstick by which the American people are not better off than when we came into office.”
“…Our work is not done. And in order for us to make it happen, it’s not enough just for us to elect a Democratic president. I will do everything I can to make sure that I’ve got a Democratic successor. But that Democratic successor is going to need a Congress that is working with the president to advance the values and causes that we care deeply about. Health care does not pass if Nancy Pelosi is not the Speaker of the House. We don’t get Wall Street reform done unless we’ve got a Democratic caucus who’s committed to fairness and transparency.”
Obama added that he needs people “to feel a sense of urgency about these congressional races” even if “not every Democratic nominee is going to have embraced your particular pet cause because they’re trying to figure out how to manage a challenging political environment.”
“Democrats are politicians too. You’ve to worry about constituencies and polls and trying to get reelected. But we tend to pay attention to facts and we tend to pay attention to evidence, and we actually listen to reason and arguments,” he said. “And if it’s something that is the right thing to do, even if it’s tough politically, we do it. And the country is better off for it.”