Obama: ‘I am not a dictator, I’m the president’

Pres. Obama Fiscal Cliff Presser(CNN) – Asked Friday by CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin why President Obama can’t simply lock congressional leaders in a room until they reach a deficit-reduction agreement, the president said he can’t “force Congress to do the right thing.”

“Jessica, I am not a dictator, I’m the president,” he said while speaking to reporters in the White House Press Briefing Room. “Ultimately, if Mitch McConnell or John Boehner say we need to go to catch a plane, I can’t have Secret Service block the doorway.”

“I know that this has been some of the conventional wisdom that’s been floating around Washington, and that somehow–even though most people agree that I’m being reasonable, that most people agree I’m presenting a fair deal–the fact that they don’t take it means that somehow I should do a Jedi mind-meld with these folks and convince them to do what’s right,” he added.

Obama went on to say that those leaders are elected and have their own responsibilities. For his part, the president said he the best he can do is “make the best possible case for why we need to do the right thing” and “speak to the American people about the consequences of the decisions that Congress is making or the lack of the decision-making by Congress.”

“But ultimately it’s a choice they make, and this idea that somehow there’s a secret formula or secret sauce to get speaker Boehner or Mitch McConnell to say ‘You know what Mr. President, you’re right’… I think if there was a secret way to do that, I would have tried it. I would have done it.”

12 comments

  • WILLIAM JAMISON

    WHAT THIS SHOWS IS WE HAVE NO LEADERSHIP IN WASHINGTON.
    THIS PRESIDENT IS THE WORST I HAVE EVER SEEN.
    CARTER WASN`T THIS BAD. STPID IS AS STUPID DOES AND IN
    WASHINGTON THAT IS WHAT WE HAVE.
    PEOPLE WAKE UP AND THROW ALL THESE DUMMIES OUT.

    • HowIgnorantRU?

      Bill, the US President is Commander-in-Chief and generally leads the nation within the powers of the presidency. He or She does not lead Congress. Only the Majority and Minority Whips in those branches lead their prospective parties in those chambers and does not account for Independents. Correct me if I am wrong, historians.

      Unfortunately, anyone who politically campaigns that they can bring our Congress together to run more efficiently is either ignorant or not being truthful. We are completely doomed to this polarization. If this country was geographically split into two countries and all Conservatives were banished to one and all Liberals were banished to the other, we would have two countries with the same tension as N. & S. Korea, the same tension as Israel & Iran, the same tension as the USSR & USA. Instead we have one country with the same tension as Israel & Palestinians, with the same tensions as the three factions within Iraq, with the same tensions as any country with rebels who try to overthrow the current government within that country (like Syria), the same tension as the IRA & Ireland (or was it Protestants & Catholics in Ireland?). We are only better in the fact that we do not use firearms and fists to argue back and forth among our Conservatives & Liberals.

      All those DUMMIES that you refer to have dreams to make a difference and have financial & health care stability for them and their families for life. To most, it's a job. They try their best to steer the country toward their idea of what it should be. Perhaps we should throw them all out and every voter should go to the polls each month (or use the Internet) to vote on the issues based on popularity. i.e.) Majority of the popular vote of each issue creates or votes down a law, policy, program. That's real Democracy in the 21st century electronic age. If 5 million people vote to send a man to Mars and 5.5 million vote to send a woman. We send a woman.

  • HowIgnorantRU?

    But Mr. President, all the extremists call you the King, not a dictator.
    Who are the extremists? They are the very angry conservatives who fly into a rage in any minor mention of something political.Except on TV, I have never seen a liberal who gets loud and angry when a political topic is mentioned, no matter who the president is at the time. Why is that?

  • Gordon

    This country has a terrible problem in Washington. We are charged to responsible citizens and to do the right thing. We are responsible for our families, our homes, our jobs, our budgets. (Sorry my bad, we don't have a good example to follow with our elected officials when it comes to budgets.) spend, spend, spend, pork, pork and more pork. This president and his administration is out of control. It's no wonder we have a division in Washington. Why are the citizens of this country charged with being responsible for our own lives and actions and our very own Federal goverment is so far out of wack that its no longer about the citizens of this country having a voice but just a very few who decide our fate one way or another. Our founding fathers are truely rolling over in their graves. I agree, the citizens of this country truely need to get out to vote these clowns out of office. All of them. I'd vote for a Martian if I felt it was the best for our country.

    • HowIgnorantRU?

      But the same pork issues have existed throughout many administrations of both parties. How can you say its "this president" as if to suggest it is just Obama? It's Congress that adds pork onto the bills for what they believe is for the good of the citizens in their areas that elected them. However, you did say Washington in general. That means both parties.

      You say, "We are responsible for our families, our homes, our jobs, our budgets." Each Congressperson considers their job responsibility to be to steer budgetary monies toward programs and policies they believe are best for constituents in their areas to protect the constituents' homes and families. So, I think that they are trying to be responsible based on their beliefs of what is best and not giving in toward centrist policy, thereby causing stalemate. Our founding fathers never anticipated the world of today. They only could envision what existed in 1776 which makes some facets of our Constitution obsolete. Even the UK had to adjust with the times and abandon the monarchy as a government. Too late for us. Go with the Martians.

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