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Reply #90: And this happens while Bush screams about "obstructionist" Dems [View All]

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Bush_Eats_Beef Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-17-05 03:24 AM
Response to Reply #78
90. And this happens while Bush screams about "obstructionist" Dems

Press Briefing by Scott McClellan
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

June 15, 2005

Q Scott, last night the President excoriated the Democrats as obstructionists; today he painted the inaction in Congress on the energy bill as a disservice to the American people. There seems to be more than a little bit of frustration that has permeated his rhetoric as of late.

MR. McCLELLAN: I think the American people expect better from their elected leaders. And what you're seeing too often is that the Democratic leadership is standing in the way of moving forward on issue after issue, as the President said last night. The President is committed to getting things done, and he's committed to working across partisan lines to do so. But in order to get things done you have to have leaders that are committed to working with you. And I think too often now we're seeing that Democratic leaders are more interested in obstructing progress and blocking action.

Q So is he getting frustrated at the way that his second term agenda is stalled in Congress?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I don't think the President looks at it that way. I think the President believes very strongly that we should focus on the big priorities of the American people, and that we should work together to get things done.

In the first term, there was a lot of talk that we couldn't get things done on the big priorities, and we did. We got a lot done when it came to getting our economy growing by passing tax cuts. They were needed, and we got them passed. People said we wouldn't get them passed. People said we couldn't get Medicare modernization passed; we did. Now we're about to -- or we're in the process of moving forward on getting seniors their prescription drug coverage and better choices when it comes to their health care. People said that we couldn't move forward on trade promotion authority. People said that we weren't going to get things on other important priorities, as well, in the first term, but we did. And we've made some progress in this session of Congress.

But too often lately, you're seeing Democratic leaders holding up the stop sign and saying "no" to everything that we're working to achieve on behalf of the American people. And that's unfortunate. The American people really expect better. They want their elected leaders to talk about what they're for, and put forward ideas for solving problems, instead of standing in the way of solving those problems.

Q Is the President concerned that he's taking the heat in terms of poll numbers and public perception because of what's happening up in Congress?

MR. McCLELLAN: The President is leading the way when it comes to acting on our nation's biggest priorities. And the American people -- that's what the American people expect us to do here in Washington, D.C. And I think the American people reject those who simply say no and stand in the way of getting things done.

The Republican Party, under the President's leadership, is the one who -- or the one that is putting forward ideas and putting forward plans for solving problems. That's why we're working with Congress to pass a comprehensive piece of energy legislation. That's why we're working with Congress to move forward on strengthening and saving Social Security for future generations. That's why we're working with Congress to move forward on a free trade agreement for the Central American nations and the Dominican Republic. That's why we're working with Congress to move forward on a appropriations bill that keep us on track to cut the deficit in half over the next five years.

These are important priorities for the American people. And we've made some progress on these issues and it's time for Democratic leaders to stop blocking those efforts. And that's the point the President is making.

Q His direct confrontational approach that we heard last night, is that something that you'll hear mostly at fundraisers, or is that going to be part of his standard speech from now on?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, it depends on the actions by the Democrats. The Democrats need to come to the table with ideas and show more of a willingness to work together to get things done, instead of simply saying "no" to progress on important priorities for the American people. That's not the way you gain the trust of the American people, as the President pointed out last night. The American people want us to get things done. The President is going to continue doing what he has done, which is elevate the discourse, put forward a positive and optimistic agenda for our future, and reach out to others who want to get things done.

We appreciate the leadership in Congress, the Republican leadership, because they're trying to push forward on important priorities. We're moving forward on energy legislation. The Congress is holding hearings on Social Security reform. The Senate committee -- the Senate Finance Committee, last night, had an informal vote on the Central American Free Trade Agreement and passed it with majority support. So there are a number of issues that we need to continue to move forward on and get done.

Q Well, does he think it's productive and that it will make the Democrats more cooperative by calling them the "party of 'no'" and "obstructionists"?

MR. McCLELLAN: The President is going to continue to focus on getting things done and focus on the priorities that he has outlined for the American people.

Q I'm talking about the tactics --

MR. McCLELLAN: I know. And that's -- I'm telling you what he's going to do. The President is going to continue pushing to get things done and continue to focus on the big priorities. The big priorities are continuing to move forward on winning the war on terrorism and spreading freedom, to defeat the ideology of hatred and oppression, and continuing to move forward on economic security here at home, and to extend -- or to promote lasting prosperity.

We have made significant progress when it comes to getting our economy growing. Our economy has seen sustained economic growth. We're in a sustained period of expansion when it comes to creating jobs and economic opportunity. We need to continue to act to build upon that.

That's why the President was highlighting the energy legislation today. The President put forward a comprehensive energy plan four years ago, and Congress has yet to enact that. We are hopeful that we can get that done this year before the President -- before Congress recesses this August.

So the President is going to continue focusing on the people's priorities and focusing on getting things done. And it's time for Democratic leaders to stop trying to block efforts to move forward on the American people's priorities.

Q Well, we're talking about changing the tone and trying to improve relations. Do you think that the kind of statements that you're making and that he made last night are helpful in that regard?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the President has always worked to elevate the discourse, Terry. One of the things that he was disappointed in the first term about was that we weren't able to do more to change the tone here in Washington, D.C. It's a bitter and partisan environment that exists here in this town. The President is committed to changing that. And that's why he has always focused on the big issues facing the American people, and moving forward to solve the problems facing this country. We have made great progress over the course of his first four-and-a-half years in office, but he intends to continue leading and acting on those big priorities.

Q But does he believe that adding to the name-calling helps to change the tone?

MR. McCLELLAN: Let me keep going. I'll come back to you, John. You've already had your question. I'll come back to you.

Q How do you square the fact that the President says we need to end --

MR. McCLELLAN: But, John -- wait a second. What are you referring to? The President simply --

Q You can come back to me later.

MR. McCLELLAN: But it's incorrect what you said. The President -- the President is calling it like it is. And the American people expect better.

Go ahead.

Q The President says he wants to see an end to the partisan bickering, at the same time he is singling out Democrats, not congressional leaders overall, and using definitely stepped-up language in front of a GOP $2,500-a-plate dinner last night. How do you reconcile those two things?

MR. McCLELLAN: Democratic leaders are the ones who are too often standing in the way of progress. And the President is going to call it like it is. He is focused on a positive and optimistic vision for the American people. That's what he's put forward. Democratic leaders too often right now are simply saying "no" and offering no ideas, no solutions. The American people want better.
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