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WH Spokesman: 'The President Has Spent an Inordinate Amount of Time ... Negotiating'

4:38 PM, Jul 25, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
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Throughout his time as president, Barack Obama has often been the subject of criticism from both sides of the political spectrum for not engaging enough with Congress, Republicans in particular, to solve problems and work through legislative issues.  However, during a press gaggle today aboard Air Force One, deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said that the "president has spent an inordinate amount of time" negotiating with Congress.  Earnest's remarks came in response to a reporter's question [emphasis added]:

Q    The Republicans control the House of Representatives.  Why is the President giving speeches criticizing the Republicans, instead of sitting down with them and trying to  compromise on achieving a budget deal that will get him at least some of what he wants? 

MR. EARNEST:  Well, I think there are a number of reasons for that.  The President has spent an inordinate amount of time, some might even say, negotiating with Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill to try to find some consensus, to try to find some common ground about what should be some pretty basic economic principles about supporting the middle class.  That is the President’s top priority.  That is the reason that he ran for President in the first place.  It has been at the top of his agenda throughout his first term.

Critics of the president might also take issue with Earnest's characterization of the timing of events during the president's first term, referring later in the gaggle to "our nascent economic recovery", while talking about Obamacare as a "political [battle] waged and won many years ago."

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