WASHINGTON (CN) – President Obama on Tuesday called on Republicans to meet him in the middle on issues such as health care and Wall Street regulations during an unexpected appearance in the White House press briefing room. “Bipartisanship cannot mean simply that Democrats give up everything that they believe in, find the handful of things that Republicans have been advocating for and we do those things,” Obama said.
Obama spoke to reporters shortly after meeting with legislators from both parties on how to handle the economy, Obama spoke about the difficulty he has faced in pushing through a wide range of legislation, from health care to climate change and financial reform.
“I won’t hesitate to embrace a good idea from my friends in the minority party, but I also won’t hesitate to condemn what I consider to be obstinacy that’s rooted not in substantive disagreements but in political expedience,” the president said.
Obama also addressed the difficulty he’s had in getting his appointees approved by the Senate, pointing to the confirmation of his head of the General Services Administration, which runs government facilities. The nomination was not voted on for nine months. When the nomination did get a vote, it passed 96 to nothing. “That’s not advise and consent; that’s delay and obstruct,” Obama said.
He acknowledged that passing health legislation – which Republicans have used as a rallying point against the administration – could be difficult. He said he is open to starting anew with legislation if it meets his basic goals.