Obama says Washington has much work to do to regain public trust

WASHINGTON Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:02pm EDT

1 of 2. U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to the media in the briefing room of the White House in Washington after the Senate passed the bill to reopen the government, October 16, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama emerged bruised but victorious from the latest budget war on Wednesday and said there was much work to do in a deeply divided Washington to win back the trust of the American people.

Obama's firm stance against negotiating over extending the U.S. debt ceiling, a position he staked out early this year and stuck to despite pressure to back off, appeared to have paid off as Congress was heading toward reopening the government and extending the U.S. debt ceiling.

Obama said in a brief appearance at the White House that he would give a more extensive speech about the way forward on Thursday.

"I've got some thoughts about how we can move forward in the remainder of the year and stay focused on the job at hand, because there is a lot of work ahead of us, including our need to earn back the trust of the American people that has been lost over the last few weeks," Obama said.

While Obama spoke of the need for bipartisanship, he ruffled feathers among some Republicans by speaking before the Republican-controlled House of Representatives had voted on a measure - just approved by the Democratic-led Senate - to end the fiscal impasse.

"Absurd," tweeted Mike Long, spokesman for House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy.

The House was scheduled to vote on the matter later on Wednesday.

David Schnittger, deputy chief of staff to House Speaker John Boehner, took note of Obama's comments on how politicians can disagree without being disagreeable by pointing to more inflammatory language that emanated from the White House during the fiscal crisis, like "gun to the head," "nuclear bomb" and "burning down the house."

WORKING TOGETHER

Obama said the federal government would begin reopening immediately as soon as he signs the legislation. The latest budget fight, he said, showed that despite their differences, Republicans and Democrats could work together.

He then pointed to two issues that floundered over partisan differences earlier this year, an overhaul of U.S. immigration laws that the Senate passed but the House did not, and a long-delayed $500 billion farm bill that collapsed in the House over the amount of food stamp spending involved.

Those items plus a "sensible" budget could get done "if everybody comes together in a spirit of how are we going to move this country forward and put the last three weeks behind us," he said.

"That's what I believe the American people are looking for - not a focus on politics, not a focus on elections, but a focus on the concrete steps that can improve their lives," he said.

Senior administration officials said Obama's decision to refuse to negotiate over the debt ceiling was a direct outcome of the last close call with the U.S. borrowing limit in 2011 when he was drawn into long, anguished negotiations that almost resulted in a default.

There was some concern at the White House that Americans would be critical if Obama were perceived to be refusing to negotiate, and thus compromise, with his political opponents. But a number of polls conducted in recent weeks proved that Republicans were being held responsible for the crisis, the officials said.

The White House, led by chief of staff Denis McDonough and his deputy, Rob Nabors, joined with Democrats in the Senate to encourage party unity, an effort that paid off with Democrats working together.

The deal that emerged to end the impasse sets up more debt and budget deadlines in the weeks and months ahead.

"Hopefully next time, it won't be in the 11th hour," said Obama.

(Additional reporting by Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Jackie Frank and Peter Cooney)

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Comments (8)
glamirand wrote:
My comments: How much more debt can this nation incur? How long before we reach a point of no return. Something must be done about the massive debt – we are already bankrupt.

Oct 16, 2013 9:35pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
CountryPride wrote:
America is a nation led by a psychopath named Obama. Let’s look at what Obama said in 2006.

And the cost of our debt is one of the fastest growing expenses in the Federal budget. This rising debt is a hidden domestic enemy, robbing our cities and States of critical investments in infrastructure like
bridges, ports, and levees; robbing our families and our children of critical investments in education and health care reform; robbing our seniors of the retirement and health security they have counted on. Every dollar we pay in interest is a dollar that is not going to investment in America’s priorities. Instead, interest payments are a significant tax on all Americans — a debt tax that Washington doesn’t want to talk about. If Washington were serious about honest tax relief in this country, we would see an effort to reduce our national debt by returning to responsible fiscal policies.

So what does he do, supports only raising the debt ceiling to spend more Trillions every year with huge sums wasted on foreign aid, warmongering around the world, vast spy programs on our own citizens, and supporting and aiding illegal immigrants! Welcome to the 3rd world garbage can called America, courtesy of OWEbama and the Democrats!

Oct 16, 2013 9:41pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
speaker12 wrote:
You mean the non negotiator is finaly going to do something? Where on earth did we get this guy from?

Oct 16, 2013 9:43pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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