SEATTLE (Reuters) - President Barack Obama, on a fundraising swing in Seattle on Sunday, described himself as “not a particularly ideological person” despite ongoing political clashes with Republicans over healthcare, the economy, and immigration reform.
Fresh from a deal with Iran over its nuclear program, Obama started a western swing on Sunday that will include stops in California to raise money for Democrats, tout his record on the economy, and push for reform of U.S. immigration laws.
At the Seattle fundraiser the president noted the National Security Agency revelations, the mass shooting of children at a Connecticut school, and events in the Middle East were all reasons people were discouraged in the United States. He left out healthcare reform from that list.
The rollout of Obama’s signature health law has been plagued by a glitch-filled website and cancellations of some insurance plans that the administration had said would not be in jeopardy. The problems have hurt Obama and his fellow Democrats in the polls.
Despite those problems, the White House expressed optimism on Sunday that Democrats could regain control of the House of Representatives, which has blocked many of Obama’s top policy priorities - on ideological grounds, Democrats would say.
The president called that chamber a barrier to progress in his remarks and said there would be broad consensus on issues such as immigration reform if politics were stripped away.
“I’m not a particularly ideological person,” he said, saying pragmatism was necessary to advance the values that were important to him.
Republicans view the president as very ideological. They view his healthcare reform as a government overreach and are hoping to capitalize on its shaky rollout to keep control of the House and wrest control of the Senate away from Democrats in next year’s midterm elections.
Reporting by Jeff Mason