MIAMI (Reuters) - President Barack Obama had a message for his political friends and foes on Monday — “just because I’m skinny doesn’t mean I’m not tough.”
Obama was in Miami raising $1.5 million for Democratic congressional candidates for the 2010 elections, in which Democrats are seeking to hold onto their strong majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
After weeks in which he has been angrily criticized by some on the right, to the point of creating a poster image of him with a Hitler mustache, Obama told a fund-raising event that some of his supporters have been expressing concern to him.
“I’ve tried to explain ... just because I’m skinny doesn’t mean I’m not tough. I don’t rattle. I’m not going to shrink back, because now is the time for us to continue to push and follow through on those things that we know have to be done but have not been done in decades,” he said.
And he had tough words for those Republican critics who he says are not helping solve some of the problems that festered when they were in control of the White House and Congress.
“Lately I feel like somebody made a big mess and I’ve got my mop and I’m mopping the floor and the folks who made the mess are there (saying) ‘you’re not mopping fast enough. You’re not mopping the right way. It’s a socialist mop.’”
The president also used speeches at two Miami political events to contest the notion circulated by some political commentators and Republican critics that he has little show in the way of accomplishments during his nine months in office.
He reeled off a string of legislative achievements, starting with the $787 billion economic stimulus he credited with helping stop the bleeding in the U.S. economy. Republicans, on the other hand, contend the spending has done little to restrain the 9.8 percent U.S. jobless rate.
Among other items Obama listed: Lifting the Bush ban on using federal funds for stem cell research, signing legislation to ensure women gain equal pay as men for the same work, banning housing fraud, toughening credit card regulations and bringing the country close to a massive healthcare overhaul.
Abroad, Obama said he had put the United States on a path to getting U.S. troops out of Iraq and is working on a new strategy for Afghanistan.
“Here’s my main message to you. We’re just getting started,” he said.
Editing by Chris Wilson