Obama defiant after election defeat
Washington: A day after a poll drubbing, US President Barack Obama on Thursday struck a defiant tone saying he is ready to work with Republicans but could bypass Congress on his signature initiatives like immigration reforms that would allow 11 million illegal immigrants, including 2.4 lakh Indians, to stay in the country.
While Obama made clear he had no desire to reshape his agenda, he did acknowledge that voters dealt his Democratic Party a dramatic defeat on Tuesday.
“To those of you who voted, I hear you,” Obama said in his first public remarks since the election. To those who didn’t vote, “I hear you too.” “There is no doubt the Republicans had a good night,” Obama said during a roughly 90-minute press conference, acknowledging the poor show by his party.
However, he expressed full confidence in the future of America and said, “We have all the best cards relative to every other country on Earth.”
“I am really optimistic about America. I know that runs counter to the current mood, but when you look at the facts, our economy is stronger than just about anybody’s,” he said.
“The United States continues to be a magnet for the best and brightest from all around the world. My job over the next couple of years is to do some practical, concrete things — as much as possible with Congress; where it’s not possible with Congress, on my own — to show people why we should be confident, and to give people a sense of progress and a sense of hope,” Obama said.
Obama stopped short of accepting direct responsibility for his party’s defeat at the hands of Republicans who snatched control of the Senate, tightened its grip on the House of Representatives and won key Democrat governorships.
Obama said the US has made real progress since he took over.
“The fact is more Americans are working; unemployment has come down. More Americans have health insurance. Manufacturing has grown. Our deficits have shrunk. Our dependence on foreign oil is down, as are gas prices,” he said.
Obama said he is ready to work with the Republican Party, which now controls the Congress, to advance the national agenda.
“Congress will pass some bills I cannot sign. I’m pretty sure I’ll take some actions that some in Congress will not like,” he said.
But, in the absence of a strong legislative base for the remaining two years of his presidency, Obama said he would press ahead with plans on immigration reform that would allow 11 million illegal immigrants, including 2.4 lakh Indians, to stay in the country. (PTI)