White House Adviser David Axelrod said that President Barack Obama invoked bipartisanship throughout his second inauguration speech on Monday.
“I think the whole theme of this speech was that, throughout our history, we’ve have very, very significant differences and we’ve been able to work through those differences,” Axelrod told Fox News. “And we’ve gone through more significant eras of dissent and disagreement than this.
“His point was that we can come together, but the point of absolutism is, though, we can’t come together if we are unyielding and unbending in our points of view.”
He denied that Obama chided Republicans near the end of his speech by saying, “We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate.”
Axelrod told Fox: “I don’t think he specified that that applies to anybody. The fact is that the Republicans in Congress have been defined by their actions — and that’s why their polling numbers are so poor now, and why the Congress’ polling numbers are so poor now.
“I don’t think absolutism, on the part of either party or any politician, is helpful in terms of solving problems. If we’re going to move forward, we’re going to have to find a way to come together and solve these problems.
“The idea of obstructionism is a self-defeating path,” Axelrod said.
He also told Fox that Obama talked about strengthening the nation’s economy at the outset of his speech — and that the president will put forth his plans in more detail at his State of the Union address next month.
“If you look at opening passages of the president’s speech, where he talked about building an economy in which opportunity abounds so people can get ahead — that’s the fundamental question,” he said. “Obviously, jobs are an essential issue for our country, but also building an economy where those jobs pay in which people can get ahead — that is fundamental.
“We have a State of the Union speech in three weeks,” Axelrod added. “He’ll have a greater opportunity to lay out in detail his proposals on all these issues.”
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