While some Republicans chose to criticize President Barack Obama's inauguration speech, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor sought to strike a cooperative tone, saying he believes there is still "common ground" on which the GOP can work with the Democrats.
In an interview Monday with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto, Cantor said, “I know the president gave a speech today and laid out some of the things he wants to do. And I think there are areas that we have in common and can work towards solution together, though."
Earlier in the day, Cantor and his wife joined President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, as well as Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden at the White House, in a display of bipartisanship.
“What I think today is, is what you see on the screen, is just Americans coming together, some of whom voted for (the president) and some of whom didn’t, but are here in celebration of the inaugural, hoping that perhaps we’re going to chart a new path and try and solve some problems together for a change,” the Virginia Republican told Cavuto.
But Cantor disagreed with remarks made by Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer over the weekend indicating the Senate will produce a budget that includes higher taxes on the wealthy.
“I don’t think most Americans would say to give more money to Washington to have Washington spend their money is a way to help anybody,” he said.
“And we identify with those who have not experienced upward mobility in our society, want to help those who need the safety nets, provide the relief, save those programs, but actually give them some opportunities working through areas on education.”
“Hopefully,” he continued, “the White House will finally join us in some of those efforts in trying to promote parental choice in education for their kids. There are all kinds of things, work force training and others, that we could actually find some common ground on, depending on whether the mood today lasts.”
Cantor also said he believes there are areas in which the federal government is not spending taxpayers’ dollars wisely.
“I believe we ought to treat that as other people’s money, because it is the money earned by the taxpayers,” he said.
“And we have an obligation to make sure that we don’t continue the wasteful ways of Washington.”
Cantor did, however, downplay the notion that Obama, in his speech, was seizing on what he perceived as a popular advantage over Congress.
“No, because, listen, we are the majority in the House because the voters of our districts sent [us] here to do the job of trying to re-instill a commonsense approach into the spending situation in Washington and actually begin to allow America to grow again,” he maintained.
“And we believe strongly that there are some areas in common that we could work with the president on to promote the kind of innovation and opportunity country that we are and to reflect on our roots, as the president did today, about being a country that was open to all and has more opportunity for more people than any in the history of the world.”
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