On Thursday, White House press secretary Jay Carney defended President Obama's fundraising efforts in California on behalf of Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as “a traditional exercise,” the Hill reports.
“I think it’s important to note that -- because you’ve seen a lot of rhetoric from the other side suggesting that there is something wrong with that -- that Republican leaders in the House and the Senate have been out raising money for Republican candidates; that this is a traditional exercise,” Carney said, speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One.
Carney went on to say that Obama was “optimistic about a process in which voters across the country decide which candidates support their priorities and support an agenda that has the middle class as its focus.”
“And that’s certainly what the president has been putting forward and what former-Speaker Pelosi, Leader Pelosi supports,” he added.
Carney reassured Republicans that although Obama has made no secret of his desire to return Pelosi to her former position as Speaker of the House, that didn’t mean he would not work with the GOP in the coming year.
“The president will continue to work with and expect and hope to work with Republicans in Congress to achieve bipartisan compromise on a whole host of important issues,” Carney said.
“And he certainly expects and believes that Republicans who are engaged in the effort to get Republicans elected will also continue to work with Democrats and with the president to try to achieve bipartisan compromise.”
Obama hammered home the importance of returning the Speaker’s gavel to Pelosi at fundraisers for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in San Francisco, where he referred to her as a "fearless leader" who is “tough as nails.”
Obama said he saw the potential for bipartisanship with Republicans on a number of issues ranging from the debt to immigration reform to gun control.
“My intention here is to try to get as much done with the Republican Party over the next two years as I can, because we can’t have perpetual campaigns,” Obama said.
But Obama admitted the things he hopes to accomplish in his second term can’t come to fruition unless Democrats win the House in the 2014 mid-term elections and Pelosi returns as Speaker’s gavel and is again “a fully empowered partner” in Washington.
“I would be dishonest if I didn’t say that it would be a whole lot easier to govern if I had Nancy Pelosi as Speaker,” Obama said.
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