"They don't do anything except block me and call me names," Obama
said in an economic speech that concluded a two-day visit to
Obama reacted to a threat on Thursday from House of Representatives
Speaker John Boehner, who said he was considering a lawsuit charging
the president with overstepping his constitutional boundaries by
taking a series of executive actions and other steps.
Obama is campaigning hard for Democratic congressional candidates
this year, as Republicans have a chance to grab control of the
Senate and add to their majority in the House. Such an outcome would
doom the president's chances of getting major legislation approved,
such as an immigration overhaul.
This year, Obama has used executive actions on issues such as energy
and education to get around Republican opposition. His
administration has also proposed regulations to limit power plant
carbon emissions and is considering ways to ease the immigration
"So we take these actions, and now Republicans are mad at me for
taking these actions. Theyíre not doing anything and then theyíre
mad at me for doing something. Iím not sure which of the things Iíve
done they find most offensive, but theyíve decided they're going to
sue me for doing my job," Obama said in his speech at picturesque
Obama's actions have generated an uproar among Republicans, with
Boehner alleging the president has abused his executive authority by
implementing policies without congressional approval.
Boehner's spokesman, Michael Steel, rejected the president's
criticism, saying: "The American people, their elected
representatives, and the Supreme Court have all expressed serious
concerns about the presidentís failure to follow the Constitution."
Obama's comments were notable in that he used an official speech,
instead of a Democratic fund-raising event, to launch a partisan
attack. His strategy to help Democrats win in November is to portray
Republicans as out of touch with everyday Americans and more
concerned about helping rich people.
[to top of second column]
Obama has been trying to break out of the usual White House routine
and show voters he understands their concerns. While in Minneapolis,
he met with two people who wrote to him and ate a hamburger with a
young woman struggling to pay her bills.
Obama likes to joke that he is like a bear breaking out of his cage.
On Friday, he said Republican inaction "drives you nuts ... and it
drives me nuts."
"Sometimes Iím supposed to be, you know, politic about how I say
things, but Iím finding lately that I just want to say whatís on my
mind," he said.
Other presidents have actively invoked executive actions. During his
first four years in office, Obama signed 147 such orders. In
comparison, George W. Bush signed 173, Bill Clinton enacted 200 and
Ronald Reagan ordered 213 in their first terms.
(Writing by Steve Holland Additional reporting by Annika McGinnis
and Susan Heavey; Editing by Paul Simao and Dave Gregorio)
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