Obama: 'I Can't Run Against a Do-Nothing Congress'
Below, we're providing up-to-the-minute quotes from President Obama's press conference.
On the economy:
"The reason I keep going around the country talking about this jobs bill is because people really need help right now, our economy really needs a jolt right now. This is not a game. It’s not time for the usual political gridlock."
"The problems Europe is having today could have a very real effect on our economy at a time when it is already fragile. But this jobs bill can help guard against another downturn if the situation in Europe gets any worse."
"There are too many people hurting in this country for us to do nothing and the economy is just too fragile for us to just let politics get in the way of action."
"I think that if we don’t take action, then we could end up having more significant problems than we have right now."
"It’s not as if [the jobs bill] is going to solve all our problems, but it’s an important start that we know would end up growing the economy and putting hundreds of thousands, millions of people back to work at a time when they need it most, and it’s paid for."
"The irony is that the same folks that the Republicans claim to be protecting -- the well off, the millionaires and billionaires -- would be doing better if ordinary Americans had money in their pockets and were out there feeling more confident about the economy. That's been the lesson of our history. When folks in the middle and at the bottom are doing well, the folks at the top do even better."
On passing his jobs bill:
"We’re just going to keep on going at it … my intention is that each part of this, I want an explanation as to why we shouldn’t be doing it. … We will just keep on going at it and hammering away until something gets done."
"We’ve also got to reign in our deficits and live within our means. Which is why this jobs bill is fully paid for by asking millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share. Some see this is as class warfare. I see it as a simple choice."
"With respect to working with Congress, I think it’s fair to say that I have gone out of my way in every instance -- sometimes at my own political peril and to the frustration of Democrats -- to work with Republicans to find common ground and move forward."
"It’s now up to all the Senators and hopefully all members of the House to explain to their constituencies why they would be opposed to common sense ideas that have historically been supported by Democrats and Republicans in the past."
"[Americans] are very skeptical about Congress’s ability to act right now. The American people are very frustrated right now, they’ve been frustrated for a long time. They don’t get a sense that folks in this town are looking out for their interests ... I can go out there and make speeches but until they actually see action, some of that cynicism is going to be there."
"The Republicans in Congress, even when the American people agree with me, will vote against something I proprose."
"I am always open to negotiations. What is also true is that they [Congress] need to do something. … I am ready, eager to work with them."
"The question is will Congress do something? If Congress does something, I can’t run against a do-nothing Congress. If Congress does nothing, then it's not a matter of me running against them. I think the American people will run them out of town."
On the 2012 campaign:
"The election is 13, 14 months away. I would love nothing more than to not be out there campaigning because we were seeing constructive action here in Congress."
"I would love nothing more than to see Congress act so aggressively so that I can’t campaign against them as a do-nothing Congress."
On the Occupy Wall Street protests:
"You’re still seeing the folks that acted irresponsibly trying fight efforts to crack down on abusive practices that got us into the problem in the first place."
On financial reform and oversight:
"I used up a lot of political capital -- and I’ve got the dings and bruises to prove it -- in order to make sure that we prevented a financial meltdown and that banks stayed afloat."
"What I think is that the American people understand that not everybody has been following the rules, that Wall Street is an example of that."
"You’ve got Republican presidential candidates whose main economic policy proposals are that we’ll get rid of the financial reform that are designed to prevent the abuses that got us into this mess in the first place."
"People have been using financial regulation as an excuse to charge consumers more. Right? I mean the argument they have made is well, you know what, this hidden fee was prohibitive. So we will find another fee to make up for it. Now, they have that right but it is not a good practice. It is -- it is not -- necessarily fair to consumers. And my main goal is to make sure that we have a consumer watchdog in place who is letting consumers know what fair practices are and making sure that transactions are transparent."
"I think it’s entirely appropriate for government to have some oversight role to make sure consumer are protected."
On Solyndra and White House loan guarantees:
"This is a loan guarantee program that predates me that historically had support from Republicans and Democrats as well."
"The overall portfolio has been successful, it has allowed us to help companies … it’s helped to create jobs. There were going to be some companies that did not work out. Solyndra was one of them ... I have confidence that the decisions were made based on what would be good for the American economy and the American people and putting people back to work."
"There is a role to play for us to make sure that these companies can at least have a fighting shot. And it does mean that there are going to be some that aren’t successful and it’s going to be an uphill climb for some."
On American innovation and international competition:
"We’re going to have to keep on pushing to make sure that the manufacturing is located here, new businesses are located here, new technology is developed here."
"Part of what’s happening is that China, Europe, and others are putting enormous subsidies into these companies and giving them incentives to move offshore … and that’s part of the reason why a lot of the technology that’s developed here, we’ve lost the lead in."
"If we don't prepare now, if we don't invest now, if we don't get on top of technologies now, we are going to be facing 20 years from now, China and India having a billion new drivers on the road, the trend lines in terms of oil prices, coal, et cetera, going up … And we are not just going to be able to start when all heck is breaking loose and say boy, we better find new energy sources. In the meantime we have to make the investments."
"What is also true is that China has been very aggressive in gaming the trading system to its advantage and to the disadvantage of other countries, particularly the United States."
"Ultimately I think that you can have a win-win trading relationship with China. I'm very pleased we're going to be able to potentially get a trade deal with South Korea. But I believe what I think most americans believe, which is, trade is great as long as everybody is playing by the same rules."
"My main concern and I've expressed this to [Senator Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.], is whatever tools we put in place, let's make sure that these are tools that can actually work, that they are consistent with our international treaties and obligations. I don't want a situation where we're just passing laws that are symbolic, knowing that they are probably not going to be upheld by the World Trade Organization, for example, then suddenly U.S. companies are subject to a whole bunch of sanctions."
On foreign aid:
"I’d be hesitant to punish aid for flood victims in Pakistan because of poor decisions by their intelligence services, but there’s no doubt that we’re not going to feel comfortable with a long-term strategic relationship with Pakistan if we don’t think they’re mindful of our interests as well."