Obama: ‘The Election Wasn’t About Me’Posted: November 16, 2016
President Barack Obama rejected the idea of a bigger meaning in the election results.
Sarah Wheaton writes: Sure, the Democrats suffered crushing losses last week, President Barack Obama acknowledged Monday. But, he argued, it wasn’t any sort of repudiation of his party leadership or presidency.
If Obama has done any second-guessing since President-elect Donald Trump’s shocking victory last week, he didn’t betray any of it during his most extensive set of comments since the election.
In a press conference and in two separate conference calls with supporters, Obama rejected the idea of a bigger meaning in the election results. His policies? Helped millions and maybe even billions. His personal popularity? Still sky-high. His party? Well, he was busy with Syria and the economy – you can’t expect him to do everything.
“We are indisputably in a stronger position today than we were when I came in eight years ago. Jobs have been growing for 73 straight months. Incomes are rising. Poverty is falling. The uninsured rate is at the lowest level on record. Carbon emissions have come down without impinging on our growth,” Obama said during Monday’s press conference, his first since Election Day.
“We’ve helped millions of people in this country and probably billions of people around the world,” he added on another call with donors, elected officials and other supporters organized by the Democratic National Committee.
During the campaign, as Trump threatened to undo much of what Obama is most proud of — whether it was tearing up his landmark executive order on carbon limits, reneging on the Iran deal or repealing Obamacare — Obama saw justification to argue repeatedly that “our progress is on the ballot.”
But on Monday, Obama shot down the idea that rhetoric like what he used on the campaign trail should be taken seriously.
“This notion that somehow all the work we did suddenly gets stripped away,” Obama said on the DNC call. “Let me tell you something: We got more done than any administration in the last who-knows-how-many decades and if they roll back 15 or 20 percent of that, we’re still 80 percent ahead.”
He added, “And that’s not going to be as easy as I think some people feel, particularly if we continue to make the case and mobilize.”
By failing to win a majority in the Senate, Democrats lost their legislative way to soften the blow of Trump’s sledgehammer. But Obama predicted that his policies are either too popular or too entrenched to eliminate…(read more)