Obama on executive orders to bypass Congress: ‘There is no short-cut to democracy’

November 25, 2013
President Barack Obama speaks during a DNC fundraiser at the San Francisco Jazz Center, Monday, Nov. 25, 2013 in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Obama speaks during a DNC fundraiser at the San Francisco Jazz Center on Nov. 25. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

SAN FRANCISCO – President Obama pushed back Monday against supporters who want him to sign more executive orders to overcome opposition to his policies from Republicans in Congress.

After a man repeatedly shouted “executive order” during Obama’s speech at a fundraiser here Monday afternoon, the president said there is “no short-cut to democracy” and that he could not sign executive orders to bypass Congress.

“A lot of people have been saying this lately on every problem, which is just, ‘Sign an executive order and we can pretty much do anything and basically nullify Congress,’ ” Obama said at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser at the SFJazz Center in San Francisco.

Many in the audience of more than 400 supporters began applauding. “Wait, wait, wait,” Obama said. “Before everybody starts clapping, that’s not how it works. We’ve got this Constitution, we’ve got this whole thing about separation of powers. So there is no short-cut to politics, and there’s no short-cut to democracy.”

Obama added, “We have to win on the merits of the argument with the American people, as laborious as it seems sometimes. …What we have to do is keep on going, keep on pushing, and eventually we move in a better direction.”

Philip Rucker is a national political correspondent for The Washington Post, where he has reported since 2005.
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