The Washington Post

Obama says he feels ‘enormous frustration’ with GOP obstruction

President Obama walks with House sergeant-at-arms Paul D. Irving (R) inside the U.S. Capitol to meet with House Republican Conference, on March 13, 013. (EPA/Molly Riley / POOL)
File: President Obama (EPA/Molly Riley / POOL)

WESTON, Mass. – President Obama reflected upon what he called “a challenging year” since his reelection, lamenting at a private political fundraiser here Wednesday night that he feels “enormous frustration” over Republican obstruction to his second-term agenda.

“Sometimes people ask me, ‘Man, how do you stay optimistic because it just seems like a bunch of problems piling up on your desk and it doesn’t seem like you’re getting a lot of help from the other side?’” Obama said.

The president said he believed the elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn., and the Boston Marathon bombings could have led to a new spirit of bipartisanship in Washington, and was disappointed when they did not.

“We would have hoped that coming out of those two tragedies that we would see a new spirit in Congress of people pulling together and rolling up sleeves and working on the things a broad spectrum of Americans agree on, but that’s not what we got,” Obama said. “Instead we got more obstruction and more resistance to getting anything done, most recently culminating in a shutdown that was entirely unnecessary.”

Obama’s remarks came at a private fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for about 60 donors. Supporters, who bought tickets ranging between $16,200 per person to $64,800 per couple, dined on Spanish-influenced fare (and Boston Red Sox cookies for desert) alongside House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other political dignitaries.

The event was at the Weston home of Alan D. Solomont, a longtime Obama fundraiser and former U.S. ambassador to Spain and Andorra, and his wife, Susan Lewis Solomont.


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

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