President Barack Obama told Democrats on Friday that their work has improved the economy while strengthening the middle class, and jabbed at Republicans for trying to take the credit after stiffly opposing his agenda for six years.
Speaking at the Democratic National Committee’s winter meeting, Obama said it is “no accident” that his policies have lifted the country out of the recession he inherited when he took office. GOP predictions of “doom and gloom” over policies like health care have proven untrue, the president said.
Now, job growth and positive economic news has led Republicans to adopt Democrats’ mantra of being “the party of the middle class,” he said.
The president taunted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for suggesting Republicans historic gains in last year’s midterm elections helped spur economic growth.
“As he was coming in, after having tried to block every single thing that we had done to strengthen the economy, starts looking at the jobs numbers and says, ‘You know, it’s getting better because we just got elected and people are feeling more optimistic,'” Obama said. “I didn’t know that’s how the economy worked.”
However, Democrats should embrace Congressional Republicans if they are willing to support policies like raising the minimum wage, making college more affordable, increasing paid sick leave and reforming the criminal justice system.
“I think the shift in rhetoric they are engaging in is good if it actually leads them to take different actions,” Obama said. “If it doesn't then it’s just spin, trying to bamboozle folks.”
-- Andrew Rafferty