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Excerpt: "If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you'll see more of them doing it."

President Obama sat down for a 45-minute interview with the New Republic. (photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
President Obama sat down for a 45-minute interview with the New Republic. (photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Obama: 'Fox News, Limbaugh Cause Dysfunctional Washington'

By Franklin Foer, Chris Hughes, The New Republic

30 January 13


arack Obama's pre-presidential manifesto, The Audacity of Hope, has only one extended riff on gun control - not a homily on behalf of the cause or even a meditation on the deep divisions opened by the debate, but a story of crummy luck. While State Senator Barack Obama was vacationing in Hawaii, visiting his grandmother and hoping to "reacquaint myself with Michelle," the Illinois legislature abruptly returned to consider bills making the possession of illegal firearms a felony offense. Joining this special session would have required him to backtrack thousands of miles with a sick 18-month old in tow. So Obama stayed put on the islands, while back in Springfield, the package failed by a slim margin. His campaign manager warned him that a political opponent would likely pillory his absence in an attack ad featuring a beach chair and a Mai Tai.

That Obama didn't include the substantive case for gun control in his treatise was characteristic. A strain of wisdom ruled a generation of Democratic Party politics: You might pay a price for reticence on the issue in a big city like Chicago, but in the rest of the country, it was a noble loser, bait for backlash in electorally crucial Rust Belt states with not even the remotest hope for legislative victory. In 2010, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence judged Obama's efforts on behalf of its issue worthy of an "F."

So when the president learned of the massacre in Newtown, how could he not have felt at least a pang of guilt about the failure of his party and administration to keep gun control on even a low simmer? Indeed, his aides described the massacre as having knocked his tightly held interior life into full view like no other event. "I had never seen him like that as long as I've known him," his speechwriter Jon Favreau later told The New York Times, recalling the day of the killings, when Obama sat gob-smacked behind his desk.

On the day we visited the White House, about a month later, the president had just finished presenting his robust slate of gun control proposals - so robust, in fact, that the next morning's newspaper would declare it almost certainly doomed to failure in Congress. But that was the point. On gun control, the president never expected John Boehner and Mitch McConnell to join him on a surveying expedition in search of the mythic land of Common Ground. Compromise was a conversation for the distant future, one he would entertain only after making a muscular argument and creating the political space for his ideas. It was an approach emblematic of a new pugnacity, which also revealed itself in our interview.

That morning's event included parents of the Sandy Hook dead. And as Obama walked with us along the colonnade to the Oval Office, he initially seemed a bit drained. But he perked up as he asked us in granular detail about the health of the media business. He bemoaned his own difficulty accessing newspapers and magazines on his ultra-secure presidential iPad, which doesn't allow him to enter required subscriber information. (Chris Hughes worked on his 2008 presidential campaign and has donated money to him since.)

As he sunk into his leather chair and began to answer our questions, he spoke in his characteristic languid pace, often allowing seconds to elapse between words.Although he hardly sounded angry, he voiced an impatience with Republicans and the media (and college football) that he once carefully reserved for private conversations. What follows is a lightly edited transcript of our conversation.

Chris Hughes: Can you tell us a little bit about how you've gone about intellectually preparing for your second term as president?

Barack Obama: I'm not sure it's an intellectual exercise as much as it is reminding myself of why I ran for president and tapping into what I consider to be the innate common sense of the American people.

The truth is that most of the big issues that are going to make a difference in the life of this country for the next thirty or forty years are complicated and require tough decisions, but are not rocket science. We know that to fix our economy, we've got to make sure: that we have the most competitive workforce in the world, that we have a better education system, that we are investing in research and development, that we've got world-class infrastructure, that we're reducing our health care costs, and that we're expanding our exports. On issues like immigration, we have a pretty good sense of what's broken in the system and how to fix it. On climate change, it's a daunting task. But we know what releases carbon into the atmosphere, and we have tools right now that would start scaling that back, although we'd still need some big technological breakthrough.

So the question is not, Do we have policies that might work? It is, Can we mobilize the political will to act? And so, I've been spending a lot of time just thinking about how do I communicate more effectively with the American people? How do I try to bridge some of the divides that are longstanding in our culture? How do I project a sense of confidence in our future at a time when people are feeling anxious? They are more questions of values and emotions and tapping into people's spirit.

CH: Have you looked back in history, particularly at the second terms of other presidents, for inspiration?

There are all sorts of lessons to be learned both from past presidents and my own first term. I've said this before, but one of the things that happened in the first term was that we had so many fires going on at the same time that we were focusing on policy and getting it right, which means that we were spending less time communicating with the American people about why we were doing what we were doing and how it tied together with our overarching desire of strengthening our middle class and making the economy work.

I always read a lot of Lincoln, and I'm reminded of his adage that, with public opinion, there's nothing you can't accomplish; without it, you're not going to get very far. And spending a lot more time in terms of being in a conversation with the American people as opposed to just playing an insider game here in Washington is an example of the kinds of change in orientation that I think we've undergone, not just me personally, but the entire White House.

Franklin Foer: Let's talk about that in terms of guns. How do you speak to gun owners in a way that doesn't make them feel as if you're impinging upon their liberty?

Well, in our comments today, I was very explicit about believing that the Second Amendment was important, that we respect the rights of responsible gun owners. In formulating our plans, Joe Biden met with a wide range of constituencies, including sportsmen and hunters.

So much of the challenge that we have in our politics right now is that people feel as if the game here in Washington is completely detached from their day-to-day realities. And that's not an unjustifiable view. So everything we do combines both a legislative strategy with a broad-based communications and outreach strategy to get people engaged and involved, so that it's not Washington over here and the rest of America over there.

That does not mean that you don't have some real big differences. The House Republican majority is made up mostly of members who are in sharply gerrymandered districts that are very safely Republican and may not feel compelled to pay attention to broad-based public opinion, because what they're really concerned about is the opinions of their specific Republican constituencies.

There are going to be a whole bunch of initiatives where I can get more than fifty percent support of the country, but I can't get enough votes out of the House of Representatives to actually get something passed.

CH: You spoke last summer about your election potentially breaking the fever of the Republicans. The hope being that, once you were reelected, they would seek to do more than just block your presidency. Do you feel that you've made headway on that?

Not yet, obviously.

CH: How do you imagine it happening?

I never expected that it would happen overnight. I think it will be a process. And the Republican Party is undergoing a still-early effort at reexamining what their agenda is and what they care about. I think there is still shock on the part of some in the party that I won reelection. There's been a little bit of self-examination among some in the party, but that hasn't gone to the party as a whole yet.

And I think part of the reason that it's going to take a little bit of time is that, almost immediately after the election, we went straight to core issues around taxes and spending and size of government, which are central to how today's Republicans think about their party. Those issues are harder to find common ground on.

But if we can get through this first period and arrive at a sensible package that reduces our deficits, stabilizes our debts, and involves smart reforms to Medicare and judicious spending cuts with some increased revenues and maybe tax reform, and you can get a package together that doesn't satisfy either Democrats or Republicans entirely, but puts us on a growth trajectory because it leaves enough spending on education, research and development, and infrastructure to boost growth now, but also deals with our long-term challenges on health care costs, then you can imagine the Republicans saying to themselves, "OK, we need to get on the side of the American majority on issues like immigration. We need to make progress on rebuilding our roads and bridges."

There are going to be some areas where that change is going to be very hard for Republicans. I suspect, for example, that already there are some Republicans who embrace the changing attitudes in the country as a whole around LGBT issues and same-sex marriage. But there's a big chunk of their constituency that is going to be deeply opposed to that, and they're going to have to figure out how they navigate what could end up being divisions in their own party. And that will play itself out over years.

FF: Are there any forces for reform within the Republican Party, people you've been able to establish some sort of working relationship with?

Well, look, I've always believed that there are a bunch of Republicans of goodwill who would rather get something done than suffer through the sort of nasty atmosphere that prevails in Washington right now. It's not a fun time to be a member of Congress.

And I think if you talk privately to Democrats and Republicans, particularly those who have been around for a while, they long for the days when they could socialize and introduce bipartisan legislation and feel productive. So I don't think the issue is whether or not there are people of goodwill in either party that want to get something done. I think what we really have to do is change some of the incentive structures so that people feel liberated to pursue some common ground.

One of the biggest factors is going to be how the media shapes debates. If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you'll see more of them doing it.

I think John Boehner genuinely wanted to get a deal done, but it was hard to do in part because his caucus is more conservative probably than most Republican leaders are, and partly because he is vulnerable to attack for compromising Republican principles and working with Obama.

The same dynamic happens on the Democratic side. I think the difference is just that the more left-leaning media outlets recognize that compromise is not a dirty word. And I think at least leaders like myself - and I include Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi in this - are willing to buck the more absolutist-wing elements in our party to try to get stuff done.

CH: You inspired a lot of people in your first presidential campaign, and with your books, by talking about a new kind of politics. And now, four years later, it's a time in Washington that's characterized by nastiness more often that not. How do you reconcile those two things four years in?

I believe that what I talked about in 2008 is still where the country is. And it describes my real-world view of how politics should work. I've always been suspicious of absolutism. I've always been suspicious of ideological litmus tests. I'm not somebody - when I look back on American history - who believes that one party has got a monopoly on wisdom.

So I guess the issue is not that the concept in 2008 was wrong. I think the issue is that we have these institutional barriers that prevent what the American people want from happening. Some of them are internal to Congress, like the filibuster in the Senate. Some of them have to do with our media and what gets attention. Nobody gets on TV saying, "I agree with my colleague from the other party." People get on TV for calling each other names and saying the most outlandish things.

Even on issues like the response to Hurricane Sandy, Chris Christie was getting hammered by certain members of his own party and media outlets for cooperating with me to respond to his constituents. That gives you an indication of how difficult I think the political environment has become for a lot of these folks. And I think what will change that is politicians seeing more upside to cooperation than downside, and right now that isn't the case. Public opinion is going to be what changes that.

FF: When you talk about Washington, oftentimes you use it as a way to describe this type of dysfunction. But it's a very broad brush. It can seem as if you're apportioning blame not just to one party, but to both parties -

Well, no, let me be clear. There's not a - there's no equivalence there. In fact, that's one of the biggest problems we've got in how folks report about Washington right now, because I think journalists rightly value the appearance of impartiality and objectivity. And so the default position for reporting is to say, "A plague on both their houses." On almost every issue, it's, "Well, Democrats and Republicans can't agree" - as opposed to looking at why is it that they can't agree. Who exactly is preventing us from agreeing?

And I want to be very clear here that Democrats, we've got a lot of warts, and some of the bad habits here in Washington when it comes to lobbyists and money and access really goes to the political system generally. It's not unique to one party. But when it comes to certain positions on issues, when it comes to trying to do what's best for the country, when it comes to really trying to make decisions based on fact as opposed to ideology, when it comes to being willing to compromise, the Democrats, not just here in this White House, but I would say in Congress also, have shown themselves consistently to be willing to do tough things even when it's not convenient, because it's the right thing to do. And we haven't seen that same kind of attitude on the other side.

Until Republicans feel that there's a real price to pay for them just saying no and being obstructionist, you'll probably see at least a number of them arguing that we should keep on doing it. It worked for them in the 2010 election cycle, and I think there are those who believe that it can work again. I disagree with them, and I think the cost to the country has been enormous.

But if you look at the most recent fiscal deal, I presented to Speaker Boehner a package that would have called for $1.2 trillion in new revenue - less than I actually think we need, but in the spirit of compromise - and over nine hundred billion dollars in spending cuts, some of which are very difficult. And yet, I'm confident we could have gotten Democratic votes for that package, despite the fact that we were going after some Democratic sacred cows. And had we gotten that done, it would have been good for the economy, and I think it would have changed the political environment in this town.

Democrats, as painful as it was, as much as we got attacked by some of our core constituencies, were willing to step up because it was the right thing to do. And the other side could not do that.

CH: It seems as if you're relying more on executive orders to get around these problems. You've done it for gun control, for immigration. Has your view on executive authority changed now that you've been president for four years?

I don't think it's changed. I continue to believe that whenever we can codify something through legislation, it is on firmer ground. It's not going to be reversed by a future president. It is something that will be long lasting and sturdier and more stable.

So a great example of that is the work we did on "don't ask, don't tell." There were advocates in the LGBT community who were furious at me, saying, "Why don't you just sign with a pen ordering the Pentagon to do this?" And my argument was that we could build a coalition to get this done, that having the Pentagon on our side and having them work through that process so that they felt confident they could continue to carry out their missions effectively would make it last and make it work for the brave men and women, gays and lesbians, who were serving not just now but in the future.

And the proof of the pudding here is that not only did we get the law passed, but it's caused almost no controversy. It's been almost thoroughly embraced, whereas had I just moved ahead with an executive order, there would have been a huge blowback that might have set back the cause for a long time.

But what I do see is that there are certain issues where a judicious use of executive power can move the argument forward or solve problems that are of immediate-enough import that we can't afford not to do it. And today, just to take an example, the notion that we wouldn't be collecting information on gun violence just to understand how it happens, why it happens, what might reduce it - that makes no sense. We shouldn't require legislation for the CDC to be able to gather information about one of the leading causes of death in the United States of America.

FF: Have you ever fired a gun?

Yes, in fact, up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time.

FF: The whole family?

Not the girls, but oftentimes guests of mine go up there. And I have a profound respect for the traditions of hunting that trace back in this country for generations. And I think those who dismiss that out of hand make a big mistake.

Part of being able to move this forward is understanding the reality of guns in urban areas are very different from the realities of guns in rural areas. And if you grew up and your dad gave you a hunting rifle when you were ten, and you went out and spent the day with him and your uncles, and that became part of your family's traditions, you can see why you'd be pretty protective of that.

So it's trying to bridge those gaps that I think is going to be part of the biggest task over the next several months. And that means that advocates of gun control have to do a little more listening than they do sometimes.

FF: Sticking with the culture of violence, but on a much less dramatic scale: I'm wondering if you, as a fan, take less pleasure in watching football, knowing the impact that the game takes on its players.

I'm a big football fan, but I have to tell you if I had a son, I'd have to think long and hard before I let him play football. And I think that those of us who love the sport are going to have to wrestle with the fact that it will probably change gradually to try to reduce some of the violence. In some cases, that may make it a little bit less exciting, but it will be a whole lot better for the players, and those of us who are fans maybe won't have to examine our consciences quite as much.

I tend to be more worried about college players than NFL players in the sense that the NFL players have a union, they're grown men, they can make some of these decisions on their own, and most of them are well-compensated for the violence they do to their bodies. You read some of these stories about college players who undergo some of these same problems with concussions and so forth and then have nothing to fall back on. That's something that I'd like to see the NCAA think about.

CH: The last question is about Syria. I wonder if you can speak about how you personally, morally, wrestle with the ongoing violence there.

Every morning, I have what's called the PDB - presidential daily briefing - and our intelligence and national security teams come in here and they essentially brief me on the events of the previous day. And very rarely is there good news. And a big chunk of my day is occupied by news of war, terrorism, ethnic clashes, violence done to innocents. And what I have to constantly wrestle with is where and when can the United States intervene or act in ways that advance our national interest, advance our security, and speak to our highest ideals and sense of common humanity.

And as I wrestle with those decisions, I am more mindful probably than most of not only our incredible strengths and capabilities, but also our limitations. In a situation like Syria, I have to ask, can we make a difference in that situation? Would a military intervention have an impact? How would it affect our ability to support troops who are still in Afghanistan? What would be the aftermath of our involvement on the ground? Could it trigger even worse violence or the use of chemical weapons? What offers the best prospect of a stable post-Assad regime? And how do I weigh tens of thousands who've been killed in Syria versus the tens of thousands who are currently being killed in the Congo?

Those are not simple questions. And you process them as best you can. You make the decisions you think balance all these equities, and you hope that, at the end of your presidency, you can look back and say, I made more right calls than not and that I saved lives where I could, and that America, as best it could in a difficult, dangerous world, was, net, a force for good. your social media marketing partner


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-130 # egbegb 2013-01-30 10:25
During his first term everything was GWB's fault even though most of GWB's policies were embraced and extended by BHO.

During his second term will he continue blaming GWB or is this the peek at his new whipping boy -- FoxNews and Rush?

One thing is certain. If BHO wanted to see real news, his only choice would be FoxNews' Shep Smith. ABC,CBC,NBC,MSN BC, and CNN are his own personal advertising agencies and none of them would ever speak out of turn.
+59 # bmiluski 2013-01-30 13:08
Really,....Did President Obama push through tax breaks for everyone and a drug/subscripti on bill even though he had started 2 wars with no money to pay for them?
-40 # Glen 2013-01-30 13:53
Other democrats have pulled off a few good things, while at the same time, bombing the shit out of Vietnam, as a start.

Ya gotta look past the few goods things and then look at the bad, and right now there is a lot of bad.
+5 # Pickwicky 2013-01-31 11:37
Glen--tell us which of those 'other democrats' entered office when the nation was in the economic pit that Obama found the nation in?
-9 # EPGAH3 2013-01-31 15:11
So you believe that Bush time-traveled and got us involved in Syria? Is that what he meant by "Going to Camp David"?
And actually, Obama has pushed through a lot of welfare increases, with punishing increases on PAYROLL taxes to pay for them. Note the phrasing, PAYROLL, as in only the people who WORK get the punishment.
He also seems to have squelched the Wall Street investigation, but the reporter is too busy asking sports questions to bother with that.
One of us has their priorities backwards, I believe it to be the reporter.
+78 # VoiceofReason613 2013-01-30 13:45
Please consider that not only did GWB leave our country on the brink of a depression, with 800,000 jobs being lost per month when Obama took office, but that Republicans united in doing everything possible to have Obama fail, in efforts to return to power.
+69 # Todd Williams 2013-01-30 13:57
You are dead wrong in your brief, but telling comments. A shill for Fox? I think so. It makes me angy, yet sad for the countless number of our citizens who have become tainted by Murdoch and his minions. Fox, Rush, Beck, etc. have dragged political discourse to a new low and are directly responsible for our deeply divided nation and our inability to solve even the basic problems facing us. It's a shame.
+5 # Pickwicky 2013-01-31 11:35
Todd Williams--true, true, true.
+1 # sisu 2013-02-02 20:29
Foxie News is not news nor is it entertainment, rather it is demagoguery pure and simple and sadly so many Americans suck it up!
+38 # tabonsell 2013-01-30 17:30
It is not "blaming GWB." It's remembering history.

After 20 years in the print industry, I fail to see where ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC and CNN qualify as "personal advertising agencies". It's what I had experienced as a journalist and as a United States intelligence analyst; if your output doesn't justify right-wing nonsense, the right will accuse you of being biased the other way.

That is exactly what you are displaying.
-58 # barkingcarpet 2013-01-30 10:36
'Fox News, Limbaugh Cause Dysfunctional Washington'
I disagree. An uninformed, uneducated, apathetic, too busy scraping by, etc, electorate, is the root cause.
The ONLY reason ANY of you Bozos, get away with any of the nonsense you perpetuate on our world, such as Endless wars, Happy Drones, Fracking, Nukes, Legitimate Rapist Bankers, and the reduction of diverse living environments into toxic lifeless landfills, is us. We, the consumers.
We want, we want, we want, and mostly care not for anythings future but our own.
Nature is tanking now folks, and everything's future is in peril.
Obamamam is just as worse as the rest of the corrupt profiteering and self serving blowbags in "power." What ARE we gonna do?

Here we are
a livin and a spinnin
a whirtlin on this lil blue greed ball
a drivin n a heatin
consumin as we go
but wait.
Tarsands? GMO's? Nuclear wasted toxic life?
Global warring N warming?
No worries, drive n fly on buy?
What ARE we choosing
with every waking $
what are we leaving behind?
It is time to Choose.
Be Tikkun
-38 # Glen 2013-01-30 12:16
Barking, most readers will continue to give you minus points on this post, but you are correct in your assessment.

As I said in another thread, folks want heroes. They want a winning team, regardless of the implication of that is or what kind of game that team plays. Many coaches are teaching cheating and dirty tactics.
-30 # HowardMH 2013-01-30 12:43
Barking You nailed it, and isn’t it amazing that you get Negative reviews. Just shows you how ignorant these impulses are and how much they are living in La La Land.

As Forest Gump said, “Stupid Is as Stupid Does” and there is obviously a whole lot of stupid out there.
+38 # Todd Williams 2013-01-30 14:06
Howard, I'm sure you don't really believe everybody who disagrees with you is stupid. Perhaps we are misinformed, undereducated or oblivious, but surely not stupid. As a matter of fact, I've rarely meant anybody I would actually consider stupid. I would prefer if you referred to people who disagree with your positions as something other than stupid. Such terms won't garner you any support.
+23 # bmiluski 2013-01-30 13:09
Then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT rather than just sitting around moaning, groaning and posting. Organize, run for office....somet hing.
+6 # Glen 2013-01-30 13:51
Are you going to run for office, bmiluski? Do you have enough money? The backing of the military? Corporate sponsors?
+20 # Todd Williams 2013-01-30 14:01
Very sad line of thought, Barking. I feel sorry for you. How long have you been working on such a negative attitude? Obviously, you see nothing positive in America today. Let me ask you a simple question. Why do you continue to live in a country which you obviously despise? Don't you see any good and hope here?
+30 # barkingcarpet 2013-01-30 15:46
Sad? Take a look at Nature and the state of that which supports all life, and than look at human rules, laws, and business as usual my friend, and you tell me. Some of us choose not to be oblivious to what too many either fail or refuse to cop to or act on.
We can not continue to live as if we have access to infinite resources and no consequences for our actions.
Sad? And angry, and a bunch of other things as well. Some of us choose to look into what is going on, some of us are oblivious, some just don't care.
Choose to live? I live on this planet, which from what I can tell, is mostly fenced off, owned, raped, and pillaged for personal profits, at the expense of a liveable future.
You tell me, where to go? Where is not owned?
We are terrible stewards, and Nature cares little for our rules, belief, laws, or patterns, and IS gonna bat clean up.
we have less than zero respect for the rights of anything to exist, except as a $ value for us to exploit.
Good? There is plenty of good in the world, and beauty.
Hope? There is always hope, and we can change in an instant, however unlikely.
Sad line of thought? It is sad and crucifying to witness the destruction of Nature.
+7 # Todd Williams 2013-01-30 16:54
Well, I would pick Costa Rica (too bad Rush wants to live there). It has no standing army, plenty of national parks, friendly people, great health care and "blue" zones. But I'm not prepared to research your other options. That's up to you. But I know there are other places that have a lot going for them. So, from your remarks you obviously feel there is no place on earth that you would be happy. Yes, quite sad....
+24 # barkingcarpet 2013-01-30 15:49
At the end, all of our machinations and systems are a house of cards, built upon the backs of all diverse living systems, and anything less than taking care of each other and all the diversity of living Nature, is a road to destruction.
we ARE terrible stewards.
Why do YOU continue to assume that this planet BELONGS to you? Hope and despise? I despise the Tarsands rape, the endless wars, Nuclear madness, the rape of all for $.
There is Always hope, and it's not gonna be our "leaders" which avert the rush into the wall. Sorry to be so blunt, but wake up, look around, and take stock of that which supports all life, Whole Living Divers Nature. What ARE we choosing with every waking $
It's up to us.
+2 # Pickwicky 2013-01-31 11:49
Barkingcarpet-- the above post contrasts with everything Limbaugh spews on climate change and taking care of our planet. And you believe he has no impact on his million-student s a day classroom?
+3 # barkingcarpet 2013-01-31 01:55
Where is there to run away to Todd? One needs to recognize the problem to begin changing course.
0 # suntortise 2013-01-30 20:05
You are RIGHT ON! Barkingcarpet. I think ther is a glitch in the comment system, 'cuz i gave U a + and it made it jump from -37 to -38

0 # Pickwicky 2013-01-31 11:46
Barkingcarpet-- why do you believe that Fox News, Limbaugh, and ilk, don't ADD to the 'nonsense . . .perpetrate[d] on our world?" Do you think their 'nonsense' isn't harmful? Think again--if you are able.
+22 # cmp 2013-01-30 10:57
Ain't it kinda funny on how we don't hear nothing about those $750,000.00 Christmas bonuses no more?
+12 # DaveM 2013-01-30 11:31
Our government is bought and paid for by far more powerful interests than Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. Both entities exist as a distraction more than anything else, allowing a once-marginaliz ed segment of the American populace to believe that someone agrees with them.

But if Fox News and Rush Limbaugh's sponsors told them to change their content, they would. And if indeed both entities had any real effect on American government, we would not have seen President Obama reelected, nor would we have seen the Democrats gain seats in the House and Senate.
+14 # bmiluski 2013-01-30 13:10
Honey, THE WORLD is bought and paid for by far more powerful interests then we know of. Always has been and probably (because of the nature of man) always will be.
+5 # SOF 2013-01-31 14:22
DaveM and bmiluski are both right. but the latters' conclusion is not. There is not Free Press (unless you consider not supporting RSN, etc as free). Media that is corporate (profit) driven, will bow to advertisers to the point of self-censoring. Barking Carpet has it right. At this point, there is no more important story than the ways we imperil our very existence - If not by destruction of life-sustaining bio diversity, then by the residue of nuclear powers even if we avoid war or 'accident'. And it is our own short sighted, childish fascination with toys and profit that demand ever-growing abuse of people and environments in order to give us what we'll pay for to make us feel 'free' and 'powerful' -as we remove those from others and destroy the 'commons' necessary for future generations. And FOX should be sued for slander. Their new enemy is 'do-gooders' who drive a Prius. -everything has an emotional tag for those who are incapable of thought or looking for a target to blame for loss of what they had before everything was taken and sold by 1% and their minions. We eat shit because we're hungry and that's all that's trickling down to us. There are places to run to -not to avoid what all the earth will share -but because they aren't the constant knife in your heart from watching the country of values and freedom that you loved -devolve to both whore and heartless pimp. We're dying from accepting 1000 cuts to our ethics and vision.
-34 # ConstitutionalSam 2013-01-30 11:41
My oh my. Horsepucky appearing as rational discourse......
+17 # vgirl1 2013-01-30 13:18
We all know the POTUS speaks the truth about this.
-7 # EPGAH3 2013-01-31 15:09
I disagree, his "truth" is based on distorted definitions. The bill that bears his name explicitly identifies a shotgun as an "assault rifle".
Why then, do terrorists carry AK series rather than the Winchester line?
And why does Wal Mart, "The World's Biggest Arms Dealer", carry only pump-action instead of full-auto.
Given these clues, either Obama does not recognize the definitions as twisted, or he is lying.
Is he evil or merely incompetent?
+24 # bobby t. 2013-01-30 13:42
The haters have not gone away. In Arizona, some talk about the immigration bill, but the rich whites still hate the Mexicans and want to feel superior to them, to feel superior to all non white or non Christian people.
They have been taught to hate, the way a dog that senses fear from his owner when a young black man walks by and from then on, growls and barks at all blacks. Children pick up on this fear and hatred too. Black children experience the same thing in reverse. It is an endless circle of ignorance and fear.
My brother, a sociologist, once told me that to end this zenophobia we need to have forced
miscegenation for ten thousand years.
That process is starting in larger numbers and is not forced.
Down here in Florida I see interacial couples all the time now. When I first came down here in the fifties, people were killed for walking down the street holding hands.
The haters are still here. Rush appeals to them. He uses their bigotry and hatred to make millions of dollars. People like Al Michaels of NBC Sunday night football kissed his his ass on the Golf Channel. His friend? Al, he would tell the SS where you live...Shame on you.
So yes, he can ruin a persons career, even when that person does the morally right thing. The president is right about Fox and Limbaugh. Murdock stops at nothing to make his billions. The misery and blood he causes do not disturb him one bit. He has the rich man's excuse, "If I didn't do it, someone else will make the money!"
+16 # Virginia 2013-01-30 14:50
The fact that Chris had the President's attention and didn't ask about why there are no arrests on Wall Street and why the banks get off with a pittance of a fine that no where mirrors the fraud and distruction they have caused - boggles the mind. I mean certainly before discussing football - an at least BTW, Sir - how come Wall Street is taking a powder on your watch?
-6 # indian weaver 2013-01-30 16:40
Two things struck me as I read this. Obama has no legitimacy discussing war crimes in Syria or anywhere else, since his policies are cruel and senseless, and launder $billions of our wealth into torture, massacre, worldwide mayhem and terrorism. He cannot preach to the choir. He is the perpetrator of worldwide violence for the money the Wehrmacht rakes in thru the corrupt Pentagon war + money machine. Secondly, he does not discuss rapidly growing poverty and the class wars, or the banker criminals as someone else here noted. I think he is good at distraction and diversion, not much different from Limbaugh and FOX really. Politics and politicians are good for only one thing - including Obama: death and dying, but they are a fact of life, suffering is endless and the perpetrators are a cosmic fact. Life is short, death is near: meditate (if you know what meditation is and if you meditate, you know what I mean - see the SRF website for example).
+7 # brenda 2013-01-30 19:19
As far as the majority of Republicans in office, or voted out of office are concerned, it's the money, not the Democracy that they care about.
+8 # suntortise 2013-01-30 20:00
I think Barking Carpet's comments are right on. While it's true that Fox, Limbaugh et al are truly the scum de la scum, we are dealing with a profoundly corrupt system that is destroying the Earth. It is naive to think if the Fox axis disappeared, all would be well. Obama may mean well, but he will not be allowed to continue if he makes any changes that impact corporate profits and control in any significant way.

XL Tarsands pipeline and fracking are a horrendous raape of the planet and the folks that gave barking carpet such a negative need to learn more about these atrocities. The Canadian tarsands alone will dump about 240 gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere, enough to raise global temperature .5 d. C. Read the article by Bill McKibben in the 7/19/12 "Rolling Stone" on the Scary Math of Climate Change.

Let's see what Obama does when crunch time comes for approval or rejection of the XL pipeline.

Meanwhile, anyone reasonably close to Washington D.C. should show up on Feb. 17 for a rally to stop the Tarsands pipeline and fracking.

Checkout some of barking carpet's articles She is way cool.
+3 # gfbarr 2013-01-31 02:17
The byline worked. It got my attention. It's infamaory tone, one that is so often successfully employed by journalists. Well it got me to read a fairly good interview and of course the part that sourced the byline was not what it was cast as. Fox and the mouth don't cause DC dysfunctionalit y. They certainly contribute, and it was ballsy of BO is say so. I guess I shouldn't quibble so much about being led on ... I guess it is disappointing that it takes baiting to get me and others to take a look. What would be another name for this interview that would generate a genuine interest?
0 # sisu 2013-02-02 21:19
Loosen up everyone ... perhaps Capitalism is the culprit: To paraphrase Jerry Mander: "The Capitalism Papers" pg.13: Capitalism practiced by large Corporations (not mom & pop business entities) is Amoral seeking wealth without caring how or why, is Dependent on Growth by exploiting human and natural resources, has a propensity to war as an avenue to wealth, is intrinsically Inequitable seeking wealth only for itself, undermines democracy by dominating governments and brings no happiness as real happiness comes with other values. The guru of capitalism Ayn Rand expresses sentiments through her fictional hero, "I know no worse injustice than justice for all." "Because men are not born equal ... why ... make them equal. And because I loathe most of them" A rising tide raises all boats but more can be done except for unregulated corporatism. SCOTUS gave human benefits to corporations without requiring (human) obligations.

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