En route back to Washington after a 10-day trip overseas, President Obama was introspective about his first two years in office. The president told reporters aboard Air Force One that he had an “obsessive focus” on policy and he will now “redouble” efforts to get back to his core principles.Obama said he “neglected” things that matter a lot to Americans in his rush to get major legislation passed. He explained those things as maintaining a bipartisan tone, dealing with earmarks, making sure that policy decisions are fully debated and shaping public opinion. He can better focus on these principals now, the president explained, because the economy is more stable.
The president plans to meet with Congressional leadership this week and said he expects that even though his party lost badly in the midterm election, Republicans will work with him to get things done.
“I am very confident that the American people were not issuing a mandate for gridlock,” Obama said. “They want to see us make progress.”
Obama repeated his belief that the country can’t afford to extend the Bush tax cuts for people earning more than $250,000 a year.
“I believe it is a mistake for us to borrow $700 billion to make tax cuts permanent for millionaires and billionaires,” he said.
Reflecting on his stop in Asia, the president said he leaves with the impression that America will need to step up its game because countries across the Asian continent are working to better educate their workforces, rebuild their economies and enter into new markets around the world.