WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama has complained that Republicans see “compromise” as a dirty word, in an interview aired as his aides pressed for a deal in Congress on ending the latest political standoff.
Obama told ABC News in an interview, parts of which were to be broadcast Thursday, that he believed he had made America stronger and that he would win reelection and wanted to go down in history judged as a “good” president.
The president rebuked his Republican foes in Congress who he said tended to “lurch into extremes.”
“You know, you never want to say, ‘It’s all them,’” Obama said.
“But I do think that right now at least, in the Republican Party there are a couple of notions. Number one is that compromise is a dirty word. Number two, anything that Obama’s for, we’re against.”
The White House, Democrats in Congress and Republicans were in talks aimed at passing a $1 trillion spending plan and a extension to a payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance which Obama says will help the economy.
The measures have all been caught up in a bitter episode of brinkmanship ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays.
In the interview with ABC, the president took a veiled swipe at Republican presidential candidates who had backed health care measures similar to the sweeping bill he passed on the issue.
“If I propose a health care bill that is full of Republican ideas — in fact, is very similar to the law that was passed by the current Republican front runner, or one of the top frontrunners … they become against it.”
The comment seemed to be a reference to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney or another leading Republican contender Newt Gingrich, and could preview debates on the issue ahead of November’s general election.
In 2010, Obama said that he would rather be a good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president. But with the 2012 election looming he has changed his tune.
“I want to be a really good two-term president,” Obama told Barbara Walters, the same ABC interviewer to whom he made the original comment.
“I think that the choices we’ve made have made America stronger, and have made the American people… put them in a better position in order to succeed over the long term,” he said.