Obama Pivots To Reclaim Reputation as Negotiator-In-Chief

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Charles Dharapak / AP

President Barack Obama speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington on Oct. 17, 2013

President Barack Obama has a new message for congressional Republicans today: let’s talk.

“I will look for willing partners wherever I can to get important work done,” the president said Thursday morning, announcing he intends to work with Congress to pass an annual budget, comprehensive immigration reform, and a farm bill.

Fresh off his victory over House Republicans in twin fiscal crises, the president is preparing an about-face after weeks of swearing off any negotiations with the GOP to fund the government and raise the debt limit. Not only that, but he is also setting the stage to criticize the opposition if they decline to put everything on the table.

It’s the completion of a months-long White House strategy on the debt limit that whittled away at the president’s preferred public image as moderate dealmaker. After getting rolled in 2011, Obama swore to his staff that he wouldn’t again get held hostage over the debt limit. Earlier this year, Obama laid down that no-negotiation promise in a statement on the New Year’s fiscal cliff deal, and he stood by it. There were no serious talks. No secret back-channel negotiations. No Joe Biden. Aides on both sides of Pennsylvania Ave. described meetings with congressional leaders last week as more to please the media than a reflection of any attempt to make progress.

Aides admit they were wary of the impact of Obama’s hardline position during the shutdown, especially as Republicans passed piecemeal bills to reopen slices of the federal government last week. Business leaders called on the president to throw Republicans a lifeline. Senate Democrats instinctively rushed to cut rogue deals. They fretted the rebuke from the “David Gergen caucus” of beltway pundits. But more than anything, it posed a danger to the Obama brand. He ran for office in 2008 insisting that he was open to negotiating with Iran without preconditions. He had pledged to change the way business is done in Washington and bridge the partisan divides.

As the afterglow of an end to the shutdown quickly faded, Obama turned his focus to the next crisis in a morning address at the White House, taking a swing at the tea party and extending an olive branch to moderate Republicans.

“You don’t like a particular policy or a particular president, then argue for your position,” Obama said in a shot at the GOP. “Go out there and win an election.”

“Sometimes we’ll be just too far apart to forge an agreement,” Obama added. “But that should not hold back our efforts in areas where we do agree. We shouldn’t fail to act on areas that we do agree or could agree just because we don’t think it’s good politics, just because the extremes in our party don’t like the word ‘compromise.’”

It was an echo of his message from the night before. “I am willing to work with anybody, I am eager to work with anybody—Democrat or Republican, House or Senate members—on any idea that will grow our economy, create new jobs, strengthen the middle class, and get our fiscal house in order for the long term,” Obama said Wednesday evening before the House voted to reopen the government. On Thursday he laid out his remaining priorities, though nobody at the White House is holding their breath that Republicans will change course.

According to White House officials, the president will adopt the same strategy for dealing with the upcoming crises as he has in the past. He still won’t negotiate over the debt limit, but he is open to reaching a budget deal if Republicans are willing to put everything on the table. “The President has insisted that in these budget negotiations that he’s been calling for all year, everything has to be on the table, and that will be his position going forward,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday.

And if Republicans don’t, Obama will be ready to brand them as uncompromising.

120 comments
reallife
reallife

"Obama Pivots To Reclaim Reputation as Negotiator-In-Chief"

hahahaha
where is the rimshot?
LOL


ParthaNeogy
ParthaNeogy

I don't see much of a pivot.  Obama was always ready to talk, at times too ready.  What he said recently was that he was not ready any more to capitulate to threats of shutdown and reneging on the national debt.  That's not refusal to talk; it is a refusal to be treated as a hostage.  One would hope that TIME recognizes the difference.

barneydidit
barneydidit

I'm sure Obama should have no trouble finding willing partners to help govern with him...I mean the GOP has been more than willing to meet him halfway from the very start of his first term. Yeah...there was that little hiccup at the start...or actually I guess right before he even started when Rush Limbaugh told the country that he hoped Obama failed...and then there were those couple of times when Republicans voted against their own bills in order to make sure a bill Obama supported didn't become law...and I guess Mitch McConnell's comment about his number one priority during a severe economic downturn being making Obama a one term President could be construed negatively...and then the Tea Partiers voting to shut down the government and default on our debt- twice... might look a bit unreasonable...but other than those few examples, the right wing has been absolutely cordial to that Muslim Kenyan dictat...I mean the President. 

pstanley54
pstanley54

Obama didn't negotiate anything.  He held a gun to everyones head and said my way or bye bye boom.


NelsonAkpese
NelsonAkpese

The Shut down did not cost anything unless you want to give some people something about what they want or thing about what you think you want for the shutdown They shut down did not mean anyything worked to date to your cost or to your work because you did not mean anything to theory worked and lost. You did not do anything yourself and lost. Neither did you do anything or going to do anything to lost now. You did not work anything because rverything is on theory and Government is not but try of things to convenience and you know everything is defined as Theory which you did not do of it to loss or lose. So No cost to Economy which is on Theory as Economists do about them inState and Federal Government or so.

Moreover you ask of thing for yourself thought in Theory to keep yourself: Because your Stomach and Clothing is Define on Theory to keep yuorself. Your Stomach is always on Theory as Hunger is on Biology.

AlphaJuliette
AlphaJuliette

I liked this article and was glad to see how President Obama finally was able to stand his ground.  In the past he always tried to reason, he always tried to reach out, he was always willing to compromise.  But this time around he fully understood that the nice way wasn't going to be effective with extremists.  So he dug in and won.  And when he won We the People won.  But it cost every single one of us something.

Going forward I fully believe him when he says he's willing to "have that conversation" (I want to hear as much from the Speaker) on the budget.  Now is the time.

Bacchus63
Bacchus63

 Hopefully he can reach out to them & they will actually respond back to work together for the betterment of our country but I don't hold my breath on the tea party republicans who have been the problem for everyone all along.

nochoicenovoice
nochoicenovoice

A leader leads, a leader gets both sides together forces them to talk and negotiate until the issues are resolved. A leader does not intimidate his party until they cave in and act like his puppets and do what the leader wants. A leader will prosecute those who have committed voter faud, not protect them. A leader doesn't give away free stuff so he can get their votes. We need to fix our broken country. We want our country back before it's too late.

CynthiaReed
CynthiaReed

@barneydidit Great post! You, sir or madame, are clearly on top of things. Better still, the bonus of your incisive recollection of those few small details the rest of us might have overlooked or forgotten is indeed commendable. Huzzah!

MrObvious
MrObvious

@pstanley54 

Do you think for a minute that any president would negotiate with a party that uses bill payments as an excuse to extort concessions? You must be seriously naive if you say yes.

jsfox
jsfox

@pstanley54 You know what you wrote here is called projection. It is a sign of ODS you should get some help



mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@pstanley54 Nope that would be the Tea Party who thought they could repeal a law passed years ago if merely they threatened to collapse the World's economy. Luckily saner voices in the GOP stepped in and placed them in the corner like the spoiled children that they are.

jsfox
jsfox

@NelsonAkpese Try writing this again  . . .  in a structure that makes some sense. Thanks.

pstanley54
pstanley54

@AlphaJuliette What exactly did you win?   More debt, more taxes via Obamacare.  Less healthcare options.  Poorer quality of care and a loss of the Senate in 2014.  Cudo's to you and your fellow democrats!  

pstanley54
pstanley54

@Bacchus63 Not going to happen.  Nothing Obama and the Democrats present from now until Nov of 2014 will even be considered by the house in fear of losing another battle which will cost them their jobs. 

tommyudo
tommyudo

@Bacchus63 


One thing that we can rest assured of, anything that Obama capitulates on, or negotiates with the GOP, is axiomatically going to be bad for the majority of the country. The GOP only cares about and caters to their ilk, they always have and always will.

tom.litton
tom.litton

@nochoicenovoice If a leader forces anyone to do anything for any reason, wouldn't that make him a dictator? 

Is this an argument for a dictatorship?

PaulDirks
PaulDirks

@nochoicenovoice The House had months to negotiate with anyone they wanted to but refused to do so UNTIL the government was scheduled to shut down. Nothing you can say will change that simple undeniable fact.


jsfox
jsfox

@nochoicenovoice The country you want back never existed except in the delusional fantasies of the Tea Party.


and explain to me how you get two sides together when one side has absolutely zero interest in governing and as Douthat wrote this AM can't manage a banana stand

"However you slice and dice the history, the strategery, and the underlying issues, the decision to live with a government shutdown for an extended period of time — inflicting modest-but-real harm on the economy, needlessly disrupting the lives and paychecks of many thousands of hardworking people, and further tarnishing the Republican Party’s already not-exactly-shiny image — in pursuit of obviously, obviously unattainable goals was not a normal political blunder by a normally-functioning political party. It was an irresponsible, dysfunctional and deeply pointless act, carried out by a party that on the evidence of the last few weeks shouldn’t be trusted with the management of a banana stand, let alone the House of Representatives."


And what free stuff has Obama given away?

pstanley54
pstanley54

@MrObvious @pstanley54 I would say you are the naive one.  Look it up.  More democrat presidents and democrat congresses have shut down the government than Republicans have over the history of this nation.

Go back to school and take U.S. History this time..

pstanley54
pstanley54

No, the reason they failed was because McConnell did not lead and pull all of the senate together.  He let McCain divide them.  

CynthiaReed
CynthiaReed

@pstanley54 How about MORE healthcare options for them that formerly had none? What was it? Around 40 MILLION of your fellow Americans?

AlphaJuliette
AlphaJuliette

@pstanley54 We the People won by having the government not defaulting.  As I said, it cost every single one of us something.  That isn't good.

jsfox
jsfox

@pstanley54 @AlphaJuliette I will bet your healthcare is not effected one bit and those it does effect will actually have more options.

manlyman
manlyman

Descibe this "ilk" tommydoo. Be specific.

nochoicenovoice
nochoicenovoice

@tom.litton @nochoicenovoice In my opinion a leader brings people together to Govern and accomplish their goals. They compromise so everyone walks away with something. However,a leader doesn't wait until the final hour every single time. It hurts the working people, the people that put them in their jobs.

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

@tom.litton"Is this an argument for a dictatorship?"

No, it's a typical Teatard temper tantrum. One minute they accuse the President of being too mean to Republicans, the next that he's not forceful enough in getting them to negotiate. Meanwhile, they insist that Republicans not negotiate or compromise on anything. It's ridiculous.

mjshep
mjshep

@jsfox @nochoicenovoice Don't waste your time arguing with Tehadis.   They are beyond reason. And the "country" nochoicenovoice wants back was never his to begin with.  If anyone has the right to demand their country back, it's the Native Americans, and they aren't getting it back, either.

mjshep
mjshep

@pstanley54 @MrObvious And that would be when, exactly? What you hear from Sean Hannity and Mark Levin and World Net Daily is not actually "history." Why don't you look it up?

MrObvious
MrObvious

@pstanley54 @MrObvious 

Can you mentioned any of these shut downs? I mean other then for Bill Clinton in the 90's. And was those shut down over threatening to default or cut off funding?

Lastly, did any president ever cave in to the demands of these 'dems'?

tom.litton
tom.litton

@pstanley54 McConnell and McCain were just trying to save their jobs.  

Or haven't you noticed the drop in support for the Tea Party?  Just read the comments here.  It's pretty much just you defending them now.

jsfox
jsfox

@pstanley54 You actually believe in the end they would have prevailed? Not only are you suffering from ODS, but you are delusional and dangerous.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@pstanley54 The reason they failed is because the US people saw them for the frauds that they were. Even their donors turned on them

mjshep
mjshep

@pstanley54 @CynthiaReed If you are elIgible for the VA system, then that's where you should go, especially if your income is so low you qualify for medicaid. The VA is socialized medicine at its best.  Consider yourself lucky.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@pstanley54 @CynthiaReed 

Let me ask you a simple question. Could you get healthcare before? I wonder, seems like you're biatching about something you couldn't get before. Now I don't know your particular situation but if you couldn't get something before and you now have several different options, then how can that be wrong?

Furthermore - lets assume that you can't get healthcare, why does it seem like you want to remove Obamacare and still be without healthcare?

I really don't understand your argument.

pstanley54
pstanley54

@CynthiaReed @pstanley54 In your dreams.  I don't have insurance and when I went to the exchange, they rejected me and said I had to go to Medicaid or VA.  You people fell for that BS?

AlphaJuliette
AlphaJuliette

@tommyudo While I understand your point of view I think Obama should continue to take the high road.  There are other reasonable members of Congress he can work with.  Through them he may be able to avoid the disaster we have just experienced.  But, he should also know his own limits.  Seems as though he found one of them.

tommyudo
tommyudo

@AlphaJuliette 


This is the problem we have. Obama and the Dems are dealing with a party who aren't reasonable, and deal in bad faith - my way or the highway. Since Obama is in the last three years of his presidency he needs to start kicking them in the teeth. I know he couldn't be the "crazy black guy" before Nov 2012, else he wouldn't have been re-elected. It's time to play hard ball.

manlyman
manlyman

Well there's an original alphyudo. You sure cleared things up.

mjshep
mjshep

@pstanley54 @mantisdragon91 @nochoicenovoice I see you have never been in the military. In the military I know, someone who is superior in rank tells you to do something, and you do it. Period.  If you don't really care to do it, they do give you a choice - do it or get put in the stockade for insubordination. This includes doing things that could likely get you killed, not just guard duty. No one is going to offer you a day off to do your duty.  If they did they would be the world's worst officer.

tom.litton
tom.litton

@KeillRandor One more thing to add. 

The Tea Party truly believe Obama is taking America to a place they will hate.  When they say Obama is destroying America, it is something they believe, except they are talking about *their* America, forgetting about the America the vast majority of the people want.  

It makes diplomacy very difficult, and leadership impossible.

KeillRandor
KeillRandor

@pstanley54

Do not confuse leadership with diplomacy.  Leadership is about convincing people that (because) you know what you're doing, and being better and/or more able than they are, it's best for them to follow you - especially if it's true and you've planned what to do etc..  Nothing else is truly 'leadership' by itself.

(Although leadership CAN involve diplomacy, they are not the same thing.)

Leadership CANNOT work in this situation, because there is NOTHING that the President can realistically offer and do to convince such people in the GOP (mainly the 'Tea Party faction') that following his orders and actions are for the best.  (If he gives up to the GOP, then he is failing to lead his own party/government aswell - which is why this isn't about leadership at all, but diplomacy.)  This is why their screams (and the echoes of their followers) that Obama isn't leading are complete ****.

What you're really talking about, is purely diplomacy - the act of persuading people to do something or believe in something etc., that is consistent with what you want of them, too.  This generally involves two main methods - a 'carrot' and/or a 'stick'.  The reason why you have so many troubles in the US, is that this part of the GOP was not realistic about what it wanted to be offered as a 'carrot'.  Unfortunately, many people refuse to accept this, and are therefore just as bad as those that make the unrealistic demands themselves.

What people are truly complaining about when it comes to 'leadership', is that the President never used a 'stick', instead.  And, again, these people are uninformed, and unknowledgeable about how the government works in your country - if they did, they they would know and understand that it's the voters job to punish the politicians that don't do their jobs, not the President.

You cannot 'lead' people who do not want and refuse to be led, without using a very big stick, or bribery - and that's truly diplomacy, not leadership.

tom.litton
tom.litton

@pstanley54 @mantisdragon91 @nochoicenovoice What if the soldier wanted a month off for covering for another soldier?  

I know you don't think scraping obamacare was unreasonable request, but if you look at it from the democrats side, it was.  They were never, ever going to scrap something that took them decades to achieve.  

So how do you get a soldier to take guard duty, when what they want you can't give?

pstanley54
pstanley54

@mantisdragon91 @pstanley54 @nochoicenovoice No, but a good leader can persuade someone to do things they don't really care to do for instance, In the military, they could offer them the next day off if, they took guard duty to cover for a sick soldier.  Having the day off is more appealing to a soldier and therefore, he would be happy to do it!  

tom.litton
tom.litton

@nochoicenovoice @tom.littonThey have tried to negotiate several times before.  Obama gave away as much as he could without loosing too many democrats (chained CPI for social security, spending cuts, etc). Some would say he gave away too much (which may be why Harry Reid negotiated the deal instead of him), and the republicans refused.

The democrats tried to negotiate the budget for weeks before the deadline, and republicans refused.

Then they tried to pass a clean CR at the current spending levels for about a month so there would be time to negotiate, and the republicans refused.

How is anyone suppose to "bring people together" if one side won't even talk until you meet all of their demands, while giving nothing back?

The only way this will stop is if we vote people willing to compromise into office.   If you were paying attention, Obama is definitely one of those people.