President Obama today denied that his lack of sociability was responsible for failures to strike deals in Washington, insisting he liked to meet with Republicans even as he nevertheless diminished the value of personal contact.
“I’m a pretty friendly guy, and I like a good party,” Obama said during an East Room press conference today. “I like Speaker Boehner personally. When we went out and played golf, we had a great time.”
But Obama nevertheless indicated he is personally affronted by Republicans on occasion, noting that even though he shows them hospitality at events like a White House picnic, “It doesn’t prevent them from going on the floor of the House and blasting me for being a big spending Socialist.”
He even suggested some Republicans were avoiding him, charging they were worried about how it would look if they got too chummy with him. “They don’t consider the optics good for them personally.”
Obama instead attributed stalemate in Washington to “very sharp differences in terms of policy” that could only be resolved through negotiation.
“That will be true whether I’m the life of the party or a stick in the mud,” he said.