Sunday on This Week, George Stephanopoulos finished his interview with President Obama asking him if this past year had been a “lost year” in which all of his hopes had just stalled and gone nowhere. But, would he even have to ask this question if it wasn’t for the unprecedented obstructionism the GOP has thrown the President’s way in 2013?
The President disagreed that he had been dead in the water pointing out that the Senate had passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill that was now languishing in the House where Speaker Boehner had not yet brought it up for a vote. While admitting that there is a strong TEA Party element in the House that sees it as their job to simply oppose anything that he is for and who seem to think that compromise is a dirty word, he said that he thought the Senate bill could pass right now if it was brought up for a vote.
He also pointed out that on some things he has broad popular support, citing gun control as an issue where, he said, “The question then is not whether or not the ideas we put forward can garner a majority of support, certainly in the country, I mean, gun control, we had 80%, 90% of the country that agreed with it.” But, once again Congress refused to act.
Stephanopoulos, mentioned as one success the continued reduction in the growth of the deficit which, of course is another issue that the TEApublicans refuse to acknowledge any change in unless of course they are making unfounded claims that it is becoming worse all the time. This, of course is an issue which they should not want to bring up as a continuing problem since it is the Congress which controls spending and taxation, not the Executive.
They also discussed the deal brokered with Vladimir Putin’s assistance to handle the issue of Syria’s chemical weapons saying, “The distance that we’ve traveled over the past couple of weeks has been remarkable,” the President pointed out that Putin and Assad have gone from denying any knowledge of chemical weapons or their use to admitting that they were there and agreeing to work out a plan to safeguard them from falling into the wrong hands or being used again.
Responding to Putin’s op-ed in the New York Times the President said, “Nobody around the world takes seriously that the rebels were the perpetrators of this attack.” He went on to say, “There are radical elements in the opposition, including folks that are affiliated with al Qaeda, who, if they got their hands on chemical weapons, would have no compunction using them in Syria or outside of Syria. Part of the reason we’ve been so concerned about this chemical weapon issue is we don’t want those folks getting chemical weapons any more than we want Assad to have chemical weapons, so the best solution is to get them out of there.” He went on to say that Putin does not have the same values as us and that is why he is defending the Assad regime and that he had told him, “The situation in Syria right now is untenable. As long as Mr. Assad is in power, there’s going to be some sort of conflict there.”
He continued by talking about how the U.S. and Russia had cooperated on other issues such as counter-terrorism operations and troop transport in Afghanistan in recent years and said that he could see no reason that they could not continue to work together to deal with Assad’s weapons which are a threat to the entire region. He said, “This is not the Cold War. This is not a contest between the United States and Russia. If Russia wants to have some influence in Syria post-Assad, that doesn’t hurt our interests…I welcome [Putin] being involved. I welcome him saying I will take responsibility for pushing my client, the Assad regime, for dealing with these chemical weapons.”
Watch the clip here: