In his first campaign for president in 2008, Barack Obama said his nomination would be the moment future generations remembered as the time “the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”
CNN’s Jake Tapper reminded Obama of that claim in an interview Thursday and noted that he is now promising to use “a pen and a phone” to go it alone if Congress doesn’t want to help him pass his agenda.
“Do you think you were naive back then, or have you recalibrated your expectations and your ambitions?” Tapper asked.
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“Well, part of it is, we got a lot of that stuff done,” Obama answered, noting that the Affordable Care Act has been passed and student loans have been increased. Obama had also mentioned healthcare and jobs prior to the famous “rise of the oceans” line.
Admitting that some issues on jobs will be “tough,” Obama said he has used his phone to arrange a meeting of 300 companies on Friday, including Walmart, Apple and Ford, to discuss “best practices,” such as considering applicants who have been jobless for long stretches.
Obama has already begun using his pen to sign executive orders, and is promising more. Republican critics say that while such actions are permitted in the Constitution, some of Obama’s plans have been end-runs around Congress’ own legislative authority.
“Presidents do not make laws. That’s what Congress does,” Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., told Tapper after Obama’s comments were aired.
Ryan and other critics aren’t likely to be any happier about Obama’s promise to put new regulations on “existing power plants” to fight greenhouse gases.
“That’s a big piece of business,” Obama told Tapper in regard to the importance of the issue.
Republicans refer to such a plan as a “war on coal,” which has cost jobs in the coal industry.
The rest of Tapper’s interview with Obama, taped in Waukesha, Wisc., is set to air throughout the day Friday on CNN.
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By Greg Richter