The conversation stretched on for nearly an hour and a quarter.
The president began by complimenting my multi-colored striped socks. “If I wasn’t president,” he laughed, “I could wear socks like that.”
You’ve passed more progressive legislation than any president since Lyndon Johnson. Yet your base does not seem nearly as fired up as the opposition, and you don’t seem to be getting the credit for those legislative victories.
When I talk to Democrats around the country, I tell them, “Guys, wake up here. We have accomplished an incredible amount in the most adverse circumstances imaginable.”
When did you realize that the Republicans had abandoned any real effort to work with you and create bipartisan policy?
“Well, I’ll tell you that given the state of the economy during my transition, between my election and being sworn in, our working assumption was that everybody was going to want to pull together, because there was a sizable chance that we could have a financial meltdown and the entire country could plunge into a depression. So we had to work very rapidly to try to create a combination of measures that would stop the free-fall and cauterize the job loss.”