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January 20, 2012

Obama blames a "deeply ideological" Congress for lack of action

President Obama says it's not his relationship with Congress that's to blame for the lack of congressional action on his agenda -- but a "deeply ideological" Congress that "sees a political advantage in not getting stuff done.

"John Boehner and I get along fine,' Obama said in an interview with Time magazine's Fareed Zakaria. "We had a great time playing golf together. That’s not the issue. The problem was that no matter how much golf we played or no matter how much we yukked it up, he had trouble getting his caucus to go along with doing the responsible thing on a whole bunch of issues over the past year."

The question arose after Obama noted that he had developed "bonds of trust" with foreign leaders. But not with Boehner, Zakaria suggested. The president, however, said "personal relationships" aren't the issue.

"My suspicion is that this whole critique has to do with the fact that I don't go to a lot of Washington parties," he said. "And as a consequence, the Washington press corps maybe just doesn't feel like I'm in the mix enough with them, and they figure, well, if I'm not spending time with them, I must be cold and aloof.

"The fact is, I've got a 13-year-old and 10-year-old daughter, and so, no, Michelle and I don't do the social scene, because as busy as we are, we have a limited amount of time, and we want to be good parents at a time that's vitally important for our kids."


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"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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