President Obama said in an interview with the “CBS Evening News” on Tuesday that he still hoped for cooperation with his Republican adversaries in Congress, but that he doubted the failure to achieve that so far rested on his lack of social skills.
“If your theory is that the president is your political opponent and your No. 1 goal is to beat him, then it doesn’t matter how much of a charm offensive I put on,” Obama told CBS anchor Scott Pelley, “how often I have them over to Super Bowl parties or watch movies in the theater or have a drink on the patio.”
The president appeared to be referring to Republican congressional leaders’ past interviews in which they had said they were intent on defeating him. GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell famously said in 2010: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”
Pelley prompted the discussion about Obama’s relations with the GOP by telling the president that he was perceived as “aloof – more Woodrow Wilson than Lyndon Johnson.” The newsman then asked: “I wonder whether you think your personality gets in the way of negotiating with the Congress?”
Although he suggested that the lack of party time was not the principal problem, Obama said he had not entirely given up on the social niceties.
“I’ve joked in the past to my staff and to some Republicans, ‘Look, if you want me to come over and wash your car, walk your dog, I’m game if it means that we’re actually getting stuff done on behalf of the American people.’”