POLITICS
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Rep. Conyers: Obama Asked Me To Stop "Demeaning" Him

In an interview on Tuesday, Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) told The Hill that President Obama called him several weeks ago to ask Conyers why he was "demeaning" him:

"[Obama] called me and told me that he heard that I was demeaning him and I had to explain to him that it wasn't anything personal, it was an honest difference on the issues. And he said, 'Well, let's talk about it.'"

In recent months, Conyers has expressed criticism of Obama's policies on health care reform and the war in Afghanistan. In November, Conyers accused Obama of "bowing down" to "nutty ring-wing" health care proposals in his efforts to get the legislation passed.

Conyers also went after White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel: "That is essentially what Rahm Emanuel has said: Just give us anything and we will declare victory. Not only is it not a victory, but when it doesn't work, guess who will come at him: the same guys that were saying let's go along with anything... This is all my buddy Rahm Emanuel trying to get anything. But look the bill doesn't go into effect for three years. Many of the people that we are trying to help will be dead by then."

Last month, Conyers said Obama was "getting bad advice from ... clowns" on Afghanistan.

Conyers told the The Hill that, despite the president's phone call, he was planning on pressing his case on the war in Afghanistan in writing:

"I want something so serious that he has to respond in writing, like I am responding in writing to him," he said.

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