President Barack Obama on Thursday dismissed the notion, circulated by many lawmakers and pundits in the media, that spending more time on the green with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will somehow persuade a recalcitrant Congress opposed to his agenda to approve more legislation.
During particularly high-stakes parlor games over the debt limit in 2011, critics often cited Obama's unwillingness to schmooze on the Hill as one reason the government was unable to come together and work out a compromise.
“That’s not the problem,” Obama told supporters at a fundraiser in Chicago. "On every issue we are more than happy to sit down in reasonable fashion and compromise. The problem is not that we’re too mean or we’re too partisan. The problem is that I don’t have enough votes. Full stop.”
He explained that legislative majorities -- which President Lyndon B. Johnson, to whom critics often compare Obama, also enjoyed -- were key to pushing through legislation.
"The first two years, when we had a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate, we had the most productive legislature since the 1960s, since Lyndon Johnson -- more significant, meaningful domestic legislation than any time since Medicare was passed," he said.
"House Republicans take over and we now have -- you remember Harry Truman with the do-nothing Congress? This is a less productive Congress than the do-nothing Congress," he said. "This Congress makes the do-nothing Congress look like the New Deal."