President Barack Obama strenuously defended his disastrous year on Friday, telling reporters that he’s helping the economy grow and that his Obamacare network is getting over its catastrophic start.
He sought to shift the media’s focus away from his record-low poll ratings, the declining public confidence in his competence, and his imploding Obamacare network.
He sought to reassure the public that the ship of state is being guided by a confident helmsman, and to focus the media on less disastrous policy issues, like his much-touted promises to undo the economic damage of the last five years.
For example, he pushed for more aid for people who have been unemployed, and he touted his new efforts to reduce the economic gap between the middle class and the reviled “One Percent,” which has widened enormously since 2009.
“We head into next year with an economy that is stronger than when it started… more Americans are starting work… our businesses are positioned for new growth and new jobs, and I firmly believe that 2014 can be a breakthrough year for America,” he declared.
He dismissed his diving polls, telling a reporter that “my polls have gone up and down a lot through the course of my career,” adding that’s he’s extended government health care to more than one million people.
He avoided direct criticism of the GOP, whose elected conservative leaders — especially Speaker of the House John Boehner — have successfully blocked his progressive agenda during 2013.
He even offered some low-octane praise for Boehner, saying “there are indications that the speaker is committed to moving forward” with an immigration rewrite.
The rewrite, he said, is “probably the biggest thing that I wanted to get done this year.”
Obama started the year with an inaugural address that called for a massive increased in immigration, new restrictions on people’s right to own guns, the creation of federal day-care system, higher taxes and sharp reductions in low-cost gasoline energy.
He achieve none of his goals.
Obama attended the press conference shortly before he was scheduled to jet off to Hawaii for his Christmas vacation, and one day after his economic deputy touted the few promising aspects of the economy, such as the rapid growth of privately developed oil and gas productions, and a slow decline in the formal unemployment rate.
The president arrived with a list of reporters vetted by his press aides, and went down the list with no exceptions.
“Jay prepares a list of who’s naughty or nice,” Obama said, before offering the first question to Julie Pace, AP’s reporter. “Julie must be nice,” he said.