Obama: Youth, women, minorities have ‘congenital disease’ during midterms

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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President Barack Obama told an Texas audience of trial lawyers and donors that the GOP’s voter verification policies are “un-American.”

Obama also complained about his female and minority supporters Wednesday night, saying they have a “congenital disease,” which reduces their eagerness to vote in midterm elections.

The president’s rhetorical rejection of his fellow citizens’ American identity and insistence that Democratic voters have a “disease” that keeps them from competing in midterms highlights his increasingly strident rhetoric as he faces an uphill effort to preserve the Democrats’ majority in the Senate.

He made the un-American charge while complaining about anti-voting fraud measures in Texas. “The idea that you’d purposely try to prevent people from voting… [is] un-American,” Obama said, after being prompted by one of his donors, who yelled out “un-American.”

The disease claim was made moments later, when he complained about Democratic turnout.

Democratic policies are popular, he claimed to his donors, “but we have this congenital disease, which is in midterm elections we don’t vote at the same rates,” Obama said.

The disease, he added, is present in young women, Latinos and African-Americans. His description implies that older women and white voters, who tend to vote at higher rates during midterm elections, do not have the turnout-reducing “congenital disease.”

“Our voters are younger, more unmarried women, more African American and Latino voters.  They get excited about general elections; they don’t get as excited about midterm elections,” he complained during the Houston fundraiser, which was held in the home of a Democratic trial lawyer.

Obama is generally very careful in his use of words, but does go off-script when he’s under pressure.

He’s used “congenital” before, telling a group of CEOs in November 2013 that “I am actually optimistic that we’re going to get this [immigration rewrite] done. I am a congenital optimist. I would have to be  — I’m named Barack Obama and I ran for President.”

In front of his donors, Obama also pushed a claim about pay for men and women that he had earlier acknowledged was at least partly untrue.

The double-talk came as he jeered critics of his claim that women are paid only 77 cents for every dollar paid to men. “Now, apparently, a lot of these Republicans during the debate said they just think that this idea there’s a gender pay gap is a fantasy, it’s not real, there are all these other reasons why this happens… that women make other choices,” he said.

“And I think that’s certainly true; every individual makes other choices.  Very rarely do you meet people who make the choice to be paid less for doing the same job,” he scoffed, prompting laughter from his supporters.

However, his supporters may not have known that the president had already admitted that women make different choices from men, during an April 8 public relations event at the White House House. To close the claimed pay gap, he said, “we need more parents and high school teachers and college professors encouraging girls and women to study math and science.”

In the fundraiser, Obama also disparaged the public’s suspicions about and opposition to the Democrats’ rewrite of the nation’s immigration laws. “We got a bipartisan vote out of the Senate, and yet we cannot even get a vote in the House of Representatives… not because it doesn’t make sense,” he complained.

“It’s not because there’s some serious dispute or technical difference in terms of policy.  It has to do with politics,” he claimed.

If the Senate’s immigration rewrite becomes law, it would triple the inflow of foreign workers and immigrants over the next decade to 40 million, and would sharply increase competition for jobs sought by the 4 million Americans who turn 18 each year.

Polls show that many Americans oppose increases in immigration and companies’ use of foreign guest-workers. For example, 69 percent of independents say “We should restrict and control people coming to live in our country more than we do now,” according to a 2012 Pew survey.

So far, Obama has avoided the “un-American” accusation, which was recently regarded by Democrats until recently as un-American. The phrase was considered taboo because it was associated with Congress’ successful bipartisan efforts to identify and stigmatize communists in the 1940s and 1950s.

But the “un-American” insult is now being used more frequently by Democrats.

In February, White House spokesman Jay Carney tried to avoid criticizing the Democrats’ Senate Leader, Harry Reid, after Reid had said the Koch brothers were “as un-American as anyone I can imagine.”

“I didn’t see that report and I haven’t talked to the President about it, so I don’t really have a response,” Carney said in response to a reporter’s question about Reid’s statement.

When pressed by The Daily Caller to say if he was “making any suggestion whatsoever that to disagree with the administration and be wrong is somehow un-American?” Carney responded by saying “No, I’m not.”

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