Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 3:36 PM ET, 11/29/2010

President Obama's 'I won' to Republicans explained

By Jonathan Capehart

Ed Gillespie, former Republican National Committee chairman and counselor to President George W. Bush, repeated a mischaracterization on "Meet The Press" yesterday that I feel compelled to clear up. It was about the White House meeting between President Obama and congressional leaders where Obama told one Republican member "I won." The knock against him is that he was being arrogant. Au contraire. Obama was exerting a testy bit of leadership that I hope he will reprise with Republican leaders tomorrow.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Here's the transcript of what Gillespie said in response to Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter's comments on Obama, bipartisanship and Republican recalcitrance.

MR. GILLESPIE: ...when, when, at the meeting with the, with the House Republicans, when you're talking about the stimulus package, and they offer their suggestions, and President Obama's response at that time was, "I won. I don't have to take your ideas."

MS. NOONAN: Yeah.

Sorry, Peggy Noonan, but you and Gillespie are wrong.

The widely reported exchange happened at a bipartisan White House confab on the economic stimulus package just days after Obama's inauguration last year. ABC News's Jake Tapper posted a pretty thorough chronicling of the event. Here's the key passage.

House Republicans have been complaining about not being consulted, and as Cantor explained the details of some of the ideas he and his GOP colleagues would like to see in the package, President Obama read the one-pager and told him, "Eric, I don't see anything crazy in here."

Among some of the things Republicans requested: tax deductions for some small businesses, making unemployment benefits tax free and a provision that would let businesses losing money carry the losses over to pay fewer taxes in a different fiscal year.

Mr. Obama did voice opinion on some differences on the issue of whether the lowest individual tax rates should be cut from 15 percent to 10 percent and from 10 percent to 5 percent.

As the president, he had told Kyl after the Arizonan raised objections to the notion of a tax credit for people who don't pay income taxes, Obama told Cantor this morning that "on some of these issues we're just going to have ideological differences."

The president added, "I won. So I think on that one, I trump you."

And as Jonathan Weisman of the Wall Street Journal reported at the time, Democratic and Republican aides "who heard the remarks stressed that it wasn't as boldly partisan as it might sound."

Yes, I've written about this before. But it bears repeating. When faced with two competing ideas, it is the president's job to decide which one to accept. The American people elected Obama to make decisions, and he made no secret of which way he'd go. Now that voters have given control of the House to Republicans, I can't wait to see which way they go beyond tax cuts for the wealthy and no on everything else. Both sides will have to compromise on a host of important issues. But, ultimately, the buck stops with Obama because, as he said, "I won."

By Jonathan Capehart  | November 29, 2010; 3:36 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: One solution to WikiLeaks: classify less
Next: The demise of don't ask don't tell

Comments

Mr Capehart,

if the election was today, instead of 2008, BHO would NOT win dogcatcher, much less POTUS, as he is weak, arrogant, amoral, foolish, not overloaded with "gray matter" & UNconcerned with what the citizens want him to do.

at 64YY, i never thought that i would live to see any POTUS that would make Jimmy Carter look COMPETENT or Richard Nixon look HONEST, but sadly i was wrong.

finally, BHO couldn't lead two drunken sailors into a bawdyhouse.

the foregoing is why obama will be HUMILIATED in 2012, in the event that he runs again.
(frankly, i suspect that Hillery will be the DIMocRATS candidate in 2012, as by the DIMs primaries, NOBODY in the DIMocRATS party will be able to stomach BHO.)

note: it makes little/no difference who the DIMs run in 2012, as the Tea Party/GOP candidate will win in a massive landslide, taking the Senate, the HoR & the WH in one fell swoop.- it won't even be close.

yours, TN46
coordinator, CCTPP

Posted by: texasnative46 | November 29, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Oh good grief. Whatever the POTUS meant, he was right.

So what, the POTUS is not allowed to speak certain words?

He did win.

Eat that, clowns.


Posted by: lindalovejones | November 29, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Not being arrogant just a "testy bit of leadership"? Right, leadership is always "I'm right, you're wrong".

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | November 29, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Barack Obama did win the 2008 election decisively and the American people spoke.

I hope the President will make this point even more strongly: He won and the Republicans have yet to honor the will of the voters expressed in 2008.

And, Republicans, it doesn't matter how you think he would fare in an election today. That's your imagination, it's REALITY that matters.

Posted by: ANDYO1 | November 29, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Capehart -- You wrote:

When faced with two competing ideas, it is the president's job to decide which one to accept.

This captures the problem of the Obama administration and its cheerleaders. The President chooses which one to advocate. Congress gets to weigh in. Both are accountable to the people and expected to adjust as facts warrant. We did not elect a king. The "I won" attitude reflects a deeply narcissistic belief that once elected they have carte blanche to do what they please. In a constitutional republic, that is false. It was the same attitude exhibited during the health care debate: "I won, and therefore I trump you" and no one else counts, including voters. I suppose Boehner and congressional Republicans can now say they won, and more recently, but that is the same hubris that got us into this mess.

Posted by: haunches | November 29, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Gillespie wasn't wrong, he was lying. Just as he was in his description of Obama's negotiations with Kyl (R-Traitor) over START.

Posted by: hellslittlestangel1 | November 29, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Haunches

Not saying the President is a King or anything, or that I am an unfailing admirer of the president, but when a Preseident has a 2/3 Veto power over Congress--which he should given his positon--then he is the decider, unless Congress can band 2/3 of its members to override him. Even so, he decides how to enforce the law(Or as President Bush demostrated not enforce the law)and exceute the the law in the land. . which is great power in it of itself.

This is the way our Constitutional Republic was designed. No, he wasnt suppsed to be as powerful as he is now (Which is ok with me, necessity demanded a more powerful Executive) but the President was desgined not to be a figure-head but carry some clout. He was elected to be a central force by all voting Americans, while Congress is a plethora that represents an even greater plethora.

The system is not perect and different leaders use the power of the Exceutive differently for good or ill, but yeah the President has weight he can throw around.

He supposed to.

Posted by: WizardsBlade1700 | November 30, 2010 1:28 AM | Report abuse

Haunches

Not saying the President is a King or anything, or that I am an unfailing admirer of the president, but when a Preseident has a 2/3 Veto power over Congress--which he should given his positon--then he is the decider, unless Congress can band 2/3 of its members to override him. Even so, he decides how to enforce the law(Or as President Bush demostrated not enforce the law)and exceute the the law in the land. . which is great power in it of itself.

This is the way our Constitutional Republic was designed. No, he wasnt suppsed to be as powerful as he is now (Which is ok with me, necessity demanded a more powerful Executive) but the President was desgined not to be a figure-head but carry some clout. He was elected to be a central force by all voting Americans, while Congress is a plethora that represents an even greater plethora.

The system is not perect and different leaders use the power of the Exceutive differently for good or ill, but yeah the President has weight he can throw around.

He supposed to.

Posted by: WizardsBlade1700 | November 30, 2010 1:29 AM | Report abuse

Wow, having to defend something from 2 years ago....seems like we should know something about this guy to make up our own minds on what he meant. Oh wait, we do (see election results). Anytime you have to explain yourself, you are not doing a good job communicating your ideas. And having a "writer" do it 2 years later is really pathetic.
Back to DADT (He won..said a bunch of stuff...and did nothing.... but what did he mean I wonder)

Posted by: dcjayhawk2 | November 30, 2010 5:58 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, Capehart, but you are not completely correct.

We watched on C-Span the meeting Obama called with republican senators to discuss the healthcare bill - Obama wanted a "bipartisan discussion." When Senator McCain tried to put his two cents in, Obama told him, "I won." This was rude and un-called for.

At the same meeting another senator tried to give Obama a paper outlining suggestions from the republicans. Obama would not take the paper and would not listen to the suggestions.

For 2 years, Obama has been his own worst enemy. He has been the dictator in chief and we have had enough!!

Posted by: annnort | November 30, 2010 6:25 AM | Report abuse

Obama was exerting a testy bit of leadership that I hope he will reprise with Republican leaders tomorrow.

--------------

So according to this logic, today Obama should exert a different kind of leadership and say, "I lost."

I hope, for the sake of the nation, Obama takes your advice and admits his utter electoral failure.

Posted by: spamagnet987 | November 30, 2010 6:50 AM | Report abuse

lindalovejones,

You are right. He did win. In 2008.

Based on lies and lack of forthrightness.

This is nothing to brag about.

He has shown his true colors now.

He will be evicted from our house.

He did this to himself as he proved he is no better than those he points the finger at for their dishonesty.

Posted by: tjmlrc | November 30, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Give me an intellectual break. "Exerting a testy bit of leadership" is an asinine assessment of Obama's statement and intent. This statement, "... elections have consequences ... I won" was made in the context of House Republican Whip Eric Cantor giving Obama a list of proposals assembled by Republicans in a effort to work in a bipartisian manner. It was then that Obama made this in your face statement. And Mr. Capehart wants us to believe that Obama was exerting leadership by telling Cantor to shove it. I am hard pressed to identify anything that Obama did in his administration that was bipartisian in nature. Now that Obama got his chain jerked by the voters he wants to play nice.

Posted by: Richard_Iowa | November 30, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Linda-what happended to your precious liberal movement on election day? You lost, America won. GET OVER IT!!

Posted by: EagleHornet1969 | November 30, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

He also said it to McCain in the Healthcare confab, which was a sham. He never wanted any of their ideas and now we have a monstrosity.

The fact is, George W Bush pretty much ran things his way without much input from the Dems, but never felt compelled to remind them who had won. Obama, on the other hand, cannot resist the need to assert his superiority. We'll see how long that lasts. Probably right up to his departure in 2013. He can pardon Bill Ayers on his way out for all I care...........just so he goes.

The difference between Bush and Obama is that many world leaders like Obama better...........maybe by a wide margin. The difference is, they don't take him seriously because he simply is incapable of putting his country first and asserting our interests. He makes Jimmy Carter look effective.

Posted by: buggerianpaisley1 | November 30, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

According to what I've read, Obama has used the arrogant "I won" (and therefore you suck) phrase several times.
Now the House Republicans should reply, "We won," and legislate accordingly.

Posted by: MissButterfly | November 30, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Here comes another spinmaster spinning what Obama meant when he stated "I won" 2 years ago. Can you also explain his other gaffes, arrogant demeaners as pointed out in Palin's facebook couple of days back.

http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=463364218434

This ought to be interesting to see how you spin all those gaffes from someone who is supposedly Harvard educated constitutional scholar!

Posted by: CJ123 | November 30, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Jonathan Capehart, a black Obama columnist. Talk about being an Obama apologist. Hell, 98% of blacks voted for this empty suit, anti-American thug for President. It's obvious Capehart is a racist.

Posted by: rchaa27aa | November 30, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Jonathan Capehart, a black Obama columnist. Talk about being an Obama apologist. Hell, 98% of blacks voted for this empty suit, anti-American thug for President. It's obvious Capehart is a racist.

Posted by: rchaa27aa | November 30, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Posted by texasnative46:

Mr Capehart,

if the election was today, instead of 2008, BHO would NOT win dogcatcher, much less POTUS, as he is weak, arrogant, amoral, foolish, not overloaded with "gray matter" & UNconcerned with what the citizens want him to do.

at 64YY, i never thought that i would live to see any POTUS that would make Jimmy Carter look COMPETENT or Richard Nixon look HONEST, but sadly i was wrong.

finally, BHO couldn't lead two drunken sailors into a bawdyhouse.

the foregoing is why obama will be HUMILIATED in 2012, in the event that he runs again.
(frankly, i suspect that Hillery will be the DIMocRATS candidate in 2012, as by the DIMs primaries, NOBODY in the DIMocRATS party will be able to stomach BHO.)

note: it makes little/no difference who the DIMs run in 2012, as the Tea Party/GOP candidate will win in a massive landslide, taking the Senate, the HoR & the WH in one fell swoop.- it won't even be close.

yours, TN46
coordinator, CCTPP

Sir,
In the words of Gen. Lord Conwallis in the movie the "Patriot" when he realized that he was losing the last battle in the movie.
Speaking to Gen. O'Hara his 2nd in command, "You dream General".

I do not believe after what will be coming down the line for the next 2 years this country will give complete control to the republicans. I also do not believe that we will give complete control to the Democrats either. I am seeing a more even split in both houses of Congress. As for the White House, I think Obama might just barely keep it. The country still may see that he is working in their best interests. I believed that in 2008, I still believe it now, and I hope to believe in 2012. I am also a realist and know that they are all politicians, and usually you cannot trust one as far as you can throw them. However, once in a while you just have to believe in the system.

Posted by: Graff_von_Watts | November 30, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Obama did win, but the Party of No, never adhered to that fact and never gave his policies any credit or even recognized that he was President! Most of the Repugnants are millionaries so they can say no to policies that would start-up job creation, or hold up health care bills or stop Unemployment benefits, what do they care, as long as they get the tax breaks and cuts they think they deserve for being rich (special)!

Posted by: wdsoulplane | November 30, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I love all this party of no bs. The republicans did something the democrats did not do, the will of the people who voted for them and this is why they swept the house. What if now Obama approaches them and they say no they won what would you lefties say then? Oh we know the usual left wing drivel about millionaires and racist.;

Posted by: Pilot1 | November 30, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Actually Obama has said "elections have consequences."

Posted by: beeker25 | November 30, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Graff_von_Watts; all,

fwiw, the "New Deal Coalition" is NO MORE. = it is SPLINTERED beyond repair, DEAD & GONE forever, as the Democrat party of my father's generation is now firmly in the grasp of a few leftist/extremist lunatics, who are NOT at all acceptable to either the (usually Democrat-leaning) independents and/or the vast majority of "old line Democrats".
(when "rank & file union families", like MINE for example, left the "common people hating"/elitist DIMocRATS, in mass over the last few years, it was "the handwriting on the wall" that the DIMs were through, finished & done as a major political force. = families like mine will NOT return to the DIMocRATS; instead, we will be/remain TEA PARTY ACTIVISTS & will spend our money/time wisely to DEFEAT the "progressives"/stalinists/leftists/"ruling class"!)

fyi, there are NO MORE Democrats like Wright Patman, Harry Truman, Sam Nunn, JFK, Sam B. Hall and/or LBJ, as NONE of those men would be acceptable to the hate-FILLED, arrogant, ELITISTS (who despise the "common citizens" & see themselves as "just better than" & "superior in every way" to the "regular folks"), NITWIT-fringe leftists, who are "running things" these days.
not only would NONE of those "traditional Democrat leaders" be candidates of the national party, they would NOT even be listened to seriously by the likes of Princess Pelosi, "Little Dick" Durbin, "Chuckie, the Mouth" Schumer or any number of other DIMocRAT "leaders".

so, sadly, you are 100% wrong about the 2012 election (and those elections to follow, for at least a generation). - between the TEA PARTIERS & the GOP, the DIMocRATS will be dumped in mass out of the Senate, HoR, the statehouses & the WH.

note to all: at the current rate of growth (about 6% per week), the TEA PARTY will be larger than the DIMocRATS & the GOP, combined, within a year.
IF you are as disgusted, as our membership is, about THE MESS that BHO & his coven of crooks, bigots, leftist & fools have made of our nation, join your local TEA PARTY group. - you will be warmly welcomed & immediately "put to work" to return our country to the CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC that it once was.

just my opinion = i do NOT & can NOT speak officially for our county's Tea Party group, absent a popular vote on each issue.

yours, TN46
coordinator, CCTPP

Posted by: texasnative46 | November 30, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Yes, indeed Obama won -- but not so much anymore. He will have to dance to a different tune with the new Congress. Hopefully by 2012 Obama will be out of office as a complete loser. In the unfortunate event that the American people would give him another four years in office, the nation will sink into a socialist morass never to see the light of day again.

Posted by: Tommypie | November 30, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company