Gibbs: We must end "government-by-mini-crisis"
(CBS News) Senior Obama adviser Robert Gibbs said Thursday that Washington cannot continue a pattern of "government-by-mini-crisis" on "CBS This Morning," blaming the pattern of chaotic, last-minute policymaking squarely on Republicans.
President Obama "has worked tirelessly to bring Democrats and Republicans together to try and solve some of these problems," Gibbs argued, but "time after time, it is hard to bring people like Speaker Boehner to the table."
Referring to the recent series of rushed deals and eleventh-hour negotiations, Gibbs said, "It's really time...to put a lot of the politics of this away" and called on Congress to "come together and start to make some real progress on behalf of the American people."
Looking ahead to the upcoming fights over the debt ceiling and the automatic spending cuts in the sequester, which were delayed by two months as part of the "fiscal cliff" deal, Gibbs insisted that the president will retain significant sway over Congress going forward.
"I don't think it's fair to say he's used all his leverage," he said. "I think both sides didn't get things in this 'fiscal cliff' deal that set the stage for the next one. There are things to do to continue to make the tax code fair. Republicans would like to see some changes in the way we do some entitlements, hopefully in a measured way so we don't end up doing more harm than good."
He also threw a punch at the recently departed 112th Congress, saying, "Nobody in America is going to miss the previous Congress -- when your approval rating is compared to Fidel Castro, I think that sort of ends that conversation."
And he again reiterated Obama's insistence that he will not negotiate with Congress over raising the debt ceiling: "We shouldn't get into a debate about whether or not we're going to pay bills that we've already racked up...that's money that's already been spent."
Finally, Gibbs disputed the notion that the series of upcoming fiscal fights will distract the president from pursuing cherished second-term agenda items like gun control and immigration reform.
"We have a lot of things that we have to solve," said Gibbs. "Let's take guns for instance - let's give some assurance, as those children go back to Sandy Hook Elementary School, that military assault weapons aren't going to be on our streets any more."
"Washington has to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time," said Gibbs.
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