On his second day in Minnesota to promote his economic agenda and support congressional Democrats up for re-election this year, President Obama took a few digs at House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, for planning a lawsuit against the president.
"I'm not sure which of the things I've done they find most offensive," Mr. Obama said wryly at a public event in Minneapolis. "But they're going to sue me for doing my job."
Boehner said last week that he's pushing the House of Representatives to sue Mr. Obama "in an effort to compel the president to follow his oath of office and faithfully execute the laws of our country." He did not say, however, what specific presidential actions he plans to challenge.
Mr. Obama joked that in a presidential debate, "in the heat of the moment," he may have said, "'I want to raise the minimum wage, so sue me when I do it.'"
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The president added, "I didn't think they'd take it literally."
Mr. Obama's complaints Friday echoed remarks he made in an interview with ABC News, in which he called the lawsuit a "stunt."
In response to Republican obstruction to most of his agenda, Mr. Obama has declared this the year of "the pen and the phone. " Instead of waiting for Congress to act, he is unilaterally acting through the powers of the presidency, such as signing executive orders or using his influence to shape state and corporate policies.
For instance, Congress has not raised the federal minimum wage, but Mr. Obama has raised the minimum wage for federal contractors and has encouraged others to follow suit. This year, 13 states and the District of Columbia raised their minimum wage, the president noted Friday, while companies like the Gap are paying their employees more.
"When Gap raised wages for its employees, job applications went through the roof," Mr. Obama said, making the case that giving workers a higher minimum wage is a good economic move.
Mr. Obama complained that Republicans in Congress "don't do anything except block me and call me names," which he said, "can't be that much fun."
After the president railed against the GOP for rejecting legislation to raise the minimum wage, to address the wage gap between men and men, and a bill to extend longterm unemployment benefits, the audience started booing.
"Don't boo, by the way, I want you to vote," Mr. Obama responded.
Before the event, Mr. Obama made a stop at a job training center in North Minneapolis, along with U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., who is up for re-election this year.
"I'm Barack Obama. I'm the president," Mr. Obama said, introducing himself to a group of women at the center.
"Of the United States," Franken added dryly, to laughter.
The president said they were there because "we've been spending a lot of time thinking about" job training.
A day earlier, Mr. Obama held a town hall at a Minneapolis park and had lunch with Rebekah Erler, a Minnesota mother who wrote to the president about her family's struggles to lead a stable, middle class lifestyle. On Thursday evening, he attended a fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.