As we’re guessing you probably remember, President Obama defeated Mitt Romney in last week’s election to earn himself another four years in the White House. But in case you or anyone else needed a reminder, the president offered up a few during this afternoon’s press conference, his first since his re-election. (Emphasis ours.)
In his opening remarks: “I won’t pretend that figuring out everything else will be easy, but I’m confident we can do it and I know we have to. I know that that’s what the American people want us to do. That was a very clear message from the election last week.”
On tax reform: “I think every voter out there understood that that was an important debate, and the majority of voters agreed with me, not – by the way, more voters agreed with me on this issue than voted for me.”
On his relationship with Congress: “There are probably going to be still some very sharp differences. And as I said during the campaign, there are going to be times where there are fights. And I think those are fights that need to be had. But what I think the American people don’t want to see is a focus on the next election instead of a focus on them. And I don’t have another election.”
And then when asked directly about whether his electoral victory gives him a mandate:
“I’ve got one mandate. I’ve got a mandate to help middle-class families and families that are working hard to try to get into the middle class. That’s my mandate. That’s what the American people said. They said, work really hard to help us. ..
“I don’t presume that because I won an election, that everybody suddenly agrees with me on any – everything. I’m more than familiar with all the literature about presidential overreach in second terms. We are very cautious about that.
“On the other hand, I didn’t get re-elected just to bask in re-election. I got elected to do work on behalf of American families and small businesses all across the country who are still recovering from a really bad recession but are hopeful about the future. And – and I am too.”
None of those remarks quite lived up to the immortal words of Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly (“But he won, Karl, he won“) but they nonetheless leave little doubt about what posture the president plans to take when dealing with congressional Republicans during the start of his second term.