ABC News chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl quoted President Barack Obama’s criticism of President George W. Bush’s use of executive authority before asking him if he plans to “push the limits of executive power” during a Wednesday news conference.
“When you were running for president, you said, ‘The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and that’s what I intend to reverse.’ So my question to you, has Congress’ inability to do anything significant given you a green light to push the limits of executive power, even a duty to do so?” Karl asked.
“Or put another way, does it bother you more to be accused of being an imperial president pushing those limits or to be accused of being a do-nothing president who couldn’t get anything done because he faced dysfunctional Congress?” he continued.
Obama responded, saying he never has a “green light” to push the limits of executive authority.
“I’m bound by the Constitution,” the president said. “I’m bound by separation of powers. There’s some things we can’t do. Congress has the power of the purse, for example.
“What I am consistently going to do, is wherever I have the legal authorities to make progress on behalf of middle class Americans and folks working to get in the middle class … I’m going to seize those opportunities and that’s what I think the American people expect me to do,” Obama added.
The president maintained that he prefers to work hand-in-hand with Congress to tackle the issues facing the country.
“My preference in all these instances is to work with Congress because not only can Congress do more but it’s going to be longer lasting,” he said.
Obama is being sued by the House of Representatives for allegedly exceeding his Constitutional authority.
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