Obama Among The Republicans

Good stuff: far more interesting than SOTU. It's Obama relaxed and perfectly articulate without a teleprompter and the GOP chock full of ideas. It's also a good window into the way politicians talk to each other in real life. Notice how polite and respectful the Congressmen are --Mike Pence promises the President that he's being prayed for every night, and Paul Ryan brought his family to meet the President. I love that: civil and American.

The President engages several times with Paul Ryan's plan --both directly, when Ryan asks him a question, and later, when he keeps returning to it. Here's a non-policy exchange that was amusing.

Congressman Peter Roskam had just complained that while he was able to work with Obama in the Illinois State Senate, Nancy Pelosi is impossible.
Peter and I did work together effectively on a whole host of issues. One of our former colleagues is right now running for governor, on the Republican side, in Illinois. In the Republican primary, of course, they're running ads of him saying nice things about me. Poor guy. (Laughter.)

Although that's one of the points that I made earlier. I mean, we've got to be careful about what we say about each other sometimes, because it boxes us in in ways that makes it difficult for us to work together, because our constituents start believing us. They don't know sometimes this is just politics what you guys -- or folks on my side do sometimes.

So just a tone of civility instead of slash and burn would be helpful. The problem we have sometimes is a media that responds only to slash-and-burn-style politics. You don't get a lot of credit if I say, "You know, I think Paul Ryan is a pretty sincere guy and has a beautiful family." Nobody is going to run that in the newspapers.

Q (Inaudible.) (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: And by the way, in case he's going to get a Republican challenge, I didn't mean it. (Laughter.) Don't want to hurt you, man. (Laughter.)