Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) – President Barack Obama's administration and reelection team pushed back Monday on criticism of his dealings with Congress from two Republican presidential candidates.
A senior Obama administration official said the president's first priority is to work with members of both political parties in Congress to "create jobs, grow the economy and reduce the deficit in a balanced fashion."
"Where they are unwilling to act, he will use the power he has to help the economy," the official said.
The comments follow remarks from Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, who both accused the president of failing to work with Congress after a report in The New York Times that said the president is resigned to navigate around Congress in order to implement policies.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said the suggestion is "outrageously unconstitutional."
"This is like a kindergarten plan," Gingrich said at a press availability Monday in Independence, Iowa. "How are you gonna deal with anything for 12 months? I mean, I looked at the TV this morning and thought these guys are just totally out of touch with reality."
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said the president is attempting to place blame on Congress to take the heat off his own record in the White House.
"I understand that their mantra these days is that there's a do-nothing Congress and this is all the Congress' fault," Romney said Sunday in Atlantic, Iowa. "I think he's forgetting that he had a Democratic Congress for the first two years that put in place his economic plans."
But a senior Obama campaign aide said the Republican candidates are "repackaging" the past policies that led to the economic crisis, a typical line of defense from Team Obama.
"The central question of the election will be who will restore economic security for the middle class," the aide said. "The president is fighting not only to create jobs but to build an economy where hard work and responsibility are rewarded, everyone from Wall Street to Main Street plays by the same set of rules, and there is abundant opportunity for the middle class to succeed."
The New York Times piece that started this back and forth characterized the president's 2012 posture toward Congress as a "go-it-alone approach." The report was partly based on a briefing by a White House deputy press secretary. In that briefing when a reporter asked if the president "is giving up on Congress," the White House official replied "not at all" and repeated several times that the president would work with Congress to pass his agenda. But the aide also said if Congress remains gridlocked, Obama will press his agenda through executive actions.
Obama will be running against all Obama promised in 2008. Is the economy better? The numbers say no. Is unemployment lower? The numbers say no. Did his policies reduce poverty? The number say no. Did he cut the deficit in half. The numbers say no. I could be Obama using Obama's own record if Obama gave me the $1 billion his team is going to spend covering up all the lies and broken promises he told.
Mr President–Shut Up or and back to Chicago–This is a RNC event. Not yours !!–
No matter what President Obama does, the GOP "Gimme Oil Pipeline" will endlessly blame the president. That is the GOP playbook in this election year. Employ all the tactics available just to win the election.
"I understand that their mantra these days is that there's a do-nothing Congress and this is all the Congress' fault," Romney said Sunday in Atlantic, Iowa. "I think he's forgetting that he had a Democratic Congress for the first two years that put in place his economic plan
so when bush had all goper's 2000-2006 and they were tanking the economy it was their fault right?
What is the approval rating for Congress? According to Real Clear Politics, the average for 12/14 to 12/18 in 2011 is 12.7%. In contrast, according to the same site, the President's average for the same period is 46.8%, with 47.8% disapproving. This tells me that on average, Americans think about their representatives about one-quarter as positively as they do about the sitting President. I know who I think is doing the better job, and I don't think it necessarily has anything to do with which party we're talking about. In the current climate, both Democrats and Republicans have shown themselves inadequate to the task. Shame on them!
Republican members of congress........The NO party. This party has been saying NO to anything this president has tried to accomplish. I did NOT vote for Obama four years ago but the more I see of how the Republican party lies and deceives for their wealthy patrons, the more I lean toward giving my vote for Obama.
Gingrich has it wrong. Obama is changing the rules and regulations that the Congress has given the Executive branch authority to do. Items that require regulations and new laws, that Obama has to wait for Congress to do something. They aren't doing what they should be.
Please tell me when this guy is going to start governing.