Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama gave the GOP a pass on Monday when asked about a recent comment from Mitt Romney that questioned the president's commitment to American exceptionalism.
"It's still primary season for the Republican Party, they're gonna make a decision about who their candidate will be," Obama said during a press conference at the White House after Romney was quoted by a reporter. "I will cut folks some slack for now because they're still trying to get their nomination."
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But he also defended his record, referencing his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, which proved a turning point in his political career.
"It's worth noting that I first arrived on the national stage with a speech at the Democratic convention that was entirely about American exceptionalism and that my entire career has been a testimony to American exceptionalism," Obama said.
Romney, who channels his ire toward the president more than his Republican rivals, said on Saturday the incumbent president "doesn't have the same feelings about American exceptionalism that we do."
"And I think over the last three or four years, some people around the world have begun to question that. On this Tuesday, we have an opportunity – you have an opportunity – to vote, and take the next step in bringing back that special nature of being American," Romney said while campaigning in Wisconsin.
On Monday, Obama also defended another sticking point for Republicans on the campaign trail, the national health care law, the constitutionality of which was challenged before the Supreme Court last week.
When asked how he would guarantee Americans have health insurance if the individual mandate is struck down by the high court, Obama suggested judicial activism would be to blame for a decision overturning the law.
"Ultimately I'm confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress," Obama said.
Critics of the law argue the individual mandate provision of the law is unconstitutional, but Obama said requiring individuals to have health insurance is the only mechanism to ensure individuals with preexisting conditions "actually get health care."
Could someone please define "American exceptionalism", in post Great Recession terms?
Watched the press conference a short while ago. Just so proud to be an American very time president Obama speaks. He exudes intelligence, class and diplomacy. I try to follow his example every day.
GOP Supreme court activist judges siding with their party. They need to stay out of this. Congress passed the law and it is up to Congress to fix any problems. GOP activist judges need to stay out of it. They were not elected......
Mike In Carolina - If Romney's comment isn't coded bigotry, I don't know what is. Who is he referring to when he uses the word "we"?
We = Us = We = US Another product of our liberal controlled, union run failed school systems I see.. Very sad.
@Obama Doubling down on Socialism: I read comments like yours and see clearly what is so wrong with our country: we are filled with imbeciles like you who don't have a clue as to what socialism is and yet are all to willing to be played a fool by the GOP.
Grow a pair and start thinking for yourself, and yes, you may have to admit that you're WRONG.
This whole "American exceptionalism" is code for "don't ever disagree with us or we'll call you un-American, anti-God and unpatriotic."
Guess that's all you can do, you GOPers, since all your economic, military and foreign policies are PROVEN FAILURES!
Yes, we are "special" in the U.S. 'exceptional" even...so much so that we attacked Iraq, with no weapons of mass destruction, and didn't listen to the United Nations, so special we are...seriously....whatever!
60 senators voted for ACA as well as a majority in the House, and the right wingnuts continue to lie that that does not represent a strong majorithy. The extreme right may represent only 20% of the population but they have harnessed 80% of the hatred and bigotry. If it were up to right wingnuts, there would be no civli rights legislation, no social security nor medicare.
LMAO.............my President is so kewl, it's like he says " ....... the repuks are so low-down, sometime it's better to say nothing at all then to try and justify there (repuks) unability to have a plan to help American's". You go President Obama.
From the beginning Obama seemed to be apologizing to other nations for who our country is and did not seem proud of the USA. Michelle Obama did say she was not proud of the USA. Much insults have been made towards our Flag, the Pledge of Allegiance has been cut from schools and mocked and it did not bother Obama. So it is no surprise that many believe Obama does not believe that Amerida is exceptional. Seriously, since Obama arrived in the White House the only thing I see is people trying to change America to resemble other countries, obviously these very dumb people have never lived outside the USA, most likely have never left the USA. Obama is being judged on his actions.
For those of you who write and talk about Socialism, you guys really have no idea what Socialism is. Find out what true Socialism is by getting on a plane and living in other countries for no less than a year, work for the locals in those countries than you will know Socialism, not the Socialism you guys read and study in books. Most Americans have no idea what real, true Socialism is.
Unlike the GOP noninee hopefuls, our President understands that not every syllable of political nattering and election-year nonsense is worth getting excited about.
He's content to sit back, let the GOP candidates wear themselves out with their tantrums and their finger-pointing, and when the time has come for him to really start campaigning – you'll know it. You'll know it because the tenor of the race will change from this 'he said / she said' and sound-bite nonsense to a more substantive view of issues, and hard realities.
And an honest, thoughtful discussion of the issues is apparently what the current crop of lukewarm GOP nominees are avoiding like the plague.