The fallout from Tuesday's midterm elections continued to be felt on Wednesday evening, when the host of CNN's Erin Burnett OutFront pressed Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus on whether his party -- which had just won control of both chambers of Congress -- will make “a fresh start” and agree to more compromises when working with the president during his last two years in the White House.
“I don't believe a thing he says,” the GOP official responded bluntly. Regarding immigration reform, he declared that Obama is “not trustworthy on this issue, and the only thing he has done is he's unified the country against” his policies.
Burnett began the interview by stating: “Look, I know you've had a good day. You delivered a walloping, and that's got to feel really good.”
But then, the CNN host played a clip from the news conference that afternoon during which Obama said regarding Republicans: “I'm eager to see what they have to offer, but what I'm not going to do is just wait. They have every opportunity to pass legislation that can supersede my executive action.”
Obviously, Burnett noted, those final words were key to his message. “So the question is: Are Republicans going to pass something, are they going to compromise with the president, or is he going to use executive action?”
“I don't believe a thing he says,” the RNC chairman replied. “He's been talking about immigration reform for seven years, so you're using his words as if they actually mean something and asking me to respond to it.”
Priebus continued: “All he's been doing for the last year is lying to Hispanic voters across the country” by letting public outcry determine that he would “sign executive amnesty” after the midterms.
“I mean, it's ridiculous,” the Republican continued. “He's not trustworthy on this issue, and the only thing he has done is he's unified the country against his immigration policies” by “using people for politics.”
Burnett attempted to sway Priebus by pointing to a pair of news conferences held earlier that day.
“You had Mitch McConnell and the president saying they want to compromise,” she said, “but you just came out here and said you don't believe a thing the president says. … You're not putting forth a tone that is 'All right, let's do a fresh start and work together.'”
“It's the same tone on immigration this president” has used, the GOP leader said, and “he has screwed up even his own priorities on this issue by mishandling the politics on this from the very beginning.”
“So now to come back and say, after the American people repudiated the policies of Barack Obama, and everyone that was connected to him to now says: 'Well, what are you guys going to do to compromise with the person that the American people have just repudiated?' I think it's a little bizarre.”
“I see your point,” Burnett responded. ”The voters repudiated the Democratic candidates” but approved a number of liberal issues on the ballots, including legalizing marijuana and passing stricter gun control. “So is this the moment for Republicans to say: 'Now we've won, we also hear the country on some of these other issues, we need to move a little bit?'”
“I do think it's important to find things that we can agree on,” the RNC chairman stated before declaring “it's important for the president to not just use words but to go to the Capitol, find out what of the 360 bills that are sitting in Harry Reid's desk that he can agree with that he should follow through on.”
“I think that's important, but what happened yesterday wasn't just a repudiation of Barack Obama and his policies, it was also an acceptance of Republican policies on governing in states like Maryland, Wisconsin, Michigan, Massachusetts,” he stated. “These Republican governors won everywhere across the country.”
Burnett then turned to health care, which led her to note that Texas senator Ted Cruz said that “the first order of business for Republicans should be the repeal of ObamaCare.”
“I'm sorry, but that's a broken record,” she stated, “and they still don't have the votes to override a presidential veto.”
“The fact is much of what happened yesterday had a lot to do with ObamaCare,” Priebus replied, “so I don't think that these senators would be doing their job if they were elected in a historic election to not go forward and try to replace ObamaCare with something much better, patient-centered instead of Washington-centered.”
Here's hoping that for every member of the mainstream media who asks what the GOP must give up in order to get along with the president, someone will ask Obama what he's willing to sacrifice to get along with the Republican-led Congress.