Obama bemoans "selfish" politics

The president defends his record and laments a political system that privileges selfish, short-term decisions

By Elias Isquith

Published November 26, 2013 2:45PM (EST)

Speaking at a fundraiser held by NBA legend and business mogul Earvin "Magic" Johnson, President Barack Obama defended his record and criticized a political system that "encourages people to think selfishly or short-term."

“We know what works, and what’s stopping us is a failure of our politics and a lack of ambition and we shy away from what might be hard," Obama said. "And our politics all too often encourages people to think selfishly or short-term, and that’s what the debate in Washington is about and that’s what the debate in this country generally is about right now.”

Obama also argued that his policies as president — in particular, Obamacare — have been a reflection of the values he holds.

"It’s also a values question," Obama said. "Do we want to live in a country as wealthy as we are where if somebody gets sick they lose their home, they go bankrupt, they have to weigh can I go right now to the emergency room knowing that that may mean I can’t pay for my child’s school tuition? That’s not the country I want to live in and that’s not the country you want to live in, which means we’ve got to fight for it.”

[h/t Talking Points Memo]

Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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Barack Obama Earvin Magic Johnson Magic Johnson Obamacare Talking Points Memo