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POLITICS: PennAve

Obama defends his relevance

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Politics,White House,Brian Hughes,Immigration,Barack Obama,Israel,Russia,National Security,PennAve,Middle East,Ukraine,Gaza,Hamas

President Obama in a press conference Friday afternoon ripped into congressional Republicans for not passing big-ticket items before their summer recess but was left to defend his own relevance amid a series of mushrooming international crises.

The president slammed House Republicans for not passing a bill to address the surge in unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, dismissing their last-second efforts to reach an accord Friday as a stunt.

"House Republicans as we speak are trying to pass the most extreme and unworkable version of a bill that they already know is going nowhere, that can't pass the Senate" and that he would veto, Obama told reporters.

Obama accused Republicans of putting forward a flawed immigration plan “just so they can check a box before leaving town tomorrow."

However, the Democratic-controlled Senate was unable to pass a border fix before their recess.

Unable to reach a border compromise and with violence raging in Ukraine and Gaza, the president faced questions about whether he still had the clout to enact his agenda.

“Apparently, people have forgotten that America as the most powerful country on earth still does not control everything around the world,” Obama insisted.

“There are a lot of conflicts America doesn’t resolve,” he added. “That doesn’t mean we stop trying.”

However, Republicans said Obama was deflecting blame for his own shortcomings, particularly on the border debate.

“When it comes to the humanitarian crisis on our southern border, President Obama has been completely AWOL — in fact, he has made matter worse by flip-flopping on the 2008 law that fueled the crisis,” said Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. “Senate Democrats have left town without acting on his request for a border supplemental. Right now, House Republicans are the only ones still working to address this crisis.”

Obama was also forced to address the bloodshed in Gaza after a 72-hour ceasefire between Israel and Hamas immediately fell apart.

“If they are serious about resolving the situation, that [Israeli] soldier needs to be unconditionally released as soon as possible," Obama said of Hamas.

The president opened up his remarks by focusing on recent economic gains — 209,000 jobs were created in July — but that message was quickly overshadowed by the barrage of crises.

In addition to the international conflicts, Obama addressed a recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa, saying, “This is something that we take very seriously."

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Brian Hughes

White House Correspondent
The Washington Examiner

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