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Roskam Asks Former Colleague Obama: Where Is The Bipartisanship You Had In Illinois?

Press Release

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Today, Congressman Peter Roskam asked his long-time former colleague in the Illinois Senate, President Barack Obama, where is the bipartisanship you had in Illinois? After Speaker Pelosi "stiff-armed" Republicans, "are you willing to work with us?"

Where is the Bipartisanship You Had in Illinois?

President Obama: "Oh Peter Roskam is an old friend of mine… Peter and I have had many debates."
Rep. Peter Roskam: "Mr. President, I heard echoes today of the State Senator that I served with in Springfield…You took on some big things. One of the keys was, you rolled your sleeves up, you worked with the other party, and ultimately, you were able to make the deal. Now here's an observation. Over the past year, in my view, that attribute hasn't been in full bloom."

Pelosi "stiff-armed" Republicans

Roskam: "House Republicans sincerely want to come be a part of this national conversation towards solutions, but they've really been stiff-armed by Speaker Pelosi. Now I know you're not in charge of that chamber, but there really is this dynamic of frankly being shut out."

"Are You Willing to Work With Us?"

Roskam: "So here's the question, moving forward, and I think all of us want to hit the reset button on 2009, how do we move forward, and on the job creation piece in particular, Are you willing to work with us?..."

Join the conversation about this interaction on Twitter here.

Watch the video of Roskam's question and President Obama's answer here.

Read the full transcript of Roskam's question here:

Rep. Mike Pence: The next question is from Peter Roskam from the great state of Illinois

President Obama: Oh Peter Roskam is an old friend of mine.

Rep. Peter Roskam: Hey Mr. President.
Obama: Peter and I have had many debates.
Roskam: Well, this won't be one. Mr. President, I heard echoes today of the State Senator that I served with in Springfield, and there was an attribute and a characteristic that you had that I think served you well there. You took on some very controversial subjects--death penalty reform. You and I, we negotiated on that.

Obama: We worked on that, yep.
Roskam: You took on ethics reform. You took on some big things. One of the keys was, you rolled your sleeves up, you worked with the other party, and ultimately, you were able to make the deal.

Now here's an observation. Over the past year, in my view, that attribute hasn't been in full bloom. And by that I mean, you've gotten this subtext of House Republicans sincerely want to come be a part of this national conversation towards solutions, but they've really been stiff armed by Speaker Pelosi.

Now I know you're not in charge of that chamber, but there really is this dynamic of frankly being shut out. When John Boehner and Eric Cantor presented last February to you some substantive job creation, our stimulus alternative, the attack machine began to marginalize Eric--and we can all look at the articles--as "Mr. No", and there was this pretty dark story ultimately, that wasn't productive and wasn't within this sort of framework that you're articulating today.

So here's the question, moving forward, and I think all of us want to hit the reset button on 2009, how do we move forward, and on the job creation piece in particular, you mentioned Columbia, you mentioned Panama, you mentioned South Korea. Are you willing to work with us, for example, to make sure those Free Trade Agreements get called? That's no cost job creation, and ultimately, as you're interacting with world leaders, that's got to put more arrows in your quiver and it's a very powerful tool for us.

But the obstacle is, frankly, the politics within the Democratic caucus.


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