WASHINGTON — President Obama warned Republicans on Capitol Hill today that they need to quit listening to radio king Rush Limbaugh if they want to get along with Democrats and the new administration.
“You can’t just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done,” he told top GOP leaders, whom he had invited to the White House to discuss his nearly $1 trillion stimulus package.
One White House official confirmed the comment but said he was simply trying to make a larger point about bipartisan efforts.
“There are big things that unify Republicans and Democrats,” the official said. “We shouldn’t let partisan politics derail what are very important things that need to get done.”
That wasn’t Obama’s only jab at Republicans today.
In an exchange with Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) about the proposal, the president shot back: “I won,” according to aides briefed on the meeting.
“I will trump you on that.”
Not that Obama was gloating. He was just explaining that he aims to get his way on stimulus package and all other legislation, sources said, noting his unrivaled one-party control of both congressional chambers.
“We are experiencing an unprecedented economic crisis that has to be dealt with and dealt with rapidly,” Obama said during the meeting.
Republicans say the $825 billion price tag is too big a burden for a nation crippled by debt and that it doesn’t do enough to stimulate the economy by cutting taxes.
“You know, I’m concerned about the size of the package. And I’m concerned about some of the spending that’s in there, [about] … how you can spend hundreds of millions on contraceptives,” House GOP Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) later said.
“How does that stimulate the economy?”
But White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs countered: “There was a lot of agreement in that room about the notion that we’re facing an economic crisis unlike we’ve seen in quite some time … that we must act quickly to stimulate the economy, create jobs, put money back in people’s pockets.”
Gibbs disagreed with those who called the meeting window dressing.
“The president is certainly going to listen to any ideas,” he said.
“He will also go to Capitol Hill the beginning of next week to talk to Republican caucuses and solicit their input and their ideas.”