February 8, 2013 10:09:15 AM
LEESBURG, Va. -- Assertive even as he preached humility, President Barack Obama vowed to confront Republicans on the deficit and urged Democrats on Thursday to stick with him on guns and immigration. He scorned a GOP plan to avoid imminent across-the-board spending cuts, declaring flatly "we're on the right side of this argument."
In an address meant to motivate House Democrats during their annual retreat, Obama cast his overarching agenda as one driven by the fundamental goal of giving every American a fair shot at success. He conceded that Democratic lawmakers, the minority in the House of Representatives, would encounter obstacles and irritations, but called on them to stick to their principles in their confrontations with Republicans.
"It won't be smooth," Obama said. "It won't be simple. There will be frustrations. There will be times when you guys are mad at me, and occasionally I'll read about it." Lawmakers exchanged glances and chuckled knowingly.
The speech, coming just days before the State of the Union address Tuesday, was as much a rallying cry as it was a declaration of fair warning from a president confronting the realities of divided government. Curbing gun violence and overhauling immigration laws will be difficult, he said, and he acknowledged that lawmakers will confront contrasting attitudes about both issues.