Obama: 'They're Phony Scandals'

Susan Jones | June 27, 2014 | 5:31am EDT
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President Barack Obama greets a small child on the sidewalk outside of Matt's Bar in Minneapolis, Thursday, June 26, 2014, after having lunch with "hard-working" Rebekah Erler. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)" type="node

(CNSNews.com) - President Obama warned people in Minnesota Friday not to believe what they hear on television:

"They're fabricated issues, they're phony scandals that are generated. It's all geared towards the next election or ginning up a base. It's not on the level," the president insisted.

Here are his remarks in context:

I don't -- I don't watch TV news generally, or cable shows, but I suspect if you're out here and going to work and picking up your kids and taking them to soccer or at night sitting there paying the bills, and you just turn on the TV, sometimes it must feel kind of discouraging because it doesn't feel like what's being talked about in Washington has anything to do with what's going on in your lives day-to-day. And it must feel as if sometimes you're just forgotten.

And sometimes the news that's being reported on is really important. I mean, what's happening in Iraq is relevant. We got to pay attention to the threats that are -- that are emanating from the -- the chaos in the Middle East, although I want to be very clear: We're not sending combat troops into Iraq -- because that's -- we've done that and we -- we've given them an opportunity, and they're going to have to contribute to solving their own problems here, although we'll protect our people and we'll make sure that we're going after terrorists who could do us harm.

But sometimes, the news that's coming off is just -- these are just Washington fights. They're fabricated issues, they're phony scandals that are generated. It's all geared towards the next election or ginning up a base. It's not on the level. And that must feel frustrating, and it makes people cynical, and it makes people turned off from the idea that anything can get done.

In recent weeks, the news out of Washington has included:

--The IRS scandal -- suspicions that people at the tax agency may have abused their power by muzzling conservative organizations, then tried to cover it up by destroying evidence;

-- The VA scandal -- reports that some U.S. military veterans may have died while waiting for appointments in a generally dysfunctional and perhaps dishonest system;

-- Iraq -- overtaken by terrorists, the gains of earlier U.S. military sacrifice now erased; Russia -- new tensions over Ukraine;

-- Illegal immigration -- the invasion of America's southern border by tens of thousands of Central Americans, many of them children who have been herded into crowded, makeshift shelters, and are now being sent to vacant buildings in cities across the nation;

-- The backsliding economy -- news of a 2.9 percent GDP contraction in the first quarter;

-- And just this week, word that Republicans will sue the president for exceeding his executive authority and failing to uphold the law of the land.

The same day Obama spoke in Minnesota, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that he "lacked the authority" to make appointments to the National Labor Relations Board when Congress was not in a formal recess.

Obama said his main message, the reason he came to Minnesota, was to let middle class people know he understands their struggles.

"You are who I'm thinking about every single day," Obama said. "And just because it's not reported in the news, I don't want you to think that I'm not fighting for you. And I'm not always going to get it done as fast as I want because right now we've got a Congress that's dysfunctional.

Cue up the dig at Republicans: "I'll be honest with you," the president said, "you got a party on the other side that -- whose only rationale -- motivation seems to be opposing me.

"But despite all that, we're making progress. Despite all that, some folks have health care that didn't have it before. Despite all that, some students are able to afford their education better. Despite all that, some folks have jobs that didn't have it. Despite all that, the Green Line got built here in Minnesota. Despite all that, we can make life a little better for American families who are doing their best, working hard, meeting their responsibilities.

"And I don't want you to ever -- ever forget that. And I don't want you to be cynical. Cynicism is, you know, popular these days, but hope's better."

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