President Barack Obama listens to a speaker at an invite-only town hall meeting on Thursday, June 26, 2014, at Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis, Minn.
Monica Herndon/The Star Tribune/Pool/AP

Obama decries ‘phony scandals’ that distract from real issues

President Obama on Thursday decried how “phony scandals” in Washington often eclipse the issues that affect everyday Americans.

At a fundraiser in Minneapolis for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Obama spoke about a young mother he met earlier Thursday, who wrote to him about her struggles to make ends meet despite working hard. 

Rebekah Erler, 36, of Minneapolis, wrote that she felt her struggles were rarely discussed by politicians in Washington and that she was losing faith in the system, Obama said.

“And that’s what we should be talking about every day in Washington. And we should be able to act on that every day in Washington. And we don’t. We talk about everything else. We talk about everything that doesn’t have to do with that young woman,” Obama said, according to a White House transcript of his remarks. “We talk about phony scandals, and we talk about Benghazi, and we talk about polls, and we talk about the tea party, and we talk about the latest controversy that Washington has decided is important – and we don’t talk about her.”

Obama met with Erler over burgers Thursday before holding a town hall event.

At the fundraiser, the president discussed a number of Democratic policy proposals ahead of November’s midterm elections—raising the minimum wage, equal pay, and family leave—as issues that help people like Erler.

“They’re in service to her,” he said of the issues the Democrats are championing. “And the other side has nothing to offer her except cynicism and fear and frustration.”

Republicans have opposed Democrats’ efforts to hike the minimum wage and pass a bill to help women ensure they are being paid equally, saying they will hurt businesses and women.