Obama pushes for humility and fairness in speech to House Dems

Updated
President Obama speaking at the House Democratic Issues Conference in Lansdowne, Va. on Feb. 7, 2013.
President Obama speaking at the House Democratic Issues Conference in Lansdowne, Va. on Feb. 7, 2013.
File photo by Charles Dharapak/AP

President Obama urged his Democratic colleagues in the House to be humble but still feel “confident and bold” about pursuing the populist agenda of fairness and equality, even predicting that the Democrats can take back the House if they focus on “giving back” and “the broader community” in a speech Thursday.

“We don’t have a monopoly on wisdom and we need to remember that,” he said, but reminded Democrats to have confidence about “the values we care about and what we stand for.”

Those values focus heavily on opportunity for all, he argued, not just in the economy but also in education, and even with debt and deficit issues. He pressed again on a point he made earlier this week, saying he’s prepared to make a big deal on reducing the deficit, but also insisted that the deal have balance and trim waste, along with tax loopholes that only benefit the wealthiest Americans.

He complained that continued “self-inflicted crises” are hurting the economy and a long-term debt deal needed to be made in order to protect economic growth.

“I want to do something big,” Obama said. ”That means a balanced package that will reduce our longtime deficit and debt.”

Obama also made the case for middle-out and bottom-up economic growth. ”When I think about what it means to be a Democrat in this day and age I start with the basic proposition that we’re all created equal,” he said, “that starts with an economy that works for everybody.”

The president also joked that his House colleagues may not always be pleased with his political approach. “It won’t be smooth, it won’t be simple,” he said. “There will be times when you guys will be mad at me and I’ll occasionally read about it, but as long as we keep in mind why we came here in the first place… I have no doubt that we will continue the extraordinary progress.”

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Obama pushes for humility and fairness in speech to House Dems

Updated