Obama Invokes Thanksgiving Spirit on Immigration; Hecklers Disrupt Speech

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  • LOS ANGELES (AP) — Stung by plunging approval numbers at a low point in his presidency, President Barack Obama is urging donors to buck up while making a thread-the-needle appeal for bipartisanship with Republicans even as he calls for replacing the House GOP majority and holding his Democratic edge in the Senate.

    Obama is seeking to gain back his political standing in the aftermath of his administration’s botched launch of health care enrollment by defining himself as a pragmatic victim of tea party conservatives. At the same time he is casting his policies on the economy and immigration as popular remedies that could win bipartisan support.

    “Right now in this country there is at least one faction of one party that has decided they are more interested in stopping progress than advancing it, and aren’t interested in compromise or engaging in solving problems and more interested in scoring points for the next election,” he told Democratic donors in San Francisco on Monday.

    For Obama, the call for compromise is a veiled olive branch that also disguises a threat.

    “What we’re looking for is not the defeat of another party, what we’re looking for is the advancement of ideas that are going to vindicate those values that are tried and true,” he said at a fundraiser Sunday with House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi seated among about 60 high-dollar donors. “But to do that we’re going to need Nancy Pelosi as speaker, because there’s just a lot of work to be done right now.”

    Less than 24 hours later, pressing for an overhaul of immigration laws, Obama extended a hand to House Republican Speaker John Boehner.

    “Speaker Boehner is hopeful we can make progress” on immigration, Obama said Monday in San Francisco. “I believe the Speaker is sincere, I believe he genuinely wants to get it done.”

    The diverging messages reflect Obama’s dual desire to win a legislative victory even as he performs his duties as leader of the Democratic Party.

    “I’m not a particularly ideological person,” he said at a Seattle fundraiser Sunday.

    Raising money in Washington and California, states he won handily in his two elections, Obama faced protests and hecklers from his liberal flank. During his immigration remarks in San Francisco, he was interrupted by a protester standing immediately behind him. The young man condemned the Obama administration’s record number of deportation of immigrants who are in the country illegally.

    “Stop deportation, stop deportation!” the young man yelled.

    Obama argued he is required to follow the law and said that could only change through the democratic process.

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