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Obama: "I Like A Good Party"

OBAMA: With respect to this truism about me not socializing enough and patting folks on the back and all that stuff, most people who know me know I’m -- I’m a pretty friendly guy. And I like a good party. And you know, the truth is that, you know, when I was in the Senate, I had great relationships over there, and up until the point that I became president, this was not an accusation that you heard very frequently.

I think that -- I think that really what’s gone on in terms of some of the paralysis here in Washington or difficulties in negotiations just have to do with some very stark differences in terms of policy, some very sharp differences in terms of where we stand on issues. And you know, if you think about, let’s say, myself and Speaker Boehner, I like Speaker Boehner personally. And you know, when we went out and played golf, we had a great time, but that didn’t get a deal done in 2011. You know, when I’m over here at the congressional picnic and folks are coming up and taking pictures with their family, I promise you, Michelle and I are very nice to them, and we have a wonderful time -- (scattered laughter) -- but it doesn’t prevent them from going under the floor of the House and, you know, blasting me for being a big-spending socialist.

You know -- and the reason that, you know, in many cases, Congress votes the way they do, or talks the way they talk, or takes positions and negotiations that they take -- it doesn’t have to do with me, it has to do with the imperatives that they feel in terms of their own politics, right? They’re worried about their district. They’re worried about what’s going on back home. I think there are a lot of Republicans at this point that feel that, given how much energy has been devoted in some of the media that’s preferred by Republican constituencies to demonize me, that it doesn’t look real good socializing with me. Charlie Crist down in Florida, I think, testifies to that, and I think a lot of folks say, well, you know, if we look like we’re being too cooperative or too chummy with the president, that might cause us problems. That might be an excuse for us to get a challenge from somebody in a primary. So that tends to be the challenge.

I promise you, we invite folks from Congress over here all the time. And I -- and when they choose to come, I enjoy their company. Sometimes, they don’t choose to come, and that has to do with the fact that I think they don’t consider the optics useful for them, politically.

And -- and ultimately the way we’re going to get stuff done -- personal relationships are important, and obviously I can always do a better job, and the nice thing is, is that now that my girls are getting older, they don’t want to spend that much time with me anyway. (Laughter.) So I’ll be probably calling around, looking for somebody to play cards with or something, OK, I -- because I’m getting kind of lonely in this big house.

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