President Obama told donors like Jessica Biel, Justin Timberlake (who was wearing hipster glasses), and Tommy Hilfiger that Washington gridlock is pretty much Rush Limbaugh's fault on Monday evening at a fundraiser at Harvey Weinstein's house in New York's Greenwich Village. Obama admitted that his theory — that after the 2012 election, the Republican "fever" would break, and they'd decide to co-sign some of his agenda — was wrong. "My thinking was when we beat them in 2012 that might break the fever, and it’s not quite broken yet," Obama said, according to the White House pool report. This is because of a certain corpulent radio host. "I genuinely believe there are Republicans out there who would like to work with us but they’re fearful of their base and they’re concerned about what Rush Limbaugh might say about them. And as a consequence we get the kind of gridlock that makes people cynical about government."
In June 2012, Obama had predicted that being a lame duck would actually be a perk. He told donors:
"I believe that if we're successful in this election, when we're successful in this election, that the fever may break, because there's a tradition in the Republican Party of more common sense than that,...
My hope, my expectation, is that after the election, now that it turns out that the goal of beating Obama doesn't make much sense because I'm not running again, that we can start getting some cooperation again."
And if Republicans refuse to cooperate? Well, unlike the president, they do face reelection. Obama suggested he would crush them in the midterms. "If there are folks who are more interested in winning elections than they are thinking about the next generation then I want to make sure there are consequences to that."
Obama left Weinstein's home for another DNC fundraiser at the home of Alexandra Stanton in Manhattan's Tribeca neighborhood, before a DCCC/DSCC event at the Waldorf Astoria, capping a busy day in which he addressed the dueling scandals about the IRS and Benghazi — and maybe even cried.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.