President Obama accepted some blame for the decline of the Democratic Party in an interview aired Sunday with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.
In the Oval Office interview, Stephanopoulos said that Democrats have lost about 1,000 combined seats in Congress, governorships, and state legislatures during Obama’s tenure and asked the president if some of the blame lay with him. Obama accepted some blame, but chalked much of it up to “circumstances.”
“I take some responsibility for that,” Obama said. “I think that some of it was circumstances.”
Obama then said those circumstances were being in office while the recession was still hurting the economy, which he said is why Democrats lost so many seats in Congress, including the majority in the House, in 2010. Many analysts say the 2010 losses were a result of Democrats passing Obamacare earlier in the year.
Obama also told Stephanopoulos that his busy schedule as president played a role in the Democratic Party losing so many seats.
The president went on to say that what needs to happen is to “rebuild the Democratic Party at the ground level.”
Later in the interview, Obama took credit for the amount of activism that occurred in America over the past eight years on both sides of the aisle, including among Republicans.
“As I reflect back on what’s worked for me in this office, it’s been that I’ve gotten people who maybe didn’t believe in the process to get engaged,” Obama said. “Ironically, I’ve even gotten the other side, that maybe didn’t believe in the process, to get engaged.”
“I gather I’m the father of the Tea Party,” Obama said. “I invigorated the grassroots in the Republican Party as well as the Democratic Party.”