Speaking at a St. Patrick’s Day luncheon at the Capitol, the president said he was appalled at the divisive and hurtful tone from some on the other side of the isle. He warned that “vulgar and divisive” rhetoric and violence on the campaign trail could tarnish America’s standing in the world and called on lawmakers to make it stop.
“Too often, we’ve accepted this as somehow the new normal. And it’s worth asking ourselves what each of us may have done to contribute to this vicious atmosphere in our politics,” Obama told the gathering of lawmakers and foreign dignitaries, noting that other politicians surely have remarks they regret, as he does.
“For it is a cycle that is not an accurate reflection of America. And it has to stop.”
“It’s about the way the corrosive behavior can undermine our democracy and our society and even our economy,” he said.
It’s all about the children: “We should not have to explain to them this darker side of politics. We should not be afraid to take them to a political rally or let them watch political debates,” he said of the nation’s youth.
“We should be teaching them that this democracy is a vibrant and precious thing, and it’s going to be theirs someday and we want them to elevate it.”
“And while I may not possess the persuasive power of St. Patrick, I do hope the hospitality extended here today is similarly extended to my nominee to the Supreme Court when he or she arrives,” the president said.
Obama on his own campaign trail: