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Ray LaHood: Obama Abandoned Bipartisanship Early in First Term

The Honorable Ray LaHood

(Newsmax) – A new book by former Republican Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said that President Barack Obama quickly abandoned his bipartisan pledge after the start of his first term and eventually relied on a small group of advisers who shared his perspective.

“I do not believe the White House ever committed fully to a genuine bipartisan approach to policy making, despite the president’s words to the contrary,” LaHood, who served from 2009 to 2013, said in the memoir, “Seeking Bipartisanship: My Life in Politics.”
LaHood, 69, who was first elected to Congress from Peoria, Ill., in 1994, wrote the book with Frank Mackaman, The New York Times reports. He did not seek re-election in 2008.

The former secretary, the only elected Republican in Obama’s cabinet at the time, said that he believed the president was sincere in his commitment to bipartisanship, but that he was paralyzed “by mistakes in judgment and political calculation that prevented cooperation between the political parties and sacrificed vision too easily for short-term gain.”

The president gave up too easily, LaHood said.

“President Obama depended almost exclusively on a handful of folks situated in the White House,” he wrote. “He rarely sought counsel outside that group. He did not, as other presidents have done, place a high value on consulting with members of Congress.”

But LaHood slammed Republicans, too, saying that the new generation adhered to an “ideological rigidity” that helped saddle Washington with inaction and ineffectiveness.
“Many of them do not want Congress to pass bills,” he said. “Any government action is, by their definition, bad for the country.”

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