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Eleanor Holmes, Democrat, lashes out against Obama

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 10th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) engaged Obama in a dramatic exchange during a White House meeting Wednesday afternoon, asking him to support a bill that would keep the D.C. area running amid the government shutdown.

WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - Norton was one of 200 House Democrats at the meeting and she was allowed to ask a question. When handed the microphone, she asked Obama to support a House bill that would allow the District to use local tax funds to remain in operation through Dec. 15.

Obama has said he would not support piecemeal funding bills, and instead has embarked on an all-or-nothing campaign asking for a clean debt ceiling increase and a new spending bill that comes with no strings attached. He has indicated that he would negotiate with Republicans and others only after his demands have been met.

After asking her question, Norton kept the microphone and interrupted Obama when it became clear he wasn't going to support her request. According to the Washington Post, another lawmaker described her as "strident, self-absorbed, and parochial" in her tone.

Obama did not soften his position. Instead, he began to point out that other congressional districts were struggling too. Norton explained that Washington D.C. was a unique district.

Norton was asked to explain herself to reporters after the meeting and she explained that she was just asking a question. "I wasn't picking a fight with the president, I think the people of the District would expect me to have a conversation with him rather than just asking a question," Norton said.

She added that she intended no disrespect and said that "He's a big boy and I'm a big girl." Norton explained that following the meeting she made a point to approach Obama and the two had a "wonderful conversation."

The exchange shows a crack in the Democratic party because the government shutdown impacts Democrats as well as Republicans. As Obama plays hardball with Republicans, demanding they pass his bills without negotiation while pointing to sagging Republican approval numbers, he ignores the fact that he is injuring himself and colleagues as well. Obama's approval rating has slipped to just 37 percent in recent polls.

Democrats and Republicans now appear closer to approving a temporary spending bill and debt ceiling increase as it becomes apparent a prolonged shutdown and potential default will benefit nobody. However, continued irresponsible spending by the federal government is also a great detriment for all, and Republicans are right to demand concessions and cuts in response to another debt ceiling increase. 

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