While Obama said the economy is “moving in the right direction,” he noted that he has his own uphill climb to winning a second term in November. He did not mention the GOP presidential candidates by name, but Obama did say “When the other side decides who they want to be their standard-bearer, then we’ll have a robust debate.”
In the meantime, Obama encouraged Members to talk up the legislative accomplishments they produced while they were in the majority and to debunk GOP assertions of class warfare when they talk about overhauling the tax system to increase rates for high-income earners.
“This is one of the biggest things I’m going to be pushing against this year, that somehow this is class warfare,” he pledged. As he concluded to applause, Obama acknowledged the tough votes House Democrats have taken in the past, including the health care vote that many Democrats singled out as the primary blame for their lost seats in 2010. This time around, Obama pledged to be by their side.
“You guys have had my back at some very tough times. I’m going to have your back as well,” he said. “And together we’re going to move this country forward.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.