Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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February 7, 2013

Obama to promote his agenda to House Democrats

LANSDOWNE, Va. (AP) — Predicting a tough road ahead, President Barack Obama urged House Democrats to stick to their principles on guns, immigration and the economy as they confront congressional Republicans in legislative fights to come.

Addressing Democratic lawmakers who assembled Thursday for their annual retreat in Lansdowne, Obama said that one fundamental question will guide all of his second-term policies: Whether the policy gives every American a fair shot at success.

"It won't be smooth. It won't be simple. There will be frustrations. There will be times when you guys are mad at me, and occasionally I'll read about it," Obama said. He asked Democrats to keep in mind their aspiration to better their community that prompted them to seek public office in the first place. "If we keep that in mind every single day," he said, "I have no doubt that we will continue the extraordinary progress that we've made already."

To House Democrats fatigued from spending the past few years in the minority, Obama offered a glimmer of hope:

"As a byproduct of doing that good work and keeping that focus, I would expect that Nancy Pelosi is going to be Speaker again pretty soon," the president said, referring to the California Democrat who served as House speaker before Republicans took control of the chamber in 2010.

Offering hints about the issues he will highlight Tuesday night in his annual State of the Union address, Obama said lawmakers should expect to hear him talk about job creation, education, clean energy and taxes and spending, among other issues.

He said he's still anxious to achieve a broad budget deal with Republicans, but brushed off a GOP plan to avert impending across-the-board spending cuts that he argued would spare the wealthy from sacrifice while putting all the burden on more vulnerable groups like seniors and disabled children.

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