DALLAS — On the eve of dedicating the presidential library of the man he blames for much of the country's ills, President Obama said George W. Bush “loves this country and loves its people” and he told Democratic supporters that he will keep reaching out to Republicans regardless of whether they think it makes him look like " a sap."
"I’m really looking forward to attending the Bush library opening tomorrow," Mr. Obama said at a dinner where guests contributed up to $32,400 per person to the Democratic National Committee.
"One of the things I will insist upon is whatever our political differences, President Bush loves this country and loves its people and shares that same concern, and was concerned about all people in America, not just those who voted Republican. I think that’s true about him and I think that’s true about most of us,” he said.
During his campaigns for the presidency in 2008 and for reelection in 2012, Mr. Obama blamed Mr. Bush for a host of problems, ranging from the Wall Street meltdown to high unemployment to costly wars abroad.
All four living ex-presidents will join Mr. Obama on Thursday for the dedication of Mr. Bush's library on the campus of Southern Methodist University.
Mr. Obama, who has held outreach dinners with Republican lawmakers in recent weeks, told supporters he would continue to try to work with Republicans.
“Occasionally I may make some of you angry because I’m going to reach out to Republicans and I’m going to keep on doing it,” he said. “Even if some of you think I’m a sap, I’m going to keep on doing it because that’s what I think the country needs.”
He spoke at the $11 million home of Democratic bundler Naomi Aberly and her husband, hedge fund investor Laurence Lebowitz. Their home encompasses more than 12,000 square feet.
The president said he was proud of his record of the last four years but has much he still wants to do.
“We got a lot of work to do,” he said. “Unfortunately, right now Washington is not – how do I put this charitably? It’s not as functional as it should be. It could do better.”
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