- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 15, 2017

President Obama said Sunday that partisanship in Washington was a bigger hurdle than he expected when he took office eight years ago.

In an exit interview with “60 Minutes, Mr. Obama said he believes he was a “lightning rod” for partisan battles.

“I was surprised, and continue to be surprised by the severity of partisanship in this town,” Mr. Obama told interviewer Steve Kroft. “I will confess that I didn’t fully appreciate the ways in which individual senators or members of Congress now are pushed to the extremes by their voter bases. I did not expect, particularly in the midst of crisis, just how severe that partisanship would be.”

As he was running for reelection in 2012, Mr. Obama predicted that capturing a second term would help him to break the Republicans’ “fever” against him. But he acknowledged in the interview, “I did not crack the code in terms of reducing this partisan fever.”

Mr. Obama said he was “very effective” at campaigning. But he admitted that there were “big stretches” where “we weren’t able to mobilize public opinion firmly enough behind us to weaken the resolve of the Republicans to — stop opposing us or to cooperate with us.

“And there were times during my presidency where I lost the P.R. battle,” the president said.

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