- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Former President Obama says he cannot help but marvel at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s ability to “suffer unpopularity to get the right thing done.”

President Trump, community organizing, raising children and the political landscape were all on the agenda Monday when Mr. Obama sat down for an interview with his old friend and former senior adviser David Axelrod. A question about how Mr. Obama would fare in a head-to-head match-up with Mr. Trump went unanswered, but praise for the California Democrat was freely offered.

“I think Nancy Pelosi, when the history is written, will go down as one of the most effective legislative leaders that this country has ever seen,” Mr. Obama said during “The Axe Files” podcast from Chicago. “Nancy is not always the best on a cable show or with a quick sound bite or what have you, but her skill, tenacity, toughness, vision, is remarkable. Her stamina, her ability to see around corners, her ability to stand her ground — and do hard things and to suffer unpopularity — to get the right thing done, I think [that] stands up against any person that I’ve observed or worked directly with in Washington during my lifetime.”

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He also said that a key reason why work in the nation’s capital is so hard is the inability for modern presidents to avoid legislative gridlock.

“This is a general problem we’re going to have with our democracy until we get Congress working,” Mr. Obama said. “What is absolutely true is that Congress punts so much now, and has for the last 30 years. This wasn’t just true under my administration. The ability to move big legislation through has become so challenging, and the window for any administration to do it is so narrow that what you end up having is a situation in which agencies and essentially whomever controls the White House is filling in all kinds of gaps because there’s no clear direction about what exactly does The Clean Air Act mean as the science evolves around climate change.”

The former president said it wasn’t his preference to sign executive orders, but that he did so because “the alternative was complete gridlock and the inability to solve real problems that were out there at the time.”

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