President Obama said Thursday he's not worried about Democrats splitting in the heat of the presidential campaign, saying Republicans "have some stuff to work out" as GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump prepared to hold a fundraising rally to compete with Fox News' Republican presidential debate.
"It's election season, the press has been focused on debates and divisions they can drum up within the primary and within our party," Obama said to House Democrats at their policy retreat in Baltimore. "I'm not worried, though, about this party staying united. The other side may have some stuff to work out."
Republicans, he said, "talk about America in decline. ... I don't believe it, and the facts don't show it," he continued, citing the economic recovery, the Affordable Care Act, and the improvement of the auto industry. "Sometimes I get a little frustrated that we don't run back the tape to what Republicans said."
Turning to national security, Obama seemed to reference Trump's call to ban Muslim immigration into the United States.
"We're not going to lead around the world by allowing politicians to insult Muslims or pit groups of Americans against each other," he said.
Facing a much smaller audience of House Democrats than he did seven in 2009 when Democrats controlled the House -- the caucus has shrunk from 257 members to 188 after multiple Republican waves -- Obama said he "couldn't be prouder" of his partnership with House Democrats.
Facing House Democrats for his last caucus retreat as commander-in-chief, Obama addressed a much smaller audience of Democrats than he did seven years ago.
In 2009, the caucus’ 257 members, led by then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, helped the newly-minted president muscle through early legislative victories on the financial stimulus package, the Affordable Care Act and Wall Street reform.
Today, the caucus, culled in the 2010 tea party wave that rose in opposition to Obama’s agenda, has just 188 members -- its smallest minority in decades.
"I am looking forward to one more year of hard work, and fulfilling work," he said, before slipping in a Super Bowl reference. "I know that the Carolina and Colorado delegations may be a little distracted."