TAPPER: Has the president reviewed past State of the Union addresses that he’s delivered, to look at what proposals he’s made that have come to fruition and which have not?
CARNEY: Well, I don’t know that he has done that in this specific process. He’s very aware of the proposals he’s made and the initiatives that he’s launched as president, and the ideas that he put forward as a candidate. He wouldn’t take only this opportunity to review where that stands and to decide what requires further action and what new ideas to move on.
So I guess the answer is, I don’t know specifically that we’ve — that he’s — individually has made that assessment. I think that’s an assessment that he makes and others make regularly. And with regards to reviewing previous States of the Union, perhaps his speechwriters have done that, but I don’t know that he has.
TAPPER: I ask because a number of the items that he brought up last year have not come to fruition. And I’m wondering if he plans on reintroducing them, discussing them again, and why it’s been so unsuccessful –
CARNEY: Well, I –
TAPPER: — in terms of –
CARNEY: — take strong issue with the suggestion that what others have described as historic accomplishments in the first three years in office are unsuccessful.
TAPPER: I was talking about the 2011 State of the Union address.
CARNEY: But look, I think that any State of the Union address which lays out an agenda has to be ambitious. And if you got through a year and you achieved everything on your list, then you probably didn’t aim high enough. So I think this president aims high.
And I think that there are — there are absolutely things that remain undone that need to be done, that he will call on all of us to work together to get done in this address and beyond. But there is also a fairly comprehensive list of proposals that have been achieved, that I’m sure we’ll be discussing as the year goes on.
TAPPER: Well, on one last thing — a year ago, in addition to the State of the Union, the president delivered a major address in Tucson, after the shooting of Gabby Giffords and six others. The president called for a new tone. He called for a new era of civility. And I’m wondering, looking back at what has been a very contentious year, if he feels that there’s anything he could have done differently. I understand his issues with the opposing party, but if there’s anything he himself feels he could have done differently.
CARNEY: Differently in what sense?
TAPPER: To live up to the words, the call for unity, the call for not demonizing his opponents.
CARNEY: Well, I haven’t had this discussion with him in the frame that you just provided. But I think — having worked with him through this past year, I think that his efforts to reach out and achieve bipartisanship are pretty notable. And you all have reported on them.
You know, he did that from the beginning of 2011, with our – the agreement that averted a government shutdown, with his approach to deficit and debt reduction, in which he led his party forward to try to achieve a grand bargain, a compromise that was — would have been a challenge for Democrats to accept, but that he was absolutely willing to lead on that, and unfortunately did not have a partner on the Republican side to achieve that grand bargain.
But he remains committed to that kind of bipartisan cooperation, and committed to the idea that we can disagree, but we can – on specific issues, but there is still so much that we could agree on, if we put country ahead of party — if we put, you know, the American people ahead of, you know, narrowly focused political goals. And, you know, he works on that. He works to achieve that, and he’ll continue to do that as president.