Obama tells donors he won’t rely on executive actions to get his way

President Obama told a crowd of donors on Monday that he will not sign a string of executive orders throughout the remainder of his second term to nullify Congress.

In remarks to the donors at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in San Francisco, Obama said he will aim to “win on the merits of the argument with the American people, as laborious as it seems sometimes,” instead of depending on executive orders. 

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Responding to one donor who repeatedly shouted “executive order” during his remarks, according to a White House pool report, Obama said “that's not how it works.”

“Somebody keeps on yelling, ‘executive order,’ ” Obama said in the 23-minute long remarks, before a crowd that included California Democratic Reps. Mike Honda, Eric Swalwell and Barbara Lee. “I’m going to actually pause on this issue because a lot of people have been saying this lately on every problem, which is just, ‘Sign an executive order and we can pretty much do anything and basically nullify Congress.’ ” 

The crowd responded with applause at the topic. But Obama sought to quiet the auditorium of donors.

“Wait, wait, wait. Before everybody starts clapping, that’s not how it works,” Obama began. “We’ve got this Constitution, we’ve got this whole thing about separation of powers. So there is no short-cut to politics, and there’s no short-cut to democracy.

“What we have to do is keep on going, keep on pushing, and eventually we move in a better direction,” he said. 

During his brief speech — part of a three-day West Coast swing — Obama reflected on his “crazy” job, telling the crowd that his day “starts off with great promise and my day ends and I look at my checklist of stuff I’ve got to do and I’m thinking, ‘Man, we’ve still got a long way to go.’

“And three years will go like that,” he said. “It’ll go like that.”

But Obama defended his agenda, saying it was “not particularly ideological” and is “just common sense.”