President Barack Obama on Friday fired back at his biggest critics, stressing he was ready to "take my lumps" in the same kind of tough political fights that have already greeted a number of items on his policy agenda.
While the president admitted Democrats had seen "a little bit of a buzz saw this week" with their loss in the Massachusetts Senate race, he stressed he would continue pushing for healthcare reform, financial regulatory reforms and other policies that pundits have said are in jeopardy, now that Democrats are without a supermajority.
"But I want you to understand, this is not about me. This is not about me. This is about you," the president added. "I know a lot of people think when Obama loses, we win...[but] when I win, you win."
Populist swipes at big banks and interest groups dominated the president's speech on Friday, the latest leg on Obama's "White House to Main Street" tour.
Obama's emphasis on his own political mettle, though, seems to be a direct appeal to his party's base, some of whom have expressed concerns that the president is unwilling to fight on behalf of liberal prerogatives.
Consequently, the president repeated his desire to pass comprehensive healthcare reform promptly, again touted the benefits of regulatory reform and touched briefly on the "bank fee" he introduced last week to recoup unpaid dollars from the 2008 bailout.
On that last reform, in particular, the president predicted a political challenge not too unlike what the White House has already experienced with healthcare. But Obama pre-emptively lobbed a few taunts at Republicans, many of whom had already decried the fee as a bad idea.
"It's going to be a fight, you watch," Obama said. "[Critics are going to ask] 'why's he meddling in the financial industry?' 'It's another example of Obama being big government.' No. I just want to have some rules in place so when these guys make dumb decisions you don't have to foot the bill."
"I don't mind having that fight," Obama added.