Corker: Obama 'afraid' of Dem base; Reid acts 'just like' Putin

Feb. 27, 2014 at 1:19 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said President Barack Obama is "afraid of his base" and the Senate majority leader behaves like Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Speaking Thursday at a Washington breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, Corker said Obama was not "in earnest" in trying to solve problems.

"You're better off not acting like you want to solve a problem when you really don't want to solve it," he said. "That breaks down trust."

He said Obama and congressional Democrats "were never serious" in their dealings with Republicans.

"I think it was optics," he said.

Corker said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. -- who has repeatedly expressed frustration with what Democrats characterize as Republican obstruction on Capitol Hill -- is more to blame for lack of progress, the Hill reported.

"Understand [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell's position," he said. "If you allow people just to run roughshod over you -- just like we're seeing right now with Putin in Russia, right, where he's getting no pushback from the United States ... -- if you don't have any pushback, then obviously people [will continue taking advantage of you]."

Corker said the Senate "has been on the verge of a death spiral now for several months" and cannot "in an appropriate way with the leadership we have now."

Corker said -- as McConnell has said this week -- it will not be possible for Congress to act this year on tax or immigration reform.

"In fact, I see no way anything important is going to be dealt with this year," he said, with the possible exception of housing finance reform, the Hill reported.

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