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chairman Obama it is provided his final State the the Union resolve before congress on Jan. 12, 2016. (Mark Wilson / Getty Images)

He an initial achieved nationwide renown with a speech hailing bipartisanship, and spent much of his presidency singing the praises the cooperation throughout party lines.

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But nearly all of his significant accomplishments result from party-line votes or executive, management actions.

And if republicans accused that of payment too lot attention to autonomous interests, allies blamed him for neglecting his party. Democrats shed a dozen governorships and hundreds of state legislative seats, and control the Congress, throughout his tenure.

President Obama pipeline office with task approval ratings equivalent to the high final marks for Presidents Reagan and also Clinton. However unlike them, Obama’s support is overwhelmingly party-based.

Eight in 10 democracy on median approved the Obama’s work-related over the critical eight years, if only around 1 in 8 republicans did so. Now virtually 9 in 10 Democrats and also 6 in 10 independents, however only about 1 in 7 Republicans, give him positive marks, follow to polling by the nonpartisan Pew study Center.

That’s disheartening for the leader who, together a little-known Illinois state legislator to run for the U.S. Senate, was hailed in ~ the democratic National Convention in 2004 once he declared, “There's not a liberal America and also a conservative America; there's the United states of America.”

Last January, in his final State of the Union address, Obama cited the increase in partisanship during his presidency as among his greatest regrets.

“There’s no doubt a president v the presents of Lincoln or Roosevelt could have better bridged the divide,” he said.


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Republican legislator listen throughout Obama’s final State that the Union address. (Jim Lo Scalzo / EPA) “ There’s no doubt a president with the presents of Lincoln or Roosevelt could have far better bridged the divide. ” — president Barack Obama re-superstructure this quote

In one interview v the Los Angeles Times several weeks later, Obama said that he still believed in bipartisanship, but that the had chose early it can not be his optimal priority.

“Bipartisanship is not a virtue if us don’t execute anything, and we just leave troubles unsolved,” that said. “Bipartisanship is a virtue if we, both sides, ‘Look, we have a problem. We might differ on how we deal with it, but let’s sit down and also negotiate.’ and there’s never ever been an issue in Washington that ns haven’t to be willing to take it a half-loaf or a quarter-loaf.”

As he saw it, he had actually tried again and also again without success to division the loaf, just to it is in met v relentless opposition.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell that Kentucky famously declared in 2010 the the “single most crucial thing” for the GOP was to make Obama a one-term president, a score hardly conducive come compromise.

“When you can't obtain a negotiating partner across the table who is going come agree come anything, then you have to make a decision,” Obama said, recalling the fight end the 2010 Affordable treatment Act. “Do I simply drop it? Or … do you say, ‘Wow, I've got millions of people out there that don't have actually health insurance and I need to go forward’?

“At that point, then, that was simply a majority muscle move,” the added.

’82’84’86’88’90’92’94’96’98’00’02’04’06’08’10’12’14025ReaganBushClintonBushObama(through 2015)50751981-2015average100% of votesWhen conference agrees through the presidentJoe Fox /
elafilador.netgraphicsSource: an essential Statistics ~ above American Politics, CQ WeeklyPercent of roll-call votes in which congress voted through the president’s position.Both houses of Congress managed by the president’s partyNote: during George W. Bush’s presidency, Democrats controlled the Senate for part of2001 and all of 2002.

Republican leader say Obama never ever offered half a loaf — or anything choose it. They to speak he didn’t have the legislative experience to cut deals and also was as well aloof to engage in the fine art of wining and also dining lawmakers come his side.

“Almost there is no exception, president Obama starts serious policy discussions through explaining why anyone else is wrong,” McConnell created in his 2016 autobiography.

“The conversation would certainly last as lengthy as it took the chairman to feeling satisfied that his soliloquy had actually outlined the concern well enough for me come understand,” he wrote. “Speaker Boehner famously placed the phone on his desk and carried ~ above a separate conversation during one of these exchanges v the President. I never put the phone call down, however on one occasion, i did clock at least an inning the baseball.”

Both political next blame the various other for the widening partisan divide. However the factors are more complex and have evolved in recent decades.

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House minority Leader man Boehner the Ohio, left, and also Senate decimal Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky speak to reporters outside the White residence after meeting v Obama and other congressional leaders to discuss the economy and jobs in February 2010. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / connected Press)

In the 1960s and also 1970s, the Democratic and Republican parties had large coalitions the liberals, moderates and conservatives. Presidents might forge bipartisan consensus for major legislation, indigenous civil civil liberties to ecological protection.

But the soul of weaken weakened in the 1980s as Republicans grew more consistently conservative and also Democrats an ext reliably liberal.


The division widened under Presidents Clinton and also George W. Bush, and worsened additional under Obama.

Higher levels of education, the advent of social media, higher racial diversity, increased income inequality, and also changes in the economy and also where americans live most likely all played a role.

To the level that Obama and Republicans in Congress have aggravated the gap, the two sides have very different explanations.

As Obama speak it, the story began early in his an initial term as he rode to Capitol Hill in the presidential limousine. He to be going to accomplish with Rep. Man A. Boehner that Ohio, then the home minority leader, to talk about ways to stimulate the economy to avert a depression ~ the housing market collapse in ~ the finish of the bush administration.

Obama said he had phoned Boehner and asked to “come as much as your caucus and also talk.”

“As I’m steering over, the puts the end a press release saying, ‘We’re versus it,’” Obama called friends later, introduce to the alarm he experienced on an aide’s BlackBerry.

“We hadn’t talked to anybody yet!”

Dozens the interviews through Obama aides and also the president himself imply that the limousine story, which he told and also retold over the years, deeply colored his thinking about his GOP adversaries.

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Obama stop a record containing Republican plan proposals given to that by Boehner in January 2010. (Charles Dharapak / associated Press)

Boehner’s team has a various memory the the incident.

They speak it wasn’t their intransigence that began the gridlock the the last eight years, however Obama’s initial approach to them.

They say he make clear the the Democratic majority in Congress, led through the recently elected democratic president, would push through a financial stimulus bill with or there is no Republican support.

Obama’s handling of the stimulus bill was “the original sin” that his young administration, “setting the course of partisanship and also confrontation,” former Boehner spokesman Michael steel said.

“There’s an debate to be made that the history of the Obama presidency would have been really different if he had insisted on bipartisan discussions and also input ~ above the stimulus bill,” stole said.

“ There’s an dispute to it is in made the the history of the Obama presidency would have been very different if he had insisted ~ above bipartisan discussions and also input top top the economic stimulation bill. ” — Michael Steel, previous spokesman for man Boehner share this quote
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Obama and Boehner play golf at andrews Air pressure Base, Md., in June 2011. (Charles Dharapak / linked Press)

In the end, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, as the stimulus was formally known, passed congress in February 2009 with three Republican votes in the Senate and none in the House.

Mutual recriminations only worsened later that year once the management and congress negotiated end Obama’s proposed medical care reform law.

On that, the 2 sides again re-superstructure a story yet give it various interpretations.

For months, White House and Senate staffs shuttled up and down Pennsylvania Avenue, chasing potential compromises however finding none.

Eager to rest the impasse, Obama invited Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), a an essential committee chairman, and several various other lawmakers to the Oval Office for a session he thought can clear the way.

He collection up the conference the way he had learned from republicans in the Illinois Senate: No windy arrival. No parade prior to reporters. Simply a few aides and also officials in the room.

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Grassley, with his low-key manners and also graying hair, looked favor the negotiating partner of Obama’s past. Favor Obama, he had actually done deals across party present before.

It was early August. They sat in the Oval Office, Obama cross-legged in an armchair, Grassley sitting back on a beige couch.

Obama operated his way down a list of ideas, questioning if any kind of could it is in made come work. That asked what he could do to get more comprehensive support.

After a pause, according to a White residence aide that was present, Grassley leaned toward the president and also looked that in the eye.

“You recognize what, Mr. President?” that said, “I’ve got to recognize — there’s no adjust that enables me to poll for this thing.”

Obama and top torture told that story frequently later. To them, it significant the minute they realized the Republicans were no prepared, under almost any circumstances, to take into consideration the president’s top domestic priority.

The minute symbolized other else because that Grassley. Obama had actually a Democratic setup — government-based healthcare coverage — and was willing to tweak it only to pick up sufficient Republicans to enable the White house to case it had actually bipartisan support.

Grassley said he wouldn’t play the game. “I said to the president, ‘That’s no bipartisanship,’” he recalled.

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Obama indications the Affordable treatment Act in the eastern Room the the White residence on in march 23, 2010. (J. Scott Applewhite / associated Press)

For Obama, who thought in universal medical care — or other close to it — the concern was simple. What to be the suggest of win the White residence if friend couldn’t aid people together you’d promised?

In his view, Democrats already had jeopardized considerably. Lock had provided up the left’s dream the a “single payer” mechanism of government insurance for everyone, and had instead proposed a system that relied on advertisement insurers, other Republicans had actually historically backed.

The Affordable care Act, much better known together Obamacare, pass in early 2010 there is no a solitary Republican vote. The party-line dispute contributed to the Democrats’ heavy losses in midterm elections later on that year, offering Republicans control of both homes of Congress.

After that, the stalemate to be set.

Democrats complained that Republicans wouldn’t negotiate in an excellent faith, or stated GOP leaders couldn’t market a compromise to the party’s increasingly an effective tea party wing.

Republicans claimed Obama was trying to lamb his politics agenda — consisting of cap-and-trade regulation to border greenhouse gas emissions, and an review of immigration laws — under their throats.

After bitter debate, the climate readjust bill was passed by the House but was never brought to a poll in the Senate, whereby it died. In 2013, the opposite arisen for immigrant reform. It directly passed the Senate, but died without a vote in the House.

After that, Obama increasingly used executive authority to order rule transforms for the environment, immigration, unemployment and also other issues. President-elect Donald Trump can reverse or amend many of them as soon as the takes office.

Jim Manley, a former top aide to then-Senate democratic leader harry Reid that Nevada, states Republicans tho remember Obama’s boast come GOP leaders in the Oval Office in 2009. “Elections have consequences,” the new president told them.

“They’ve never forgotten that,” Manley said.

FOR THE RECORD9 a.m., Jan. 15: This post states the in the 2010 midterm election, republicans gained regulate of both houses of Congress. Republic gained control of the House, however not the Senate. Also, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) is described as a committee chairman. He to be the senior Republican member on the panel.

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President Obama, who hoped to sow peace, rather led the country in war