UPDATE: Here is the video.
President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande toured Monticello in Virginia on Monday as part of Hollande’s two day state visit. During their time on the grounds, the Presidents were viewing the terrace, which resulted in the following pool report:
At 4:45 POTUS and president Hollande walked out from a portico and strolled in Front of your pool with Leslie Bowman, president of the Monticello Foundation. Looking at a terrace she said that Jefferson loved to admire the landscape from there. POTUS said that he’d like to take a look and seemed delighted to “break the protocol”.
“That’s the good thing as a President, I can do whatever I want” he quipped, walking to the terrace with his guest and Ms. Bowman. Pool now in the mansion as the leaders will come and visit Jefferson’s study.
I can do whatever I want.
Aside from the obligatory “what if Bush had said it”, it’s particularly tone deaf for President Obama to make such a remark within earshot of reporters. The President’s ongoing “phone and pen” declarations, his assertions that he will enact his agenda “with or without” congress, make him especially susceptible to ridicule on the point of presidential privilege.
President Obama does indeed seem to think that as President he can do as he wants. Just today he once again delayed the Obamacare employer mandate with his mighty pen. The often repeated defense of Obamacare has been ‘it’s the law.” Apparently it’s only the law inasmuch as the President happens to be “feeling it” that day.
President “I can do whatever I want” has made no secret of his intentions, touting his go-it-alone strategy in the State of the Union and in multiple Weekly Addresses in recent months. Democrats in Congress have literally applauded this posture, and media elites and talking heads can hardly conceal their glee.
As far as the “What if Bush had done it” narrative goes, it is all but certain such a remark on his part would have been late night and Saturday Night Live sketch fodder. With Leno gone, one can only wonder if the same will be true for President Obama.