President Barack Obama said Friday that 2014 has been “a breakthrough year for America,” putting aside the fits and starts of the past 12 months to focus on achievements and the prospect of compromise with his political foes who are taking control of Congress.
“My presidency is entering the fourth quarter. Interesting stuff happens in the fourth quarter,” Obama said at a year-end news conference before leaving on a two-week vacation to Hawaii.
The president acknowledged many unanticipated crises in the past year but said he enters 2015 with renewed confidence that “America is making strides where it counts.” He said he intends to make sure the economy, government and justice system work for everyone.
He ticked off the year’s economic improvements, starting with job growth, and also pointed out that more Americans are insured under his health care law. “Take any metric that you want, America’s resurgence is real. We are better off.”
He will return to Washington with both congressional chambers under Republican control — a first since he’s been in the White House — and attention turning to the 2016 race to replace him. While much of his agenda will face a dead end on Capitol Hill, Obama aides say he’ll look for areas of compromise on issues like trade and taxes and continue to act on his own where he can.
“I’m being sincere when I say I want to work with this new Congress to get things done,” Obama said.