On Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, Republican leaders gave no indication that President Obama is ready to work alongside the newly elected House and Senate members, but that he would rather continue to focus on his own executive actions.
First up on the program was West Virginia Senator-Elect Shelley Moore Capito, the first female Senator ever elected in the state as well as the first Republican Senator elected in over 50 years. She spoke of receiving a phone call by the president, congratulating her on her historic win. While she appreciated the sentiment, she was apprehensive of whether or not Obama is interested in truly finding common ground with the people of West Virginia. The Senator-elect was quick to remind Wallace that Obama is "very unpopular" in her home state.
Capito also questioned what Obama meant in his press conference following Tuesday's election in which he said, "To everyone who voted, I want you to know that I hear you. To the two-thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you, too."
"What kind of message could he possibly be getting?" Capito asked. She hit back hard on the president saying, "I hope the president gets on board a little bit more than he did in that first press conference."
The conversation turned to the president's newly selected nominee for Attorney General, Loretta Lynch. Wallace asked how Capito feels about Obama rushing to confirm Lynch before the newly elected Senate members have a chance to vote. She said it would be a mistake not to put it off to the beginning of the year to allow a proper, and long needed bipartisan debate to take place. "If we're going to have an era of faith here, we need to begin with the confirmation process for one of the most important jobs in the country," Capito said.
Next up were two leaders who didn't see eye to eye on President Obama's intentions going forward -- Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), GOP Policy Committee Chairman, and Congress Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Democratic Caucus Chairman. The two attended the White House post-election lunch on Friday and it was made clear that the president's focus is more on executive action than on compromise.
Sen. Barrasso said Obama is "not fully grasping the significant defeat for his party and his policies." "His policies have been rejected by the voters," he added, "and not just because they're unpopular, but because they don't work."
The senator said his reasoning for being at the luncheon was to tell the president he is ready to work with him on jobs, health care, energy and the economy. Yet, the reception from Obama was anything but reciprocated:
I was astonished at during that whole lunch, the president didn't ask us anything about that at all. He was just so focused on this executive amnesty issue that he ignored the idea of having a dialogue on ways we could actually change the direction of the country and move forward with regard to jobs and the economy.
Rep. Becerra jumped in with a disagreement. He blamed someone else for the president's distraction:
The president wasn't so focused on the issue of executive action until Speaker Boehner was the one that raised it saying, 'It's going to be tough to do anything together if you do executive actions.' And that's when the president tried to respond back. To put the blame on the president for responding to the Speaker, I think is unfair.
Becerra recalled the president saying that there are a number of issues that need bipartisan support, but added that there was only so much time to discuss all of the issues at the lunch, which included a military briefing. Wallace interjected asking if there was any back and forth discussion on both parties working together or not. "If there wasn't, whose fault is it that we didn't discuss the economy more?" Becerra challenged. "It was John Boehner who started off right away -- 'executive action, it's going to be tough to do anything.'"
Yet, in Barrasso's view, Obama "pretty much ignored the next two years" and remained solely focused on taking executive actions despite hearing the will of the people to the contrary in Tuesday's elections.
The pertinent clips are viewable below: