July 7, 2011.Â Washington, D.C.
In a hastily called press conference, President Obama announced his decision Thursday evening to sever formal ties with the Democratic Party and become an Independent.
With Senator Joseph Lieberman (I, CT) at his side, the President explained his decision to stunned staff members and journalists.
“After many months of frustrating negotiations with Congressional Democrats, I have come to see that the traditional Democratic policies are out of the mainstream.Â Â I am sick and tired of being asked to support positions that are too far to the left for me and for the American people.”
Prompted to give examples of policies that he feels uncomfortable supporting, the President listed progressive taxation, environmentalism, clean energy, unionism, New Deal entitlements, isolationism and separation of church and state.Â Â “These no longer make sense given the economic and social realities we face.Â As commander-in-chief, I am especially uncomfortable with the extremist pacifist and isolationist tendencies of many on the Left.Â In short, I can no longer in good conscience support the Democratic Party, and I welcome the opportunity as an Independent to work more closely with Speaker Boehner, Senator Lieberman, and other fine centrists.”
The President has come under increasing criticism from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party for what they consider betrayals of core Democratic principles.Â The issue has come to the fore because of the President’s openness to making cuts to Social Security and Medicare during the recent budget negotiations.
After the President’s announcement, Press Secretary Jay Carney stayed behind to answer reporters’ questions.Â “The President has kept his word.Â He said when he ran for office that he intended to put an end to the partisan squabbling that has for so long divided the nation.Â So I don’t think this announcement should come as a surprise to anyone.”
Updates as soon as they become available.