By Justin Sink - 07/10/14 03:01 PM EDT
President Obama on Thursday claimed he is “not that partisan of a guy” as he mocked calls in the Republican Party for his impeachment.
The president spent much of his address in Austin, Texas, hammering congressional Republicans, saying they have "blocked or voted down every serious idea to strengthen the middle class."
“I’m just telling the truth now," Obama said. "I don't have to run for office again so I can just let her rip.”
He teed off on Republicans such as Sarah Palin who have suggested in recent days that he be impeached, and dismissed Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) proposed lawsuit over his executive actions.
"'Sue him! Impeach him!' Really? For what? You're going to sue me for doing my job?" Obama said. "I mean think about that — you're going to use taxpayer money to sue me for doing my job, while you don't do your job? Huh."
The president said that the "best thing you can say" about Republicans this year is that they haven't forced a shutdown of the federal government.
"Of course it's only July, so who knows what they may cook up in the next couple of months," he added.
At the beginning of his remarks, Obama spoke fondly about visiting the Texas capital during the 2008 campaign, and appeared to be channeling that energy throughout the event.
And yet the president also tried to argue that the torrent of criticism aimed at congressional Republicans wasn't "a partisan statement" but rather "a statement of fact."
"I'm not that partisan of a guy," Obama said. "My favorite president is a Republican president."
Obama heralded the accomplishments of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower, saying the nation had "great" Republican leaders.
"Richard Nixon started the EPA!" Obama said.
He suggested Republicans had cynically chosen to abandon positions they believed in simply because he had embraced them.
"At least agree with me for the things you used to say you were for, before I was for them," Obama said, adding that "Ronald Reagan passed immigration, and you loved Ronald Reagan."
"It's lonely just me doing stuff," Obama said. "I'd love if the Republicans did stuff too."
Michael Steel, a spokesman for Boehner, hit back at the president on Twitter.
"House Republicans feel the same way," Steel said. "If only there were a prominent Democratic politician who could help end Senate gridlock."
"Could POTUS talk to Senate Democrats about these 40 House-passed jobs bills? Thanks!" Steel said in another message, directed at White House press secretary Josh Earnest.
The speech in Austin capped off a three-day trip through Colorado and Texas that saw Obama attend four fundraisers benefitting Democratic candidates and a series of events designed to show him outside the traditional confines of his office.
Earlier Thursday, Obama visited an Austin institution, the Magnolia Cafe, to grab a cup of tea. He promised that after his speech, he'd hunt down some barbecue.
Obama even took the unprecedented step of telling immigration protesters during his speech that he'd meet with them later if they allowed him to proceed.
"Sit down guys, I’m almost done. I promise I’ll talk to you about it later," Obama said while waving off Secret Service agents.