During an address before the Illinois General Assembly on Wednesday, President Obama bemoaned the “meanness” in politics.
And he says it's worse now than ever.
“The one thing that gnaws on me is the degree of polarization. This has gotten worse over the last several years. And I think that in those early months, my expectation was that we could pull the parties together a little more effectively.”
Speaking of polarization, earlier this month, Gallup found that Americans view Obama as the most polarizing president in modern history.
He has compared Republicans to hostage-takers and Iranian hard-liners.
During a recent visit to a U.S. mosque, he said:
“It has been a transparent strategy on the part of Republicans to play on people’s anxieties, to target religious minorities, to advance their political ambition.”
In January, he criticized Republicans who fear America has grown weaker under his presidency:
“It’s not true when you hear folks talking about how America’s so weak. It’s bluster. It’s not serious. There’s another word for it that starts with a ‘b’ — it’s baloney.”
He has mocked GOP members of Congress who fear ISIS may infiltrate Syrian refugees coming to America:
“Apparently they’re scared of widows and orphans [...] At first, they were too scared of the press being too tough on them during debates. Now they’re worried about three-year-old orphans.”
In response to charges of bias during the GOP debate on CNBC in November, he said:
“Have you noticed that every one of these candidates says, ‘Obama’s weak'? “And then it turns out they can’t handle a bunch of CNBC moderators at a debate.”
Several years ago, he ridiculed Republican concerns about protecting the border with Mexico:
"They’ll want a higher fence. Maybe they’ll need a moat. Maybe they want alligators in the moat. They’ll never be satisfied. And I understand that. That’s politics.”
Last, but not least, during the 2008 campaign, speaking to a group of wealthy donors in San Francisco about “Midwesterners,” he said:
“They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
This, from a man who said in a soaring speech during the 2008 campaign, he didn't want to “pit red America against Blue America” — he wanted to be the “president of the United States of America.”