Obama: Rumors of My Demise Are Exaggerated

Despite setbacks, the president is optimistic about his second-term agenda.

Posted: 04/30/2013 11:59 AM EDT

President Obama on Tuesday gave reporters a first 100 days gift by answering questions on a broad range of subjects, including the crisis in Syria, the Boston Marathon bombings, the Affordable Health Care Act and the coming out of NBA center Jason Collins.

A review of the first 100 days is usually reserved for a first-term president, but with so many hot-button issues on the table, from gun control to immigration reform, political observers are tracking the progress of both Obama and congressional lawmakers.

There hasn't been much traction so far. A gun bill failed in the Senate and sequestration, the automatic federal spending cuts that went into effect at the end of March, are starting to hit home.

Does Obama still have the juice to implement the rest of his agenda? When asked that very question, the president quoted the writer Mark Twain.

"Rumors of my demise may be a little exaggerated at this point," he said, adding that with 60 votes needed to pass legislation in the Senate and a Republican-controlled house, "things are pretty dysfunctional up on Capitol Hill."

Still, he said he feels confident that he will be able to get a lot done and predicted that immigration reform will be an "historic achievement."

Obama attributed politics with the dysfunction on the Hill, which has made it difficult for Republicans to seek common ground with him.

"Their base thinks that compromise with me is somehow a betrayal. They're worried about primaries. And I understand all that," the president said. "And we're going to try to do everything we can to create a permission structure for them to be able to do what's going to be best for the country, but it's going to take some time."

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(Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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