"So I pass a signature piece of legislation where we finally get health-care for all Americans, something that Democrats had been fighting for a hundred years," Obama began, "but because there was a provision in there that they didn't get that would have affected maybe a couple million people, even though we got health insurance for 30 million people and the potential for lower premiums for a hundred million people, that somehow that was a sign of weakness and compromise."
The result of such a inflexible approach, he said, is that "people will have the satisfaction of having a purist position and no victories for the American people."
Defending his own tactics, he invoked his race, something he rarely does in political discussions.
"This country was founded on compromise. I couldn't go through the front
door at this country's founding," he said. "And, you know, if we were
really thinking about ideal positions, we wouldn't have a union."