Reporter to Earnest: "Is The President A Leader Of A Coalition That Doesn't Vote?"


JARED RIZZI, SIRIUSXM: The president in campaign events for years has said, "Don't boo, vote." People booed, they didn't necessarily vote. Yesterday when he spoke he made a point to speak to the two-thirds of Americans who decided not to show up. Is the president a leader of a coalition that doesn't vote?

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE: Well, I'll say that the president is a leader of a coalition of people who voted when he was on the ballot. There's no doubt about that in 2008 and in 2012.

RIZZI: But not necessarily when other Democrats were on the ballot.

EARNEST: Well, not this time. And so the question is what can Democrats do moving forward and I'm sure, again, there will be people who have a lot more experience in elections than even I do who are going to be spending some time thinking about what the party apparatus can do to better appeal to those voters.

I think that as an elected official in Washington, D.C. and as the leader of the country, the president is going to be spending some more time thinking about what can leaders in Washington, D.C. do to better demonstrate that they are committed to the priorities of the American people and how can we generation some progress and some results that make clear to the American people.

Again, when you walk into the voting both you have the opportunity to choose among candidates, but to borrow the phrase of an academic economist, you can also vote with your feet. And a lot of people voted with their feet by not showing up at the polling place on election day. And that is a pretty clear expression that they're dissatisfied with the way that things are going in Washington, D.C. And the president as the most powerful person in this town feels a special responsibility, a unique responsibility, as he described yesterday, to fix it. So that's what we're going to try to do.

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