"If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you'll see more of them doing it," said the president.
The president also implicitly blamed grassroots Republican voters, whom he said are more conservative than John Boehner, and try to push the speaker to the right. "I think John Boehner genuinely wanted to get a deal done, but it was hard to do in part because his caucus is more conservative probably than most Republican leaders are."
The president suggested that Congress is filled with legislators who would be much happier to work together on bipartisan bills, if only they could. "I've always believed that there are a bunch of Republicans of goodwill who would rather get something done than suffer through the sort of nasty atmosphere that prevails in Washington right now...If you talk privately to Democrats and Republicans, particularly those who have been around for a while, they long for the days when they could socialize and introduce bipartisan legislation and feel productive."
Obama took credit on the liberal side for functioning better. He said that liberal media outlets are less extreme, and "recognize that compromise is not a dirty word." And he added that he himself - along with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi - are braver about standing up to "the more absolutist-wing elements in our party to try to get stuff done."