Rep. Alan Grayson: ‘President’s Hallmark Is Not Being on the Left’

By Elizabeth Harrington | February 15, 2013 | 1:59pm EST

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) (AP Photo)

( – Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) said President Barack Obama is not on the left politically, but his “hallmark is being practical.”

Grayson told that he was “very pleased” with Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, because Obama “understands” the problems facing the country.

“I think everybody understands at this point that we have people who are sitting at home unemployed day after day finding no way to pay the bills, losing their homes, sometimes losing their health, losing their families sometimes, end up living in their cars, okay?” Grayson said. “And on the other hand, we have people with great needs.”

“We have students that are not being educated well,” he said. “We have people who can’t get the health care that they need. We have broken bridges, broken schools, broken roads, and somehow we’re not doing enough to put these two things together.”

“We have people with talents who are not being able to use their talents to meet the needs of other people,” Grayson said. “And the president understands that.”

“I think the president demonstrated that there are ways to solve our problems,” he said.

During the address, Obama recommended at least 29 new government programs—ranging from infrastructure to preschool. He also called for raising the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour, comprehensive immigration reform, gun control and action to address climate change.

Grayson said Obama laid out policies to reach a “healthy middle class.”

“I think he went through this interesting mental exercise, and he came up with practical, real solutions,” Grayson said. “When you get down to it, he’s a practical person.

“I think the president’s hallmark is not being on the left or the right, or even in the middle. The president’s hallmark is being practical,” he said.

Grayson also said the president should be “taken seriously” about reducing the deficit, despite the national debt surpassing $16 trillion and having presided over four straight years of $1 trillion deficits.

The American people “should take him seriously, because the president has been very specific about how he would cut the deficit,” Grayson said.

However, Grayson said the deficit is not an “immediate” problem.

“Let me take a step back here,” he said. “The fundamental problems in America today are as follows: we have 25 million people who can’t find full-time work. We have 50 million people in this country who can’t see a doctor when they’re sick.

“We have 47 million people in this country who rely upon the government to feed themselves through the food stamp program. We have 40 million people, like me, who are living in houses where the mortgage is worth more than the home,” Grayson added.

“Those are real problems, okay?” Grayson said. “Now the deficit, that doesn’t have the same kind of immediacy as unemployment, as a huge mortgage, as poor health, disease.

“That’s not immediate,” he said.

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