“I am not a dictator,” President Obama told members of the White House press corps Friday, in response to a question about why he was unable to force congressional leaders to reach an agreement to replace sequestration — the $85 billion in automatic spending reductions scheduled to take effect at 11:59 p.m. today. “Ultimately if Mitch McConnell or John Boehner say, ‘We need to go to catch a plane,’ I can’t have Secret Service block the doorway,” the president added.
It is hardly the first time Obama has felt it necessary to remind the American people, or has lamented the fact, that he is not a more authoritarian type of ruler. A few examples:
King: “My cabinet has been working very hard on trying to get it done, but ultimately, I think somebody said the other day, I am president, I am not king,” Obama told Univision in October 2010, when asked why he had yet to achieve comprehensive immigration reform. “I can’t do these things just by myself.” He reiterated that sentiment in a February 2013 interview with Telemundo. “I’m not a king,” he said.
President of China: “Mr. Obama has told people that it would be so much easier to be the president of China,” the New York Times reported in March 2011.
Emperor of the United States: “This is something I’ve struggled with throughout my presidency,” Obama said during a Google hangout event in February. “The problem is that I’m the president of the United States, I’m not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed.”