(Memphis) In the first post-election press conference, President Barack Obama referenced a letter from a Tennessee man in his opening statement.
“It came from a man in Tennessee who began by writing that he didn’t vote for me, which is OK,” Obama said. “But what he said was, even though he didn’t give me his vote, he’s giving me his support to move this country forward.”
The letter came from Steve Wise, a businessman in Brentwood, Tenn. He said that he never thought his email would even reach the president and was surprised to hear from the White House when they asked to quote his letter at a press conference.
Wise said that he listened to the press conference on the radio, on his trip home Wednesday.
“It’s a great thing. I think it’s good. At least there’s a process for getting your voice heard,” Wise said.
He said he did not vote for Obama, “but he is the president, he’s got a job to do, and I support him in getting it done.”
Wise also wrote letters with a similar message to Republican leaders, like Sen. Bob Corker, Sen. Lamar Alexander, and Rep. Marsha Blackburn.
Obama paraphrased more of the letter: “He said that he’ll back each of us, regardless of party, as long as we work together to make life better for all of us. And he made it clear that if we don’t make enough progress, he’ll be back in touch.”
Wise said in an interview that he was tired of the whole election process, and of hearing people use rhetoric without accomplishing anything.
He wrote in his letter that his family is in the upper-middle class, and that he’s starting a new business. Wise acknowledged that any solutions politicians come up with will affect him.
“I’ve been in business a long time. And in order to accomplish things, you’ve got to work together. You’ve got to find compromise,” he said.
That message struck a chord with Obama, who told reporters, “I couldn’t say it better myself. That’s precisely what I intend to do.”
Wise said the American people are smart enough to know that there will be painful moments, but that citizens would take that pain if they know they’re headed for better times.
If congressional leaders do not act before the end of the year, all Bush-era tax cuts will expire. Automatic spending cuts negotiated during the debt crisis will also kick in.