Bam Commands — and Dodges
At smooth White House presser, Obama demands Congress stay in town on deficit talks, tells nation to take August 2 debt deadline seriously.
And/but: self-consciously avoids direct answers on War Powers and gay marriage.
On the economy:
Democrats have to accept “painful” spending cuts…It would be “hard” for GOP to say tax breaks for top tier aren’t “acceptable” as others have had to confront their “sacred cows.”
“It would be nice if we could keep every tax break there is,” but says those for millionaires and billionaires need to be cut in current economic situation.
“I think there is a conceptual framework” to allow us to make “huge” progress on deficit deal.
On Libya: “We have done exactly what I said we would do…this operation is limited in time and in scope.”
“Throughout this process, we consulted with Congress… we’ve sent reams of information.”
“A lot of this fuss is politics.”
Make time to watch the full press conference if you want to (A) get a sense at how frustrated the president is and at whom these days; and/or (B) want to hear clear, pretty concise versions of Obama's positions on the major issues of the day. The journo session didn't make much news, but it served a great democratic purpose: it let the head of the executive branch explain to the American people where he stands. Senior Democrats believe that if they can coax a bit more on the spending side out of their liberal members of Congress, they can get Republicans to agree to new revenue (but not income tax rate increases). Viola -- a grand bargain. The president was a tad sarcastic and annoyed at times, but he mostly kept those modes in check, to his advantage. It is hard to see public opinion moving enough in the wake of the press conference to have much of a feedback effect on the Beltway debate. But it isn't impossible that it will give the president more leverage in the negotiations. On balance, public opinion is with the White House on the tradeoffs between spending on certain cherished programs versus tax breaks for the wealthiest and certain corporations.
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