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Obama Dances In Boring Press Conference

Joshua Chaney

Posted: Mar 24th 2009 10:30PM

Filed under: Politics, News, The Economy, Muskingum College

Who's sick of hearing the President blame all of his problems on the previous administration?

Evidently some in the press.

The answer to a tough question usual begins with an Obama answer along the following lines: "Well, I would say you have to remember, I inherited (insert any current national crisis or issue here)."

The president didn't disappoint in delivering that answer at a press conference in which he spent most of the night defending his $3.6 trillion budget, saying the budget "is inseparable from this recovery."

Overall, the press conference seemed dull, highlighted only by Obama's eloquence in dancing around each question, giving long-winded answers normally that had little - if any - to do with what was asked and usually ended with health care reform or green energy reform and green jobs.

CNN's Ed Henry and CBS' Chip Reid called the president on the hypocrisy. Asked on the question of whether his budget tramples wishes not to "pass on our problems to the next generation," Obama kicked off his answer by blaming President Bush and Congressional Republicans.

The following is a portion of the press conference transcript from CNN:

Reid: Thank you, Mr. President. At both of your town hall meetings in California last week, you said, quote, "I didn't run for president to pass on our problems to the next generation." But under your budget, the debt will increase $7 trillion over the next 10 years. The Congressional Budget Office says $9.3 trillion. And today on Capitol Hill, some Republicans called your budget, with all the spending on health care, education and environment, the most irresponsible budget in American history.

Obama: Yes.

Reid: Isn't that kind of debt exactly what you were talking about when you said "passing on our problems to the next generation"?

Obama: First of all, I suspect that some of those Republican critics have a short memory, because, as I recall, I'm inheriting a $1.3 trillion deficit, annual deficit, from them. That would be point number one.


Henry: Thank you. Mr. President. You spoke again at the top about your anger about AIG. You've been saying that for days now. But why is it that it seems Andrew Cuomo seems to be in New York getting more actual action on it?

And when you and Secretary Geithner first learned about this 10 days, two weeks ago, you didn't go public immediately with that outrage. You waited a few days. And then you went public after you realized Secretary Geithner really had no legal avenue to stop it.

And, more broadly, I just want to follow up on Chip and Jake. You've been very critical of President Bush doubling the national debt. And, to be fair, it's not just Republicans hitting you. Democrat Kent Conrad, as you know, said, quote, "When I look at this budget, I see the debt doubling again."

You keep saying that you've inherited a big fiscal mess. Do you worry, though, that your daughters, not to mention the next president, will be inheriting an even bigger fiscal mess if the spending goes out of control?

Obama: Of course I do, Ed, which is why we're doing everything we can to reduce that deficit.
Look, if this were easy, then, you know, we would have already had it done, and the budget would have been voted on, and everybody could go home. This is hard.

And the reason it's hard is because we've accumulated a structural deficit that's going to take a long time, and we're not going to be able to do it next year or the year after or three years from now. What we have to do is bend the curve on these deficit projections.

And the best way for us to do that is to reduce health care costs. That's not just my opinion. That's the opinion of almost every single person who has looked at our long-term fiscal situation...

Henry: But on AIG, why did you wait -- why did you wait days to come out and express that outrage? It seems like the action is coming out of New York and the attorney general's office. It took you days to come public with Secretary Geithner and say, "Look, we're outraged." Why did it take so long?

Obama: It took us a couple of days because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak.

The president again used a hand-picked list of journalists to direct questions to, oddly leaving out many major print sources like Newsweek, Time, The New York Times and the Washington Post. In an obvious effort to fend off his teasers, Obama also chose to ditch the familiar glass teleprompters he often uses for a large flat screen television in the back of the room instead.

Defending a budget idea to reduce the tax deduction that wealthier families can take when the make charitable donations, Obama said it is "the right thing to do."

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