President Obama Takes On Critics and Congress
Of all the subjects broached during the conference, the one that seemed to elicit the strongest response from the president was the intractability of Republican members of Congress.
“Democrats have to accept some painful spending cuts that hurt some of our constituencies and we may not like them, and we’ve shown a willingness to do that for the greater good,” said President Obama. “My expectation is that they [Republicans] will do the right thing.”
The president seemed to feel that a great deal of the opposition he is currently facing from House Republicans stems less from an interest in doing the right thing for the American people and more from self-serving political maneuvering.
Throughout the conference President Obama cast recalcitrant members of Congress as obstructionists and a hindrance to his efforts to make real improvements.
Republicans are rabidly opposing any attempts to increase taxes for wealthier Americans.
However, President Obama said that many of the steps his administration is trying to take actually enjoy bipartisan support.
“The revenue we're talking about isn’t coming out of the pockets of middle class families that are struggling, it's coming out of folks who are doing extraordinarily well and who are enjoying the lowest tax rates since before I was born,” said President Obama. “The tax cuts I’m proposing we get rid of are tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, tax breaks for oil companies, and hedge fund managers, and corporate jet owners.”
The president also denounced criticism of U.S. involvement in Libya.
“We have engaged in a limited operation to help a lot of people against one of the worst tyrants in the world,” President Obama said. “A lot of this fuss is politics.”
With regards to gay marriage, the president maintained his aloof support of equality for gays and lesbians.
“During the hour-long session with reporters, Obama declined once again to endorse gay marriage, but he made clear he approved of New York’s action last week in becoming by far the largest state to let gays and lesbians tie the knot,” reported U.S.A. Today.
However, the bulk of the press conference was devoted to efforts to right the economy, and despite the combative nature of the president’s speech, he did express a belief that Democrats and Republicans would come to terms.
“The good news is, because of the work that’s been done, I think we can actually bridge our differences,” said President Obama. “I think there is a conceptual framework that would allow us to make huge progress on our debt and deficit and do so in a way that does not hurt our economy right here and right now.”