Combative Obama blames debt crisis on Congress 

President Obama’s opening statement at today’s White House press conference set a combative tone that carried through the rest of the hour and seven minute session. Obama began his remarks by listing listed a number of bills that could help lower the nation’s 9.1 percent unemployment rate but were still “pending before Congress right now.” He also insisted that job creation must be part of any package passed to raise the debt limit.

The cause of the failure to find a deal was clear: Congress. Obama repeatedly attacked his co-equal branch of government, including:

“This is about Congress going ahead and biting the bullet.”
“I’ve been doing Afghanistan, bin Laden and the Greek crisis. You need to be here. I’ve been here. Let’s get it done.”
“These are bills that Congress ran up … They took the vacation they bought the car and now they are saying maybe we don’t have to pay.”
“At a certain point they need to do their job.”

ASked whether or not he would accept a debt limit deal that did not include tax breaks, Obama turned the question into a classic us vs. them dynamic: “”I’ve said to Republican leaders, ‘You go talk to your constituents and ask them ‘Are you willing to compromise your kids’ safety so some corporate jet owner can get a tax break.’” Obama insisted that he never ever uses scare tactics but then went right ahead accused Republicans of wanting to “pay the Chinese, but not seniors.”

This was not the press conference of a president looking to provide leadership for a debt limit deal before Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s supposed August 2nd deadline. This was a president laying the groundwork to blame congressional Republicans for any negative fallout after Geithner decides to stop sending Social Security checks to seniors.

Obama dodged a question early in the debate about whether or not he thought the debt limit was even constitutional. We may eventually find out.

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Conn Carroll

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