After calling for Republicans in Congress to set aside “short-term politics,” President Barack Obama bragged that reporters support all of his economic plans in a speech given on Wednesday in Galensberg, Illinois.
“It’s interesting, in the run-up to this speech, a lot of reporters say that, well, Mr. President, these are all good ideas, but some them of you’ve said before; some of them sound great, but you can’t get those through Congress. Republicans won’t agree with you,” Obama said.
Obama mentioned that several Republicans –whom he failed to name — told him they secretly agree with his economic plans but refuse to publicly support him.
“And I say, look, the fact is there are Republicans in Congress right now who privately agree with me on a lot of the ideas I’ll be proposing. I know because they’ve said so,” Obama continued. “But they worry they’ll face swift political retaliation for cooperating with me.”
The White House isn’t shy about reaching out to sympathetic members of the press. Earlier in July, the administration held an off-record meeting with progressive reporters, including MSNBC’s Benjy Sarlin and Slate blogger Matt Yglesias — who posted a photo after the meeting on Instagram hashtagged #ThisTown.
In November 2011, Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein briefed a group of Senate Democratic Chiefs on the “super committee” meant to reach a deficit deal. The committee collapsed only a day later.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, hundreds of liberal and progressive activists and journalists collaborated on a listserv called Journolist to bury the burgeoning Rev. Jeremiah Wright scandal that could possibly have sunk Obama’s campaign.
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, who hosts a low-rated talk show and wrote for The Nation during the campaign, told fellow reporters “There is no earthly reason to use our various platforms to discuss what about Wright we find objectionable.” He later lamented to The Daily Caller, “No one listened to me.”
Media Matters, a George Soros-funded political media operation, compiled an extensive “enemies list“ and appeared to work closely with the Obama administration, with high-level White House officials and lower-level representatives appearing frequently in the Media Matters office and attending progressive meetings.
Early reactions to the ideas the president laid out in his economic speech Wednesday include “old ideas with little chance of making an impact,” “repackaged ideas and empty promises” and “fresh out of ideas on the economy.”