WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama tried Tuesday to sway the public’s jaundiced view of the budget crisis with a mishmash of economic threats, campaign-style attacks on Republicans, repeated offers of budget talks and numerous promises to reject any compromise.
“I’m not budging when it comes to the full faith and credit of the United States. … I think people understand that,” Obama told reporters in the White House’s press office.
The threat came shortly after he suggested he’d be willing to accept a budget deal that would require the GOP to abandon its Obamacare reforms in exchange for subsequent chats with him about ways to improve the effectiveness of his health-sector takeover.
During the hour-long press conference and speaking in a low, calm voice, Obama slammed the GOP as deadbeats and extremists, as kidnappers, as unserious and insincere. He portrayed them as opposed to health care and as threatening to drop a “nuclear bomb” on the nation’s economy, while repeatedly also praising himself as willing to compromise and negotiate.
“I’ve shown myself as willing to go more than halfway,” he said adding that “the more extreme portion” of the GOP blocked House Speaker John Boehner from agreeing to a deal with Obama in 2011.
He also threw in some condescending remarks, saying, “I’m happy to talk to any of them individually and walk them through exactly why [a default] is irresponsible.”
The stream of invective and contempt reassures his supporters and motivates them to turn out in the 2014 election, but boosts the GOP’s long-standing distrust of the president’s willingness or political ability to negotiate.
It also goads the GOP to continue its demand for Obamacare reforms, amid the risk that a backlash by non-ideological swing voters could cost them seats in the 2014 election.
However, Obama’s rhetoric hasn’t dramatically shifted the polls, which show that each party’s supporters are united in support of their leaders.
So far, swing voters see Obama and both parties to blame for the budget stand-off.
Throughout his statements, Obama defended the Senate’s Democratic majority, which has blocked all of the GOP’s government-funding bills and its reforms of Obamacare.
Obama emphasized his no-compromise stance by promising to block the GOP’s numerous government-funding bills until the GOP agrees to drop its Obamacare reforms, which include ending a tax on medical devices, and ending lucrative concessions for well-paid congressional staff.
“Of course, I’m tempted [to accept the mini-bills, but]… if there’s no political heat, if there is no television story on it, then nothing happens.”
He rejected a suggestion that any budget compromise could include a mandated set of subsequent negotiations. “I don’t know that we need to set up a new committee,” he said.
But, he added, “I’m prepared to talk about anything” providing the GOP gives in to his demands for an unconditional short-term funding bill.
He jumped on one reporter’s question about the impact of any so-called “default,” by claiming that the public does not understand that any decision to not pay one part of the federal government’s $3.8 trillion budget amounts to a formal welshing on U.S. debts.
Under the Constitution, all government debts must be paid prior to domestic programs, ensuing that the United States’ creditors will be paid from normal tax revenues, unless the interest payments grow larger than monthly tax receipts.