President Barack Obama told the White House press corps late Wednesday that his ruthlessly partisan win in the three-week budget impasse shows the value of bipartisan moderation.
Eight days ago, he used the same podium in the same room to tell the same reporters that Republicans were acting like arsonists, kidnappers, deadbeats, butchers, lunatics and extortionists, obsessives, out-of-touch hostage-takers, nuclear-armed terrorists and extremists. (Related: Obama offers to fairly negotiate with nuclear-armed GOP terrorists [VIDEO])
He also worked with Senate Democrats to block numerous agency bills passed by the GOP-led House, then slammed the GOP for not funding the agencies, and even tried to justify the tactic in his appearance last week.
But late Wednesday, Obama dropped the harsh rhetoric and began his new effort to reassure voters prior to a pre-Christmas campaign in which he will seek to raise taxes, spending and immigration.
“I want to thank the leadership for coming together and getting this [budget deal] done,” he told the room of establishment journalists, who pride themselves on their skepticism.
“My hope and expectation is everybody has learned that there is no reason why we can’t work on the issues at hand, why we can’t disagree between the parties while still being agreeable, and make sure that we’re not inflicting harm on the American people when we do have disagreements,” he declared in a calm and reasonable tone.
“So hopefully that’s a lesson that will be internalized, not just by me but also by Democrats and Republicans, not only the leaders but also the rank and file,” he calmly told the journalists.
No journalist asked a question until he had left the podium.
Obama’s earlier vitriol was matched by similar incendiary rhetoric during the last few weeks.
On Sept. 30, for example, Obama used the same podium to lash at Republicans, portraying them as eager to close down the government and deny contraception to women merely to “save face.”
He said they were willing to “sacrifice the health care of millions of Americans… to extract a ransom… [and to] bring the entire government to a halt or the entire economy to a halt.”
In contrast, GOP leaders, including Rep. John Boehner, used moderate language, appealing for negotiations and for reforms of the trouble-plagued Democratic takeover of the nation’s health-sector.
Obama’s partisan attacks proved more powerful that Boehner’s appeal for compromise, partly because the established media broadcast Obama’s charges without skepticism or contradiction. The GOP establishment ultimately accepted Obama’s no-compromise demands.