President Barack Obama’s Jan. 14 press conference included many attacks and much self-praise and numerous contradictory charges — few of which were recognized or highlighted by the reporters that presented the event in terms vary favorable to the president.
Republicans “demonize” him, Obama complained, shortly after he declared that Republicans were putting an economic “gun at the head of the American people … [and] threaten to wreck the entire economy.”
“I’m a pretty friendly guy,” he said, not long after suggesting that he would stop checks for veterans and retirees if the GOP didn’t raise the White House’s $16.4 trillion credit limit. (RELATED: Obama says old folks, sick, troops will face chopping block if GOP doesn’t OK bigger debt)
“I don’t think anybody would consider my position unreasonable here,” he said, shortly after he called for additional spending that would further boost the nation’s debt. The debt is already slated to reach $20 trillion by the end of his second term — or roughly $125,000 per working-age American.
Obama declared that GOP politicians “have suspicions about whether government should make sure that kids in poverty are getting enough to eat,” but then added that “Michelle and I are very nice to them and we have a wonderful time” on congressional picnics. (RELATED: Obama in final first-term press conference: Republicans are ‘suspicious’ about feeding poor children)
GOP staffers and mainstream commentators were quick to highlight the televised contradictions.
“Wasn’t Barack Obama supposed to put an end to partisan bickering and finger pointing?,” read a tweet from Doug Heye, a spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
The suggestion that the GOP would let children starve “is essentially a libel,” commentator Charles Krauthammer said on Fox. “Then [Obama] said, ‘Oh yes, but I love hanging out at congressional picnic with these people who want to starve America’s children,” he added.
Peter Wehner, a former White House adviser now at the Washington-based Ethics and Public Policy Center, said Obama’s comments about hungry kids is slander. “Leave it to Mr. Obama to level the charge that … in the very press conference in which he complains about ‘how much energy has been devoted in some of the media … to demonize me,’” he said. (RELATED VIDEO: Hume: “Strikingly aggressive and partisan” Obama looking to deepen problems for GOP)
“This is a variation of what psychiatrists refer to as projection,” Wehner added.
During his 47 minute appearance, Obama also charged that the GOP intends to “to hijack the process and make sure that either we get our way 100 percent of the time, or otherwise we are going to default on America’s obligations.” But Obama has scorned significant curbs or reforms of his favored programs. (RELATED VIDEO: Mark Levin lays into “arrogant as hell imperial president”)
Any budget cuts, he said, would “fundamentally change commitments that we’ve made to make sure that seniors don’t go into poverty, or that children who are disabled are properly cared for.”
Obama and other top Democrats voted against raising the debt ceiling in 2006 when President George W. Bush was in the White House, read a tweet from Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Speaker of the House John Boehner: “OBAMA VOTED AGAINST RAISING THE DEBT CEILING IN 2006 AND FOR DEFAULT (BY HIS REASONING).”
But most established media outlets ignored the contradictions.
A Politico article, headlined, “President Obama; Likable Enough,” declared that Obama “lamented — tongue-in-cheek — that Republicans are too worried about Fox News and the tea party to allow themselves to be swayed by his charming, fun-loving personality.”
“President Obama vowed Monday that he would not negotiate with Republicans over the federal debt ceiling, warning that Social Security checks would be delayed and the nation could enter a new recession if Republicans do not agree to raise the limit on government borrowing,” led a Washington Post article, which highlighted Obama’s hardline rhetoric, but not the contradictions and flips-flops.
“Mr. Obama called the final news conference of his first term to reinforce before national television cameras his demand that Congress unconditionally increase the legal limit on the government’s authority to borrow money to pay its bills,” The New York Times reported.
Obama also touted his claim that he has negotiated a cut of $2.5 billion in 10-year spending plans, but didn’t mention that his plan now projects deficit spending of $6.4 trillion over that period, nor did he acknowledge that his administration has spent $2.4 trillion in borrowed funds since 2010.
“President Obama showed that he either thinks he can pull the wool over Americans’ eyes through the sheer force of his own outrageous rhetoric, or else he really believes his own rhetoric and is living in a fantasyland,” read an article in The Weekly Standard. “The guess here is that it’s a roughly even mix of the two,” it added.