The PJ Tatler

When today means today, and when it doesn't, at the White House

When does today mean today?  And when does today mean…well, sometime down the road?

White House reporters got a language lesson today in the meaning of words.  Today might mean today, but today might also mean…well, in the indefinite future.

At issue was when White House reporters today asked President Obama when he would release a real budget that would really cut spending.  President Obama’s new $3.73 trillion budget — released yesterday — has no cuts in entitlements and a freeze on spending at current levels — at levels 24% higher than two years ago.

“You guys are pretty impatient,” the president replied today to reporters. “If something doesn’t happen today, then the assumption is it isn’t going to happen.”

Gee.  Now the tone was a little different about a week ago in the White House briefing room.  That’s when President Obama demanded that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resign.  His press secretary, Robert Gibbs, said that when he proclaimed that Mubarak should leave “now,” he meant, well, “now.”

The next day Gibbs railed again about Mubarak still hanging around, saying “Now means yesterday.” “When we said ‘now,’ we meant ‘yesterday’… that’s what the people of Egypt want to see.”

OK, we get it.  Last week today meant now.  But when releasing today’s budget, it does not mean that its today’s budget.