After reporters called out White House press secretary Jay Carney for the administration sudden new fandom of former President Ronald Reagan, the spokesman insisted that President Obama wasn’t looking at his predecessors “through an ideological lens.”
Obama and his team have named-dropped the 40th president several times lately in an effort to show that modern-day Republicans are more extreme than their party idol.
Carney was asked at yesterday’s press briefing how Obama was fielding the GOP critique that “he’s the first President to run for reelection espousing a tax hike.”
“Well, he is not the first President, as President Obama noted today, to make publicly clear his belief that some basic fairness is essential when it comes to our tax code; that as Ronald Reagan said in 1985, a CEO — and he cited a specific CEO — should not pay income tax or taxes on his income or her income at a lower rate than his or her secretary,” Carney said. “And again, this is a specific example that Ronald Reagan himself cited. It sounds remarkably similar to the discussion that we’re having today.”
He then brought up the “market-oriented solution” of the individual mandate in the healthcare law.
“It’s like what Ronald Reagan said about — is Ronald Reagan wrong?” Carney continued. “You should ask the Speaker of the House, the Majority Leader, the Senate Minority Leader, do they believe President Reagan was wrong when he said that back in 1985, saying essentially word for word what the President said today? I’d love the question.”
“But Reagan was in his second term at the time,” a reporter noted.
“And in his first term, President Reagan, working with Democrats in Congress including the Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neill, repeatedly took actions not just to lower taxes, as this President has done — every year he’s been in office he has lowered taxes for the middle class, and not once but twice but 17 times has lowered taxes for small businesses — but he also — he, President Reagan, raised revenues when necessary for the financial health of the country, when necessary to stabilize an entitlement program,” Carney rattled on. “In other words, he worked with the other party on sensible solutions to the economic challenges of the day — a balanced approach, you might say — an approach that Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan somehow managed to agree on. An approach that President Obama has been taking repeatedly when he has been engaged in these negotiations with members of the other party on Capitol Hill.”
“Has he always been such a fan of Ronald Reagan’s?” Carney was asked.
“Look, I think President Obama is an admirer of sensible leadership,” the press secretary responded. “And that doesn’t mean he agrees with every of one of his predecessors on every issue, but he does not look at this through an ideological lens.”