With the nation’s economy continuing to falter and even dissatisfied liberals threatening note to vote in November, President Obama took to the bully pulpit and made a statement on the economy at the White House.
The president wore a dark suit with a blue tie and a flag lapel pin — he had stopped wearing flag pins in public in the years after 9-11. Obama opened claiming that this recovery has been stronger than recoveries from previous recessions. From there he segued into a discussion of the threat of another recession, and blamed the economic environment in Europe for that threat, echoing last year’s attempts to blame the Japanese tsunami and the Arab uprisings for preventing a “recovery summer” in the United States. Obama called on Europe to act to stabilize their financial system, and to strengthen the eurozone by collaborating on national budgets. President Obama also called on the EU to promote economic growth and job creation.
President Obama then blamed Congress for not passing his “jobs plan,” blaming them for stubborn unemployment. He urged Congress to pass his plan in full, a plan that calls for another round of massive government stimulus spending, which would again increase the deficit and national debt. The president claimed that his jobs plan has garnered bipartisan and non-partisan support, and called on Congress to explain why it will not pass his plan.
After about five minutes, the president took questions from the press. Obama called for press questions from a list of pre-selected reporters, a strong hint that the questions themselves had been pre-arranged with members of the mainstream media.
The first question asked what role is the EU “debt crisis” playing in the U.S. economy. President Obama answered that it isn’t just a debt crisis, that Greece has “spent more than they’re bringing in, and they’ve got problems.” Under Obama the U.S. has piled up $5 trillion in debt in three years. He said some EU countries were running surpluses and they’re in trouble, too. The president said Spain and Italy have embarked on “smart” reforms, citing changes to tax collection and labor markets, but not Spain’s cutting back on its massive “green” energy campaign that has been shown to destroy jobs.
The final question concerned the cascade of national security leaks that have made their way to the front pages of the New York Times of late. The president declined to comment on the “details of what are supposed to be classified items.” He added that as commander in chief, he understands that the issues touch on national security and war and peace and they’re classified for a reason. He said that these reports showing up on the front pages of newspapers make our military’s job tougher and his own job tougher. He claimed that he has had a “zero tolerance” approach to leaks. But Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers still has his job despite the fact that he leaked SEAL Team 6 names to Hollywood producers. The president said it is “offensive” and “wrong” to accuse him or his team of leaking sensitive national security information. He offered no evidence that such a policy actually exists in his administration.
The president took no questions on the Wisconsin recall or the California pension reforms passed on Tuesday.
The president offered nothing new in today’s presser. He offered the same son-of-stimulus plan that has already failed. He blamed the eurozone for the moribund U.S. economy, despite the fact that his own policies — ObamaCare, his desire to end the Bush tax cuts, and his unbridled regulatory state — are killing American jobs. He called for government “investments,” despite his record of failed investments in green initiatives like Solyndra. He claimed that the US economy has created 800,000 jobs this year and that “the private sector is doing just fine.” He said that public sector jobs are where the layoffs and pain are occurring, but if he believes that then he would do well to look to the reforms championed and passed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. His reforms have saved public sector jobs and lowered local property taxes at the same time, both of which will spur economic growth. President Obama strongly opposed those reforms, and tepidly supported the failed recall attempt on Gov. Walker.
Update: #doingjustfine is already a popular Twitter hashtag, with tweeters posting things like “Battleship movie? #doingjustfine.” #doingjustfine is trending number one as of 10:37 central time.
Update: Video of the president’s remarks at RealClearPolitics.