President Obama took up the House Republican leadership’s invitation to speak at their annual retreat yesterday where he deftly batted away every GOP talking point and made the Republicans wish that they have never allowed cameras to film the gathering. Obama called out the Republicans for being all tactics with no problem solving.
Here is the video from CNN:
Obama dominated the room because the Republicans chose to phrase their questions as election year talking points, Rep. Jim Hensarling asked, “But this is what I don’t understand, Mr. President. After that discussion, your administration proposed a budget that would triple the national debt over the next 10 years. Surely you don’t believe 10 years from now we will still be mired in this recession. It proposed new entitlement spending and moved the — the cost of government to almost 24.5 percent of the economy…But this is what I don’t understand, Mr. President. After that discussion, your administration proposed a budget that would triple the national debt over the next 10 years. Surely you don’t believe 10 years from now we will still be mired in this recession. It proposed new entitlement spending and moved the — the cost of government to almost 24.5 percent of the economy.”
Obama destroyed Hensarling with his reply, “I’ve just got to take this last question as an example of how it’s very hard to have the kind of bipartisan work that we’re going to do, because the whole question was structured as a talking point for running — running a campaign. Now, look, let’s talk about the budget, once again, because I’ll go through it with you line by line.”
The president went on later to say, “Had nothing to do with anything that we had done. It had to do with the fact that in 2000, when there was a budget surplus of $200 billion, you had a Republican administration and a Republican Congress, and we had two tax cuts that weren’t paid for, you had a prescription drug plan — the biggest entitlement plan, by the way, in several decades — that was passed, without it being paid for, you had two wars that were done through supplementals, and then you had $3 trillion projected because of the lost revenue of this recession.”
It was so bad that Republicans are now regretting letting the cameras into the room. Here is the video of Luke Russert’s report on MSNBC from Think Progress:
Republicans made two huge mistakes. First, they tried to use Obama as a prop for the 2010 campaign. Secondly, they underestimated Barack Obama. I don’t know why they thought that Obama would just play along with their talking points. They must have already forgotten 2008. The Obama that we saw yesterday was vintage 2008 Obama.
This is the president that his supporters have been waiting for. The contrast was striking between the empty talking points of the GOP and facts that Obama brought to the table. Instead of being a show of GOP strength, the gathering became an exercise of presidential muscle. Obama may be invited back to the House GOP retreat, but the reporters and cameras won’t be.