Impatient Obama sharpens tone on ‘failed’ Republican tax ideas
Bipartisanship may be about to take a back seat to political reality in Washington.
President Barack Obama sharpened his rhetoric Thursday as he pushed the U.S. Senate to pass his nearly $900 billion economic stimulus bill, hammering Republican complaints that the measure doesn’t have enough tax cuts.
The Republican push is “rooted in the idea that tax cuts alone can solve all our problems, that government doesn’t have a role to play, that half-measures and tinkering are somehow enough, that we can afford to ignore our most fundamental economic challenges,” Obama told an audience of Energy Department staffers.
“So let me be clear: Those ideas have been tested, and they have failed. They’ve taken us from surpluses to an annual deficit of over $1 trillion. And they’ve brought our economy to a halt,” he said.
“Time for talk is over,” Obama said. “The time for action is now.”
The president’s shift in rhetorical tone came amid press criticism that the White House has let Republicans win the communications battle over his stimulus plan by characterizing it as wasteful and excessive.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs rejected the notion that Obama was backing away from his pledge of bipartisanship, noting the president hosted moderate Republicans Wednesday at the White House.
But asked if it was unfair to characterize Obama’s remarks as showing signs of impatience, Gibbs said: “I mean, I think when he said the time to talk is over, I think it’s fair to read impatience into that.”
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Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing (Obama speaks at Energy Department Thursday)