Conservatives hoping that President Barack Obama would return to the White House after the presidential election a little humbler and more open to compromise were in for a rude awakening on Friday.
In a statement Friday afternoon President Obama renewed his call for tax increases on the wealthy and attempted to use the same style of ‘scare tactics’ on GOP leadership in Congress to get his plan passed that his campaign claimed just three days ago his opposition was using to undercut his the President.
“Right now, if Congress fails to come to an agreement on an overall deficit reduction package by the end of the year, everybody’s taxes will automatically go up on January 1st – everybody’s,” he said. He then ironically stated that “we shouldn’t need long negotiations or drama” to stop that from happening.
The President’s economic statement Friday was in response to the looming “fiscal cliff” or sequestration America will face in 2013 when the Bush tax cuts expire if Congress doesn’t act. Although the President said he was “not wedded to every detail” of his plan and that he was “open to compromise” and “new ideas,” he made it clear that the details of his plan he was willing to compromise on were not the crucial tax increasing portions the GOP previously opposed and has said it will continue to opposed.
The President repeatedly reminded the audience that Congress should adapt his plan because this plan was a key reason he was reelected this week.
“[I] just want to point out this was a central question during the election. It was debated over and over again,” he said. “And on Tuesday night, we found out that the majority of Americans agree with my approach.”
Despite winning the election by only two and a half percent and only 61,211,036 of the 119, 411, 468 votes that had been counted as of Friday, the President took that as a “loud and clear” message that Americans “won’t tolerate dysfunction” anymore.
“What the American people are looking for is cooperation. They’re looking for consensus. They’re looking for common sense,” Obama went on to say.
He also characterized Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) earlier in the speech as open to tax increases, which is not true.
“I was encouraged to hear Speaker Boehner agree that tax revenue has to be part of this equation. So I look forward to hearing his ideas when I see him next week,” the President said referring to negotiations he said earlier in the speech he’d invited the leaders of both parties in Congress to.
At a press conference earlier in the day Boehner said that he was willing to sit down for negotiations and to make compromises, including discussing new revenues, but he said raising taxes on any American was out of the question.
The President’s mischaracterization of Speaker Boehner’s words were reminiscent of his campaign strategy to defame Republicans during the campaign by the party’s position on key issues.
In fact, the entire ‘statement’ was set up more like a campaign event than an official White House pronouncement. During the East Room event President Obama was flanked by 15 “middle class Americans” and was surrounded by 194 supporters. The President also refused to take questions from the press afterward, yet again, signaling that Americans can expect his second term to be much like his first term, just like Mitt Romney predicted.
UPDATE: White House has announced that the President will hold his first press in eight months on Wed. Nov. 14. This will be hist first White House press conference since March 6.