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LIVE BLOG: President’s Press Conference

11:36 We’re talking too much about debts and deficits which means we can’t talk about spending money on community colleges. Community colleges????

11:34 It comes down, says Obama, to “who’s trying to get things done.” That is an odd formulation; what voters want is for politicians to do things the voters think are good ideas and block things that are bad ideas.

11:31 As usual, the longer Obama goes, the more he begins to lose his cool. He attacks Republicans on trade deals, on failing to support his infrastructure bill…

11:25 “If the American people looked at this, they might say, ‘Boy, some of these choices are tough. But they don’t require us to” do anything about Social Security or Medicare, lower federal aid for college, deal with veterans benefits….So where are the tough choices again?

11:22 “We don’t need a constitutional amendment to do our jobs,” Obama says about the balanced-budget amendment. “We need to make tough choices.” Like, you know, spending $700 billion on TARP and bailing out the auto companies and a stimulus of $863 billion and passing health care. Lots of tough choices there.

11:19 Obama fears morphing into Carter, so he’s trying desperately to morph into Clinton, including the triangulating.

11:17 The only specific cut of any sort Obama mentions by name is ethanol subsidies. The only one.

11:15 Obama’s demeanor has changed entirely from the press conference earlier in the week. He’ s feeling far more confident that he has the wind at his back.

11:13 So basically Obama that it’s not serious to cut the federal budget by $2.4 trillion but that only modest changes to Medicare and Social Security can result in trillions of dollars in savings.

11:12 Obama is saying they’ve identified cuts of over a trillion dollars in defense and discretionary spending. 11:10 “I’m not going to get into specifics,” Obama says about the cuts he’s willing to accept, and there is the nub. If he isn’t willing to get into specifics, how on earth can a “big deal” be made?

11:09 “Modest changes” in Medicare and Social Security can save trillions of dollars, Obama says. It’s all so simple!

11:04 Jake Tapper asks about what exactly Obama is willing to do when it comes to entitlement spending, what specific piece of entitlement spending is on the table. This is a question the ABC correspondent has been pressing on White House press secretary for days without result. Obama answers by saying he’s willing to look at all kinds of approached and mentions only specific programs he won’t cut. Then he says he supports some form of means-testing for people of his age. Which, given the fact that he won’t be collecting on Medicare for 15 years, won’t really help.

11:03 For the first time in a long time when it comes to political gamesmanship, Obama is showing some real canniness here. If he keeps talking and talking and talking about how he wants a huge amount of deficit reduction, over time he may succeed in connecting his name to the idea even if the administration is actually unserious about it.

11:02 Obama is very confident that he has the winning argument here, and he’s using polling data suggesting Republicans believe in “revenues”—i.e., tax increases—just as he does.

11:00 Obama reiterates that all Congressional leaders want the debt ceiling raised. But again, Obama says “we have a chance to do something big…to stabilize America’s economy for the next ten years.”



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