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Obama Tries Redefining Himself

President Obama is on television right now delivering a speech to the Business Roundtable that can be variously summed up thus: I am not a socialist. This reminds me of the awkward moment over the past weekend when the President called back a New York Times reporter to clarify his answer to the query "are you a socialist?" (Warning: Listening to the audio at the link is very difficult owing to the extraordinarily high "uh ratio").

On a flight from Ohio to Washington on Friday, Mr. Obama was asked whether his domestic policies suggested that he was a socialist, as some conservatives have implied.

"The answer would be no," he said, laughing for a moment before defending his administration for "making some very tough choices" on the budget.

As the interview progressed, Mr. Obama never returned to the question. When he called, he said he had been thinking about it as he boarded the helicopter taking him back to the White House.

"It was hard for me to believe that you were entirely serious about that socialist question," Mr. Obama said from the Oval Office.

He then dismissed the criticism, saying the large-scale government intervention in the markets and the expansion of social welfare programs had begun under his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush.

and,

"By the time we got here, there already had been an enormous infusion of taxpayer money into the financial system," he said, adding, "The fact that we've had to take these extraordinary measures and intervene is not an indication of my ideological preference, but an indication of the degree to which lax regulation and extravagant risk taking has precipitated a crisis."

It's well established that this president and his apologists can hardly articulate a policy position without blaming something on the previous administration, but the fact that President Obama felt compelled to "clear up" his answer to the socialist question speaks to the pressure the administration must be feeling perhaps from opinion polls like this. One rule of politics is that once it becomes necessary to explain what you are not it is probably too late.

The harsh lesson for the Obama spin meisters is that once policy is established by signed legislation it is much more difficult to erase the stamp such positions put on the politician, an inconvenient truth perhaps for a politician with as little experience as Barrack Obama.


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Comments (17)

During the campaign, The Da... (Below threshold)
Edward Sisson Author Profile Page:

During the campaign, The Daily Show dealt with the "socialism" issue by bringing on an avowed socialist and asking him: 'Is Obama a socialist?' to which the avowed socialist said, 'No, of course not.' And the audience is left thinking: 'Well, so much for that allegation, it's obviously phony.' But the technique is a transparently invalid way of dealing with the question. Of course someone who is more extreme and public on an issue will describe those who are not as extreme as not being "the real thing." No doubt the MSM will now adopt the same approach.

People have got to know ... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

People have got to know whether or not their president's a socialist. Well, I'm not a socialist.

Familiar ring ?

If it squawks like a social... (Below threshold)
914:

If it squawks like a socialist than there must be some truth to it.

"He then dismissed the crit... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

"He then dismissed the criticism, saying the large-scale government intervention in the markets and the expansion of social welfare programs had begun under his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush."

Okay, time for a recap of the Obama phenomenon up to this point. Let's see, he's been JFK, Lincoln, FDR and now George W. Bush. He's quite the chameleon isn't he?

Obama's handlers had to str... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Obama's handlers had to straighten out the NYTimes on the socialist question. Why? Because there was no teleprompter to explain his positions. This guy is a joke and most americans are starting to get it. ww

I've never claimed he's a S... (Below threshold)
marc:

I've never claimed he's a Socialist, a far... FAR leftest yes.

However I do find it interesting the communist party of the U.S. has such glowing praise for Obama.

I'm waiting for the spin ab... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

I'm waiting for the spin about 'labeling' people.

As my grandfather once told me; "If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, flies like a duck, has wings like a duck, it's a fucking duck."

And to think he never even graduated high school!

You can put lipstick on a p... (Below threshold)
914:

You can put lipstick on a pig but You cant cut any pork from the Ospama administration.

You can take the boy out of... (Below threshold)
braininahat:

You can take the boy out of a socialist country, but you can't take the socialist out of the boy.

I said, "boy". RACIST!

"Obama tries redefining ... (Below threshold)
914:

"Obama tries redefining Himself"

After the first 50 days of this crap I think We would all respect Him more if Obama tries resigning Himself.

The campaign is over Obama,... (Below threshold)

The campaign is over Obama, we will judge you by your actions...and the results. Not by your promises, rhetoric, excuses and spin.
http://www.rightklik.net/

Okay Obama, we won't just c... (Below threshold)
TOhio:

Okay Obama, we won't just call you a "Socialist" we'll call you the "Socialist Messiah."

Obama's voting in the U.S. Senate (for the little time that he was there) was to the LEFT of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont who is an open Socialist.

Here's a link to the analys... (Below threshold)
TOhio:

Here's a link to the analysis discussing Obama's liberal voting record. Notice that in 2007, Obama was #1 in his liberal voting ranking, beating out Bernie Sanders, Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton...

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=132x4501043

The lesson? Don't listen to what Obama says, look at what he does.

"By the time we got here... (Below threshold)
ODA315:

"By the time we got here, there already had been an enormous infusion of taxpayer money into the financial system," he said

So he decided to double it.

That's hope we can believe in.

Obama took questions only f... (Below threshold)
annette:

Obama took questions only from his list. No off the cuff remarks. The entire speech to the businessment was a campaign speech offering no insight to his economic plan. The business men who were allowed to speak a question were fawning at best.

"He then dismissed the c... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"He then dismissed the criticism, saying the large-scale government intervention in the markets and the expansion of social welfare programs had begun under his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush."

Shorter: He started it!

Even shorter: Bush!

Obama has worn out his opti... (Below threshold)
annette:

Obama has worn out his option to point to the past administration as responsible for his failures.




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