If, as ABC claimed, he was “unaware” of the parties before, he’s not anymore.

Asked about fiscal discipline and entitlements reform, Obama seemed to be repressing a smile as he jabbed critics of his spending plans.

“Those of you who are watching certain news channels on which I’m not very popular, and you see folks waving tea bags around, Obama said, “let me just remind them that I am happy to have a serious conversation about how we are going to cut our health care costs down over the long term, how we are going to stabilize Social Security.”

“But,” Obama continued, “let’s not play games and pretend that the reason [for the deficit] is because of the Recovery Act.”

He’s right. It’s not the stimulus that’s going to cripple the economy. As Jay Cost noted yesterday, it’s the stimulus and the bank bailouts and the Big Three rescue and health care and increased education spending and an energy overhaul and the rest of whatever he’s got planned for Great Society II, all at the same time. Even so, emphasizing Fox News’s sponsorship of the parties is a shrewd move on Obama’s part. CK MacLeod warned us the day before the protests how that could backfire; the more corporate and partisan Obama can make the parties seem, the easier they are to discredit.

Here’s a dynamite YouTube demonstration making the rounds this morning that’ll illustrate just how serious The One is about that “serious conversation” he mentions. “I won”: Conversation over.

Update: The clip. Let’s reform government intelligently, not with … teabags.