Barack Obama went to the American people for the fifth time in three weeks to make an argument for, er, something to be done on the debt ceiling.  What does he want done?  He wants Congress to raise it, and he wants some deficit reduction, but just as he has for the last several weeks, Obama declined to offer his own plan or any specifics at all.  Obama did claim that making an issue of the debt ceiling was just silly, since voting to raise the debt ceiling is routine, and that Congress should vote for the debt ceiling increase anyway:

In the past, raising the debt ceiling was routine. Since the 1950s, Congress has always passed it, and every President has signed it. President Reagan did it 18 times. George W. Bush did it 7 times.

Ah, yes, Bush did ask for debt-ceiling increases seven times — three of which were when Obama served in the Senate.  In 2006, Obama didn’t think it was quite so routine:

The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.

Obama voted against the debt-ceiling increase in 2006.  He didn’t vote at all on the increases in 2007 and 2008, which combined raised the ceiling by $1.65 trillion, or about two-thirds of the one-time increase he seeks now.  Given that Obama was running for President in 2007 and 2008, one can presume that he didn’t want to have that kind of a vote on his record for the campaign, which gives us a real indication of just how routine Obama felt a debt-ceiling hike was then, too.

Obama talks the talk now, but when it came time to cast his own votes when it counted, Obama walked … away.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!