Can the White House stick to a story, even when the story is five years old? Apparently not. When Republicans first threatened to vote against raising the debt limit as Congress opened its 112th Session, the White House painted “no” votes as extreme … until someone dug up Barack Obama’s vote against a debt-ceiling hike in 2006, complete with an Obama lecture on leadership. Robert Gibbs explained it away as “symbolic” despite the fact that the vote to pass was a narrow 52-48. Three months later, Obama has changed his mind on the vote yet again:
“I think what is important is — understand that raising the debt limit was not in question in the outcome,” Gibbs said at the time, arguing that Obama’s vote was not needed on the issue, even though the total was 52-48. “I think, clearly, he was sending a message.”
But the White House reversed itself. Instead of defending the first-term senator’s vote as a reasonable protest vote against Bush administration policies, Obama aides are now disavowing it.
“He believes that vote was a mistake,” said senior adviser David Plouffe in an appearance on Fox News Sunday this week. Carney reiterated the point early on in Monday’s briefing: “The president, as David Plouffe said yesterday, regrets that vote and thinks it was a mistake. He realizes now that raising the debt ceiling is so important to the health of this economy that it is not a vote that even when you are protesting an administration’s policies you can play around with.”
So when did he start regretting it? When it came to light in January, or when Obama realized that his first story was too laughable to stick?
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!