President Barack Obama still refuses to take any responsibility for delayed action on the budget, to acknowledge that, perhaps, he could have led differently (and more effectively) on this issue. This morning, when he gave his brief reaction to today’s dismal jobs report, he implied he has been doing everything possible to strengthen the economy and again deflected blame to Congress, calling on the House and Senate to take action “right now” to alleviate the economic hardship of millions of Americans.
“The economic challenges that we face weren’t created overnight and they’re not going to be solved overnight, but the American people expect us to act on every good idea that’s out there,” Obama said.
The president says he knows that includes “rein[ing] in our deficits and learn[ing] to live within our means” and he again praised the deficit reduction meeting he hosted yesterday, but he gave Congress little to no credit for driving the debt ceiling debate.
“We had a good meeting yesterday … but real differences remain,” the president said. “We agreed to meet back here on Sunday. … The sooner the markets know that the debt ceiling will have been raised, the sooner we have a plan to deal with our debt and deficit, the sooner we give businesses the certainty they need to grow and hire. … I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work over the next several weeks and next several months.”
He’s right, of course, but it all just seems like “too little, too late,” given how perseveringly Republicans in Congress have clamored for a concrete plan from Democrats.
The president also again disingenuously mentioned various stalled free trade agreements as though Congress has been the only hold-up, when the president procrastinated sending the agreements to Congress in the first place. He even included a jab at state budget cuts — citing those cuts among reasons unemployment is up.
Update: WSJ has the full transcript of the president’s comments.