WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner went on TV Monday night where neither explained what precisely will happen to force a solution to avoid a first-ever U.S. default in a week.
Obama’s team hurriedly scheduled the president’s 15-minute address to make a direct appeal to folks because this place is in a meltdown — and I am not talking about the heat wave here.
If you just tuned in last night, it may not have been obvious that Obama and Boehner — and the other Democratic and GOP congressional leaders — have been negotiating for weeks.
Obama’s team figured that with a crisis looming, he needed the prime-time address to show he is deeply involved in the debt limit negotiations, which he is. Obama’s suggestion in prodding a divided Congress to make a deal he will sign — was asking people to contact their congressman to urge a compromise. That’s it?
Chief of Staff Bill Daley Sunday on NBC and CBS tested for Obama a sound bite he used in his speech. Said Obama, “The American people may have voted for divided government, but they didn’t vote for a dysfunctional government.” Daley used the “divided” not “dysfunctional” slogan on the shows.
Boehner, touching on his business background, compared the nation’s escalating spending to that of companies making “the hard choices to pay their bills and live within their means,” while Washington goes on a deficit spending spree. He used that analogy to defend the GOP stand against any revenue (read that tax) increases. In the business world, not all firms just make cuts to make money. Some companies find ways to generate more revenues.
Obama zoned in on the Tea Party freshmen in Congress, though not by name. “I realize that a lot of the new members of Congress and I don’t see eye-to-eye on many issues. But we were each elected by some of the same Americans for some of the same reasons.”
Obama’s message: The independent voters who sent Obama to the White House were also some of the people who voted for them. And they can be switch hitters again.