But during his town hall appearance on Wednesday in Arnold, Missouri, the president took an unprompted swipe at the cable news networks (presumably, Fox News) and Tea Party protesters ("folks waving tea bags around") whose complaints about government spending, he said, were the equivalent of political gamesmanship.
"When you see, you know, those of you that are watching certain news channels on which I'm not very popular, and you see folks waving tea bags around, 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," he said. "[Sen.] Claire [McCaskill] and I are working diligently to basically do a thorough audit of federal spending," Obama told the crowd, at one point mimicking the waving of a tea bag with his left hand.
"But let's not play games and pretend that the reason is because of the Recovery Act, because that is just a fraction of the overall problem that we've got. We are going to have to tighten our belts but we are going to have to do it intelligently. And we got to make sure that the people helped are working American families and we are not suddenly saying that the way to do this is to eliminate programs that help ordinary people and give more tax cuts to the wealthy. We tried that formula for eight years and it did not work. And I don't intend to go back to it."
I may not agree or even like what Obama is or is not doing, but it's so nice to have someone in the office of the president who thinks rationally.