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February 6th, 2009
12:48 PM ET

President Obama: No more Mr. Nice Guy?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/02/05/obama.stimulus/art.obama.speech.gi.jpg]
Barclay Palmer
AC360° Senior Producer

Was he really mad, or was he playing them like a fiddle?

President Obama had reached out to Republicans, seeking a bipartisan consensus and including tax cuts in his Stimulus Plan.

When Republicans in the House didn't sign on, and some Democrats complained they didn't like his plans either, some wondered if President Obama's conciliations were making him look weak.

And then came last night. He broke out the big guns - firing off campaign-style rhetoric, saying in effect, You're with me, or , you're pushing "worn out ideas that helped create this crisis."

Can he win by alternating like that between good cop and bad cop? Is he doomed to fall into the same partisan rut that his predecessors fell into?

What's your take?


Filed under: Barack Obama • Raw Politics
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Patrick from Bäle

    In a time of serious crisis, more often than not, people forget about their economic, political, religious and sexual biases, etc. and all pitch in to help. Well, people, we are in crisis! So, let's just protect our status, inhance our biases, re-establish our constituency and help civilization dig a deeper hole to burry itself in!

    Barak Obama was elected on a platform of "change." A majority choose the most principled candidate, one who perhaps represents the best 'hope' for change. No politition, economist or entrepreneur has been able to offer a solution to this enormous problem. So, where or on what basis do we find the right direction for working on solutions to this crisis? Since no one knows the best way forward, perhaps we might find our best 'hope' in principles, values and integrity working on the various solutions. So, let's not waste any time, let's get down to "business as usual," let's just cut off the legs, or poke out the eyes, or cut off the fingers or hands of our newly elected president or maybe just beat him up behind the oval office and let my own or my party's, or my affiliation's principles values and integrity work on this crisis. After all, there's an election just around the corner and we can't look to be supporting the guy who, on principles that perhaps we don't even claim to understand, kicked our you know whats,"___s!" We can't afford to give him or anybody for that matter even 100 days to work on these problems. We'll just 'slash and burn' until 'we' get to make the mistakes but without so much integrity and principle getting in the way. After all this is politics and no matter what the crisis, it's 'business-as-usual;' every man, woman and party for him, her or itself. It's the American way, right? Even if things don't work out as we might hope they would, what kind of an America do we want? Principled or 'business-as-usual.'

    February 7, 2009 at 9:44 am |
  2. Michelle

    Obama is striking the right balance.Obama is right to stand up
    to the Repubs who think they can force people to adopt their
    tired ideas from the 1900's.We are in the 21st century. The
    rest of the world is doing everything they can to fix the mess
    the global economy is in. If the United States of America
    does not show it is serious about fixing the mess the rest of
    the world considers America to responsible for, we will not
    be leading the free world .

    February 6, 2009 at 8:09 pm |
  3. Veryconcerned!

    Also, I can't help but wonder why American's were not so outraged and the many, many America's who wanted GWB, GHB & RR to fail...? Why must we be compliant and politer when this was never shown from the left for the last 8 years. Unlike the left-we do not get personal and slander family, etc. We ask questions about policy, judgement and integrity.

    February 6, 2009 at 7:35 pm |
  4. Latonya

    I do not think it is about President Obama winning, its just time to stop the talking and take some actions. Either you with the President or not.

    February 6, 2009 at 6:49 pm |
  5. Annie Kate

    Obama is probably as frustrated as the rest of us over the naysayers who want him to fail because he is not a GOP. These people seem to not realize that if Obama fails on this economy package then they too will suffer – Obama will still be in the office – that won't change for 4 years. So the best thing to do is to realize we are all in this together and work to make it work so the suffering can be abated or ended. The GOP is fast becoming known as the party who object to everything and stand in the way of getting things for the people done. With that kind of reputation the voting polls will continue to go against them. Try to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

    February 6, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  6. Veryconcerned!

    And to those that enjoy blaming republicans for the opposition to a spending package...As Obama said "I won", you won, you control the majority. You will get your few republican signatures (those that should not be republicans) and you can own the bill. If it is sooooo good for America, then own, love it and reap the benefits.

    But...I think there is a lot, a lot of fear that when this spending bites back-and inflation is sky high (see Carter admin. last time Dem's had control of WH and congress), and the American people wake up. I don't think dems want to be the only ones with their names on their pet projects.

    February 6, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  7. Veryconcerned!

    "Firing off campaign-style rhetoric"...this is all the Man knows how to do! Instead leading on the stimulus he turned it over to Pelosi and Reid to shovel full of pork. There is no real stimulus!! This man is not a leader-he is over his head and every day it shows more. We have a rookie! When the country needs a leader.
    It is a sad, sad road America is going down w/ this spending package (and before you go on a tirade-I was not for any bailout.). These programs will become part of our budget-and we have just gifted our children and grandchildren a mountain of debt..and soon the real monster will rear its ugly head~INFLATION!
    This article makes me laugh-we admired Clinton for being a great liar-and now we admire Obama for Rhetoric.
    Jeez-where have all the journalists gone??

    February 6, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  8. Jean Cheek

    Not being a great follower of polites I can understand President Obama. Things have got to change. The Republicans just can not get use to taking orders from a black man. So they are rebelling against everything. It's sad that some of us won't change. I feel that the money is going to have to circulate around. It will eventually end up back to the goverment in some kind of tax. If they don't help the business stay open to provide jobs who is going to shop to keep the stores and other bussiness open, It's just a circle of life. Came on republicans give it a chance, Try something different. In the end we all will benefit or we all will fail. President Obama was elected by they people for a change in the policies Let the man do his job.

    February 6, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  9. Mary

    The Media is confusing; they build the plan up and tear it down I don't know what to believe. When I hear Obama talk about the plan I’m all for it until I turn on the TV. (Cnn,) Obama is trying his best to help the people but the Media is mess with the people mind. Obama need to go straight to the people because the media is all about rating not the American people. People survive is at risk The Media is the enemy not the Republicans. I like CNN, but they need to stop messing with the people mind and report the facts. that we are all in over our head
    unless obama get us out of this mess.

    February 6, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  10. Chris Lethem

    Stop Interviewing Axelrod. He's nothing but a mouthpiece for Obama.
    Axelrod twists a technical issues such as how to stimulate the economy based on Obama's mandate and McCains idea's are wrong based only on his loss of the election.
    Yes, we need to do something different than the previous administration. Just because tax cuts may not be the only way to stimulate the economy doesn't make your way the only right way. Spending for the sake of spending will undermine the well being of American's for the next 100 years.
    Your rationale is moronic and the type of sylogistic logic. and is the type employed by sleezebag lawyers. Implementing illogical rhetoric shows how desperate and indefensible your position is on the process going on in Washington D.C. over the so called "economic stimulus package".
    As far as I'm concerned the chinese approach to dealing with the criminals on wall street would have costs much less and stimulated the banks to clean up their mess. (Chinese approach involves a single bullet to the back of the head) and they send the family a bill for the bullet.

    February 6, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  11. Keith Gipson

    I think it's time to bring the "nuclear option" into play.

    February 6, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  12. Lookie

    My biggest fear is that this is the beginning of the end of the Great America as we know it. Everywhere I turn, everybody is spewing hate and venom. Everybody knows it all and nobody is willing to compromise or admit that their views may not be best at this time. Put 10 economists in the room, and no concensus will be reached. How much more 600 nincompus in the capitol. We cant agree on energy, education, trade, labor, regulatory and every other policy out there. No wonder China and the rest of the world is catching up to us and hold our b*lls in their hands.
    Tax cuts and government spending will do something but nobody knows for sure what will work. So let's stop this bickering and get to BLOODY WORK!

    February 6, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  13. Tony

    If an employee doesn't do what the boss says to do, they get Fired IMMEDIATELY!!! It's TIME that the AMERICAN PEOPLE let CONGRESS and SENATORS know THAT THEY WORK & ARE PAID BY US. We elected Their BOSS, so DO what the boss wants or get FIRED NOW!!! It's time that the people of the U.S. stop waiting for Years till election time to get some of these People OUT of Office!!! Also,How Many average Worker's get to Vote to GIVE Themselves a Raise? It's Time that THE PEOPLE Start to Vote Weather or Not They Get a Raise!!!

    February 6, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  14. mayansmom

    I think the Republicans are a joke, and Mc Cain is one of the biggest. When his theme didn't work he tried to steal the "change" theme and lo and behold!!! where is his change now? Back to fighting everything a Democrate comes up with. It would NOT have mattered if everything the Republicans want was in this stimulus, they would not approve it because when it suceeds guess who is going to get the credit. NOT THEM. They have abused and stolen and ran roughshod over us for 8 years, and 12 before that, and look at us now. If Bush had not stolen the election in 2000, would we still be here in this situation? I think not. People talk about welfare, have you ever really looked into the large companies that get subsidies year after year after year when they make millions and the small business person gets nothing. Who does really get most of the welfare in this country? Why should people that make millions get free transportation, free meals, free clothes, free this and that, when the small guy pays for it all, and can't even afford most for himself. This country has become one of the biggest greed mongers of this earth and you are trying to defend republicans that won't even give this new guy the benefit to see if his NEW ideas will get us going again, since their leader's stagnate ideas got us nowhere again. Give us all a break and do the right thing. Vote for the small guy for once, just once.

    February 6, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  15. Pattycake

    Obama chiding the GOP senators that he is "what the American people want" is just silly. He is the President that they want. But each senator is the representative that their district wants. If a conservative senator is elected, then his district has sent him to Washington to represent their conservative voice. When Bush was President, I certainly didn't expect Kennedy to vote conservative. He is a liberal senator elected by a liberal district to represent their liberal voice – that's his job. That's the way representative government works. Obama's attitude suggests he doesn't understand the difference between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. My representatives won their legislative races. Obama won ONLY the executive race. Our senators answer to us, not him.

    February 6, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  16. Ned

    It seems to me that a republic will not endure in the long term once the people believe they can simply vote themselves more money from the public purse. With the tax credits in the stimulus bill, more than half of the population will have no federal income tax liability. That provides a voting majority people who do not contribute to, but only take from the till. The ones that are hurt the most in this situation are the poor. Those that exploit the poor for political power must keep them dependent on the government or risk losing their power. They use class envy, fear and propaganda to achieve this. The create hysteria over an impending catastrophe...This is not an abstract theory. It is taking place right in front us.

    February 6, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  17. Ahenakew

    Obama did come into the 8 year mess created by a Republican President and the Republicans were right there getting rich!! The ole saying goes, "THE RICH GET RICHER AND THE POOR GET POORER." Bush left office, bailing out the greedy banks and is this money accounted for? Of course not, that's how the Republicans been doing buisness the past EIGHT years. The Republicans are going to have to live a life without planes, big bonuses, and the parties are over, so that means no more spending...you need to learn to rough it like all the other American people. So, get real and help us American people get back on track. Supprt the stimulus package, Obama (reluctantly) supported Bush's bail out with the banks and the foreclosures continue.

    February 6, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  18. Tired of the GOP Games

    It amazes me that Cheney had negative comments. He and Bush got us in a war that should never have happened and over 4 thousand of our families have lost their lives and Ruined This Economy. They took a surplus and made into the worse deficit since 1932. It took 8 years to get this bad and the Republicans allowed and approved it and 3 weeks in, they are criticizing Obama? Rush Limbaugh, of all people, is the Republicans spokesman. He’s A Joke!!! What a Circus? Congress and the Senate were elected by the people, not big business. They went along with Bush For Eight Years of Abuse and Catastropy and Now They Are Fight A Package For The People While The Wall Street Executives Enjoy 20 Billion in Bonuses With No Accountability and Million Dollar Office Renovations and You Cannot Pass A Stimulus For The People Who Put You In Office. You 626,000 more thousand jobs lost adding to the 4.8 million unemployed. The people you are calling Welfare recipients had good jobs which pay your salary Lindsay Graham. America needs to get this man out of there. The Republican party needs to Earn Their Paycheck and Position and Get It Done.

    February 6, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  19. Tired of the GOP idiots

    I am so sick and tired of some of the Republican GOP's. Do you know how to do your jobs. You are Fighting instead of Fixing anything; Stopping instead of Supporting; Criticizing instead of coming together and working through this for America.
    Mr. Lindsay Graham, you were Not Elected For Drama King, but For Dedicated Service to The People Who Put You In Office. Instead Of Holding Up The Stimulus Package, Hold Up Your Commitment To The American People and Do Your Job. This Stimulus Is For The People This Time, Not Bush/Cheney, Wall Street and Bank Executives. If You Want To Act, go to Broadway in New York. We Need Skilled, Committed Problem Solvers committed to service for the American people regardless of your party. If You Are Not Qualified, Quit !!!!

    February 6, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  20. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Sure, Obama reached out for ideas, and then the Democrats in the House passed a bill that didn't include any of them. Bipartisan doesn't mean that just because you are asked you cave in. There should have been compromise in the House version of the bill (like the Senate is trying to do now). Obama's comment? "I won." Sounds like the same old Washington to me.

    February 6, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  21. Bruce

    I agree with the president, it's time to take off the gloves. Either you are with the president or against him, it doesn't matter wheher you are a R or D. I read in the latest triming of the stimuls the Repos want to cut education!!! We want our kids to be the best in the world, but they are second class citizens when it comes to support. We are giving up an investment in or education so the Repos can give more tax breaks to citizens who are only going to hord the money. You would think 8 years of this would have taught us something. The problem with Washington is the itots running the capital, they are worse than the wall street itots.

    February 6, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  22. Jus

    It appears that when the president speaks he wants both parties to work together to resolve issues, but on the other hands, what he did in his speeches was blaming and accusing the republicans for the things they did in the past. I don't think it's getting any better by blaming/accusing or pointing a finger at others when he tries to shaping up the country. He accused the republicans for leaving behind a big mess for him to clean up. Well, he knew that when he enters the office, and it's his job now to strengthen this country, not to blame on who or what has happened in the past.

    February 6, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  23. Brett

    I am against this package.

    I say, "Mr President, why don't you set down with me and my middle class friends and find out what we really think, instead of all your multi-millionaire friends. Because, in the end this package is going to benefit them and not the common people.

    We need to address the issues that caused the problem. Excessive greed. Stop or reduce free trade (like China). Limit interest rates on credit cards. Stop the welfare handout, use welfare to offset a low paying job. Educate people on personal finance.

    February 6, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  24. Mr. El

    I think Reps want Obama to fail, if he was Bush, they will agree to everything he will say just like what happened in 2002 when they take control over the house and the senate.
    hopefully this bill will pass. I noticed a lot of my friends loose their jobs, small businesses close. and I don't want to see these things anymore, obviously the ones that are opposing this bill, my guess they are benefiting from this situation where everybody suffers.

    February 6, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  25. Ms. Russell

    If you take a poll of economists across the country, they're not even sure what the best plan would be. This crisis is unprecedented.

    I agree with Phantom, originally I thought republicans were doing their duty by trying to curb excess. But with all of the grandstanding I've seen in the past few days, it seems that republicans are not actually working in the interest of the American people.

    It appears that they oppose the working poor, the increasingly unemployed, and those losing their homes. And for all of my traditional conservative values, those ideas are what keep me on the other side of the republican argument.

    February 6, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  26. Joanne Crockett

    I am disturbed and obviously impacted by this economic situation but I have more afraid of going any further into debt. China and the rest of the world OWN us. This country needs to do what most American families are doing...making hard choices, cutting down on everything, paying down debt. Whyis the country not on that track...hard as it may be. In the end trying to fix this outside of the free market could cost us a lot more than jobs and homes...it could cost us our freedom,

    February 6, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  27. Phantom

    Time will tell Anderson! But lets be realistic, Obama has always appeared ready to work with any and everybody. So that may be his weakness that he believes in the good intent in everyone. I kind of sided with the repubs at the early stage of this debate and thot they were doing their constitutional role of checking for excesses. But one has to wonder, a vote in congress without one repub supporting? Something is wrong here, you can only oppose objectively up to a point, beyond that you become an obstructionist!

    February 6, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  28. Latonya

    I think President Obama is right it is time to stop with the division of the parties and come together for the American people. How can we expect to grow if we are not willing to take on new path and instead of going down the same road, which by the way leads nowhere.

    February 6, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  29. Cindy

    My take on Obama's whole speech was that he was playing to his party that he was speaking in front of. If he would have been there in the room with Reps included he wouldn't have said those things.

    He did not do himself any favors if he wants the Reps to get behind his stimulus bill...I mean really! All that rhetoric is going to do is make them dig their heals in deeper to slow it down more.

    And actually Obama was wrong...there are many Americans who do not like the stimulus bill as it is and don't want it passed with all of that pork. And that number is growing by the day. No matter what you call it...pork is pork. Just because it's called by another name doesn't change that it is wasteful spending that we Americans will have to pay back!

    Cindy...Ga.

    February 6, 2009 at 12:55 pm |