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Obama Debt Speech George Washington University April, 13 2011

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Author Topic: Obama Debt Speech George Washington University April, 13 2011  (Read 343 times)
Jade Hellene
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« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2011, 11:55:11 pm »


Sam Stein
Sam Stein stein@huffingtonpost.com Become a fan of this reporter

Obama's Deficit Speech Planned Months In Advance As Part Of Far-Reaching Effort



WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama’s much discussed speech last week on how to remedy the country’s fiscal future was part of a far broader, more strategically detailed political strategy than has been previously reported.

Several high-ranking administration officials have confirmed that the White House laid out plans for the address as far back as the last calendar year, with the president’s economic team and other senior staff members “meeting regularly since February to put the policy together and work on the speech.”

In presenting a fiscal roadmap, the administration aimed to demonstrate Obama's fundamental seriousness towards what is widely perceived to be a looming deficit crisis. But the speech also illuminated both the lack of communication between the White House and Capitol Hill and a growing conviction among insiders that the president must move the deficit debate off center stage in order to tackle other domestic priorities.

The address, delivered at George Washington University last Wednesday, outlined an expansive approach towards leveling the federal government’s balance sheet. Obama expressed a need for simplifying the tax code and raising the rates on the highest earners. He called for a “debt fail-safe” trigger, mandating Congress to pass across-the-board spending reductions if the nation’s debt does not decline. He advocated stronger cuts in the Pentagon’s budget and less waste in Medicare.

His remarks, in all, were positively received by Democrats and derided as partisan waste by Republicans.

Yet build-up to the speech illustrated more than reactions to it. Capitol Hill officials, including the White House's top allies, say they were left completely in the dark. No one, it appears, knew Obama would deliver an address until his top aide, David Plouffe, announced plans on the Sunday shows. Key aides were briefed on its content only days (if not hours) before the president took the stage.

“Members and staffs had no idea what they were going to say until about four hours before the speech—three days after the speech was announced," said a senior Senate Democratic aide. "It was pretty ham-handed in its roll out and members weren't pleased."
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