In the 24-hours plus since President Obama released his $3.73 trillion budget, it, and the President, have been attacked by various politicians and groups on all sides of the political spectrum.
From the right, Obama is said to have "punted," because he doesn't address the growing problems with our entitlement programs, ignoring his own deficit reduction commission's report from last December. And liberals are unhappy about the cut to Pell Grants, Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and home heating oil assistance, among others.
But in an hour long news conference Obama held in Washington D.C. Tuesday morning, Obama discounted criticism that he has "abdicated leadership," saying that he realizes that work needs to be done on Medicaid and Medicare (he didn't express as much concerns about Social Security) and that he would prefer to cut the budget with a scalpel, "not a machete."
No, the machete is being used exclusively by GOP House Republicans, who if they get their way would cut $100 million from the current fiscal year 2011 budget, as they promised last year. They've yet to release their own 2012 version of the budget.
Obama pooh-poohed Chuck Todd's question/comment that he has already put the debt commission's report into a dusty cabinet, never again to see the light of day. The President said that only in Washington is there such a need for such instant gratification, mentioning the long hauls that both the health care bill, and the Don't Ask, Don't Tell, legislation took to pass. He also accurately noted that the House Republicans top guy on the budget, Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan, has not signed on to that debt commission report.
Obama said his goal is to come up with an agreement on what to with the entitlement programs within the next year or two, in consultations with Republicans. He also said he wanted to tackle tax reform "to simplify rates."