Obama meets the press to defend his budget

On cutting CDBG's, Obama said this was a reflection that he realizes that government must cut spending, saying that in his previous two budgets he never would have imagined doing such a thing, saying, "but under these new circumstances, my expectations are everyone is going to have to make those same sacrifices."


Later in the presser he told reporter April Ryan that, "I definitely feel people's pain.....it's frustrating, but my job is to where we need to go....we have to live within our means."


The President was also asked about the events in Egypt, which has led in the past week to similar protests in Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan, and most violently, Iran, saying, " America can't dictate.  There are certain universal principals.  We don't believe in violence.  Let's look at Egypt's example, not Iran's.  Real change in these societies isn't going to happen because of terrorism, but because people are going to come together and create moral force, ..that's how you bring about lasting change."


He later said, that "America can't dictate what happens inside of Iran, much less what we did in Egypt. We can lend moral support...were concerned about stability throughout the region.  The message that we've sent...to friend and foe alike is: the world is changing. A young, vibrant generation looking for greater opportunity, if you're governing these countries you've got to be ahead of thse changes."

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."

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