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Capitol Comment

    Obama: Is He Shockingly Uninformed?

    As I have previously pointed out, if you can successfully divorce the cool persona from the words he speaks, President Obama plainly and often tells us exactly what he thinks, believes and intends. And when you listen to or read the words he says, it becomes abundantly clear that he is dedicated to a big government solution for every problem - whether real or imaginary.

    So it should come as no surprise, then, that in an attempt to cover up his intentions with a cool veneer and an appearance on Letterman, the President once again gave us a glimpse into exactly how well he understands his job.

    In his apppearance on Letterman this week, Obama said the following:

    When a concerned Letterman asked him about the debt, Obama laid the responsibility for the U.S. national debt and deficit on his predecessor former President George W. Bush.

    "Well, here's what happened. We had a surplus when Bill Clinton was president," Obama said. "It was projected to continue to be a surplus. We decided to launch two wars on a credit card. We cut taxes twice without finding offsetting costs for it or ways to pay for it, a prescription drug plan and then we had a massive recession."

    "When I walked into office we had a trillion dollar deficit, debt had mounted and then we had to take a bunch of emergency measures, that cost money, saving the auto industry, making sure that the financial system got back on track," Obama said.

    "So now what we've got to do is we've got to pare down that deficit, get that debt under control and I think the only way we've ever been able to do that effectively is when you do it in a balanced way," Obama explained.

    When asked if he remember what the national debt was when he entered office, President Obama said "I don't know what the number was precisely." Obama told Letterman "we don't have to worry about it short term. [emphasis mine]"

    Wait a minute. He didn't know what the debt was when he took office? Do we have any indication that he knows what it is now?? And does he have any conception as to how much he's added to our debt? There is no evidence to answer any of these questions in the affirmative.

    That should frighten every citizen, even those who support his economic policies. David Letterman certainly seemed concerned.

    And here's what's even more revealing. In the course of researching the numbers for this post, I searched the internet for the federal budget, and the first result that popped up was the White House's own website. Here is the introductory statement:

    The President's Budget for Fiscal Year 2013

    We now face a make-or-break moment for the middle class and those trying to reach it. After decades of eroding middle-class security as those at the very top saw their incomes rise as never before and after a historic recession that plunged our economy into a crisis from which we are still fighting to recover, it is time to construct an economy that is built to last.

    The President’s 2013 Budget is built around the idea that our country does best when everyone gets a fair shot, does their fair share, and plays by the same rules. We must transform our economy from one focused on speculating, spending, and borrowing to one constructed on the solid foundation of educating, innovating, and building. That begins with putting the Nation on a path to living within our means – by cutting wasteful spending, asking all Americans to shoulder their fair share, and making tough choices on some things we cannot afford, while keeping the investments we need to grow the economy and create jobs. The Budget targets scarce federal resources to the areas critical to growing the economy and restoring middle-class security: education and skills for American workers, innovation and research and development, clean energy, and infrastructure.

    The Budget is a blueprint for how we can rebuild an economy where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded.

    Let's leave alone for the moment the fact that the three budgets he's submitted to Congress for approval have failed to garner a single vote, even from the Democrats. The statement on his own website, of which he would presumably be aware, is that we need to cut wasteful spending. And yet, he admits on national television that he doesn't even know today what the federal debt was when he took office? Would he know wasteful spending if it jumped up and bit him? Who's actually in charge at the White House?

    Back to his statement on Letterman. He states that we needn't concern ourselves with the debt in the short term. As if racking up more debt and obligating the United States to pay back the debt and the interest on the public debt won't have any effect on our economy. Lest we forget, our credit rating was downgraded for a second time last week, in large part due to our government's unwillingness to take meaningful steps to reduce our public debt.

    And he doesn't seem to know, or care, that this might just have something to do with the interest rates we have to pay on future bond sales. As it stands now, interest payments on this public debt will approach $300 BILLION in FY13. It's as if he's never even had a credit card and doesn't understand how costly it is to service debt.

    What's really surprising about this is that the baseline assumptions he uses as a foundation for his point are nothing more than standard boilerplate leftist talking points - points that have been thoroughly debunked over the years. It was shocking, even to me, how pedestrian and unoriginal his thought process was. It was almost as if we were listening to Nancy Pelosi instead of Barack Obama: Credit Clinton for a nominal budget surplus instead of the Republican Congress that forced it on him, overinflate the budget surplus, blame Bush for squandering the overinflated budget surplus, flat out lie about the war budgeting process, blame the Bush tax cuts instead of even considering reductions in spending, justify Obama's massive increase in spending, and on and on.

    And speaking of pedestrian thought processes, was it unintentional that he conflated the deficit and the debt? If it was intentional, it shows how lowly he regards the intelligence of the average voter. If it was unintentional, it shows how little he really understands what he's talking about.

    All of this spin by President Obama amounts to mere smoke and mirrors to deflect from a few basic facts. Remember in 2009 when he pledged, right off the bat, to cut the deficit he inherited in half? 

    See, here's a dirty little secret: He knows what the number was. He knows what it is now. He knows that if too many voters remember that he's added over $6 TRILLION to our debt, instead of cutting annual budget deficits, he's toast. He can't allow his litany of broken promises to come back to haunt him.

    And that's the ultimate insult in his remarks to Letterman. He thinks that he can con the American people into thinking that the debt, and the deficits, and the runaway spending, and the unprincipled and unaccountable expansion of government are completely unimportant and that he can avoid having our massive debt pinned on him.

    Obama wants you to remember the Hope and the Change and the community organizer, because he simply cannot win by running on his record.

    This is just another in his never ending series of cheap, insulting political tricks.