Obama is really starting to campaign right now. Obama gave a fiery speech this afternoon at the luncheon for the American Society of Newspaper Editors.
And he used the occasion to beat the heck out of the Paul Ryan budget plan that the Republican House passed last week.
The Ryan plan is “so far to the right that it makes the Contract with America look like the New Deal,” Obama said, with an edge on his delivery.
Much to the chagrin of Republicans, he quoted Newt Gingrich’s comment that the Ryan plan was “right-wing social engineering”.
“This is coming from Newt Gingrich!” Obama said, for emphasis.
“It’s a Trojan horse. Disguised as deficit reduction plans, it’s really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country. It is thinly veiled social Darwinism. It is antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity. … It is a prescription for decline.”
He acknowledged that Republicans want deep budget cuts because of titanic deficits in the future, but responded this way: “That argument might have a shred of credibility, if it were not also for them spending 4.6 trillion dollars on lower tax rates.”
And Obama made sure to aim his rhetorical guns at Mitt Romney.
“Romney called Ryan budget ‘marvellous,'” Obama said, “a word you don’t often hear to describe a budget. It’s a word you don’t often hear generally.”
This really seems like the campaign Obama wants to run, a campaign in which he casts himself as the defender of the middle-class, and the expanded role of government in education, health, and safety. For Obama’s campaign, Romney is the defender of wealth and privilege, who will gut all the government programs that middle-class Americans have depended on.
During a question and answer period, Obama even took a shot at the GOP, saying that it has moved so far to the right that Ronald Reagan “couldn’t get through the Republican primary” today.
We really got a preview of the 2012 Obama campaign today.
For his part, Paul Ryan, returned fire in a statement, blasting Obama for ducking the issue of deficits:
History will not be kind to a President who, when it came time to confront our generation’s defining challenge, chose to duck and run. The President refuses to take responsibility for the economy and refuses to offer a credible plan to address the most predictable economic crisis in our history. Instead, he has chosen tired and cynical political attacks as he focuses on his own re-election.
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