President Obama sought to reassure Americans last night that his administration has made progress in reviving the economy and said his $3.6 trillion budget is "inseparable from this recovery." After sprinting through his first months in office, Obama is now facing heightened criticism from Republicans, who have called his blueprint irresponsible, and from skeptical Democrats who have already set about trimming back his top budget priorities. Obama came into office amid lofty expectations and the worst economic crisis in generations, and he succeeded in pushing through a $787 billion stimulus and launching expensive plans to revive the banking system. Last night, against a backdrop of a broad national anxiety that the economy may still be failing, he attempted to recalibrate the high hopes to more closely fit the challenges he said lie ahead. Although he spoke sharply once in response to Republican criticism, Obama struck a tone of common purpose throughout his second prime-time news conference, urging the country to be patient as he works on issues as divergent as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the malign impact of lobbying in Washington. "We haven't immediately eliminated the influence of lobbyists in Washington," he said from the East Room of the White House. "We have not immediately eliminated wasteful pork projects. And we're not immediately going to get Middle East peace. We've been in office now a little over 60 days. "What I am confident about is that we're moving in the right direction." [...] Responding with his most partisan comment of the evening, Obama said his Republican critics should look to their own history with the federal budget, accusing them of having "a short memory" when it comes to deficits. "As I recall, I'm inheriting a $1.3 trillion annual deficit from them," he said.They just hate being reminded of that, don't they?
By Susie Madrak — March 25, 2009