President Obama can't go anywhere these days without getting asked why people on the right are so passionately against him. He's made himself available to the media for two television interviews in the past week, and, in both, he got asked what he makes of the riled-up conservatives who strongly--very strongly--oppose his agenda, and on a regular basis call him a "socialist."
Obama's response: shrug it off. Place it in historical context. It's not personal; I'm not a socialist; look, the economy is bad, and people are anxious about.
That's how he responded to questions about tea partiers and birtherism in an NBC interview with Matt Lauer that aired on Monday, telling the interviewer, "There are some folks who just weren't sure whether I was born in the United States, whether I was a socialist, right, so there's that segment of it, which I think is just dug in ideologically, and that strain has existed in American politics for a long time."
And again, today, to CBS's Harry Smith, who asked the president what he made of getting called a "socialist" and a "Nazi."
"It's troublesome, but keep in mind that there have been periods in American history where this kind of vitriol comes out. It happens often when you've got an economy that is making people more anxious and people are feeling as if there's a lot of change that needs to take place, but that's not the vast majority of Americans. The truth is, some of these comments, when you actually ask, "Well, this is based on what?" This notion that Obama's a socialist, for example. Nobody can really give you a good answer," Obama said.