Interesting to see the White House trying to moderate expectations of Obama's speech on Wednesday about deficits and debt. More was read into David Plouffe's comments on the Sunday talk shows about this than seemed warranted to me. Nothing Plouffe said committed Obama to pronounce his own budget, just two months old, dead, which is what needs to happen. The mooted new initiatives are not new. They are perennial Obama themes. Tax increases on the rich? Already in the budget. Cost controls for Medicare? Already in the budget. But reporters sprang to the conclusion that the speech would make detailed new commitments--"Obama to act on entitlements", and all that.
Now of course the White House has to contend with the disappointment that will follow the speech if it falls short of these inflated hopes. A nice challenge for the speechwriters. Hence the sudden change of tack. On Sunday, we heard that the president was about to lay out a new plan. By Monday, he was promising to call for a new plan. On Sunday, he already had a plan. On Monday, he wanted Republicans to help him write one.
Specific proposals? Here's how the New York Times was briefed for Monday's paper.
In his remarks...Mr. Obama will not offer details but will set deficit-cutting goals, White House officials said. The numbers were still under discussion on Sunday.
Deficit-cutting goals. That's bold. Numbers still under discussion. Were there no such discussions before the budget was submitted?