Obama Gets Feisty: 'This Is Not Class Warfare, It's Math'

Pundits say the the President's latest deficit speech dropped the milquetoast schtick

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Political observers are calling President Obama's speech on deficit reduction one of his most confrontational addresses to date. In front of a podium outside the White House, Obama chastised Republicans, calling out House Speaker John Boehner in particular, for dubbing his deficit reduction package "class warfare." "This is not class warfare, it’s math,” Obama said. Speaking of the math, Obama called for $1.5 trillion in new taxes aimed at upper income taxpayers, which would contribute to a 10-year, $4.4 trillion deficit reduction package that also saves money by altering Medicare and Medicaid and scaling back the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Here are some of the reactions from the speech.

He was really aggressive Chris Cillizza at The Washington Post calls it a "remarkable act of political gauntlet-throwing" and adds that  the speech signifies that "Obama has given over the idea of being the compromiser-in-chief — the prevailing sentiment of the first eight months of 2011 — in favor of taking the fight to Republicans and forcing them to respond in kind or feel the political consequences." During the speech, President Obama accused Boehner of being a hypocrite, noting the House speaker's insistence that no one take a "my-way-or-the-highway" approach. “So the Speaker says we can't have it my-way-or-the-highway, and then basically says my way or the highway,” Obama said, referring to Boehner's refusal to accept tax any increases.. “That's not smart. It's not right.”

He was almost vengeful  David Corn of Mother Jones tweets "Obama sending message to GOP: You didn't like the grand bargain? Well, then let's rumble." The Huffington Post's Sam Stein agrees, tweeting "Obama's basically telling Boehner today: you blew it by walking away from the grand bargain."

He was playing to the base, writes Philip Klein at The Washington Examiner. "Obama has decided he's through dealing with Republicans and wants to run for reelection with a populist, class warfare, message... Let's just call it like it is: he's a liberal Democratic president catering to his liberal base."

The GOP rebuttal House Speaker John Boehner, who quickly fired off a press release following the speech, writes "Unfortunately, the president has not made a serious contribution to its work today. This administration’s insistence on raising taxes on job creators and its reluctance to take the steps necessary to strengthen our entitlement programs are the reasons the president and I were not able to reach an agreement previously, and it is evident today that these barriers remain.” In a separate statement, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel says "veto threats, a massive tax hike, phantom savings, and punting on entitlement reform is not a recipe for economic or job growth." On the campaign trail, Texas Governor Rick Perry calls the plan a "bait and switch that offers more than a trillion dollars in higher taxes for a promise of temporary tax relief.”

Pelosi praises the speech House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, in a prepared statement, said "“I welcome President Obama’s continued emphasis on creating jobs for America’s middle class and for his commitment to reducing our long-term deficit as we work to promote economic growth. In particular, I am very encouraged by the president’s focus on the need for tax reform that calls on all Americans to contribute their fair share."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.