While the media focused on President Obama's attacks on Paul Ryan's budget yesterday, the president had a separate message for the press: Here's how to cover my re-election campaign. At the Associated Press Luncheon in Washington, with mainstream journalists as far as the eye could see, it was an ideal venue for such remarks and the main take away was pretty clear: Make the GOP sound radical and depict Mitt Romney as a tight-laced white guy.
Of course, the way the president conveyed that message was a little bit smoother. On making the GOP appear radical, the emphasis was on perspective and establishing a false equivalence between the two parties. "I guess another way of thinking about this is -- and this bears on your reporting," the president said Tuesday, "I think that there is often times the impulse to suggest that if the two parties are disagreeing, then they're equally at fault and the truth lies somewhere in the middle, and an equivalence is presented -- which reinforces I think people's cynicism about Washington generally." The president went on to describe the evolution of GOP thinking on a range of issues demonstrating how far to the right the party has become. "Cap and trade was originally proposed by conservatives and Republicans," he said. "Now you've got the other party essentially saying we shouldn't even be thinking about environmental protection; let's gut the EPA ... [This is] true of a lot of the debates that we're having out here."