No More Mr. 'Friendly Guy' Obama

Gloves have come off, write Dana Milbank and John Podhoretz
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2013 12:23 PM CST
President Barack Obama speaks during the last news conference of his first term in the East Room of the White House, Jan. 14, 2013.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(Newser) – Yesterday, President Obama described himself as "a pretty friendly guy," capable of getting along with Republicans. Which, Dana Milbank at the Washington Post muses, "might have been a touch more plausible if he hadn't spent the bulk of the previous hour demonstrating just how adversarial he could be." Obama called Republicans' debt ceiling stance "absurd," likened them to kidnappers, and refused to pay a "ransom." It's arguably smart politics, but Milbank wonders if Obama could accomplish more with "a better bedside manner." In past administrations "sharp disagreements were smoothed over by personal ties."

He's not the only one bemoaning Obama's aggressive stance. In the New York Post today, John Podhoretz bemoans Obama's unwillingness to negotiate on the debt ceiling. "What Obama is saying is simple: The United States has become Too Big to Fail," he writes. "The president is, in effect, holding the United States hostage against itself." The real reason he won't negotiate is "because he doesn't want to. That's pretty much his position. He won the election—and he doesn't want to." Click for Milbank's full column, or Podhoretz's full column. (Read more Dana Milbank stories.)

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