Tonight, in an address before a House Democratic retreat, President Obama issued a strident defense of his economic recovery package:
We can’t embrace the losing formula that says only tax cuts will work for every problem we face; that ignores critical challenges like our addiction to foreign oil, or the soaring cost of health care, or falling schools and crumbling bridges and roads and levees. I don’t care whether you’re driving a hybrid or an SUV — if you’re headed for a cliff, you’ve got to change direction. That’s what the American people called for in November, and that’s what we intend to deliver.
Republicans — and even some Democrats — have mounted attacks on the economy recovery package with a variety of superfluous attacks. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), for instance, said, “This was not a stimulus bill. It was a spending bill.” Obama fired back: “So then you get the argument, well, this is not a stimulus bill, this is a spending bill. What do you think a stimulus is? That’s the whole point. No, seriously. That’s the point.” (Watch the video here.)
Some other highlights from the speech:
— “I welcome this debate. But come on, we’re not — we are not going to get relief by turning back to the very same policies that for the last eight years doubled the national debt and threw our economy into a tailspin. ”
— “When you start hearing arguments on the cable chatter, just understand a couple of things. Number one, when they say, well, why are we spending $800 billion — we’ve got this huge deficit? First of all, I found this deficit when I showed up.”
— “Now, in fact, when we announced the bill, you remember — this is only about, what, two weeks ago? When we announced the framework — and we were complimented by Republicans, saying, boy, this is a balanced package, we’re pleasantly surprised. And suddenly, what was a balanced package needs to be put out of balance?”