President Obama spent part of the 100th day of his presidency today in Arnold, Missouri where he hosted a town hall meeting with local residents. During the town hall, Obama recognized criticism he’s been receiving from the far right. “I know you have been hearing all these arguments about, ‘Oh, Obama’s just spending crazy, look at these huge trillion dollar deficits, blah, blah, blah.'”
Obama then noted that the real fiscal problem facing the United States is the skyrocketing costs of Medicare and Medicaid, not the Recovery Act or bank bailouts, which he said are “one-time charges.” “If we aren’t careful, health care will consume so much of our budget that ultimately we won’t be able to do anything else,” he warned.
Obama then mocked the right wing’s tea bagger gatherings for their misplaced anger and, indirectly, Fox News for promoting them:
OBAMA: So, you know, when you see, you know, those of you who are watching certain news channels, on which I’m not very popular, and you see folks waving tea bags around, let me just remind them that I am happy to have a serious conversation about how we are going to cut our health care costs down over the long term how we’re going to stabilize social security. […] [L]et’s not play games and pretend that the reason is because of the Recovery Act because that’s just a fraction of the overall problem that we’ve got.
“That’s why I have said we’ve got to have health reform this year to drive down costs and make health care affordable for American families, businesses, and for our government,” Obama said. Referring to the tea baggers’ grievances, he later added, “We tried that formula for eight years. It did not work, and I don’t intend to go back to it.”