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Obama at the House GOP Retreat

By Matthew Yglesias

"Obama at the House GOP Retreat"

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I only caught the tail end of it, but just now Barack Obama made an appearance at the House GOP retreat. I assume he opened with some remarks (didn’t see ‘em) and then stood at a podium for a Q&A with House Republicans. It was sort of like Prime Minister’s Questions and it revealed, simply put, that Barack Obama is a lot smarter and better-informed than his antagonists. A lot. He very calmly and coolly dismantled them.

To me, personally, it’s not a surprise. I debated policy with Mike Pence once and the guy is a stone-cold idiot. That was a years ago and I’ve been surprised since then to learn that conservatives consider him an unusually sharp policy mind and I take leading rightwingers at their word about that. But it’s the kind of thing that I think most Americans aren’t aware of. Obama knows what he’s talking about. A lot of the members of Congress you see on TV all the time talking smack don’t. That’s not always clear to people since the TV anchors interviewing them usually also don’t know what they’re talking about. Judd Gregg’s whining freakout on MSNBC yesterday punctured the illusion of calm confidence and so did Obama’s back-and-forth.

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