President Barack Obama launched a rare direct attack Monday on the GOP presidential field, criticizing Republican hopefuls for their blanket opposition to any compromise involving new taxes.
"Think about that. I mean, that's just not common sense," Obama said at a town hall-style meeting in Cannon Falls, Minn., as he kicked off a three-day bus tour through Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.
"You need to take a balanced approach," he said.
Obama made the comment after describing a moment in last week's GOP presidential debate when all eight of the candidates said they would refuse to support a deal with tax increases, even if tax revenues were outweighed 10-to-1 by spending cuts.
Obama didn't mention any of the candidates by name, and started the remark by saying, "I know it's not election season yet."
But his comment underscored that election season is well under way. And the bus tour itself, although an official White House event rather than a campaign swing, took on a campaign feel coming on the heels of Republican Michele Bachmann's weekend victory in the Iowa Straw Poll and through states Obama won in 2008 but where he now needs to shore up his standing and counter GOP attacks.
It also comes after the president spent much of the summer holed up in the nation's capital enmeshed in bitterly partisan negotiations on the debt crisis that cratered his approval ratings and those of Congress amid a faltering economy and high unemployment.
In response to a question, Obama also took the chance to counter the anti-government stance embraced by the tea party and largely by the Republican presidential field.
He noted that although government doesn't do everything well, the government's also responsible for sending a man to the moon and for the military defending the country, among other things.
"When you go to the National Parks and those folks in the hats, that's government," Obama said.
Never mind that in 2009, President Thin-Skinned said "the last thing you want to do is to raise taxes in the middle of a recession because that would just suck up — take more demand out of the economy and put businesses in a further hole." Today, he's just run out of everyone's money to enact his socialist schemes.
And as for NASA and the military, under Obama, the Space Shuttle program has been cut and manned space flight has been outsourced to Russia. The military is facing budget cuts and Obama also threatened to hold their paychecks hostage during the debt ceiling fight.