The Washington Times - July 22, 2011, 03:46PM

President Obama, defending himself against charges from liberals that he lacks conviction in budget negotiations with Republicans, compared himself to the Great Emancipator, President Lincoln.

“I think it’s fair to say that Abraham Lincoln had convictions,” Mr. Obama said Friday at a townhall meeting at the University of Maryland. “But he constantly was making concessions and compromises.”

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Mr. Obama noted that the Emancipation Proclamation, which he has hanging in the Oval Office, did not free slaves in border states during the Civil War.

“Think about that — ‘the Great Emancipator’ was making a compromise in the Emancipation Proclamation because he thought it was necessary in terms of advancing the goals of preserving the Union and winning the war,” Mr. Obama said. “If Abraham Lincoln could make some compromises as part of governance, then surely we can make some compromises when it comes to handling our budget.”

Liberal groups have criticized Mr. Obama for considering cuts on spending in entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security in his negotiations with congressional Republican leaders.