“Everybody’s going to have to give a little bit” to solve the nation’s fiscal problems, President Obama told reporters at a hastily called White House press briefing Tuesday morning.
Mr. Obama, defending his proposed $3.7 trillion 2012 budget released a day earlier, kicked off the press conference with another call for bipartisanship — pointedly citing, once again, the example of former President Ronald Reagan and his work with Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill in the 1980s.
“Just like every family in America, the federal government has to do two things at once with its budget,” the president said. “Live within its means … and invest in the future.”
“Let’s face it, you guys are pretty impatient,” the president responded curtly to a question about whether his budget does enough to scale back government spending or tackle entitlement programs such as Medicaid and Solcial Security. “If something doesn’t happen today, the assumption is it’s just not going to happen.”
He cited the bipartisan work last year on extending the tax cuts first passed under President George W. Bush, a deal that seemed unlikely in the wake of the 2010 mid-term elections: “We got it done.”
He acknowledged his budget proposal includes “tough choices” that he would not have made in better economic times, including freezing federal wages, cutting grants for local community development and adjustments to the student loan Pell Grant program.
Answering questions about the revolution in Egypt, the president said there is more work to be done, but he called the situation “promising.”
Mr Obama said he found it ironic that leadership in Iran is “celebrating” the Egyptian revolution while violently cracking down on protests in its own streets.
He defended his administration’s handling of Egypt, citing the “relative absence” of anti-American and anti-Israel rhetoric among the crowds on the streets of Cairo and other cities.
“In a complicated situation, we got it about right,” he said.