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Obama digs in for second term with hard-line remarks

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A brief remark during President Obama's inaugural address Monday may prove a harbinger of more partisan politics to come. While speaking of the need to turn attention to the deficit, Mr. Obama returned to campaign mode, using hard-line language aimed more at rallying the party faithful than uniting a country of many under one.

"We must make the hard choices," he said, speaking of health care and budget deficits. "But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future."

Mr. Obama then spoke in defense of Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid.

"These things do not sap our initiative," he went on. "They strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers. They free us to take the risks that make this country great."

The take-away: Mr. Obama will only back entitlement reforms that are modest, absent structural reform, and that stay within his insistence at solvency. That was his campaign mantra.

Conversely, Republicans are sending messages to work with the White House. Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, released a statement congratulating Mr. Obama on his re-election just minutes before the inaugural address.

"The president and I were political opponents," Mr. Ryan said. "But today, we put those disagreements aside. Today, we remember what we share in common."

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