Poor man, down on his luck…
by Byron York
President Barack Obama speaks during a town hall meeting, Monday, Aug. 15, 2011, at the Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa, during his three-day economic bus tour. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
At a town hall meeting on his campaign-style tour of the Midwest, President Obama claimed that his economic program "reversed the recession" until recovery was frustrated by events overseas. And then, Obama said, with the economy in an increasingly precarious position, the recovery suffered another blow when Republicans pressed the White House for federal spending cuts in exchange for an increase in the national debt limit, resulting in a deal Obama called a "debacle."
"We had reversed the recession, avoided a depression, gotten the economy moving again," Obama told a crowd in Decorah, Iowa. "But over the last six months we've had a run of bad luck." Obama listed three events overseas -- the Arab Spring uprisings, the tsunami in Japan, and the European debt crises -- which set the economy back.
"All those things have been headwinds for our economy," Obama said. "Now, those are things that we can't completely control. The question is, how do we manage these challenging times and do the right things when it comes to those things that we can control?"
"The problem," Obama continued, "is that we've got the kind of partisan brinksmanship that is willing to put party ahead of country, that is more interested in seeing their political opponents lose than seeing the country win. Nowhere was that more evident than in this recent debt ceiling debacle."
Except for its updated details, much of the president's speech resembled the stump speeches he gave when campaigning for Democrats before the 2010 midterm elections. But the White House claims this trip is non-political, part of the president's officials duties to discuss economic issues with the public.
For the three-day tour through Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri, the Secret Service has rolled out two new buses, costing more than $1 million apiece, to take the president and his aides around the countryside.