GOP Decries Obama Fiscal Stewardship

By Lindsey Ellerson

Mar 24, 2009 1:34pm

ABC News’ David Chalian Reports:  After a rough few weeks dominated by Michael Steele gaffes, Rush Limbaugh rants and retro Dick Cheney rhetoric, the Republican Party is displaying some message discipline heading into President Obama’s second primetime press conference. For the last couple of weeks you have likely heard the consistent "spends too much, taxes too much, borrows too much" line of attack on the president’s budget coming out of Republican leaders such as House Minority Leader John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.  And like any opposition party worth its weight, the GOP’s message machine apparatus is attempting to build a specific frame for President Obama’s high profile news conference this evening.  "Debtor Days Ahead," reads the headline on the Republican National Committee’s research briefing circulated to reporters which reminds its readers of the Congressional Budget Office projections released last week showing a far gloomier forecast (with additional deficits totaling $2.3 trillion over 10 years) than President Obama and his team predict. Sen. McConnell took to the Senate floor today to decry the borrowing required to support the proposed spending in President Obama’s budget.  "In the middle of a recession, when most Americans are rushing to pay down their credit cards, this budget does the exact opposite: it runs up the national credit card to an extent that we have never seen in our nation’s history," McConnell said. The National Republican Senatorial Committee takes a bit of a different approach by going directly at the (fiercely protected) Obama brand.  In a web video entitled "Change We Can Believe In?", the NRSC contrasts some of Candidate Obama’s campaign rhetoric with the actions of President Obama and questions if he is delivering on his promise of change.  For example, the web video highlights President Obama’s campaign season calls for a "return to fiscal responsibility" and "pay-as-you-go budgeting" and contrasts that with the aforementioned Congressional Budget Office numbers the GOP has been touting for days. As AIG outrage begins to dissipate — at least legislatively, the budget is moving to center stage on Capitol Hill over the next couple of weeks and President Obama hopes to give his plan a boost by getting the American people on board during tonight’s press conference.  In addition to selling his budget, President Obama plans to provide a macro economic progress report to the country and will, no doubt, be asked again to weigh into the AIG bonus controversy.  Add Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq into the mix and it may prove difficult for the Republicans to get their dream headlines out of the press conference. But now that Republican Party leaders appear to be demonstrating an ability to sing from the same song sheet and focusing almost exclusively on the president’s huge deficit spending and long term debt accumulation, they may be able to squeeze a narrative out of an event entirely out of their control — as long as a reporter or two channels their criticism into a question for the president which is more likely than not.

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