If you blinked Monday afternoon, you would have missed President Obama’s brief – very brief – comments on the deadly mass shooting unfolding just down the street from where he stood to give a previously scheduled speech that turned into a brutal attack on Republicans over the economy.
And later, a clueless Jay Carney came out to say that not only did the White House never once consider cancelling the president’s speech as people lay dead at the Navy Yard and a frantic man hunt was underway by every law enforcement agency in town, but he defended the president’s GOP bashing “as entirely appropriate today for the president to talk about.”
Obama’s opening remarks started with an acknowledgement of the tragic shooting at the Navy Yard, saying, “So we are confronting yet another mass shooting,” before offering his condolences and vowing to hold those involved responsible.
But then it was a pivot to the more important news for the Obama administration: the looming budget showdown with the GOP who are threatening a government shutdown.
Obama even took a swipe at Mitt Romney as he hit Republicans, saying, in part:
I cannot remember a time when one faction of one party promises economic chaos if it can’t get 100 percent of what it wants. That’s never happened before. But that’s what’s happening right now.
You have some Republicans in the House of Representatives who are promising to shut down the government at the end of this month if they can’t shut down the Affordable Care Act. And if that scheme doesn’t work, some have suggested they won’t pay the very bills that Congress has already run up, which would cause America to default on its debt for the first time in our history and would create massive economic turmoil, interest rates on ordinary people would shoot up. Those kinds of actions are the kind of actions that we don’t need.
So let’s put this in perspective. The Affordable Care Act has been the law for three-and-a-half years now. It passed both houses of Congress. The Supreme Court ruled it constitutional. It was an issue in last year’s election, and the candidate who called for repeal lost.
But the larger point is, after all that we’ve been through these past five years, after all the work Americans like those standing behind me have done to come back from the depths of a crisis, are some of these folks really so beholden to one extreme wing of their party that they’re willing to tank the entire economy just because they can’t get their way on this issue? Are they really willing to hurt people just to score political points? I hope not.
But in case there’s any confusion, I will not negotiate over whether or not America keeps its word and meets its obligations. I will not negotiate over the full faith and credit of the United States. This country has worked too hard for too long to dig out of a crisis just to see their elected representatives here in Washington purposely cause another crisis.
Read full transcript of Obama’s speech on the fifth anniversary of the financial crisis via the Washington Post.