In Barack Obama's televised press conference today as he prepares for yet another fight with Republicans over raising the debt limit, the president took aim directly at Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Though, he managed to slam the Tea Party hero without directly mentioning Rubio by name.
On January 6, Rubio penned an open letter to Obama on the subject of the nations debt. Rubio called America a "deadbeat nation" and laid the blame directly at Obama's feet:
As I wrote in The Wall Street Journal in March 2011, I will oppose a debt ceiling increase unless such an authorization is accompanied by a real plan to tackle our debt. Ideally, such a plan would feature both pro-growth elements and spending restraints, including fundamental tax reform, regulatory reform, meaningful cuts to discretionary spending, a balanced-budget amendment, and reforms to save Social Security and Medicare.
If we had done this in mid-2011 when we last debated the debt ceiling, we could have set America on a path to economic growth and prosperity. This would have led to more jobs and, in turn, to more duly employed taxpayers generating more growth-driven revenue to help us pay down our debt. Instead, you failed to lead, punted the tough decisions and, in doing so, our credit rating was downgraded for the first time in our history. It's a tragic reality but, on your watch, more and more people have come to believe that America is becoming a deadbeat nation inevitably heading toward a European-style debt crisis.
Obama apparently read the letter, and made a direct rebuttal of the "deadbeat nation" phrase in his presser today.
"The issue here is whether or not America pays its bills," Obama said. "We are not a deadbeat nation."
No pun intended, but that appears to have become the money quote of the conference. Several outlets are running with it in their headline.
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Rubio, of course, has made a career out of attacking President Obama, and never misses a chance to criticize the Prez. Hell, half the reason he's a senator in the first place is because Charlie Crist dared to hug Obama.
It appears Obama isn't going to let that be a one-sided war of words.