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Press Pass
By Tim Wiederaenders
Daily Courier Editor Tim Wiederaenders shares his insights.
Thursday, February 21, 2013

White House has debate tactics down pat

 Tim Wiederaenders

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In college I took debate classes. They said it would help with my editorial writing. One of the essential lessons was that if what the other side says hurts your argument, ignore it and stick to your guns.

An email from the White House today reminds me of this. It centered on a blog posted by White House Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri, titled "A balanced plan to avert the sequester and reduce the deficit."

In it Palmieri writes: "In eight days, harmful automatic cuts are slated to take effect, threatening hundreds of thousands of jobs, and cutting vital services for children, seniors, people with mental illness and our men and women in uniform."

She does not back these claims with examples, yet sticks to the party line blaming House Speaker John Boehner and the Republicans for not closing loopholes and reducing tax expenditures.

The argument is President Obama "has already reduced the deficit by over $2.5 trillion, cutting spending by over $1.4 trillion, bringing domestic discretionary spending to its lowest level as a share of the economy since the Eisenhower era."

Also, "as a result of these savings, together with a strengthening economy, the deficit is coming down at the fastest pace of anytime in American history other than the demobilization from World War II."

She adds that Obama's proposal resolves the sequester and reduces our deficit by over $4 trillion in a balanced way - "by cutting spending, finding savings in entitlement programs and asking the wealthiest to pay their fair share."

That is the same message we have been hearing since before the General Election. But she does not mention we have had no budget in years.

It comes across as a simple message from a president/party that recognizes one thing: they do not control Congress - or not all of it.

The most truthful points she stated were that this is a "self-inflicted wound to our economy and middle class families."

On that charge, we all know the solutions will be painful - we did not get here overnight - and it will take both sides of the aisle to get the job done.

As for debate, the White House has its skills down. Basically they are operating in a closed system of ideas, rejecting anything from "the other side."

It may work in politics, but not so well in editorials.

Related Links:
• White House Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri’s blog

Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Article comment by: Don't Compare

@Sick to Death-that you are so ignorant to the fact that when Obama takes a vacation, it's always around the "balance the budget" or take a" vacation time" and most hard working tax paying citizens don't appreciate the fact that there is NO balanced budget with this loser. Also, Bush would retreat to his ranch in Texas, not to Hawaii, or Spain. Different administration and a different time. Still blaming Bush? Grow up

Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Article comment by: Debates & Blame

Debates and blaming don't help the real problems in our country, so grow-up you elected politicians and do the job your're being paid for.

Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2013
Article comment by: common sense veteran

@ ronald raygun...."There's a resaon..."
You hit the nail on the head with this comment!
KUDOS to you.

Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2013
Article comment by: Sick to death

To stop campaigning. When the President takes a three day break people have a nerve complaining. President George W took almost 1,400 days off business unrelated and President Obama as taken 79. Get real!

Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2013
Article comment by: DragonMaster 6

With great apologies to Disraeli of English Parliament of 1865
A Master-Debater is defined as A sophistical rhetorician inebriated with their own exuberance, of arrogant, pretentious, role-playing, maniacal and manipulative context and content of their own verbosity and gifted with an egotistical imagination, that can at all times command and interminable and inconsistent series of arguments to malign an opponent and for the purposes of self-glorification ...

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013
Article comment by: The blame game: here to stay

It's a lot easier to blame the other side than fix the problem. Whether you are Democrat or Republican, you could win a lot of points with both sides if you just started working together to solve the deficit and budget issues. But that's not what the party leadership wants, so it won't happen. So tired of politics as usual.

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013
Article comment by: Stop Campaigning, Obama

and get to work. I do believe this president loves his golfing more than his country. His actions speak alot louder than his words.

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

The Democrats agreed to these cuts, and so did the Republicans. A deal's a deal. But no, Obama says "we really didn't mean it when we agreed". Tough luck sailor. A deal's a deal.

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Article comment by: ronald raygun

There's a reason congresses approval rating is 15%, you know the folks who write the laws. It's unfortunate the cons adopted a scorched earth policy but it is what it is. I guess they hate the prez more than they love America. Sad.

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Article comment by: Lies, Lies, And More Lies

Obama is a good debater but a better liar.

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Article comment by: The Pied Piper

Obama and his administration are nothing but pied pipers who want their way or the highway. Unfortunately, he has too many "followers".

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Article comment by: Stop The Blaming, And Get To Work

I agree, Mr. W, that this administration does nothing but blame and intimidate, a strong point that Obama and Axelrod are good at and have used while in Chicago. I don't believe either party is working for this country anymore and we will all suffer. However, Obama is the president and needs to get serious about the working citizens first. He works for the taxpayer, not the other way around. He has no leadership skills and acts like an amateur at his job.

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

This guy is a one trick pony, and we've seen his trick over and over (and over) again. He's done all that for the deficit reduction and all he's asking for is a little more money (from the rich mind you, not you folks out there) to spend. Never mind that he won't tell us what he cut in spending, that's a secret. Then he does the old "these spending cuts proposed by Republicans will hurt women, children, mentally ill, and our brave armed forces people.". I get teary eyed. Well a ton of service men and women don't do jack anyone with family in a service branch (like me) will tell you that. And the rest of it is wasteful fat too. Pork barrel stuff. Farm subsidies waste. But don't try and cut anything out or it's gonna kill the economy. A one trick pony and it's getting old.

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Article comment by: They're All Dirty

Debate? Yes. Politics, most definitely. The president is playing with the future of this country and the GOP is looking to make the cuts his fault. I have no respect for either side.

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