President Obama the self-proclaimed compromiser sounds the same as Obama the partisan politician running for reelection. At his press conference Wednesday, he harped on what had been a chief talking point of his campaign—raising taxes for the wealthy.
He not only brought it up in his opening statement, it was the thrust of those remarks. He touted the tax hike on the top 2 percent of taxpayers in response to questions about that subject specifically and to a question about the “fiscal cliff.” And he used arguments for the tax increase lifted directly from his campaign speeches.
The voters, he said, endorsed the idea, in effect giving him a mandate. The majority of voters agreed with me, Obama told reporters. “By the way, more voters agreed with me on this issue than voted for me.”
According to the exit poll, that’s not true. It found that 47 percent of voters prefer to raise taxes only on the wealthy. Obama got 51 percent of the total national vote.
It was Obama’s first press conference in 8 months and his first lengthy discussion of issues facing the country since his reelection last week. While all but demanding that congressional Republicans accede to the tax hike, he said repeatedly that he is eager to compromise with them.