In an apparent attempt to make President Obama look out of touch and elitist, a July 11 CNSNews.com article by Eric Scheiner truncates a remark made by Obama at a press conference:
At a White House press conference today, President Barack Obama said that "professional politicians" understand the debt crisis better than "the public."
Obama was responding to a question from CBS News Reporter Chip Reid. “The latest CBS News poll showed that only 24 percent of Americans said that you should raise the debt limit to avoid an economic catastrophe," said Reid. "There’s still 69 percent who oppose raising the debt limit. So, is it the problem that you and others have failed to convince the American people that we have a crisis here and how are you going to change that?”
Obama responded: “Let me distinguish between professional politicians and the public at large. You know, the public is not paying close attention to the ins and outs of how a Treasury auction goes. They shouldn’t. They’re worrying about their family, they’re worrying about their jobs. They’re worrying about their neighborhood. They have got a lot of other things on their plate. We’re paid to worry about it.”
In fact, the full context of the remark shows that Obama was pointing out that Americans could be shown to support an increase in the debt ceiling if they were fully and accurately informed about the consequences of not doing so by the very "professional politicians" who have been tasked with solving the crisis:
Well, let me distinguish between professional politicians and the public at large. The public is not paying close attention to the ins and outs of how a Treasury option goes. They shouldn’t. They're worrying about their family; they're worrying about their jobs; they're worrying about their neighborhood. They've got a lot of other things on their plate. We're paid to worry about it.
I think, depending on how you phrase the question, if you said to the American people, is it a good idea for the United States not to pay its bills and potentially create another recession that could throw millions of more people out of work, I feel pretty confident I can get a majority on my side on that one.
And that's the fact. If we don't raise the debt ceiling and we see a crisis of confidence in the markets, and suddenly interest rates are going up significantly, and everybody is paying higher interest rates on their car loans, on their mortgages, on their credit cards, and that's sucking up a whole bunch of additional money out of the pockets of the American people, I promise you they won’t like that.
Now, I will say that some of the professional politicians know better. And for them to say that we shouldn’t be raising the debt ceiling is irresponsible. They know better.
And this is not something that I am making up. This is not something that Tim Geithner is making up. We’re not out here trying to use this as a means of doing all these really tough political things. I'd rather be talking about stuff that everybody welcomes -- like new programs or the NFL season getting resolved. Unfortunately, this is what's on our plate. It’s before us right now. And we’ve got to deal with it.
So what you’re right about, I think, is, is that the leaders in the room here at a certain point have to step up and do the right thing, regardless of the voices in our respective parties that are trying to undermine that effort.
I have a stake in John Boehner successfully persuading his caucus that this is the right thing to do, just like he has a stake in seeing me successfully persuading the Democratic Party that we should take on these problems that we’ve been talking about for too long but haven’t been doing anything about.
The video clip accompanying Scheiner's article similarly truncates Obama's remark, leaving out the full context.