Don't Worry, Obama Fans, It's Still All Bush's Fault

Obama may be approaching the end of his first year in office, but everything is still all George W. Bush's fault.

Reporter Jackie Calmes' piece for Thursday's Business Day section on Obama's less-than-smooth meeting with Republicans about jobs followed common Obama White House practice, blaming Bush for the economic problems he inherited and Republicans for failing to get on board to help solve them (even though Democrats have large majorities in both houses and can pass any bill they get behind).

As diplomats might say of a meeting between rivals that is just short of undiplomatic, President Obama and Congressional Republican leaders had a full and frank discussion at the White House on Wednesday when they met to discuss how to create more jobs.

The 90-minute session, while described by both sides as cordial over all, was a bit testy at times. Mr. Obama and the Republicans aired their philosophical differences over whether the government should keep spending money for stimulus measures to spur employers to hire, as Democrats favor and the Republicans oppose.


The president's pique at Republicans was evident before Wednesday's meeting, after 10 months in which they have opposed all of his major initiatives to address the problems he inherited. In his speech on Tuesday at the Brookings Institution outlining his latest economic recovery plans, Mr. Obama reviewed administration actions, said they had helped rekindle growth, and said that Republicans had basically stayed on the sidelines.

"We were forced to take those steps largely without the help of an opposition party, which, unfortunately, after having presided over the decision-making that had led to the crisis, decided to hand it over to others to solve," he said in his address.

Despite persistent high unemployment, the president and his aides lately have been buoyed by nonpartisan assessments that administration policies - chiefly the stimulus plan and the financial bailout program - are working, if not so well as originally advertised.

Calmes made that same "the stimulus is working" argument in a lead story on November 21 that Democrats found most pleasing.