Peter Baker's Saturday report, "Obama Voices Optimism on the Economy," caught PresidentObama repeating almost the same mantra about the economy that cost John McCain so much credibility during the 2008 presidential campaign - at a time when the economy looks far worse than it was then.Will the Timesplay Obama's statement as a gaffe and give it the same amount of attention it did to McCain's line?
After meeting with Paul A. Volcker, one of his top economic advisers, Mr. Obama said, "There are a lot of individual families who are experiencing incredible pain and hardship right now."
"But if we are keeping focused on all the fundamentally sound aspects of our economy," he added, "all the outstanding companies, workers, all the innovation and dynamism in this economy, then we're going to get through this. And I'm very confident about that."
Mr. Obama actually came close to using the same language that helped doom the campaign of his Republican opponent, Senator John McCain, who was hammered by Democrats last year for declaring that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong." Recognizing the danger in appearing too upbeat, however, the president and his advisers were careful to warn that recovery could take a long time.
Baker is too modest to point out that McCain was hammered not just by Democrats but by the Times, in news stories that constantly repeated the example to prove the Republican nominee was indeed out of touch and that the economy was "not his strongest suit."
Will the Times hammer Obama relentlessly over Obama's "sound" statement, which is not only a gaffe (if judged by how Democrats treated McCain) but also contradicts Obama's previous dire tone about the economy which he's employedhas to get his big spending plans passed? Doubtful.