WASHINGTON – “That wasn’t me,” President Barack Obama said on his 100th day in office, disclaiming responsibility for the huge budget deficit waiting for him on Day One.
It actually was partly him — and the other Democrats controlling Congress the previous two years — who shaped the latest in a string of precipitously out-of-balance budgets.
And as a presidential candidate and president-elect, he backed the twilight Bush-era stimulus plan that made the deficit deeper, all before he took over and promoted spending plans that have made it much deeper still.
Obama met citizens at an Arnold, Mo., high school Wednesday in advance of his prime-time news conference. Both forums were a platform to review his progress at the 100-day mark and look ahead.
At various times, he brought an air of certainty to ambitions that are far from cast in stone.
His assertion that his proposed budget “will cut the deficit in half by the end of my first term” is an eyeball-roller among many economists, given the uncharted terrain of trillion-dollar deficits and economic calamity that the government is negotiating.