Obama Says Nothing

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 29 2011 11:23 AM

Obama Says Nothing

Well, that will not go down in the annals of Useful Presidential Speeches. The president remained outside the fray, giving no indication of what he would support, and taking no questions. (That in itself is a sign of how far he's removed from the discussion compared to where he was last week. Reporters are reduced to torturing Jay Carney with questions about Obama's plans and preferences.) He didn't speak to the details of the Boehner bill. But that wasn't the point.

European shares pared losses on Friday after President Barack Obama said he was confident a solution could be reached on the debt ceiling talks despite the impasse.
By 1500 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top shares was down 0.6 percent at 1,082.66 points after earlier being as low as 1,069.53.

Ah, there we go! These investors may not understand how Washington works, but they clearly have TVs in their offices!

I remain amazed at how little blame Democrats are getting for this current, mostly unexpected slowdown. If a few Democrats bolted and voted for Boehner, he could win a vote right now for his bill that. The compromise would get going again, with Republicans recovering some of their leverage. That's not out of line with what Obama asked for when he asked, again, Americans to call or tweet (it's still weird to hear that word coming from a president) members of Congress and demand compromise. But he didn't actually call for the Boehner bill to pass! As uses of the bully pulpit go, "winning points at the final stages of a crisis" seems less astute then "explaining, early on, what the stakes are and why something unpopular needs to pass."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 



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