Perhaps Obama’s most grating tic is his obsession with referencing things he’s said before (sometimes even when he nevert said it in the first place). He almost talks like a blogger, referencing previous statements as if that in and of itself is an appeal to authority. I counted eight examples from last night:
Now, what I said in Elkhart today is what I repeat this evening, which is, I’m absolutely confident that we can solve this problem, but it’s going to require us to take some significant, important steps
I said during the campaign that Iran is a country that has extraordinary people, extraordinary history and traditions, but that its actions over many years now have been unhelpful when it comes to promoting peace and prosperity both in the region and around the world, that their attacks — or their — their financing of terrorist organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas, the bellicose language that they’ve used towards Israel, their development of a nuclear weapon or their pursuit of a nuclear weapon, that all those things create the possibility of destabilizing the region and are not only contrary to our interests, but I think are contrary to the interests of international peace.
As I said, the one concern I’ve got on the stimulus package, in terms of the debate and listening to some of what’s been said in Congress, is that there seems to be a set of folks who — I don’t doubt their sincerity — who just believe that we should do nothing.
But, as I said before, because of a lack of clarity and consistency in how it was applied, a lack of oversight in — in how the money went out, we didn’t get as big of a bang for the buck as we should have.
Now, you know, I don’t have a crystal ball. And as I said, this is an unprecedented crisis.
And as I said in my introductory remarks, not everything we do is going to work out exactly as we intended it to work out. You know, this is an unprecedented problem.
Well, as I said before, Mara, I think that old habits are hard to break. And we’re coming off an election, and I think people want to sort of test the limits of — of what they can get.
And I think that there was an opportunity to do this with this recovery package, because, as I said, although there are some politicians who are arguing that we don’t need a stimulus, there are very few economists who are making that argument.
Now as I am in fact a blogger, I thought I’d note that I had pointed out an aspect of this tendency before. I wrote last summer:
On the troop surge, Obama’s position has changed countless times, but he says it’s unchanged. Worse, he has this grating habit of prefacing his new positions with something like “as I said at the time.” But he didn’t say “it” at the time, he said the opposite of “it.” But saying that he said “it” is, to him, the same as having said “it.”