Obama on tea party anger:
“America has a noble tradition of being healthily skeptical about government. That’s in our DNA. We came in because the folks over on the other side of the Atlantic had been pressing folks without giving them representation… I think that’s a good thing.”
“I think there’s also a noble tradition of saying that government should pay its way. That it shouldn’t get so big that we’re leaving debt to the next generation.”
“The problem I’ve seen. . . is I think they’re misidentifying who the culprits are here. . . The majority of economists will tell you that the emergency steps we took are not the problems long-term,” unpaid-for tax cuts, wars, and an an aging population are.
“The challenge for the Tea Party movement is to identify specifically what you would do. . . It’s not enough to say “get control of spending.”” Tea partiers have to say they’re willing to cut veterans’ benefits, or Medicare, or Social Security; or are willing to let taxes go up.
“We’re not going to be able to solve this problem just by yelling at each other.”
Later on the size of government:
“The truth of the matter is that the federal government is probably less intrusive now than it was 30 years ago. Our tax rates are lower now than they were under Ronald Reagan…it is true that there are some areas that we regulate more…That requires somebody overseeing businesses…”
“We’re always going to try to balance regulation with making sure that people can go about their business and go about their lives without people meddling in it.”