POLITICS

Obama fights 'socialist' tag

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

President Obama, in defending his vision of government's role in American lives, has increasingly turned to variants of two terms: "American exceptionalism" and "socialism."

"My entire career has been a testament to American exceptionalism," said the president on Monday. "I will cut some folks some slack for now because they are still trying to win their nomination."

Obama followed that remark on Tuesday by equating his tax increases with those of Ronald Reagan "who as I recall is not regarded as a tax-and-spend socialist," as he put it.

At a fundraiser, last night, Obama affirmed the importance of "exporting our values" because "that’s part of what makes us exceptional." Earlier in that same speech, he said "we should have a commitment to our seniors and to the disabled . . . That’s not socialism," he added.

Once could be a fluke, but twice in one week Obama associated his policies -- and especially his view of the role of government -- with American exceptionalism, while also combating the idea that his ideas bear any likeness to socialism.

Under pressure from Mitt Romney and a grassroots movement outraged by government spending and the prospect of an individual mandate in Obamacare, the president -- who once said he believes in American exceptionalism "the way Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism" -- seems to say, "We're all American Exceptionalists now."

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