In a sit down interview with Rolling Stone, President Obama detailed his plans for a second term in office, shared his thoughts on Mitt Romney and talked about the campaign with writer and acclaimed historian Douglas Brinkley.
The interview, which took place earlier this month at the Oval Office, caused quite a stir when reporters revealed that Obama called Romney a "bullsh---ter" in the article.
In the piece, Brinkley describes Obama as "a new type of 21st-century politician" and exalts him as a "curator-in-chief of the New Deal, the Fair Deal, the New Frontier and the Great Society." According to the Rolling Stone writer, Obama, a champion for Progressive rights, must fight to hold on to "100 years of progressive accomplishments," which the GOP seek to uproot, like Social Security, union rights, abortion rights and Medicare. The 2008 "Yes-We-Can" candidate is long gone, writes Brinkley, as Obama has evolved into the "No-You-Won't defensive champion of 2012."
Before delving into the interview, Brinkley recalls the President's off-the-cuff reaction to advice he received from a six-year-old.
As we left the Oval Office, executive editor Eric Bates told Obama that he had asked his six-year-old if there was anything she wanted him to say to the president. After a thoughtful pause, she said, "Tell him: You can do it."
Obama grinned. "That's the only advice I need," he said. "I do very well, by the way, in that demographic. Ages six to 12? I'm a killer."
"Thought about lowering the voting age?" Bates joked.
"You know, kids have good instincts," Obama offered. "They look at the other guy and say, 'Well, that's a bullsh---er, I can tell.'"
The first question Brinkley asked during the interview was about the campaign, and the first presidential debate, in which Romney presented a twisted view of the policies and beliefs that he campaigned on for the last year and a half.
Obama responded, "What Governor Romney's putting forward is a return to the very same policies that got us into this mess in the first place: tax cuts skewed toward the wealthy and rollbacks of regulations that we fought very hard against lobbyists and special interests to put in place, to make sure that we don't have taxpayer funded bailouts, to make sure that insurance companies aren't taking advantage of folks who need health care, to make sure that we have a strong consumer advocate in place to protect people from unscrupulous lenders.
So what I'm absolutely sure about is that we've got the better argument. And Governor Romney understands that. It's the reason why, after a year and a half of campaigning on plans that very clearly were going to involve $5 trillion worth of tax cuts, he's trying to fog up the issues, because he knows that the American people aren't buying what he's selling."
The next question followed up on Romney's inconsistent position stances, which Obama described as "Romnesia" last week.
"Do you feel that he has lied to the American people?" asked Brinkley.
In response Obama said, "What I think happened is that we won the battle of ideas during the course of the last year. His argument for a $5 trillion tax cut skewed toward the wealthy – which would necessarily involve either blowing up the deficit or increasing taxes on middle-class families – is not a recipe for growth. It won't create jobs, it won't reduce the deficit, and the American people understand that. So two weeks ago, or three weeks ago, they had to figure out, "Is there some way that we can fuzz up what we've been proposing?"
When asked about his reaction to Mitt Romney's "47 percent" comment where he trashed half of the nation as "victims" and government freeloaders, Obama defended non-tax paying Americans who don't make enough money to pay income tax. He also mentioned that millionaires are just as guilty of tax evasion.
Are there people who, both at the top and the bottom, aren't pulling their weight and are looking for a special deal? Sure. But as was pointed out when this controversy erupted, there are a whole bunch of millionaires who aren't paying any income tax, as well as people at the lower end of the income spectrum who may be taking advantage of the safety net that we've put in place. We should hold everybody accountable who's not doing their fair share.
Continuing on the Romney subject matter, Obama says he was surprised that the Republican candidate moved so far to the right on issues like abortion and immigration.
He continues to believe, when it comes to immigration, that the Arizona law is a model for the nation, and that self-deportation is the answer. When it comes to women's health issues, he continues to believe that Roe v. Wade should be overturned.
Obama affirmed his confidence in being re-elected and implementing his signature bill, the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a "Obamacare."
"I'm confident that I'm going to win this election, and that we're going to implement it over the next four years," said the president speaking of Obamacare. "Just like Medicare and Social Security, as time goes on, as people see what it does, as it gets refined and improved, people will say, 'This was the last piece to our basic social compact" – providing people with some core security from the financial burdens of an illness or bad luck.'"
If re-elected, the President says his administration will tackle the deficit and pass immigration reform.
We are going to have to get a handle on our deficit and debt, but we need to do it in a balanced way that doesn't simply stick it to middle-class families. I'm confident we can get that accomplished, in part, because the Bush tax cuts lapse at the end of this year, and we'll have a showdown about how we're going to fund the government that we need to grow in a sensible way, in a balanced way. Immigration reform I believe we'll get done, because the Republican Party will start recognizing that alienating the fastest growing segments of our society is probably not good politics for them – not to mention the fact that immigration reform is the right thing to do.
Read the interview in full at Rolling Stone.
SOURCE: Rolling Stone