Call me a cynic, but I've been dubious about just how accidental were President Obama's supposedly "hot mic" remarks about his budget negotations with the Republicans.
Does a president who has been frequently criticized for a lack of toughness really mind being "caught" sounding muy macho?
My skepticism was sharpened by GMA's report on the matter this morning. The graphic referred to Obama's "tough talk." And for good measure, John Avlon of the lefty Daily Beast was imported to declare that the president's supposedly candid performance "heightens his reputation for leadership." I know what you're thinking: what reputation?
View video after the jump.
Listen to PBO's ostensibly candid comments and consider whether they don't sound . . . scripted for public consumption. Dan Harris introduced the segment by taking the allegedly accidental nature of the leak at face value.
DAN HARRIS: When you've got a mic on, you never know when somebody is listening. President Obama was reminded of that the hard way when his private comments blasting Republicans went public. The mic was supposed to have been turned off, but it wasn't.
DAVID CURLEY: The White House is a formal place: the columns, the pomp and circumstance, the measured words of the president. So when we get one of these unvarnished moments, it really gives us some insight into what the president is really thinking.
Cut to footage of PBO making his tough remarks at a fundraiser. Afterward, Curley undercut GOP criticism as a lead-in to Avlon's praise of PBO.
CURLEY: While some Republicans pounced, calling this a self-serving version of events, analysts noticed a more forceful tone from the normally-guarded president.
JOHN AVLON: He is No-Drama-Obama, so when you get these flashes of insight into how he is behind closed doors in negotiations, I think it actually heightens his reputation for leadership.