On March 6, in response to New York Times reporters' questions, President Barack Obama told the paper that he is not a socialist. He or his advisers were apparently so bothered by the questions that Obama later called the Times reporters involved in an attempt to .... well, I'm not sure, because he had already supposedly denied the charge.
The best guess is that Obama and his peeps felt he needed to get in some gratuitous digs at former president George W. Bush.
Part of Obama's phone call back to the Times including the following relative to the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) under then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson:
I did think it might be useful to point out that it wasn’t under me that we started buying a bunch of shares of banks.
..... I just think it’s clear by the time we got here, there already had been an enormous infusion of taxpayer money into the financial system.
That's great, except for one "little" thing: John Kerry, clearly speaking for the Obama campaign, told Chris Wallace on Fox News on September 28 of last year (HT to BizzyBlog commenter Joe C) that at the time of the first TARP deal that the bailout followed his template:
..... the four principal components of this deal, Chris, represent the exact four principles that Senator Obama laid out two weeks ago. They represent the exact principles that we put forward and almost agreed on last Thursday before politics entered into this.
..... But those principles are number one. We wanted to protect the taxpayers.
We were not going to turn billions of dollars over to any institution connected with Wall Street, given the experience of what had happened without protecting taxpayers. We have done that in this.
Secondly, we were going to limit executive compensation. We weren't going to turn money over and have millions of dollars paid out to executives. That's been done.
Thirdly, there's a very important concept here about helping homeowners. There had been no talk about the homeowners. We want to keep people in their homes. This specifically helps to keep them there.
And finally, oversight. The administration came and said, "Just give us $800 billion." And we said, "No, not given this experience," so we're going to give first the 250. There'll then be a letter from the president requesting another 100, and then there's another 350, depending on how it goes.
So I think we have accountability. We have the principles that Senator Obama offered leadership on.
Perhaps this four-principled template matched that of George W. Bush, but that's the point. If it's true, Bush and Obama signed on to the same thing, and he can't possibly claim to be less socialist than Bush on the TARP topic as he explicitly did to the Times.
Maybe someone in the establishment media might notice and report not only Obama's frequent blame-shift to Bush, but also in this case its falsehood.
That's probably hoping for a bit much.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.