The Washington Post

Obama transMitts clear message to Republicans

James Downie and Greg Sargent masterfully dig into the details of President Obama’s speech today to the American Society of Newspaper Editors. So, let me focus on the venue.

The lunch at the Marriot Wardman Park here in Washington was hosted by the Associated Press. As Time’s Mark Haleperin said on MSNBC, Obama’s forceful speech to that group guarantees that it “will reverberate for several news cycles.” I would add that by choosing a room full of journos to deliver a policy-packed speech wrapped in hard-hitting language — “thinly veiled social Darwinism” — Obama is pracctically demanding that his slams against Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget, Mitt Romney and Republicans in general be fact-checked.

Finally, one more point about the venue, which to me signaled a change in reelection strategy by the president and White House: Unlike previous campaign speeches, Obama wasn’t talking to a partisan audience that leaps at every opportunity to applaud an anti-Republican attack line. We all know Obama feeds off of their roars of approval. Instead, he delivered his reddest red-meat speech to a ballroom packed with reporters and editors whose profession dictates they never react positively or negatively to what he has to say. By doing all this, Obama was sending a clear message to the GOP: Let’s do this!

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.

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