The primary goal of President Obama’s presser, which just wrapped up, was obvious: He was clearly out to pick a major public fight with Republicans over tax cuts for the rich. Obama mounted a surprisingly aggressive moral case for ending high end tax cuts, casting it as a test of our society’s priorities, and argued — crucially — that anyone who fails to support ending them is fundamentally unserious about the deficit.
The front pages of both the New York Times and Washington Post focused on exactly that issue. "Obama: Republican Leaders Must Bend on Taxes" reads the New York Times headline. "Obama urges GOP to agree to tax increases; President says Republicans hold indefensible position in debt talks" says the Washington Post. "OBAMA TO GOP: END TAX BREAKS FOR MILLIONAIRES, OIL COMPANIES" blares The Huffington Post. And "Obama Demands House GOP Act On Jobs, Taxes" says TPM. (I haven't checked Fox's headline yet.)
As Chris Ciliza pointed out, President Obama was unusually confrontational in his tone, calling out Republicans for talking about taking a vacation before getting their job done on the debt ceiling. President Obama flatly stated that there is absolutely no way to a get a balanced agreement without movement from Republicans on revenues. He's absolutely right. In the end, it's just a question of math. If you don't ask the wealthy to pay their share, the money is going to come from children and the elderly.
And that's not morally defensible.