What does President Obama think of today's Republican party?
Not much, according to one of his most recent interviews. But delivering such a blunt assessment right now seems more than a bit unwise because it might further alienate the GOP leaders with whom Obama is negotiating to resolve the current budget impasse.
Obama said the only thing keeping the GOP together is a desire to protect the rich and big corporations.
"My sense is that their basic view is that nothing is important enough to raise taxes on wealthy individuals or corporations, and they would prefer to see these kinds of cuts that could slow down our recovery over closing tax loopholes," Obama told the Rev. Al Sharpton's radio show Thursday.
"And that's the thing that binds their party together at this point."
Even as he contacted House Speaker John Boehner and Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell Thursday to talk about the budget, Obama is sticking to a position that many GOP legislators have rejected. He said 75 percent of Americans support his "balanced approach" of tax increases and spending cuts. And he criticized Republicans for favoring only spending cuts.
"Unfortunately, I think Republicans right now have been so dug in on this notion of never raising taxes that it becomes difficult for them to see an obvious answer right in front of them," the president told Sharpton.
If no compromise is reached, deep cuts in spending will automatically take effect March 1.
Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog "Ken Walsh's Washington" for usnews.com, and is the author of "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Facebook and Twitter.