Obama's List of Flip-Flops Grows and Grows

PAYGO budget-restraint measure is only the latest about-face.

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By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog.

President Obama is compiling a long and growing list of increasingly important flip-flops on critical U.S. policies. But this week's is a doozy among doozies. He is now urging passage of a law enacting PAYGO as a budgetary requirement some four months after sending Congress the most oversized budget ever amassed by a president.

PAYGO means that Congress can't spend a new dollar without cutting a dollar out of the budget somewhere else. On Monday at the White House, Mr. Obama tried to adopt the PAYGO mantra as his own. But actually House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had required the U.S. House to budget along PAYGO lines before Mr. Obama's presidential candidacy was being taken seriously.

My colleague Ken Walsh, who covers the White House for USNews.com, has compiled a partial list of Obama flips, as follows:

  • He once promised Planned Parenthood that his first act as president would be to sign an abortion-rights bill into law. Now he says it is "not my highest legislative priority."
  • He pledged to gay activists that he would repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell policy, which allows gays to serve in the armed forces if they don't reveal their sexual preference...Instead, he has delayed any action to change the system.
  • While he released previously classified memos describing the CIA's harsh interrogation techniques, he is now trying to legally block the release of photos showing abuse of detainees, reversing his earlier position.

Republican consultant Alex Conant adds several of his own on Politico.com.

The budget flip-flop, from profligate spender to coupon clipper, was apparently driven by new polling numbers showing the American public is starting to doubt the president's handling of the budget. A new Gallup poll shows the president enjoys a 61 percent job approval rating, but there is a growing split in public opinion, weighted against Obama on his handling of the deficit. Forty-eight percent of Americans told Gallup pollsters they disapprove of the president's approach to the deficit, while a smaller 46 percent approve.

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