The Slatest

A Very Long List of All The Things Obama Is Comparing Republicans To

U.S. President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks during a press conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on October 8, 2013 in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Obama held forth Tuesday afternoon at a lengthy shutdown-themed press conference at the White House, declaring yet again that he won’t negotiate with Republicans until the partial government shutdown is over and Congress raises the debt ceiling. The president’s opening remarks and the Q-and-A that followed failed to yield any major news—but it did, however, produce a long list of analogies that ranged from the common (House Republicans are acting like hostage-takers) to the, um, more creative (Republicans are like video game-loving homeowners who demand perks for paying their mortgage).

Without further ado, and in no particular order, here’s a (no-doubt incomplete) list of all the things Obama either directly or indirectly compared Republicans to this afternoon. (Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments or better yet on Twitter at @JoshVoorhees).

Employees Who Confuse Themselves For Kidnappers: “Think about it this way, the American people do not get to demand a ransom for doing their jobs.”

Actual Kidnappers Demanding a Ransom: “We can’t make extortion routine as part of our democracy. Democracy doesn’t function this way. And this is not just for me; it’s also for my successors in office. Whatever party they’re from, they shouldn’t have to pay a ransom either for Congress doing its basic job. We’ve got to put a stop to it.”

Half-Kidnappers, Half-Pranksters: “The only thing that I will say is that we’re not going to pay a ransom for America paying its bills. That’s something that should be non-negotiable, and everybody should agree on that. Everybody should say one of the most valuable things we have is America’s creditworthiness. This is not something we should even come close to fooling around with.”

Habitual Hostage-Takers With a Flair For Hyperbole: “But at some point we’ve got to kind of break these habits and – and get back to the point where everybody understands that in negotiations, there is give and there is take, and you do not hold people hostage or engage in ransom taking to get a hundred percent of your way, and you don’t – you – you don’t suggest that somehow a health care bill that you don’t agree with is destroying the republic or is a grand socialist scheme.”

Video Game-Loving Homeowners Who Demand Perks for Paying Their Mortgage: “You don’t get a chance to call your bank and say I’m not going to pay my mortgage this month unless you throw in a new car and an Xbox.” 

Homeowners Irrationally Choosing to Be Deadbeats: “And so when I read people saying, now, this wouldn’t be a big deal; we should test it out; let’s take default out for a spin and see how it rides – and I – I – I say, imagine, in your private life, if you decided that I’m not going to pay my mortgage for a month or two. First of all, you’re not paying money by not paying your mortgage. You’re just a deadbeat. And you can anticipate that will hurt your credit, which means that in addition to the debt collectors calling, you’re going to have trouble borrowing in the future. And if you are able to borrow in the future, you’re going to have to borrow at a higher rate.”

Potential Homebuyers Turned Would-Be Arsonists: “If you’re in negotiations around buying somebody’s house, you don’t get to say, well, let’s talk about the price I’m going to pay, and if you don’t give the price then I’m going to burn down your house.”

Small Business Employees Turned Would-Be Arsonists: “And – and I think most people understand that. I mean, you know, I – I was at a small business the other day and talking to a bunch of workers, and I said, you know, when you’re at the plant and you’re in the middle of your job, do you ever say to your boss, you know what, unless I get a raise right now and more vacation pay, I’m going to just shut down the plant; I’m not going to just walk off the job, I’m going to break the equipment – I said, how do you think that would go? They all thought they’d be fired. And I think most of us think that. You know, there’s nothing wrong with asking for a raise or asking for more time off. But you can’t burn down the plant or your office if you don’t get your way. Well, the same thing is true here.”

Butchers: “Now, the Democrats have a budget that would eliminate sequestration – this meat cleaver approach to deficit reduction – and make sure that we’re adequately funding basic medical research and Head Start programs and VA programs and a whole range of things that have been really hard-hit this year. … So, let me just give you an example, very specific. Because of sequestration, because of the meat cleaver cuts that have been taking place over the course of this year, thousands of families have lost Head Start slots for their children.”

Children: “They basically said, you know what? The president’s so responsible that if we just hold our breath and say we’re going to threaten default, then he’ll give us what we want, and we won’t have to give anything in return.”

Children Who Believe in Magic: “Jack Lew has used extraordinary measures to keep – make – paying our bills over the last several months. But at certain point those emergency powers run out, and the clock is ticking. And I do worry that Republicans but also some Democrats may think that we’ve got a bunch of other rabbits in our hat. There’s – there comes a point in which if the Treasury cannot hold auctions to sell Treasury bills, we do not have enough money coming in to pay all our bills on time. It’s – it’s – it’s very straightforward.”

Children Who Believe In Magic and Maybe Werewolves: “But let me be clear – no option is good in that scenario. There is no silver bullet. There is no magic wand that allows us to wish away the chaos that could result if, for the first time in our history, we don’t pay our bills on time. … So there are no magic bullets here.”


A Nuclear Explosion: “Warren Buffett likened default to a nuclear bomb, a weapon too horrible to use.”


Skeptical Home Buyers (Hopefully of The Non-Arsonist Variety): “If you’re buying a house, and you’re not sure whether the seller has title to the house, you’re going to be pretty nervous about buying it. And at minimum, you’d want a much cheaper price to buy that house because you wouldn’t be sure whether or not you’re going to own it at the end. Most of us would just walk away because no matter how much we like the house, we’d say to ourselves the last thing I want is to find out after I’ve bought it that I don’t actually own it. Well, the same thing is true if I’m buying Treasury bills from the U.S. government.”

BONUS #3: THINGS OBAMA COMPARED HIMSELF TO (In Reference to the Asia Trip He Canceled Because of the Shutdown)—

A CEO: “But, you know, in each of these big meetings that we have around the world, a lot of business gets done. And in the same way that a CEO of a company, if they want to close a deal, aren’t going to do it by phone, you know, they want to show up and look at somebody eye to eye and tell them why it’s important and shake hands on a deal, the same thing is true with respect to world leaders.”

The Guest of Honor: “And so when – it’s almost like me not – not showing up to my own party. I think it creates a sense of concern on the part of other leaders. But as long as we get through this, they’ll understand it, and we’ll be able to, I believe, still get these deals done.”

(Transcript via Washington Post)

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Read the rest of Slate’s coverage of the government shutdown.