WASHINGTON, D.C. (MCT) — President Barack Obama branded the House Republican budget “a prescription for decline” Tuesday and used it as a proxy to frame his general election confrontation with Mitt Romney, just as the GOP front-runner appeared poised to tighten his grip on the party’s nomination.
“It’s a Trojan Horse. Disguised as deficit reduction plan, it’s really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country. It’s nothing but thinly-veiled Social Darwinism,” the president said in a speech at the Associated Press luncheon in Washington.
Signaling a shift of the campaign, Obama addressed Romney by name, noting that he called the plan authored by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin “marvelous.”
White House officials have called this an important speech that would frame the competing visions of the parties. It picked up on several themes the president has been pushing in recent campaign speeches, but zeroed in more closely on the budget proposal and outlined a broader defense of government.
Obama sought to portray the Republican Party as having increasingly strayed from the mainstream, and even its own prior moorings, listing the policies of GOP predecessors like Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway system, or Nixon creating the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Ryan plan, Obama said, makes the 1994 “Contract with America look like the New Deal.”
The House budget, passed last week in a vote largely along party lines, would cut taxes for the wealthy, revamp Medicare and slash federal spending. The Ryan-led effort, the party argues, is the only one that seriously tackles the nation’s $11 trillion public debt load.