In an unusually hard-edged Labor Day speech before a union crowd in Wisconsin, President Obama criticized Washington Republicans as the party of "No We Can't" and taunted the GOP House leader, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), as "the man who thinks he will be speaker." (See speech video below.) Obama also called out the Beltway's "powerful special interests" with the off-the-cuff, slightly enigmatic remark: "They’re not always happy with me. They talk about me like a dog." What should we make of Obama's "aggressive" new tone?
Obama's standing up for endangered Dems: Labor Day is the traditional campaign kickoff for November elections, says Robert Hendin at CBS News, and Obama's spirited battle cry was just "what many Democrats have hoped he'd have done all year: Fight back against Republican opposition and focus on issue number one for voters, the economy."
"Obama revs into campaign mode in Wisconsin"
The "dog" comment was "not presidential": Obama's "off-prompter and off-message" dog remark is all anyone will remember from the speech, says Guy Benson in Townhall. It's not clear "precisely what the president meant," or whom he was referring to with his "bizarre" comment, but George W. Bush didn't display this "sort of self-pity" when in office, even in the face of "the Left's most vicious anti-Bush jeremiads."
"President Obama: 'They talk about me like a dog'"
"Right wingers" need to brush up on pop culture: Conservatives are "getting all huffy about President Obama’s off the cuff line," says Charles Johnson in Little Green Footballs, but the president quoting a line from Jimi Hendrix's "Stone Free" — "They talk about me like a dog / Talkin' about the clothes I wear / but they don't realize they're the ones who's square" — "is Obama at his best."
"President Obama quotes Jimi Hendrix"
How will the new Obama play politically? It's certainly clear Obama didn't mean the "dog" comment in a literal way, says Josh Duboff in New York magazine. But even if his "rogue" aside gets most of the attention today, the bigger development is his saucy new "sharp and adversarial stance toward the GOP." We'll see if it works in about eight weeks.
"Obama: Critics talk about me 'like a dog'"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The 11 worst fast food restaurants in America
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- I hate Ayn Rand — but here's why my fellow conservatives love her
- 7 language habits that reveal your age
- The biggest lesson Obama failed to learn from Bush
- Why Peter Capaldi has a bigger challenge than any Doctor Who in history
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- The weird obsession that's ruining the GOP
- A scientific fact-check of 2001: A Space Odyssey
Subscribe to the Week