At first it was reported that President Barack Obama wasn't even aware of the nationwide Tea Party protests that occurred on April 15. But now he's out criticizing them and the Fox News Channel.
In a town hall meeting in St. Louis on April 29, Obama was asked about fiscal discipline and entitlement reform. In his response, he took a shot at the Fox News Channel and the tea party movement, insisting he's "happy to have a serious conversation" with them.
"So, when you see - those of you who are watching certain news channels that on which I'm not very popular and you see folks waving tea bags around, let me just remind them that I am happy to have a serious conversation about how we are going to cut our health care costs down over the long term, how we are going to stabilize Social Security," Obama said.
Obama explained the stimulus, called the Recovery Act, was just a small part of the spending in Washington and part of the real challenge facing his administration.
"But let's not play games and pretend the reason is because of the Recovery Act, because that's just a fraction of the overall problem that we've got," Obama said. "We are going to have to tighten our belts, but we're going to have to do it in an intelligent way.
The president insisted cutting government spending wasn't the solution - that government "programs that help ordinary people" were path to solving the country's difficulties.
"And, we got to make sure that the people who are helped are working American families and we're not suddenly saying that the way to do this is to eliminate programs that help ordinary people and give more tax cuts to the wealthy," Obama explained. "We tried that formula for eight years. It did not work and I don't intend to go back to it."
Obama has shown a modicum of fiscal discipline, which has been mocked by some policy analysts. On April 20, the president announced he was going to trim $100 million from certain departments of the executive branch.