You can imagine the derision that would have flowed from the liberal “mainstream media” if George W. Bush had referred to the United States as well as its European allies as “developing countries.” This is exactly the term he used in an interview with The New York Times, which has just been published. In the interview, given in Galesburg, Illinois, the site of his distinctly unimpressive speech on the economy at Knox College last Wednesday, President Obama had this to say to reporters Jackie Calmes and Michael D. Shear:
And one of the interesting things that we don’t talk about enough is the contrast between what’s happened in the United States and what’s happened in a lot of other developing countries, Europe in particular. It's pretty rare where we have the chance to look at two policy approaches and follow them over several years and see which one worked. And the fact is there are a lot of European countries who followed the prescription that the House Republicans are calling for right now, and not only have they lagged well below where we've gone in terms of growth, in many cases their debt and their deficits have actually gone up because their economy is still effectively in recession. And although we haven’t been growing as fast as we would like, we have consistently outperformed those countries that followed the recipe that the House Republicans are offering right now.
As we’ve seen on a number of previous occasions, Barack Obama clearly struggles with his words when he is without his beloved teleprompter. He famously claimed to have visited 57 states in his 2008 campaign, and recently was unable to tell the difference between England and Great Britain. I don’t think any American president, however, has ever referred to the United States, leader of the free world, as a “developing country” before, and nor is Europe a country, as much as the emperors of the European Commission would like the EU to be a superstate.
In addition to being embarrassing, the president’s interview will prove controversial in parts of Europe, and won’t go down well in Berlin and London. A key part of the Obama strategy in the coming months will be to paint austerity measures in Europe as a failure, arguing that Congressional Republicans want the same approach in America. This will put the White House at odds with Angela Merkel and David Cameron who have both championed budget cuts in Europe, while placing Obama firmly in the same boat as the Socialists in France, who back high taxes and big government solutions to address economic woes. Barack Obama’s New York Times interview further underscores how far to the Left his presidency is, even by European standards, as well as reminding Americans that in comparison to his predecessor in the Oval Office, he remains in a league of his own with his frequent mangling of words.