It was not meant to be a great speech. It's goal was pure politics. No high falutin rhetoric - just in your face blame game smack talking by the president as he scrambles to position himself as blameless if default actually occurs.
With neither Obama nor House Republicans yet willing to make the final compromise necessary to seal a deal, the leader of the free world made a stunning appeal for regular citizens to call or email their representatives to end what he called the "most dangerous game."
"This is no way to run the greatest country on Earth. ... We can't allow the American people to become collateral damage to Washington's political warfare," Obama added. "If you want a balanced approach to reducing the deficit, let your member of Congress know."
The tactic seemed to have the desired effect, temporarily overwhelming the website of Boehner (R-Ohio) and other GOP leaders.
Obama did call for unity, quoting Ronald Reagan and citing former presidents from both parties who support a "balanced approach" of spending cuts, revenue increases and entitlement reforms. But he also bashed Republicans, arguing that their tactics "risk sparking a deep economic crisis - one caused almost entirely by Washington" and categorically rejected Boehner's new plan for a short-term debt ceiling hike.
I thought Boehner's response was too low-key. The GOP has started to push back with a campaign whose sound bite is "Don't give Obama a blank check." It's direct and to the point but doesn't hold a candle to "balanced approach" as far as voter appeal.
If Boehner's plan is dead in the water, that leaves Harry Reid's one time slash of around $2.7 trillion and a boost in the debt ceiling through 2012. This one, too, is doubtful of passage in the House.
It is looking more and more that we're going to find out who is right on the effects of not raising the debt ceiling; those who believe catastrophe will occur and those who think not much will change.
I make it about 60-40 we're going to find out.