The GOP have struck hard against Obama's leadership since the release of his entitlement-silent budget. Obama attempted to deflect criticism at a press conference today, promising that he indeed intends to confront entitlements:
You guys are pretty impatient. If something doesn't happen today, then the assumption is that it's not going to happen. This is not a matter of 'you go first' or 'I go first.' This is a matter of everybody having a serious conversation about where we want to go and then ultimately everybody getting into that boat at the same time so it doesn't tip over.
Translation: I'm waiting for the Republicans "to go first" and lead, so I can demagogue them (before adopting some of their ideas).
The GOP recognized the tactic, called out Obama on his continued hedging and, again, asserted their willingness to lead on entitlements in the president's stead:
The American people are ready to get serious about tackling our fiscal challenges, but President Obama's budget fails to lead. The President's budget punts on entitlement reform and actually makes matters worse by spending too much, taxing too much, and borrowing too much - stifling job growth today and threatening our economic future.
The President says that he wants to win the future, but we can't win the future by repeating the mistakes of the past or putting off our responsibilities in the present. Our budget will lead where the President has failed, and it will include real entitlement reforms so that we can have a conversation with the American people about the challenges we face and the need to chart a new path to prosperity. Our reforms will focus both on saving these programs for current and future generations of Americans and on getting our debt under control and our economy growing. By taking critical steps forward now, we can fulfill the mission of health and retirement security for all Americans without making changes for those in or near retirement. We hope the President and Democratic leaders in Congress will demonstrate leadership and join us in working toward responsible solutions to confront the fiscal and economic challenges before us.