President Obama is quite touchy about being referred to as a "socialist."
After appearing dismissive of a New York Times reporter's question about whether he was a socialist, he took the unusual step of placing a post-interview call to the Old Gray Lady to clarify his remarks, the Washington Times reports.
"It was hard for me to believe that you were entirely serious about that socialist question," said the new Oval Office inhabitant who remarked during the campaign that "when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."
Explaining the various government spending sprees and bailout packages that dwarf anything that President George W. Bush may have even fantasized about, Obama blamed the ancien regime and "lax regulation," a favorite whipping boy for those who don't understand how markets work.
"The fact that we've had to take these extraordinary measures and intervene is not an indication of my ideological preference, but an indication of the degree to which lax regulation and extravagant risk taking has precipitated a crisis," Obama said.
You may recall that Vice President Joe Biden got similarly defensive during the campaign when TV reporter Barbara West asked Biden if Obama-Biden policies were "Marxist."
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