“We’ve always had a anti-federal government bent in a chunk of our population. That’s nothing new,” Obama told NBC News, referring to the anti-federal nature of the Tea Party, whose fervor swept in dozens of new Republican house members in the 2010 mid-term elections.
Many of Obama’s probable opponents in the next White House election, in 2012, also subscribe to that outlook, with frontrunner Texas Governor Rick Perry repeatedly vowing to get the national government out of people’s lives.
“I do think that the extreme position that you hear that says government has no role to play in growing our economy, that the federal government has no function to play in building a strong middle class, is absolutely wrong,” Obama said, however.
“I reject that view. And I think the vast majority of Americans reject that view,” he said.
Intense differences between the White House and congressional leaders came to a head in recent months over the bitter fight to raise the debt ceiling and plans to bring down the ballooning deficit, drawn out by members who subscribe to Tea Party ideals and urge an end to government intervention in the economy.