By DAVID SKOLNICK
U.S. Sen. George V. Voinovich criticized President Barack Obama for failing to be a strong leader, honest and bipartisan.
Obama “ought to be honest,” Voinovich said Friday in an interview with The Vindicator. “He’s a socialist. I told you he’s a socialist. I respect the man. He believes that government has a much larger role to play in the lives of the American people ... I do not support the role he wants government to play.”
Voinovich, a Republican not seeking re-election this year to the Senate, criticized Obama on a variety of issues, but made the “socialist” comment regarding the president’s push for passage of a bill to change health care coverage.
Also, Voinovich said Obama “has not been bipartisan on very much.”
Obama, a Democrat, met with Republican senators in support of the $787 billion federal stimulus bill. But Voinovich said the president later said he couldn’t include Republican proposals because he had already made promises to Democratic leadership.
“He does not understand that as the president he is no longer a legislator,” Voinovich said. “He has got to bring people together and understand a trusting relationship with the leadership of the other party” is needed.
Voinovich also criticized fellow Republicans for opposing earmarks in order to win over members of the TEA [Taxed Enough Already] Party movement; incorrectly calling them “these teapot dome people.”
Earmarks make up “4/1000th of federal spending. It’s not even like salt in the soup, but they’re making everybody think that if you take care of earmarks everything will be” fine with government spending.
To eliminate the federal deficit, the government must increase taxes and cut spending, Voinovich said.
Before visiting the newspaper, Voinovich toured the Youngstown Business Incubator and said he is impressed by the work there.
“I’m so glad I went over,” he said. “This is real stuff. You know, I thought this tech belt was just a lot of nonsense. It’s real stuff.”