In his standard ultra-partisan mode, Obama set his compassionate understanding of the plight of the poor against the stone-hearted perspective of Republicans and conservative media (Fox News), who he said portray the poor as "leeches" who are "undeserving" of society's generosity:
OBAMA: I think that the effort to suggest that the poor are sponges, leeches, don’t want to work, are lazy, are undeserving, got traction. And look, it’s still being propagated. I have to say that if you watch Fox News on a regular basis, it is a constant venue. They will find folks who make me mad. I don’t know where they find them. They’re all like, “I don’t want to work. I just want a free Obama Phone, or whatever.” And that becomes an entire narrative that gets worked up. And very rarely do you hear an interview of a waitress, which is much more typical — who is raising a couple of kids and doing everything right but still can’t pay the bills.
And so, if we’re going to change how Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) think, we’re going to have to change how our body politic thinks, which means we’re going to have to change how the media reports on these issues, and how people’s impressions of what it’s like to struggle in this economy looks like. And how budgets connect to that. And that’s a hard process because that requires a much broader conversation than typically we have on the nightly news.
John Nolte, who first reported the comments, argues that Obama "knows nothing about poverty," having gone from one elite private school to another, funded by his wealthy, well-educated grandparents. After attending high-end private school Panahou in Honolulu, Obama attended Occidental College, followed by Columbia and Harvard. "The closest Obama has ever come to experiencing anything close to poverty was during his time as a community organizer in Chicago," wrote Nolte. "And in that dynamic, the poor were just pawns for Obama to manipulate to achieve his political ambitions."
As for the president's call to "change how the media reports," the president has frequently suggested that media outlets, particularly Fox News, must be reined in. Despite portraying itself as the most transparent administration in history, the Obama administration has deliberately undermined the media by stonewalling it on information requests. The Associated Press grew so frustrated by the State Department's FOIA noncompliance that it recently filed a lawsuit against it.
Video, partial transcript via Breitbart.