WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he is considering new border security measures, including the possibility of National Guard deployments, to combat the spillover of violence by Mexican drug cartels.
In an interview with reporters, the president also defended his economic and budget proposals while dismissing Republican opposition in Congress with the observation that "it is easy to say no.''
Commenting on the border security issue, Mr. Obama noted that Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had met recently with his Mexican counterparts to assess the degree of the threat from the aggressive gangs.
While saying that he wanted to avoid "militarizing'' the nation's long southern border, Mr. Obama said:
"We're going to examine whether, and if, National Guard deployments would make sense and in what circumstances they would make sense as part of this overall review of our border situation.
"I haven't drawn any conclusions yet. I don't have a particular tipping point in mind," he added."I think it's unacceptable if you've got drug gangs crossing our borders and killing our citizens."
Turning to his budget, Mr. Obama rejected GOP assertions that it represented some drastic lurch to the left.
"For them to success that this was some radical assault on the rich makes no sense whatsoever," he said.
He noted that, most of the tax increases in the budget -- the rescinding of Bush administration tax cuts for more affluent taxpayers -- had, as a matter of law, already been anticipated in Bush administration budgets although Republican then and now argued that they should be made permanent.
Asked whether he had expected the unity and discipline of GOP attacks on his economic program he said, "I'm not surprised because opposition is always easy, saying not to something is easy; saying yes to something and figuring out how to govern and solve problems is hard."