Amid conflicting polls about which political faction will be blamed by voters for Washington’s paralysis, President Barack Obama is going back on the campaign trail to pressure the GOP into approving tax increases.
The president will meet with small business executives on Tuesday, two panels of picked “middle class Americans” and cooperative business leaders on Wednesday, and will travel to Pennsylvania on Friday to give a speech at a toy factory in Hatfield.
GOP leaders decried the Friday flight to Pennsylvania as politics rather than negotiation. “The time for campaigning is over. It’s time to act,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate. “Rather than sitting down with lawmakers… [and] working out an agreement, he’s back out on the campaign trail,” McConnell said.
Obama’s renewed campaign spotlights predictions by White House officials that the president will try to rally public support for his political goals, including new taxes on the wealthy.
Obama’s deputies’ made the same claim in 2009, and but with little result.
But he may have better results in 2013, because the 2012 election built an extensive database of supporters, plus large force of a paid campaign staff and union-paid political workers. For example, the Service Employees International Union is keeping some of its election campaign organizers at work to build political pressure against Democrats and Republicans.
Obama’s deputies are also preparing the ground for a “fiscal cliff” compromise with the GOP that would get the White House credit for addressing the nation’s stagnant economy.
In recent days, Obama’s allies have touted possible cuts to entitlement programs and hinted they would not push for a renewal of the 2010 payroll tax cut. His deputies have even complimented Gov. Mitt Romney’s proposal to bypass D.C.-special interests by consolidating myriad tax deductions — such as the home-mortgage deduction — into a single deduction that would be capped to ensure wealthier Americans paid more taxes via a simpler tax code.
Recent polls show the public divided over fiscal plans, and who should get the blame if Washington insiders’ fail to bridge their deep ideological differences.
A mid-November CNN poll of 1,023 Americans — including many non-voters — showed 45 percent would blame congressional Republicans, while only 34 percent would blame Obama, despite his failure in the first term to compromise with the GOP or even moderate his debt-boosting spending.
The poll also showed that 70 percent of respondents believe the GOP is not doing enough to cooperate with Obama. Only 24 percent of respondents believe the GOP is “doing enough” to cooperate with Obama, said the poll.