News / USA

Obama's Economic Speeches Pound Republicans

Obama discussed the economy and the middle class in Phoenix, Arizona, August 6, 2013.
Obama discussed the economy and the middle class in Phoenix, Arizona, August 6, 2013.
Reuters
The economic policy speeches President Barack Obama has been delivering in recent weeks are turning out to be blunt attacks on Republicans, with an eye toward coming fiscal battles and the 2014 congressional elections.
 
Obama's basic message across the country, most recently sounded on Tuesday in Arizona, is that while he has made great strides in improving the economy, further progress is being thwarted by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives.
 
By obstructing his proposals, Republicans are hurting the nation's “most vulnerable children,” Obama said, along with farmers, the military, home-buyers, middle-class job seekers, immigrants and businesses seeking to hire immigrants.
 
From Galesburg, Illinois, to Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Phoenix, Arizona, Obama has been unrelenting in tone, attacking “slash-and-burn partisanship,” “phony scandals,” and the “gutted” farm bill - all the work of Republicans now spoiling for a fight that “could plunge us back in financial crisis.”
 
Offering what he considers a moderate position on overhauling policies governing the housing industry, Obama said in Phoenix on Tuesday: “First, private capital should take a bigger role in the mortgage market. I know that's confusing to folks who call me a socialist.”
 
Republicans, equally combative, began their counterattack even before Obama hit the road on July 24. “He ought to stop threatening to shut down the government unless we raise taxes,” House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said. “Americans aren't asking the question 'where are the speeches?' They're asking 'where are the jobs?”'
 
The barbs are likely to continue for some time.
 
The president and Republicans in Congress confront two major spending showdowns this fall: the first over a bill in September to continue funding the government and the second, probably in October, to raise the government's borrowing power so it can keep paying its bills.

Campaign fundraising well under way

The midterm elections, held in years when a president is not being selected, are in November 2014 and fundraising by Democrats and Republicans is well under way. Both parties need issues to inspire contributions.
 
It is normal for a president to join the fray on behalf of his party in a midterm election, though White House officials insist that beyond fundraising for Democrats, Obama is not focused at all on the 2014 races.
 
“The president is focused on using every day in office to try to advance his agenda and when it comes to affecting the outcome of the midterms, the Republicans appear to be taking the lead on that,” said a senior White House official.
 
But bit by bit, Obama is building an argument for why he feels many Republicans are willing to do damage to the U.S. economy for political gain.
 
Brad Woodhouse, head of the liberal group Americans United For Change, said Obama's speeches are helping to crystallize where the parties stand on the issues in a way that will prove helpful to Democrats in 2014.
 
“I think all of us would just prefer get the two parties together and get something done but I think it really does lay the groundwork for a foundation about priorities in midterms,” said Woodhouse.
 
The potential for a government shutdown over the budget is tricky politics for Obama. On the one hand, Americans have generally sided with the president against attempts to shut down the federal government over budget politics.
 
But on the other hand, Obama was widely viewed as the loser in the debate over $84 billion in “sequestration” budget cuts that began in March. In most cases, Americans have simply shrugged and gotten accustomed to the cuts.
 
This makes it essential for Obama to make sure the blame falls squarely on Republicans for a government shutdown should one occur this fall.
 
“It feels like a campaign and it feels like they are setting it up so he (Obama) can't be blamed if they go to a government shutdown,” said one Democratic loyalist.
 
While the outcome of the budget showdown could potentially help Obama politically, he still faces difficulty in turning this into votes for more Democratic lawmakers in November 2014.
 
Democrats need a net gain of 27 seats to win control of the House. They control the Senate with a 54-46 margin and may see their majority narrowed in 2014.
 
Dave Wasserman, an expert on House races at the non-partisan Cook Political Report, said he could not see how Democrats can pick up House seats in 2014, but that Obama has to make an effort to improve chances that he can get some action taken on his agenda before he turns into a lame duck president.
 
“Obama has very little choice,” he said. “The parties in Congress are so polarized that he can't reasonably search for Republican votes in the House. They simply aren't there on big ticket issues.”

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid