Obama Continues Populist Push

Obama continues push for payroll tax cut extension, confirmation of consumer watchdog.

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As Democrats sense that they've got an edge in the message wars over the economy, President Obama is looking to channel Theodore Roosevelt with a populist speech in Kansas on Tuesday. Speaking in Osawatomie, Kansas—where Roosevelt laid out his "New Nationalism" platform more than 100 years ago—Obama is expected to continue to push his message that the Republican Party is representing the interests of the privileged few, and that the party is standing in the way of economic progress.

[Whispers: Obama's approval rating drops below Jimmy Carter's.]

"He'll lay out the choice we face between a country in which too few do well while too many struggle to get by, and one where we're all in it together — where everyone engages in fair play, everyone does their fair share, and everyone gets a fair shot," the White House stated. The president is also expected to begin a push for the confirmation of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the newly created watchdog agency which has yet to see a permanent director. Cordray, the former attorney general of Ohio, was nominated by Obama to fill the slot in 2010, but his nomination has been delayed by Republicans in Congress and will likely fail a procedural vote later this week.

[Check out political cartoons about President Obama.]

Osawatomie is remembered as the place where Roosevelt outlined an expansive new progressive philosophy, with statements such as "the object of government is the welfare of the people." One hundred years later, Obama's message is a bit less broad, likely urging Congress to extend a payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits, as well as Cordray's nomination. But with Republicans in an usual defensive position on the payroll tax cut issue—and with many of its members openly defying the leadership—Democrats smell blood in the water and sense that they may have finally won a battle in the court of public opinion.

aparker@usnews.com

Twitter: @AlexParkerDC