President Obama is taking his economic message outside the capital again this week, and his approach is looking more like an election campaign than ever.
Obama is scheduled to visit an engine plant in the Detroit area Monday to pitch his economic plans, especially his proposal to raise taxes on the rich and continue tax cuts for the middle class. He is expected to give several interviews to local television anchors on Tuesday to discuss both his economic plans and his moves to end the U.S. combat role in Iraq.
Democrats are supportive of his campaign-like strategy but Republicans are disdainful. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican and a leader of GOP forces in the House, urged President Obama to "come off the campaign trail. He's been to Pennsylvania. Tomorrow he's going to Detroit. It's time to govern. The election is over." McCarthy made his remarks Sunday on NBC News's Meet the Press.
Regarding the economy, Obama met privately with House Speaker John Boehner on Sunday at the White House, but neither side would discuss what happened. The public signs, however, have indicated that the Democratic White House and the Republican-controlled House have a long way to go to avoid the automatic tax hikes and deep spending cuts scheduled to start phasing in on January 1. Some economists liken the possible result to going over a "fiscal cliff," and they say it could trigger another recession.
Obama has been focusing not on his personal role in negotiations but on generating grassroots support for his budget plans and intensifying opposition to the Republican refusal to accept higher taxes on the rich.
Last week, he met with a middle-class family in Falls Church, Va., and underscored his support for a continuation of middle-class tax cuts and those tax hikes on the wealthy.
His campaigning seems to be having an effect. Sixty percent of Americans favor increasing taxes on households making more than $250,000 annually, and only 38 percent are opposed, according to a new poll by Politico and George Washington University.
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Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog "Ken Walsh's Washington" for usnews.com, and is the author of "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He can be reached at email@example.com and on Facebook and Twitter.