Tags: blue | dog | democrats | budget

Obama Facing Democratic Defections

Thursday, 26 Mar 2009 11:14 AM

By Jim Meyers

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Infighting has broken out in Democratic ranks as liberal organizations seek to pressure moderate lawmakers into supporting President Barack Obama’s massive budget.

The liberal organizations MoveOn.org and Americans United for Change have begun airing ads urging moderate Democrats in the House and Senate to back Obama’s budget.

Two other liberal groups, Campaign for America’s Future and USAction, have launched a campaign to pressure moderate “blue dog” Democrats into supporting the proposed $3.5 trillion spending plan.

“We are going to need almost every Democratic vote to pass the budget,” said MoveOn Executive Director Justin Ruben.

“Our ads ensure the voices of our five million members and the millions of other American who support this budget can be heard over the army of lobbyists.”

And Americans United spokesman Jeremy Funk told Politico: “The point of this ad effort is to make sure the moderate Democratic and Republican members who are critical to the outcome of this budget hear it loud and strong from the real folks they represent about their support for President Obama’s commitments to healthcare reform, education and energy.”

Campaign for America’s Future and USAction’s effort will include ads airing in Texas and Arkansas along with door-to-door, e-mail and blogging drives, Campaign for America’s Future co-director Roger Hickey said on “Hardball with Chris Matthews” on Tuesday night.

The Democratic Blue Dog Coalition, which calls itself “fiscally conservative,” currently includes 49 House members, according to rawstory.com.

Last week, Indiana Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh announced the creation of a similar group of 16 Democratic senators.

Bayh and other moderate Democrats recently signed a letter to Senate Budget Committee Chairman Ken Conrad charging that the deficit the proposed budget would create is “simply not acceptable.”

As Newsmax reported last week, Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat, acknowledged that significant “adjustments” are needed in the White House’s spending plans.

But Bayh was targeted quickly by an ad accusing him of “standing in the way of President Obama’s reforms,” Politico reported.

Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., one of Americans United for Change’s targets, said: “The liberal groups need to understand that we are not elected to represent the president. We’re elected to represent our states, and we are trying to reflect the attitudes and values of the people who sent us to Washington.”

And Democratic Rep. Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania, who has been targeted by the MoveOn.org ads, said: “We have a short-term fiscal crisis that we need to dig ourselves out from. Is this the right time to put three massive initiatives in the budget?”

The blue dogs are also catching heat from across the aisle, with House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio accusing them of being “lap dogs” for Obama who have done nothing to work with House Republicans.

He also reportedly told Republicans that they should strive to delay consideration of Obama’s budget because the longer it sits around “the worse it smells.”

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