Obama Sets Up 'Mean' Congress as Midterm Election Strategy

Image: Obama Sets Up 'Mean' Congress as Midterm Election Strategy (Ed Zurga/EPA/Landov)

Monday, 04 Aug 2014 09:57 AM

By Melanie Batley

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President Barack Obama's midterm election strategy is to frame the Republican-led Congress as "mean," hoping the strategy will help mobilize the Democratic base and help the party maintain control of the Senate, The Hill reported.

"The White House's emerging strategy for the midterm election is to run against a 'mean' Congress," The Hill said, citing numerous comments he has made in the last week. In particular, he has painted the GOP as unable to pass "vanilla legislation" because of partisan intra-party bickering.

He also made a speech telling the House Republicans to "stop hatin'" and "being mad all the time," and mocked the GOP lawsuit.

"All of us have always thought he's better with an opponent and someone to fight against," Tommy Vietor, a former longtime Obama communications aide, told The Hill. "When you got an opponent especially an opponent as absurd as the Republican Congress, he's in a better place because he can point out their hypocrisy, their mean spiritedness and he can do it with humor."

Republican strategist Ron Bonjean said that Obama's strategy is one of "partisan warfare," and The Hill noted that he has successfully engaged in this strategy in past elections.

"He's trying to energize the liberal base to get them to vote this November and he'll continue on this path, pointing fingers at Republicans," Bonjean told The Hill. "Although he has increased his rhetoric, the playbook is the same."

Katherine Jellison, a professor of history at Ohio University, said the strategy of running against a "do-nothing" Congress has also been successful for past presidents, according to The Hill.

"The base loves this kind of thing and they seem to be eating it up," Jellison said. "They're hooting and hollering like they haven't in quite some time."

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