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Obama Aides Seek to Frame Republicans’ Debate on the Economy

Tuesday, 11 Oct 2011 11:26 AM

 

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(See ELEC for more U.S. election news.)

Oct. 11 (Bloomberg) -- As Republican presidential candidates prepared to debate economic policy in New Hampshire tonight, advisers to President Barack Obama opened a new offensive on the same subject, charging that the Republicans who want Obama’s job don’t have a plan to boost employment.

White House senior adviser David Plouffe, speaking this morning on NBC’s “Today” program, accused the Republicans of wanting to “basically build a bridge back to the recession.” Their policies would “let Wall Street write their own rules, cut taxes for the wealthiest, let polluters have their way with our air and water.” he said. “That’s not going to grow jobs now or in the long term.”

In Hanover, New Hampshire, this evening, eight Republican candidates will discuss economic issues in a debate sponsored by Bloomberg LP and The Washington Post. The appearances by Plouffe on “Today,” ABC’s “Good Morning America” and CBS’s “The Early Show” -- along with a memo from campaign strategist David Axelrod released late last night and an interview this evening with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Bloomberg Television before the debate begins -- amounts to a coordinated effort by the president’s team to counter tonight’s Republican message on the economy.

“The GOP candidates will be pressed tonight to go beyond their personal biographies as job creators, but they don’t differ much from standard GOP orthodoxy,” said Linda Fowler, a professor of government at Dartmouth College, where the debate is being held.

Jobs Council Meeting

Obama will travel to Pittsburgh today for a meeting of his jobs council to solicit new ideas on spurring economic growth and lowering the unemployment rate. Later, he will fly to Florida, a crucial state in the last three elections, for campaign events.

According to a new Bloomberg-Washington Post poll, more than two-thirds of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, say wealthier people should pay more in taxes to bring down the budget deficit, and even larger numbers think that Medicare and Social Security benefits should be left alone.

More than 8 out of 10 Americans say the middle class will have to make financial sacrifices to cut the federal deficit even as the public just as strongly opposes higher taxes on middle-income families, according to the poll, conducted Oct. 6- 9. That sentiment on taxes is at odds with the Republican presidential candidates.

‘Where’s Waldo’ Economy

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who leads in New Hampshire polls, discussed the economy yesterday as he campaigned throughout the state. At a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Milford, he said that Obama’s stewardship has created a “‘Where’s Waldo’ economy,” referring to the children’s books in which the challenge is to hunt for a small, hard-to-find man on a crowded page. In Romney’s analogy, the jobs are Waldo.

He also accused Obama of fostering “class warfare” that Romney said demonized groups of people unfairly. “I’ve been really disappointed -- and, in some respects, a little frightened -- by the president’s rhetoric -- this class warfare, trying to find someone to blame,” Romney said.

Axelrod and Plouffe sought to put the onus on congressional Republicans to lower the unemployment rate, currently 9.1 percent.

“So as members of Congress take up the American Jobs Act this week they need to understand that their failure to focus on what matters most to Americans is why disapproval for Congress is at a historic high -– 80 percent,” Axelrod wrote in his memo to “interested parties,” citing a CBS/New York Times poll from Sept. 16. “It’s time that they listened to the American people, focus on jobs and pass the American Jobs Act.”

--With assistance from Mike Dorning in Washington. Editors: Leslie Hoffecker, Steven Komarow

To contact the reporters on this story: Hans Nichols in Hanover, New Hampshire, at hnichols2@bloomberg.net; Julie Hirschfeld Davis in Hanover, New Hampshire, at jdavis159@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net

© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

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