President Barack Obama apparently has abandoned his effort to compromise with Republicans. In a fiery speech Monday, he insisted that he won’t accept cuts in Medicare without tax increases on the wealthy. Those comments played well among the president’s liberal Democratic base, Politico reports.
From the beginning of Obama’s presidency up until now, “his inclination was to say, ‘Look, the economy is going off a cliff. This is not a time for us to be talking past each other. We have to work together,’” said Jared Bernstein, a former top administration economist.
But now Obama has changed, he said.
“It’s absolutely legitimate to exhaust every possible avenue of that strategy — but once you’ve done so, you have to take it outside that process and go directly to the people,” said Bernstein, who worked for Vice President Joe Biden.
Meanwhile Republicans protest that by going after the wealthy on taxes, Obama is practicing class warfare, though he denies it. Everyone from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan to the Karl Rove-backed American Crossroads super PAC made that point, Politico reports.
Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio cited these words from Obama specifically: “Either we ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share in taxes, or we’re going to have to ask seniors to pay more for Medicare.”
Collegio said those remarks show “the president is explicitly driving a wedge between Americans. That’s not leadership, that’s borderline demagoguery.”
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