Lanny Davis, who served as former special counsel to Bill Clinton, is denying claims that President Barack Obama used his State of the Union address to bolster Hillary Clinton's presumed run for president next year.
"It was aimed at the American people. The overwhelming instant poll was a very positive reaction. His approval rating is back to 50 percent," Davis, a Washington-based lawyer and crisis manager, said Thursday on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
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"He's speaking for the Democratic Party and what we stand for, from Franklin Roosevelt all the way to today, which is progressive taxation and people who are wealthier, including myself, [and] are prepared to pay higher taxes and middle-class and lower-income.
"That's what FDR said, that's what John Kennedy said, that's what Bill Clinton said. This is our party and he got re-elected to two terms based on that party principle of progressive taxation and progressive sharing of programs for people who are in need."
In a column published on FoxNews.com,
financial writer Liz Peek said:
"It's also awkward for Mrs. Clinton that the president has burned relations with Republicans … again. In his speech, while talking about 'a better politics' in which 'we debate without demonizing each other,' the president also threatened to veto a number of GOP initiatives."
But Davis insisted that Obama is speaking for the Democrats.
"The heart of our party is progressivity and wealthier people paying more in taxes, to share their wealth with people who are less well-off, to give them opportunities. That's what we think America is all about.
"Barack Obama ran on that platform in '08, was elected, ran again in '12 against a candidate who was a conservative, was re-elected. Hillary Clinton is in the mainstream of our party. She's not moving left of anything. This is our party mainstream."
Davis acknowledged that recent polls show that a majority of Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction.
"[And] there's no question the most recent polls show he [has a] 50 percent approval rating — but … look at what he precisely proposed … to the American people," Davis said.
"Take one example: Do you want to close the loophole that allows the wealthy to not pay capital gains taxes that everybody else has to pay — if they just wait to hand over those inflated shares over the years to their children, so their children pay no taxes? [Or] would you like to take the money to close that tax loophole and have free community colleges?
"Pose that question to the American people [and] you'd get an 80 percent approval. So his specific proposals rather than the rhetoric of both sides is what we ought to be talking about."
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