Obama Seeks Support for Agenda in Republican Dominated States

22 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

After defiant speech, Obama plugs tech jobs in Republican heartland.

WASHINGTON • Back in 1947, after his Democrats were routed in congressional elections the year before, President Harry S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, in Washington.(Photo: Mandel Ngan/AP) This president has governed through crisis after crisis — successfully, I might add — despite unrelenting attacks from a Republican Party that has grown dramatically more radical during his six years in office. Obama left Washington for a two-day trip to Idaho and Kansas to push his message that everyone should stand to gain from an economy that has all but recovered from years in the doldrums. The White House communications staff was already showing its digital prowess by releasing the prepared remarks on the blogging platform Medium moments before the speech, but what sent the social media-sphere into a tizzy was Obama’s drop-the-mic moment. But rather than follow the prepared text written by Cody Keenan, the chief White House speech writer, Obama showed the Republican Congress his sassy side with an ad-lib: The speech did address serious issues such as national security, scientific innovation and how wealth and educational inequality in the United States affects the lives of everyday Americans.

Middle-class tax cuts, free community college, immigration reform, extended sick leave for working families and infrastructure investments are all ambitious and just goals. He won’t be on the ballot, but his policies will be central to the debate, and he sounded like a president who did not believe the November elections were a repudiation of them. “He is trying to create a new national narrative and promote an agenda,” political analyst Stuart Rothenberg said. “No surprise there. To a crowd of more than 6,000 in a stadium at Boise State University, Obama continued to chide Republicans and noted that their body language during his speech on Tuesday made clear that they disagreed with him. It’s true that campaigning and governing are wholly different exercises, but I don’t believe the president is good at one at the expense of the other. Republicans called for Obama to be more humble, given that they took control of both chambers of Congress this month after winning the midterms handsomely. “We’ve only been here 2-1/2 weeks, and he’s put seven veto threats.

Let us work the legislation before you decide something’s going to be vetoed,” House of Representatives Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said on the CBS “This Morning” program. He called in his speech for Congress to give him so-called fast-track authority to help complete major trade pacts such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal being negotiated with Asia. “The president made very clear last night that TPA (Trade Promotion Authority) and TPP is now a top presidential priority and now is the time to get it done,” said Evan Medeiros, the top White House aide on Asia. While some conservative Republicans oppose giving Obama fast-track authority, the heaviest resistance might be from fellow Democrats who worry that trade deals could hurt American workers. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said on Wednesday that after recent talks with Republicans he was confident a business tax reform plan can make it through Congress.

But Blunt said Republicans won’t go along with it because it would nearly double federal education spending, and because many community college students already get heavy support from taxpayers through Pell Grants and other assistance. Obama told lawmakers and millions watching on television that it was time to “turn the page” from recession and war, and work together to boost middle-class Americans. His vision of a stronger and more expensive safety net stands little chance of becoming law this year, but it could shape the debate for the 2016 presidential election. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, said Obama “talks a good game” but that the President’s plans would “grow government and weaken America’s ability to compete” in global markets.

Hillary Clinton, the likely frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, is already facing heat from Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and others on the left, who worry Clinton may bow to pressure from Wall Street and not push enough of a populist agenda on the economy. Now we need to step up & deliver for the middle class. #FairShot #FairShare”. (Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu, Jason Lange, Howard Schneider, Susan Heavey, Krista Hughes and Richard Cowan; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe, Tom Brown and Ken Wills)

While decrying Obama’s partisanship, Republican on the day of his speech were pushing through the Senate a bill supporting the Keystone XL pipeline that Obama has threatened to veto. On Wednesday, Blunt offered amendments to that bill that, if passed, would require cost assessments on Environmental Protection Agency regulations, and would declare that the U.S. would not sign international greenhouse gas agreements that would harm the economy. And lest nostalgia for more contrite and compromising leadership grows, history shows that Truman’s 1947 call for bipartisan works turned into a 1948 campaign against a “do-nothing Congress” that led to his surprising re-election.

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