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Republicans see 'golden opportunity' in Obama's jobs push

October 03, 2011|By Kim Geiger
  • President Obama's jobs push provides what some Republicans see as an opportunity.
President Obama's jobs push provides what some Republicans see as… (Riccardo S. Savi / Getty…)

If President Obama wants to portray Republicans as obstructionists, a group of GOP strategists have set out a plan to make that strategy politically dangerous for him.

As Obama stepped up pressure on Congress on Monday to pass his jobs bill, the Karl Rove-backed group American Crossroads released a detailed plan to use Obama’s words against his fellow Democrats in the Senate, some of whom are facing tough re-election battles in 2012.

Crossroads President and CEO Steven Law wrote in a memo to other conservative groups that Obama has been trying “to replay Harry Truman’s successful 1948 campaign, when he ran against the ‘do-nothing, good-for-nothing’ 80th Congress.”

Republicans should “use Obama’s attacks on Congress as a battering ram against the fragile Democrat Senate majority,” Law wrote.

Obama declared in August that he would run “against a Congress that’s not doing anything for the American people,” if lawmakers failed to act on his promised economic proposals. 

He proposed a jobs bill last month and has been hammering Congress to pass it. 

“It's been several weeks now since I sent up the American Jobs Act," Obama told reporters on Monday. "And as I've been saying on the road, I want it back. I'm ready to sign it.”  

In his memo, Law said Republicans in Congress had a “golden opportunity” to use “disciplined rhetoric and contrasting legislative action” to “turn the president’s rhetoric against his own party.” And he pledged Crossroads resources to help in the effort.

“Moving forward, the first step in the new strategy is to build on what Speaker [John A.] Boehner and Majority Leader [Eric] Cantor did recently: release a list of pro-jobs bills that the Republican House passed, only to see them interred in [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid’s legislative graveyard,” Law wrote.

The list “needs to be part of the talking points of every Republican member,” he said, suggesting that members carry it around with them and refer to it in speeches and on props.

Next, he said, Republicans should “strategically identify” some of those bills as opportunities to portray Democrats as stalling job creation efforts, and should increase pressure on Democrats – particularly Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill and Florida Sen. Bill Nelson --  who chair key Senate committees that could advance the bills.

“Reflexive partisan opposition from Senate Democrats should be anticipated and used to sharpen the ‘do-nothing, good-for-nothing’ contrast,” Law wrote.

Meanwhile, Obama’s reelection campaign released a memo of its own, targeting the field of Republican presidential hopefuls. 

“The campaign to win the Republican nomination has become a campaign to win the hearts and minds of the tea party,” wrote Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for the Obama campaign.  “…Instead of laying out a plan to promote America’s competitiveness, the Republican candidates have focused on what they want to dismantle.”

LaBolt’s memo, however, was not a call to action.  It listed positions held by the Republican presidential candidates and cited polls that suggest the public favors Obama’s approach.

“Americans don’t want to return to policies that haven’t worked in the past, and they don’t want to start doing away with sensible environmental safeguards and investments in education,” LaBolt wrote, adding that the Republican field had “become increasingly out of step on immigration.”

Citing a CNN poll from July, LaBolt argued: “Seventy-three percent of Americans support repealing tax breaks for oil and gas companies. Yet none of the Republican candidates would ask the wealthiest to pay an additional dime and their economic plans maintain tax breaks for large corporations.”

In response to the Crossroads memo, LaBolt again argued that Obama’s proposals track with what Americans want.

“No amount of spin will change the fact that by all available measures, Americans strongly support the provisions in the Jobs Act -- from rebuilding our roads and bridges, to putting teachers and first responders back on the job, to providing tax cuts for the middle class instead of millionaires and billionaires. ” LaBolt said in an e-mail.

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