With the release of President Obama’s deficit reduction plan yesterday, the left has come home — at least, for now.
“Millions of members of the American Dream Movement have been fighting for months to get folks in Washington to make the jobs crisis their number one priority,” Justin Ruben, Executive Director of MoveOn.org, said of the president’s jobs speech yesterday. “The President’s speech will help turn the discussion in Washington to what the vast majority of Americans think is most important: restarting the economy and putting Americans back to work.”
The group, which has often been a major liberal thorn in Obama’s side, even released a 30-second television ad called “Buffett’s Secretary,” praising the president’s proposal to impose higher taxes on the wealthy — a proposal known as the “Buffett Rule” that Republican critics have called “class warfare.”
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, another group on the left that has not hesitated to criticize the president in the past, also expressed support on Monday.
“By barnstorming the country in support of taxing the rich and government investment in jobs, the president has followed the longtime advice of progressives and has taken big steps in the right direction for our country,” Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
As ABC’s John R. Parkinson pointed out, President Obama’s sweeping recommendations to the supercommittee also receive plaudits from Democratic members of Congress, including Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the co-chair of the committee, who called the proposal “a serious approach to tackling the deficit and creating jobs.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., credited Obama for outlining “a bold and balanced plan.” Even the co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, who have not always been allies of the president, praised his plan.
However, in a sign that liberals are still proceeding with caution, they did take issue with one element of Obama’s policy — reducing Medicare and Medicaid benefits.
“While we support cutting waste, fraud and abuse, we reject any proposal that cuts benefits in Medicare or Medicaid,” the two Progressive Caucus Chairmen, Reps. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., and Keith Ellison, D-Minn., said in a statement.
BOTTOM LINE: Even Obama’s critics admit that the president has few choices in front of him. The legislative way ahead is barricaded and he can’t even count on his own members in the Senate to help him out.
Even so, it’s also clear that the president doesn’t have a Democratic base problem, he has a problem with his 2008 base — young voters, Hispanics and white independents. Getting those voters back is going to take something beyond traditional Democratic rhetoric.
And, as New York Times columnist David Brooks noted today, “This is a campaign marker, not a jobs bill. It recycles ideas that couldn’t get passed even when Democrats controlled Congress. In his remarks Monday the president didn’t try to win Republicans to even some parts of his measures. He repeated the populist cries that fire up liberals but are designed to enrage moderates and conservatives.” http://nyti.ms/pPuOqg
On “Good Morning America” today, ABC’s Jake Tapper previewed the coming fight between the White House and Republicans in Congress, who called the president’s plan dead-on-arrival: http://abcn.ws/nzEHJt
POLL NOTE: In an ABC News-Washington Post poll in July, 72 percent of those surveyed supported raising taxes on people with incomes of more than $250,000 a year to help reduce the national debt while 55 percent supported it strongly. That was the most popular of nine different debt-reduction approaches tested and the only one to win majority “strong” support. The next closest was raising the amount of income taxable for Social Security purposes. More from ABC’s Susanna Kim: http://abcn.ws/mZdAaY
WHITE HOUSE WATCH: AT THE UN. ABC’s Mary Bruce reports: President Obama is in New York City today for his first full day at the United Nations General Assembly, where he will meet with world leaders and spend the next two days dealing with issues ranging from Libya to Afghanistan to the Middle East. Obama will meet with the chairman of Libya’s new governing group, the Transitional National Council, Mustafa Abdel Jalil; Afghan President Hamid Karzai; President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil; and Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey. In the evening, the President and First Lady will attend a DNC fundraiser at Gotham Hall in New York City.
PERRY PREVIEW: ON OBAMA’S MIDDLE EAST POLICY OF ‘APPEASEMENT.’ “Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry is wading into a tense foreign policy dispute by criticizing the Palestinian Authority’s effort to seek a formal recognition of statehood by the United Nations and describing the Obama administration’s Middle East policy as ‘appeasement,’” report the AP’s Beth Fouhy and Kasie Hunt. “In a speech scheduled to be delivered in New York on Tuesday, Perry pledges strong support for Israel and criticizes President Barack Obama for demanding concessions from the Jewish state that Perry says have emboldened the Palestinians to seek recognition by the U.N. An aide to the Texas governor provided excerpts of the speech to The Associated Press on Tuesday. ‘We are indignant that certain Middle Eastern leaders have discarded the principle of direct negotiations between the sovereign nation of Israel and the Palestinian leadership,’ Perry said. ‘And we are equally indignant that the Obama administration’s Middle East policy of appeasement has encouraged such an ominous act of bad faith.’” http://apne.ws/qy6IDy
ROMNEY CALLS PALESTINIAN STATEHOOD AN ‘UNMITIGATED DIPLOMATIC DISASTER.’ “What we are watching unfold at the United Nations is an unmitigated diplomatic disaster,” presidential candidate Mitt Romney said in a statement this morning. ”It is the culmination of President Obama’s repeated efforts over three years to throw Israel under the bus and undermine its negotiating position. That policy must stop now. In his speech to the U.N. this week, President Obama must unequivocally reaffirm the United States’ commitment to the security of Israel and its continued existence as a Jewish state.”
ON TODAY’S “TOP LINE.” ABC’s Rick Klein and Amy Walter speak with Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., to get more Republican reaction on the deficit plan President Obama introduced yesterday. Also on the program to give us perspective from Capitol Hill, Roll Call correspondent David Drucker. Watch “Top Line” LIVE at 12:00 p.m. Eastern. http://abcn.ws/toplineliveabc
‘DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL’ — A THING OF THE PAST. “When the clock struck midnight today, the nearly 18-year-old policy that barred gay and lesbian service members from serving openly in the military was fully repealed,” writes ABC’s Luis Martinez. “As part of the repeal, the Defense Department plans to issue new guidelines and regulations to the military services informing them that the ban is no longer in effect. They will be posted on the Pentagon’s website, along with a quick reference guide that includes the most frequently asked questions about what will change with repeal. Aside from the guidelines, the Pentagon is taking a low-key approach to the end of the policy that led to the discharge of almost 14,000 service members over its lifetime. Aside from a news conference where Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen will discuss the change in policy, no other official DOD events are planned. While the Pentagon is planning a low-key transition, some gay advocacy groups are timing events to celebrate the repeal. OutServe Magazine planned to release a photo spread of more than 100 active duty gay and lesbian troops that would be posted on its website right at midnight as the law banning homosexuals from the military was repealed.” http://abcn.ws/qO8ZeM
DADT SNAPSHOT: ABC’s Devin Dwyer profiles Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach, who had been one of the highest-ranking and most highly decorated U.S. military service members facing discharge because he’s gay. “Now, with the final repeal of ‘don’t ask don’t tell,’” Dwyer writes, ‘the F-15 Strike Eagle weapons officer can complete his two-decade Air Force career with the guarantee of receiving full military retirement benefits when he hangs up his hat at the end of the month.” http://abcn.ws/piEyMp
WAS THE WHITE HOUSE HOSTILE TO WOMEN? “Friction about the roles of women in the Obama White House grew so intense during the first two years of the president’s tenure that he was forced to take steps to reassure senior women on his staff that he valued their presence and their input,” The Washington Post’s Peter Wallsten and Anne E. Kornblut note. “At a dinner in November 2009, several senior female aides complained directly to the president that men enjoyed greater access to him and often muscled them out of key policy discussions. Those tensions prompted Obama, urged on by senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, to elevate more women into senior White House positions, recognize them more during staff meetings and increase the female presence in the upper ranks of the reelection campaign. ‘There were some issues early on with women feeling as though they hadn’t figured out what their role was going to be on the senior team at the White House,’ Jarrett said in an interview Monday. ‘Most of the women hadn’t worked on the campaign, and so they didn’t have a personal relationship with the president.’ The women’s-inclusion issue in the Obama White House is featured prominently in a controversial new book to be released Tuesday, ‘Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington and the Education of a President,’ by journalist Ron Suskind. … The acknowledgment Monday by White House officials of discontent among high-level female staffers in the early days came even as Obama aides tried to paint the Suskind book as inaccurate. The book was reported with cooperation from the White House, but now it could backfire, raising questions about Obama’s management style in the early stages of his administration. Suskind’s full media blitz begins Tuesday.” http://wapo.st/pCuvUI
GINGRICH TO UNVEIL NEW CONTRACT WITH AMERICA. “Newt Gingrich will unveil a ’21st century Contract with America’ next week in Iowa,” the Des Moines Register’s Jennifer Jacobs reports. “‘It will be 10 times deeper and more comprehensive than 1994,’ he told an audience of about 40 people in Council Bluffs. The original contract Gingrich helped craft 17 years ago ‘didn’t fundamentally change the trajectory of America,’ he said. The new ideas Gingrich will pitch during his big speech in Des Moines next Thursday will be ‘very visionary,’ he said. ‘They’re very big and they’re exactly what Abraham Lincoln would have campaigned on.’” http://bit.ly/mV4j63
DEMOCRATS HELD FUNDRAISING EDGE IN AUGUST. “The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee outraised the National Republican Congressional Committee in August fundraising,” reports Roll Call’s Joshua Miller. “The NRCC pulled in $3 million while the DCCC raised $3.6 million, according to numbers obtained by Roll Call from the committees. The NRCC ended the month with $11.7 million in cash on hand, while the DCCC had $7.8 million in the bank. … Democrats trumpeted their fundraising win, noting that the GOP holds the majority in the House. ‘Republicans’ radical agenda continues to energize our Democratic supporters who are excited that the House Majority is in play,’ DCCC Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) said in a statement. ‘Despite being in the minority, the DCCC promised we would be aggressive every day including with our fundraising and it’s now clear we will have the resources to hold Republicans accountable for their extreme agenda and to put the House Republican Majority in jeopardy.’”
NOTABLE: MAYORS MEET IN DC. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and dozens of other mayors from around the country will be talking jobs on Tuesday in Washington. The mayors start their day with Gene Sperling and David Plouffe at the White House before moving to Capitol Hill for meetings with Pelosi, McConnell, and Reid. During an 11:30 am ET availability just outside of the White House, the mayors will stress that the biggest deficit facing the nation is the jobs deficit.
(all times local)
* Michele Bachmann meets with business leaders and employees in Des Moines, Iowa, at 9:00 a.m.
* Ron Paul hosts a town hall at noon at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs. At 2 p.m., he hosts a town hall at the Stoney Creek Inn in Sioux City, and at 4 p.m., he hosts one in Spencer.
* Gary Johnson stops at Lindy’s Diner in Keene, N.H., for breakfast and conversation with the staff and local residents at 8 a.m. At 11 a.m., Johnson speaks at Keene State College. He visits Brewbaker’s Coffee at 1 p.m. Johnson visits Fritz at 1:30 p.m. At 2 p.m., Johnson stops at Armadillo’s Burritos in Keene. At 2:30 p.m., Johnson vists The Stage Restaurant and at 3 p.m., he stops by Pedraza’s Mexican Restaurant. From 8-10 p.m., Johnson attends a “Google Hangout” event at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.
* Newt Gingrich leads a town hall meeting at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa at 2 p.m.
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