Obama steers clear of deficit panel failure

President avoids political hot potato

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Mr. Bennett said Mr. Obama’s personal involvement with the supercommittee would have served only to “harden positions, particularly on the Republican side.” He said voters aren’t likely to fault Mr. Obama for not diving into a “very large bucket of muck.”

“When Congress is at 9 percent [job approval], nobody’s going to say Obama should do a lot more with Congress,” Mr. Bennett said.

With the supercommittee’s work a failure, Mr. Obama is heading back to battleground states such as New Hampshire and Pennsylvania to lobby for congressional action on parts of his $447 billion jobs bill. That likely will produce more disagreements and gridlock with Republicans in Congress.

“What Americans are going to see in December is a replay of what we’ve seen several times,” Mr. Ornstein said.

He said Republican lawmakers could be in an uncomfortable spot next year, with the Bush tax cuts about to expire and Mr. Obama threatening to veto any efforts to reconfigure mandatory spending cuts.

“Next year, in policy terms, Obama holds most of the cards,” Mr. Ornstein said.

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