President Obama and his party are pursuing a new strategy to force the GOP into a debate on popular antipoverty programs, beginning with this week’s focus on the extension of long-term unemployment benefits. It’s a plan designed to frame this year’s midterm elections in populist terms – an approach that Democrats believe will exploit a central GOP vulnerability with voters. And Republicans – for the first time in a while – are now trying to find an effective defense.
President Barack Obama lauded the Senate’s advancement of a bill to extend jobless aid on Tuesday as a “very important step” and called on Republicans in both chambers to back the legislation “without obstruction or delay.”
The Senate narrowly voted Tuesday to advance a temporary extension of unemployment benefits to over one million jobless Americans, giving some unexpected momentum in the new year to Democrats and the Obama administration.
After losing the 2012 presidential election, after that 47% comment, and after a majority of voters (according to the exit polls) said that Mitt Romney’s policies favored the rich, Republicans acknowledged that they needed to close the empathy gap with Democrats.