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.
<p>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.</p>
<p>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.”</p>
<p>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.</p>