The Key Demo for Obama's Economic Speeches: Republican Senators

Elspeth Reeve
The Key Demo for Obama's Economic Speeches: Republican Senators

President Obama will give as many as six speeches on the economy over the next two months, ahead of deadlines for Congress to pass bills funding the government and raising the debt ceiling. He doesn't expect his speeches to make dealing with House Republicans easier, The Washington Post's Ezra Klein writes. He expects the showdowns with House Republicans to make working with Senate Republicans easier. 

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"The White House’s hope for a deal here doesn’t come from a speech," Klein writes. "It comes from the Senate, where there does seem to be a breakaway group growing frustrated with House Republicans and more interested in White House dealmaking, where there are more Republicans whose top issue is defense (and thus more concern over sequestration’s ongoing defense cuts), and where the White House has spent much of the last six months assiduously strengthening relationships."

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In his speeches, Obama won't talk about the sequester, because the White House thinks that even after six months of speeches about how the sequester hurts the economy, most Americas don't know what it is. Senior administration officials tell Politico, "Looking ahead to budget battles with Congress this fall, he’ll lay out the stakes, but won’t get into legislative tactics. He probably won’t use the word 'sequester,' since many listeners wouldn’t know what he was talking about." But Senate Republicans like John McCain do know what the sequester is, and they've been complaining about how it hurts national security. As The Atlantic Wire's Connor Simpson points out, McCain has recently reclaimed his "Maverick" title by criticizing House Republicans on immigration.

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At an Organizing for Action event on Monday night, Obama told supporters, "Here's the thing: It will be a pretty good speech… But I've given some pretty good speeches before. And things still get stuck here in Washington, which is why I'm going to need your help." Indeed, this good speech will be about the same things as good speeches past. Obama's speeches will not offer "sweeping new proposals," The New York Times reports; instead, they'll suggest "repackaged" proposals Obama's been pitching since at least 2011, when he toured the country after the debt ceiling crisis with his American Jobs Act. That never passed, but it did help Obama recover from the lowest approval ratings of his presidency.