Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

'Fiscal Cliff': Obama, Republicans Revert to Campaign Mode

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

'Fiscal Cliff': Obama, Republicans Revert to Campaign Mode

Article excerpt

Three weeks after winning reelection, President Obama is returning to the campaign trail. But instead of stumping for himself, hes pushing for tax hikes on the wealthy, in the name of deficit reduction.

The presidents trip Friday to a toy factory in suburban Philadelphia will cap a week of outreach to various constituencies on issues around the fiscal cliff the broad tax increases and spending cuts that kick in with the new year if Congress doesnt act.

On Tuesday, Mr. Obama met at the White House with small-business owners from across the country, and his economists released a report saying a tax increase on the middle class would harm small businesses. On Wednesday, the president hosts two events one with middle-class Americans, another with business leaders. The point of all three meetings is to highlight how these groups would be affected by an expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts.

Congressional Republicans have decided they can play the game, too. Next week, House majority whip Kevin McCarthy will host his own meeting of small-business owners at the Capitol, his office announced.

Republicans say many small-business owners would be hurt by Obamas plan for a tax increase on the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans those making more than $250,000 a year.

Still, theres no competing with the presidential bully pulpit and the media coverage it brings.

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky said Tuesday the president should spend more time negotiating in Washington and less time campaigning.

We already know the president's a very good campaigner.... What we don't know is if he has the leadership qualities to lead his party to a bipartisan agreement on big issues," Senator McConnell said. "The people he needs to be talking to are members of his own party so he can convince them of the need to act. …

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