Saturday, February 28, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Obama’s economic focus seeks to unify Democrats

By
June 18, 2014 |

WASHINGTON — This was the year President Obama would go all in on the economy, elevating the struggles of the poor and the middle class to the top of his agenda. But that focus has been sporadic, overshadowed by foreign policy hot spots in Ukraine and Iraq and controversies like the swap for a U.S. prisoner in Afghanistan.

As Democrats demand that the White House lead with a unified economic message, Obama during the next several weeks is looking to cut through with an emphasis on working families, manufacturing, wages and the need for greater spending on infrastructure projects. The attention could be crucial in an election year when some Democrats in vulnerable races are not embracing other top Obama issues like climate change and health care.

The summer economic focus comes amid signs that the economy is steadily recovering from the recession. U.S. manufacturing output, for instance, rose at a solid pace in May, the latest indicator that the economy is rebounding from a weak first quarter. The unemployment rate is down to 6.3 percent, the stock market is humming, auto sales were up last month.

For all that, White House officials concede the American public is still anxious about the economy. Wages remain stagnant, workers have dropped out of the labor force, and 3.4 million Americans have been without work for 27 weeks or more, thus classifying them as long-term unemployed.

It is in that environment that the White House over the next four weeks is planning to focus on several economic fronts, from manufacturing and innovation this week to working families next week to insourcing and infrastructure. Obama themes will range from education and good wages, to job training and tax fairness – all the while stressing their direct benefit to individual Americans.

“The next five months will be a referendum on the fundamental questions – who’s got your back – and that’s what this election is going to be about,” said Rep. Steve Israel of New York, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

A top Obama priority such as raising the minimum wage, which enjoys broad public support, is much more likely to find nearly unanimous Democratic backing in Congress than Obama’s health care law or his recent push to slow carbon emissions in coal-powered electrical plants.

“Democrats need to have a program that they are broadly for and that is popular with the base and swing voters,” said Brad Woodhouse, president of the liberal Americans United for Change.

Obama on Tuesday will promote technological innovations during a trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and on Wednesday during a workshop at the White House that focuses on advancing entrepreneurship. Next week he will host a working families summit at the White House. Last week, he emphasized proposals to ease the burden of student loans on college graduates.

So far this year, Obama has also acted on his own where possible, requiring federal contractors to pay a higher minimum wage, ordering a review of overtime rules and expanding a student loan program.

In every instance, a key White House goal is to set up a contrast with the Republican Party and gain advantage on issues that are popular with the public but that have not been enough to give Obama an edge.

Obama’s approval rating for handling the economy remains significantly underwater according to a May Associated Press-GfK survey in which 59 percent disapproved of his handling of the nation’s economy and 39 percent approved. Those figures have been steady since last fall, with no improvement evident despite the overall improvement in the nation’s unemployment rate.

Asked which party they trust more to handle the economy, 27 percent say the Republicans, 25 percent the Democrats and 31 percent neither. About 1 in 7 says they trust both parties equally on the issue.

Some Republicans argue that the lingering worries about the economy are bound to ultimately harm Democrats.

GOP pollster Wes Anderson, who is consulting for several Republicans in Senate races, says that no matter what some larger economic indicators say, middle-class or lower middle-class Americans in suburban, exurban or rural areas aren’t convinced the economy is on the mend.

“The question is how important is that going into the fall,” Anderson said. “I think it is the under-addressed dark cloud for the Democrats lurking out there.”

“We’re advising our clients to draw a distinction between Washington’s economy and yours, Wall Street’s economy and yours,” he said, pointing to past bank bailouts and federal government deficits and debt. “Why let Democrats kick us in the head and make us the friends of big money all the time when we have the ability to make the case that the opposite is true.”

Republicans in turn have been calling for tax breaks to promote economic growth and job creation, proposals that Democrats have rejected and that White House political director David Simas, who has been studying the impact of economic proposals on public attitudes, says do not resonate with voters.

“When they hear folks in Washington talk in these abstractions about either growth or tax incentives for this or that,” Simas said, “it is so removed from what people care about that it turns them off and shuts them out.”

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • DanielJune 17, 2014 - 6:33 am

    Economic plan? What taxing carbon and putting compaines how of business sicking the EPA and all the others and raising taxes even more, how many jobs is that going to create in the private economy other than grants to campaign donors?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

US / World

Man shoots wife, himself at Northern Calif. retirement home

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
 
Thieves crash car through electronics store in San Francisco

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Some California farmers to go without federal water

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 2 Comments | Gallery

Congress OKs 1-week bill to keep Homeland Security open

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
US rescinds rule requiring judges to move to Guantanamo

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

US, Liberia start 1st formal test of ZMapp Ebola virus drug

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
US appeals court: Marathon bombing trial can stay in Boston

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Woman knocked out by eggs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Mexico official: Police capture top capo ‘La Tuta’ Gomez

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Well-educated ‘Jihadi John’ no surprise to experts

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Unmasking of ‘Jihadi John’ as a London lad shocks Britain

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Opinion

Unlikely winners of Greece’s surrender on euro

By Mark Gilbert | From Page: A8

 
A remedy for veterans’ care

By Bill Frist And Jim Marshall | From Page: A8

Editorial Cartoon: Feb. 28, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
How GOP can resolve immigration mess

By Ramesh Ponnuru | From Page: A8, 10 Comments

.

Living

Today in History: Feb. 28, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Feb. 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Feb. 28, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

 
Poem about heaven helps dog owners when beloved pet dies

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

Coca-Cola bottle as art? Atlanta’s High Museum takes a look

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Entertainment

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B9

.

Sports

 
Vaca advances three wrestlers into semis at Masters

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Spurs snap 4-game skid, beat short-handed Kings 107-96

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Thompson scores 25 points, Warriors rout Raptors 113-89

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Casey McGehee’s move to Giants a homecoming of sorts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Travis Kvapil’s NASCAR car stolen from hotel before race

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
McIlroy to miss cut at Honda Classic; Reed leads

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NHL fines Sharks’ Couture $5,000 for tripping from behind

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Browns agree to terms with quarterback Josh McCown

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Kyle Busch released from hospital following foot surgery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Bulls expect Derrick Rose back this season from knee surgery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Testimony: Several Hernandez texts are missing from phone

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Approaching ‘last call’ for NHL GMs to tweak rosters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
PGA Tour to move Match Play to Texas

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Notre Dame president credited for transforming school dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
MLS Commissioner Garber: Hopeful season will start on time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

.

Business

Gas prices soar in California as supply shrinks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Tribes from around US gather to discuss legal marijuana

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Uber says database containing driver info was breached

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Signed contracts to buy US homes rise to 18-month high

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Fiat Chrysler recalls 467K SUVs for possible stalling

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Southwest nearly done inspecting planes that were grounded

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
5 reasons US economy is stronger than Q4 GDP suggests

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5 | Gallery

.

Obituaries

Gabriel T. Traub

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Maria Kraszewski

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
.

Home Seller 2/28/2015

Right at Home: Decor made of bicycle parts

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR2Comments are off for this post | Gallery

Real estate transactions for Feb. 28, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR3

Average US rate on 30-year mortgage rises to 3.80 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR3