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Obama Tries to Energize Base Before Midterm Elections

Oprah Winfrey, Bill Clinton receive Medal of FreedomWith eight months to go until the midterm elections, much of Washington, D.C., has shifted into election mode, with the White House now focusing more on energizing the Democratic base than trying to work with Republicans to pass legislation.

A story in the Washington Post says President Obama has backed off on issues that might alienate the left, like the Keystone pipeline and making cuts to Social Security, while he is aggressively attacking Republicans.

This domestic strategy comes as a majority of Americans for the first time think President Obama is not respected among world leaders, according to a Gallup poll. The number has increased to 53 percent of Americans, a big jump from 43 percent last year. Gallup believes issues like the NSA surveillance of foreign leaders and tensions with Russia and Israel have contributed to the public perception.

Interestingly, most of the drop comes from Democrats and independents: 69 percent of Democrats say he is respected by other world leaders, down from 80 percent in 2013, and only 34 percent of independents say he is respected, down from 49 percent in 2013. As for Republicans, 19 percent say the president is not respected by other leaders, down 2 points from 2013.

But to add some perspective, Gallup pointed out that in 2007 when asked the question, only 21 percent of respondents said former President George W. Bush was respected by other world leaders. Gallup also said former President Bill Clinton saw similar numbers to Obama’s in 1994 and 2000.

As for the White House’s domestic strategy, officials told the Post their efforts to please the Democratic base do not conflict with them appealing to independent and swing voters.

Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer pointed out that most Americans share the Democratic party’s position on economic issues like raising the minimum wage, assuring pay equity for women, spending more on infrastructure and clean energy.“The position that is popular with the progressive base is the mainstream position,” Pfeiffer said.But getting tough on Republicans is an easier position for the president now because he doesn’t have to go before voters himself anymore.

On Thursday night, Obama said Republican governors have been “pursuing the same top-down failed economic policies that don’t help Americans get ahead. . . . They’re making it harder for working families to access health insurance. In some states, they’re making it harder even for Americans to exercise their right to vote.”


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