President Obama’s gambit: Rally the public around tax hikes for the rich, and Republicans will follow.
By John Dickerson
Posted Wednesday, Nov 28, 2012, at 12:37 AM ET
During negotiations over raising the debt limit in summer 2011, President Obama got stroppy with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. “Don't call my bluff,” he said, according to Cantor. “I’m going to the American people with this.” During this season’s budget fight, the president is not waiting for talks to break down. He’s hitting the road early. On Friday, he will highlight the damage that will be done to the middle class if the country sails over the fiscal cliff on a visit to a manufacturing operation in Hatfield, Penn. (If the Republicans were feeling fun, they’d schedule an event in McCoy.)
The president’s aides say he is working inside the negotiating room and outside of it, and that a president must do both. But according to one who has discussed Obama's second term with him, the president believes he spent too much time in his first term engaged with members of Congress—even members of his own party. In the second term he's going to use his office to generate outside support that puts pressure on Republicans. In this case that means one thing: agreeing to raise tax rates on the wealthy. In the president's view, that's either going to happen through agreement in the room, or after the Jan. 1 deadline has passed and public pressure forces Republicans to cave.
Will the outside game work? It didn't when Obama had that confrontation with Cantor. During the 2011 ...