Washington (CNN) - Senior presidential aide David Axelrod blasted out an e-mail to supporters on Thursday blaming Republicans for the county's current fiscal woes and blasting them for a devising "cynical accounting trick" to have the Bush tax cuts expire in January.
Echoing a recent White House refrain, he applauds President Barack Obama in the e-mail for "fighting for the middle class."
In doing so, Axelrod joins the chorus of senior Democrats now playing both offense and defense at the same time against Republicans in the face of what is shaping up to be a difficult midterm election for Democrats.
The e-mail appears to underscore a message Democrats hope will appeal to disaffected middle income voters: not only is the Democratic party trying to fix problems that Republicans created, but voters should re-elect Democrats or face more of those problems. Axelrod ends his missive by pounding this idea home, saying, "We simply cannot afford to go back to their failed policies."
His appeal comes at a time when the White House has proposed ending the Bush-era tax cuts for families with incomes above $250,000 per year. Obama argued at a campaign stop in Iowa Wednesday that extending the whole package of tax cuts merely "puts off hard problems."
Republicans, meanwhile, contend that raising taxes on anyone will hamper an already sluggish economic recovery.
The GOP is "holding these tax cuts for the middle class hostage, demanding that we also lift the cap and extend the breaks to millionaires and billionaires," Axelrod says in the e-mail.
Democrats are facing what could turn out to be a Republican takeover of Congress, as well as the loss of a number of governors mansions in November.