Washington (CNN) - This week the White House got more than it could have hoped for in the payroll tax cut extension showdown.
Republicans handed President Barack Obama an opportunity to turn his jobs campaign narrative into a real-life drama.
Since September when the president delivered his jobs speech to a joint session of Congress, he's been trying to sell a twofold message:
One - as president he's fighting for "working Americans."
Or, as he said on September 22: "I'm a warrior for the middle class" and "I'm happy to fight for working Americans."
Two - Congress is in his words "dysfunctional," standing in the way of policy that could improve the economy.
That's the message but the reality looked different. From the outside it appeared as though the president has been locked in battle with Congress with all sides deserving blame.
This week it was House Republicans on one side and the president on the other standing with working Americans. Literally.
Thursday the White House invited "regular Americans" to flank Obama as he asked House Republicans to just let them have their forty dollars per paycheck. (Forty dollars is the amount the average American would see missing from his or her paycheck were the payroll tax cut not extended in the new year.)
"It may be that there's some folks in the House who refuse to vote for this compromise because they don't think that forty bucks is a lot of money. But anyone who knows what it's like to stretch a budget knows that at the end of the week or the month, forty dollars can make all the difference in the world," the president said.
Then he went on to tell the sympathetic stories of Americans who count on that money. Like Richard from Rhode Island who says forty dollars is what it costs him to buy home heating oil. Obama read from Richard's letter, "If someone doesn't think that twelve gallons of heating oil is important, I invite them to spend three nights in an unheated home. Or you can believe me when I say that it makes a difference."
Republicans want to remind the American people that the president has contributed to the gridlock in Washington. In a statement endorsing the deal Speaker John Boehner accepted, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell insisted that "the only reason we are even discussing an extension of temporary measures like the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance is (the President's) own failure to turn our nation's economy around." And he said "the President's statements castigating House Republicans have thus amounted to the kind of unhelpful political opportunism Americans are tired of."
Ultimately Obama will be judged on economy. The White House knows that.
But with the payroll tax fight, Republicans handed the president a surprise opportunity to play a role his aides want him to play during the campaign: champion of the middle class.
forty dollars makes him the champion of the middle class?!? LOL the middle class is worse off than I thought.
So instead of what the lame stream media did with the Bush tax cuts....in which they demanded to know how we pay for it...
Lets just call Obama champion of the middle class....lol
Meanwhile, with this bill and his new trillion dollar spending bill, our dept to GDP has gone over 100 percent. Meaning all Americans who earn a check owe uncle sam 40,000 bucks. Each. But hey Barry, u go ahead and run on your 40 dollar tax cut.
obama is the kind of leader we need to get america going in the right direction republicans take notes
Sure Obama is a hero, LMAO.
I dont see how its a win. The repubs wanted to give a tax break for a year...Obama wanted to give it to you for 2 months. 80 bucks ! big Flip ! 15 trillion dollar debt, 34 months of 8% or higher unemployment, and countless other problems...Time for him to go. I am an Independent and I will not be voting for this moon again ! Worse than Carter !
Yep the democrats pulled another fast one on the American public. They sold ice to Eskamos while the republicans couldn't sell water in a desert. Happy Holiday America
Is anyone seriously considering voting for this guy again?
This proves thet the republicans hate the 99% of Amercians. The republicnas are goind down in the next election
I still can't believe that the Republicans allowed the freshmen Tea Party Congressmen to wag the entire party for so long. If they can't come to some consenus soon, the GOP stupidity is going to allow the Democrats to keep the Senate and more of those house votes will be moving to the left. I guess promises to Grover Norquist are more important than winning in 2012.
I'm middle class and I don't need a "champion" or money given to me that is taken from someone else. I am perfectly capable of paying my own way. But I am a rare type apparently. When my industry down turned, I re-tooled myself into another one by taking a lower paying job (and quickly got back to where I was through hard work). I didn't sit back on unemployment waiting for my dead industry to come back and demand that rich people should pay for it.
agreed. republican look reallly dumb the other day.
Anyone who thinks that reductions to your F.I.C.A. contributions is a tax cut needs to do their homework and learn what F.I.C.A. stands for, and how it works. And I'm sorry, but that either includes the President or he is lying to you when he says it is a tax cut. Because reducing F.I.C.A. contributions is NOT a tax cut. It is a more like reducing your Social Security and Medicare insurance premiums, and while you may be saving a little money now by having 2% less taken out of your paychecks, you will be sorry latter when you need Social Security and Medicare to pay you more, specially if that is all you have to live on. So don't be fooled by this smoke and mirrors routine.
Obama is far from perfect.
But at least he's trying.
Contrast that with the Repubs (House esp but Senate too) who are spending so much effort to defeat him they stall the work of the government.
this is not a victory for obama.. this is a two month bridge to more bickering. please...enough already. liberals are killing this once great country.
What it means is he can still win a fight. We weren't sure for a while.
The Republicans were exposed for what they are. Obstructionists!
Great! People (politicians) should work together at all times to do what is good for the American people. Lets not allow political views to interrupt getting something positive done. Thanks to all.
i wish cnn was a credible news source, but its not.
For those thinking 40 bucks is trivial, re-think! It's all relative-your 40 bucks may be what you drop at Starbucks every
week, but for others, it's basic survival. Not hard to figure out.
I am so glad the Prez and his family set an example for the rest of us. Paris, Hawaii, Martha's vineyard. Yup great example for the 99% of us.
It looks more likely that Barack Obama will win a second term as President. This current bunch of GOP candidates look weak.
I gotta tell ya....40 bucks does make a difference.
Thanks Obama. I'm only sad that you won't be able to blow my $80 tax cut partying with Michelle and the kids on your 5th $multi-million vacation this year.
I wouldn't need a tax cut if my insurance premiums hadn't doubled. Thanks for nothing Obama.
The GOP should have proposed to make it permanent. I have much more faith in how the general public would spend that money than how the government will.