Washington (CNN) - As President Obama kicks off a series of events and meetings this week to pressure Congressional Republicans to reach a deal to avert the fiscal cliff, top House GOP leaders are planning their own public campaign to frame Democrats as the ones who are unwilling to budge.
House Speaker John Boehner's office announced Tuesday that leaders and rank and file Republicans will roll out a series of events in Washington and in their districts across the country with small business owners to frame Democrats demands to oppose upper income tax cuts as a threat to new jobs.
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Although GOP aides stress the outreach was in the works before details of the President's campaign-style efforts were outlined, they aren't hiding the fact that they don't appreciate the White House effort to try to box them in on taxes.
The top Senate Republican slammed the President's decision to travel to Pennsylvania for a public event on the fiscal cliff on Friday.
"Rather than sitting down with lawmakers of both parties and working out an agreement he is back on the campaign trail presumably with the same old talking points that we are all quite familiar with," Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor.
The post-election tone of compromise that leaders from both parties stressed as they predicted a compromise was close at hand appeared to fade as McConnell questioned whether the President was capable of working across the aisle.
"We already know the president is a very good campaigner. We congratulate him on his re-election. What we don't know is whether he has the leadership qualities necessary to lead his party to a bipartisan agreement on big issues like we currently face."
Boehner's spokesman suggested the President's focus was misplaced.
"The target of the president's rallies should be the congressional Democrats who want to raise tax rates on small businesses rather than cut spending," said Michael Steel in a written statement
House leaders from both parties are meeting separately on Wednesday with several CEOs involved in the "Fix the Debt" coalition that is pushing for a deal to avoid the year end fiscal cliff. House Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy announced that GOP leaders will meet with small business owners next week in his office.
While President Obama continues to argue that allowing the tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans to expire should be part of a deal, GOP leadership aides are preparing talking points and events with local businesses to hammer home their argument that tax rate increases will cost more jobs.
Republicans on Capitol Hill also complained that the major focus on the negotiations was on how willing GOP members were willing to give in on taxes while Democrats continued to dig in on opposing any major structural changes to entitlement programs. They maintain their offer to give some on revenue should be met with some flexibility on changes to Medicare and Social Security.
This was one message GOP leaders planned to deliver to the CEOs attending Wednesday's meeting on Capitol Hill.
One senior GOP aide summarized the appeal from GOP members to business leaders, "when you guys are pushing a balanced approach don't forget about spending. Let's not keep this whole entire conversation centered on tax rates."
Wilson, why are you continuing that nonsense? Only the profit is taxed again. If a business owner makes $100 in profit, invests it into a machine that brings him in another $100, he is taxed on that profit at the higher rate.
But we'll bite. Raise the capital gains tax on those investing as a main source of income over $1 million. Problem solved.