Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama's decision to highlight issues like economic inequality and the minimum wage in the State of the Union address is part of a political shift that promises to benefit Democratic candidates in this year's midterms, a top liberal campaign group said on Wednesday.
Two big themes coming out of Tuesday's address are economic populism and a "new willingness to fight" entrenched conservative interests, said Adam Green of the Washington-based Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
Obama is sounding "more and more" like freshman Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a rising star on the left, Green told reporters on a conference call. And that is a "good thing for America" and "great for Democrats."
Warren's populist agenda is "smart policy and smart politics," he said. "Americans deserve a Democratic party that is fighting on their side against special interests."
Green said a number of Democratic House and Senate candidates plan to send Republican incumbents petitions calling for a higher minimum wage.
"No one who works hard ... should have to live in poverty in the richest nation in the world,” said Daylin Leach, a congressional candidate in suburban Philadelphia.
Obama's just following America," said Rick Weiland, a South Dakota Senate candidate. "People are finally waking up to the class warfare that's been waged against them" by "the super rich" in recent years.
Shenna Bellows, a liberal Democrat from Maine running for the seat now held by Republican Susan Collins, praised the President for "finally being bold and standing up" on issues like the minimum wage and climate change.
She criticized Obama, however, for failing to use the State of the Union address to discuss growing privacy concerns and issues such as electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency.
We need to "commit to real privacy reforms" and repeal the Patriot Act, she told reporters.
CNN asked Bellows about Collins's role in the Senate as part of a dwindling band of GOP moderates that stress the need for bipartisanship.
"Bipartisanship by which both sides compromise values to benefit large corporations is the worst kind of bipartisanship," she said. "I will be a bold progressive leader who will work across party lines."