[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/18/art.boc0518.gi.jpg caption=" Democrat Paul Begala called on the president to elevate his rhetoric and hit back harder against Republicans."]
Washington (CNN) – Democratic strategist and CNN contributor Paul Begala gave President Obama’s appearance in Youngstown, Ohio Tuesday a “C+” on the partisanship scale.
Earlier: Obama rips stimulus opponents
Speaking on CNN’s John King, USA, Begala called on the president to elevate his rhetoric and hit back harder against Republicans or else the Democrats run the risk of losing big in the midterm elections this November.
While discussing how presidential approval ratings can affect a party’s midterm electoral success, Begala explained how former President Ronald Reagan set the standard for the modern era by losing only 28 congressional seats despite sporting a 42 percent approval rating in the 1982 midterms.
“As unemployment went up and Reagan’s approval rating went down, he kept saying liberal economic policies have ruined this country,” Begala said. “And he explained, I’m against taxation and litigation and regulation and I’m for tax cuts and deregulation. He made his case on a philosophical level.
“[President Obama] is uniquely able to do that and so I don’t want him down there at the operational level. I want him to frame up the philosophy that the Democrats and most independents think ruined the country in the eight years the Republicans had the House, the Senate and the White House.”