A recent improvement in public assessments of Congress could put a major dent into President Barack Obama’s re-election strategy of running against that body.
While congressional approval ratings aren’t exactly soaring off the chart, they have gained substantially in the past four months. A Gallup poll last month measured a 17 percent approval rating, more than 1 ½ times the 10 percent reading in February, The Hill
Meanwhile, Obama has made clear that he will run against Congress in an effort to attract voters.
“For months, I’ve been pushing Congress to help us along by passing common-sense policies that would make a difference,” he said in a speech a little over a week ago.
While Congress renewed the payroll tax cut, it has “refused to act on most of the other ideas in my jobs plan that economists say could put a million more Americans back to work.”
Putting a lie to that charge, Congress approved a transportation reauthorization bill Friday along with a continuation of student loan subsidies that would create or save an estimated 2.5 million jobs. Bipartisan support for the legislation was huge.
House Speaker John Boehner’s press secretary Brendan Buck noted how the vote contrasts with Obama’s strategy. “House votes 373-52 to screw up White House talking points,” he wrote on Twitter.
Running against Congress isn’t going to work for the president, Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., told The Hill. “Jobs and the economy are the issue of the race,” he said. “Everything he did for the economy did the opposite of what he said it was going to do, like the stimulus. They’ve done so much of the blame game, it hasn’t worked.”
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