Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
The nice thing about bully pulpits is they’re terrifically mobile. President Obama is bringing his to Hatfield, Montgomery County this Friday to promote his plan for averting the fiscal cliff.
Christopher Borick, a pollster and political science professor at Muhlenberg College, says after a first term marked by deep conflict, a trip like this is fuel for the Republican critique that the president hasn’t been easy to work with.
“Anytime he leaves the Capital during a period where a deal has to be cut, he’s running a bit of a risk that he’ll be seen as not being at the table and instead staying in campaign mode which a trip like this to Pennsylvania resembles,” said Borick.
Steven Peterson, a political science professor at Penn State-Harrisburg, said Democrats may applaud the president’s very visible strategy of ginning up public support for his plan. But the state GOP is urging the president to instead “get to work” with Congress in order to avert the fiscal cliff of spending cuts and tax hikes.
“Certainly, if I’m a Republican, I’m thinking, ‘Wait a minute, we’re trying to work together here to solve a problem,’” said Peterson. “I’m not sure that this helps a great deal that he’s out there on the hustings.”
The president will be at The Rodon Group, a manufacturer of construction toys like Tinkertoy and K’NEX building sets. He’s expected to hammer home his message about letting the Bush era tax cuts expire for only the top two percent of wage earners in the country.
A spokeswoman for The Rodon Group said it employs more than 150 people, and President Obama is planning on highlighting that its profits depend on middle-income families buying toys over the holidays – people who might be adversely affected if going off the fiscal cliff (triggering automatic tax hikes and spending cuts) looks like an inevitability.
Though it’s being billed as an opportunity for the president to make a “public case” for his views on avoiding that cliff, the event will be open only to the press. The Rodon Group expects about 300 people.
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