Look for President Obama to poke House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) over his evolving tax cuts position this afternoon at his economic event in Virginia, and this week, and next week. You get the idea.
White House officials tell TPM that they think Boehner’s comments about supporting an extension of the tax cuts for the middle class on Sunday give them the perfect window to hammer the man who wants to be the next Speaker of the House, just in time for the midterm elections.
“Every time Boehner opens his mouth, we’re going to mention it,” a White House official told TPM, requesting anonymity to be able to discuss political strategy.
“You can expect people from the president on down to look for opportunities to highlight this key choice before voters in November,” the official said.
A case in point: A White House aide tells us that Obama will talk about Boehner and tax cuts — again — during his kitchen table event in Fairfax later today. And Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner gave a speech today saying he welcomes support from Republicans for extending the middle-class tax cuts.
“We welcome recent indications that Republicans won’t hold middle-class tax cuts hostage,” Geithner said in a speech to a Congressional Hispanic Caucus event. “We can’t afford to go back to the policies of the past decade when we passed large tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans without paying for them and saw little impact on job creation and years of stagnation in middle class wages.”
Vice President Joe Biden is likely to jump on the bandwagon, too.
The official noted that White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs appeared today on the morning shows to highlight Boehner’s support for — and subsequent walk back — about tax cuts.
“When I left the office on Friday that was not the plan. We’re going to seize opportunities and opportunities wherever we can to make the distinction clear and highlight this principal difference of where the Republicans want to go,” the official said.
The game plan, to be repeated on the stump as much as possible: Suggest Boehner and the Republicans want to take the nation back to President George W. Bush’s economic policy while Obama and the Democrats are aiming to help the middle class. They might even remind voters that it was Republicans who wrote the tax cuts to expire, anyway.
Obama wants to attach the GOP policy positions he believes favor the rich to the very person poised to assume a leadership position should the GOP prevail on Nov. 2. Boehner has tried to elevate himself, even starting a “Boehner for Speaker” PAC, and the Democrats and the White House have stepped right up to help.
For its part, the Democratic National Committee is going to slam Boehner for admitting on Sunday that the tax cuts for the highest income bracket would help just 3 percent of small businesses. “They’ve lost that cover,” a DNC official said. “They are fighting for the super-rich.”