Obama Tough Guy
(Wall Street Journal) — President Barack Obama’s shift to a strikingly populist tone with his tax and jobs plans reflects a calculation within the White House that a broad, bipartisan budget deal is slipping out of reach, Obama advisers said Tuesday. Mr. Obama’s more confrontational stance carries risks. His threat to veto any budget deal that cuts Medicare benefits without raising taxes on the wealthy amounts to an ultimatum just as a bipartisan committee in Congress begins working on its task of finding at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years. Failure to secure a deal could underscore voter cynicism about Washington in general and Mr. Obama’s leadership in particular. Moreover, White House officials need to show voters that they can pass legislation on the president’s most important political priority, job creation. A more confrontational tone from the Oval Office may make passage of even the most popular elements of the jobs deal less likely.