No Differentiation Necessary; No Support Intended
Jay Carney went off message (very) briefly when talking to Chris Matthews yesterday on Hardball (transcript here; video apparently unavailable)- but got right back on message. Discussing President Obama's quarrels with Republicans and Congress in light of his re-election prospects, the President's press secretary commented
But also I think from what we`re hearing from all Republicans right now, would-be presidents included, is that they want to go back to the same policies that everyone knows got us into this mess in the first place.
For one moment, Carney slipped and criticized Republicans, though fortuitously it gave him an opportunity to blas tthe "would-be presidents," those who would directly challenge Obama. Otherwise, though, he got the talking points straight, as indicated by two remarks:
....from this building here because the president has so much business to do right here, right now with Congress and outside of Congress, to get Americans back to work and the economy growing.
....and I think the point that the president was making with regard specifically to his battles with Congress right now on economic policy.
The last time anyone checked, no Democrat (unfortunately) in Congress had spoken out in opposition to the payroll tax extension or for that matter, any portion of the President's "battles with congress right now on economic policy." Republicans continually have condemned Obama's economic policy, most recently opposing (if only to get a better deal on related items) the payroll ta reduction, despite the GOP's ongoing claim that tax cuts pay for themselves.
But to buttress the Administration's meme, while Carney spoke, clearly visible were two screens reading (with the top line in white, the bottom two in yellow)
If Congress Doesn't Act,
Middle Class Taxes
Beneath that message, a digital clock continuously ran, ticking off the seconds to expiration of the tax break (e.g., 24:06:47:10).
The message might in part have read: "if Congressional Republicans Don't Act" or "If Congressional Republicans Don't Agree," but that might have diluted the message that Congress, not Republicans and not conservatives, are to blame.
That strategy will add to the threat incumbent Democrats face from their Republican challengers but presumably to the White House that is mere collateral damage. In this Administration, it is every man for himself, and that man is Barack Obama.
Carney found it necessary to reassure Matthews' audience of his boss "I mean, he's a proud Democrat." And yes, Barack Obama is (justifiably) "proud" and he is a Democrat. But a "proud Democrat?" Not on your life.