Liberal groups blast Obama for considering tax compromise

By Perry Bacon Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 2, 2010; 10:50 AM

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a liberal group that has repeatedly attacked President Obama on the left, is airing an ad demanding that he not agree to any compromise with the GOP that would extend tax cuts for household incomes above $250,000 a year.

The spot is called "Obama Promised," and the group says it will air on CNN and MSNBC and on Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central over the next few days. It shows Obama in 2007 declaring that "we will also allow the temporary Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans to expire."

Text at the end says, "Keep Your Promise. Fight, Don't Cave, On Tax Cuts."

"President Obama made a clear promise during the 2008 election, and our ad reminds him that he has a choice," said Stephanie Taylor, the group's co-founder. "He can keep his promise and make sure that the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share of taxes. Or he can break his promise, add billions to our national debt, and leave his past supporters demoralized by caving to Republicans even when they are clearly wrong. The choice is his."

Meanwhile, Moveon.Org has its own new ad, titled "Obama Back," which in cludes a video montage from Americans all over the country urging the president not to compromise.

"MoveOn members worked countless hours to help elect President Obama so we would have a leader who would go to the mat for regular Americans," said Justin Ruben, Executive Director of "...We need the Obama of 2008 back to lead the fight and make the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share."

The White House has repeatedly said it opposes extending tax cuts for income over $250,000, arguing that those reductions would add to the deficit and do little to spur economic growth But administration officials have not ruled out Obama signing a bill that includes those cuts as part of a compromise with Republicans to make sure tax rates don't go up for the millions of Americans who have incomes below $250,000.

'Hopeful man' at the White House

Before the election, Obama and congressional Republicans were constantly attacking each other on the campaign trail. Now, that criticism is only heard on one end of Pennsylvania Avenue, at least publicly.

Senate Republicans circulated a letter Wednesday morning that suggested they would look to block much of the Democratic agenda for the lame-duck session of Congress, except for the tax cuts and a bill to fund the federal government.

At a briefing Wednesday, reporters repeatedly tried to get press secretary Robert Gibbs to criticize the GOP, or at least concede that the positive environment from Tuesday's meeting between Obama and Republicans at the White House didn't seem to change the hyper-partisan atmosphere in Washington.

Gibbs would concede nothing. He said he was "not hung up on their letter" and "I know the president isn't going to get hung up on this."

Asked "what makes you such an optimist," Gibbs said, "I'm a hopeful man."

Nutrition vote may show GOP-Dem cooperation

First lady Michelle Obama is hoping for a little bipartisianship herself during Thursday's scheduled vote on her prized school-lunch bill.

The bill, passed unanimously by the Senate in August, was delayed a couple of times in the House but is now expected to pass.

The "Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act" provides the nation's school systems with millions in new funding to provide more healthful food for children and increase the number of low-income kids eligible for free or reduced-price meals at school.

It would require systems receiving the money to abide by regulations from the Agriculture Department to raise nutritional standards by taking measures such as limiting junk food in vending machines. Michelle Obama has championed the bill as a key component in her battle against the U.S. epidemic of childhood obesity.

Obama met with a group of liberal members Tuesday at the White House to urge them to vote for the bill, which was set for a vote Wednesday until a procedural move prompted a one-day delay.

"A government has a role to play in this issue, as does every other sector," Obama told ABC's Barbara Walters in a recent television interview. "And we reached out and engaged the grocery store manufacturers, and the restauranteurs. We brought in the mayors and governors of states and towns. We're calling on the faith-based community. There is no constituency that should be excluded from this call to action for our kids."

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