Obama praises John McCain as he sharpens rhetoric against GOP
At campaign fund-raisers and rallies, President Obama is contrasting the Republicans of today with John McCain and others in the GOP who were more willing to work in bipartisan fashion.
Team Obama has been saying all along that the 2012 election will be about contrasts, not just a referendum on the president. Now there’s a new wrinkle: President Obama has taken to complimenting 2008 GOP nominee John McCain, though not by name, in contrast with the Republicans of today.Skip to next paragraph
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“In 2008, I was running against a candidate who believed in climate change, believed in immigration reform, believed in the notion of reducing deficits in a balanced way,” Obama told a luncheon attended by about 100 donors at the Sheraton Burlington Hotel on Friday.
By “balanced,” the president means a willingness to consider raising taxes on the wealthy alongside cuts in spending to reduce the deficit.
“We had some profound disagreements, but the Republican candidate for president understood that some of these challenges required compromise and bipartisanship,” Obama continued. “And what we’ve witnessed lately is a fundamentally different vision of America and who we are. It’s an America that says – or it’s a vision that says that America is about looking out for yourself, not for other people.”
The president echoed those comments at a fundraising dinner that night at the Portland Museum of Art.
“We probably have not seen an election where the contrast is that sharp between the two parties as in this election,” Obama said, before talking about the 2008 nominee.
At his other two fundraisers Friday, both low-dollar events that felt like campaign rallies, Obama didn’t reference Senator McCain. Instead he ramped up the rhetoric against today’s Republicans in arena speeches aimed at firing up his liberal base, especially the youth vote.
“Their philosophy is simple: You are on your own,” Obama told a raucous crowd of 4,500 at the University of Vermont field house. “You’re on your own. If you are out of work, can’t find a job, tough luck, you’re on your own. You don’t have health care – that’s your problem, you’re on your own. If you’re born into poverty, lift yourself up with your own bootstraps even if you don’t have boots. You’re on your own.”
It was the first visit to Vermont by a sitting president since 1995, according to the Obama campaign.
Amid reports that Democrats are even less enthusiastic than Republicans about the 2012 election, Obama also brought back some of the rhetoric of 2008 about “change,” though in the context of highlighting what he sees as his biggest accomplishments to date.
“When you think back over the last three years, I want you to know that because of what you did in 2008, we’ve begun to see what change looks like,” Obama told some 1,800 people at Southern Maine Community College in Portland.