Sept. 20, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Obama’s Recast Agenda Faces Doubters

David Greedy/Getty Images
President Barack Obama addresses supporters Wednesday at the Mississippi Valley Fairground in Davenport, Iowa. Obama touted his plans for the next four years to a crowd of 3,500 supporters on his first stop of a two-day campaign marathon.

“I will just be very blunt,” Obama said. “Should I win a second term, a big reason I will win a second term is because the Republican nominee and the Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-
growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community. ... So I am fairly confident that they’re going to have a deep interest in getting that done.”

Obama said that in addition to implementing the Dodd-Frank financial reform law and the health care law, he would work with Republicans on reforming the corporate tax code, reform regulations and rebuild the nation’s infrastructure. 

Obama also made pitches on other pieces of his campaign agenda, including boosting science and technology education, community colleges and renewable energy. But many of those ideas remain stalled in Congress. 

Romney has been less than impressed with Obama’s recent moves. “The president’s been unable to find an agenda and to communicate an agenda and to defend an agenda,” the GOP nominee said in Reno on Wednesday.

And on immigration, Obama has faced criticism from Romney and some in the Hispanic community for not being able to enact legislation even when he had large Democratic majorities during the first two years of his term.

During his Register interview, Obama explained that even when he had large majorities, Republicans worked to thwart him from day one. He noted that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) vowed to make him a one-term president and that House Republicans announced their opposition to the 2009 stimulus bill just hours before the president was scheduled to meet with them on the topic. The president also dismissed the notion that he caused more partisan warfare by pursuing health care reform.

“The suggestion somehow that if we hadn’t pursued Obamacare, somehow we would have gotten additional stimulus out of the Republicans ... that’s just not borne out by any of the evidence,” Obama said.

But nowhere has Obama fully explained how he would change the dynamic in a second term.

The first test for Obama’s post-election agenda might come even before any deal on the much-discussed fiscal cliff. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has already said he plans to bring a bill to the floor during the lame-duck session that would let underwater homeowners refinance their mortgages. Vice President Joseph Biden has touted such a plan at multiple stops on the campaign trail in Ohio this week.

“It just says for all those big banks that have more than $50 billion we helped bail out, they put a few cents on $100, and they put a reinsurance fund out there. Not a penny for the taxpayer. And everybody could refinance. Literally, they could refinance, saving over $3,000 a year,” Biden said. 

That item is one piece of Obama’s to-do list that has yet to get a vote this year — other pieces were filibustered by the GOP, including a package of business tax cuts.

The Obama campaign’s second-term blueprint also references a plan to establish manufacturing innovation institutes to promote high-tech industry. A pilot center opened in August in Youngstown, Ohio, through a public-private partnership.

The broader plan, included in the president’s fiscal 2013 budget, seeks $1 billion to establish as many as 15 more of these centers.

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