White House Tries to Redirect ‘Enemies List’ Charge

Posted October 21, 2009 at 3:46pm

Accused by Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) of beginning to compile a Nixonian “enemies list,— the White House on Wednesday afternoon struck an “above the fray— posture, declining to directly engage on a variety of charges leveled by the GOP in recent days.

Alexander, who spoke on the Senate floor Wednesday morning, listed a host of moves by the White House that Republicans have characterized as a form of bullying, including an alleged effort to diminish the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, an attack on Fox News, and Obama’s criticisms of banks, investment firms and the insurance industry.

The White House has recently been panned even by allies for its characterization of Fox News as a hostile force, with some suggesting the willingness of Obama aides to get in the trenches against a news organization diminishes the presidency. The response to Alexander ignored the Republican’s specific charges, suggesting instead that it was the GOP that was tabulating an enemies list.

“While some Republicans on Capitol Hill seem to be formulating lists of people and policies to oppose, this president is focused on tackling the list of critical priorities that Washington has ignored for too long,— White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said. “From the Recovery Act to health insurance reform to the small-business initiatives he announced today, the president is pleased with the progress that’s been made on the list so far and remains committed to working with Republicans to include their best ideas, even if he doesn’t get their support.—