WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — It’s all about playing hardball for President Obama to begin his second term.
A month into his new term, the relationship between the White House and Republicans remains as icy as ever as the bipartisanship divide that plagued the first four years of Obama’s presidency has carried over into his second term.
Despite being able to reach a deal to avert the “fiscal cliff,” the White House and GOP lawmakers refuse to budge on the $85 billion in sequester cuts that will begin to take place Friday. Each side is blaming the other as Americans are once again caught in the middle.
Even though the blame-game is in full-effect in D.C., Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, believes Obama does hold some leverage.
“A status quo election has led to predictable status quo deadlock on most things. President Obama has some second-term leverage that enabled him to win on tax increases and may get him a piece of what he wants on gun control and immigration — though nothing in these areas will be easy,” Sabato told CBSDC.
This type of deadlock has carried over to the sequester. Obama is accusing Republicans of steadfastly refusing to compromise, while the top Senate Republican, Mitch McConnell, chided Obama’s effort to “fan the flames of catastrophe.”
Republicans have chastised Obama for his “campaign-style” events since winning the election.
“The president needs to stop campaigning, stop trying to scare the American people, stop trying to scare the states,” Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana said this week after governors from both parties met with Obama behind closed doors. “Now’s the time to cut spending. It can be done without jeopardizing the economy. It can be done without jeopardizing critical services.”
Sabato says that Obama will be playing an “outside game” with the House over the next four years.
“The president doesn’t have enough good will in the House to get him much of anything,” Sabato says. “Hardball politics has replaced Obama’s first term tone of bipartisanship.”
Sabato added that Obama is displaying the “usual liberated mood of a second-term president.”
“The president seems to realize that he will get little of what he wants from the Republicans without lots of outside pressure,” Sabato tells CBSDC.
The president is expected to meet with top Congressional lawmakers Friday to start talks on sequester cuts.
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