SEATTLE (Reuters) – US President Barack Obama kicked off a West Coast fundraising tour yesterday with harsh criticism of his Republicans opponents, accusing them of “ideological pushback” at a time of national crisis.
The newly combative tone of the Democratic president is a strategy to fire up core supporters whose enthusiasm and financial backing helped him capture the White House in 2008 and who he must motivate again in his 2012 re-election bid.
“From the moment that I took office, what we’ve seen is a constant ideological pushback against any kind of sensible reforms that would make our economy work better and give people more opportunity,” Obama said at his first stop in Seattle.
Speaking at the home of former Microsoft executive Jon Shirley, Obama said he had hoped “because we were in a crisis, the other side would respond by saying now is the time for all of us to pull together … That was not the decision they made.”
Republicans won big in 2010 congressional elections by campaigning against his policies, which they blame for driving up the US deficit without providing promised jobs. They have fought Obama all this year to curb federal spending.
A congressional spat over disaster relief funding threatens to shut down the government on Sept. 30 if it is not resolved.
“What makes it worse is some of the Republicans opposing this disaster relief, (it is) their constituents who have been hit harder than anyone,” Obama said.
Obama was greeted enthusiastically as he began to speak, surrounded by art in Shirley’s ultra-modernist home before an intimate crowd of around 65 people paying $35,800 per couple. At his second stop, 1,750 supporters paid to listen to him at the Paramount Theater in downtown Seattle.