Coakley vs. Brown Offers Preview of Obama's 2010 Stump Speech
The 2010 midterm elections got underway early for the White House Sunday in Boston, as Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley is struggling in her attempt to win the special election for the Senate seat held by Ted Kennedy. In what should have been an easy win for the Democrats in one of the bluest of blue states, President Obama himself was called in to rally support for Coakley as she now trails Republican Scott Brown in some polls.
In his appearance, the president previewed the Democrats' main argument as they fight to hold onto their majorities in both the House and the Senate in November's elections.
"Here's the question you need to ask yourselves before you go to vote on Tuesday, Massachusetts: When the chips are down, when the tough votes come, on all the fights that matter to middle-class families across this commonwealth, who is going to be on your side?" Mr. Obama asked the fired up crowd at Northeastern University.
"There's a choice between standing with big oil, or fighting for the clean energy jobs of the future -- whose side are you going to be on?" he asked the crowd. "Martha is going to be on your side… When the vote comes on taxes, and there's a choice between giving more tax breaks to the wealthiest few and corporations that ship American jobs overseas, or giving them to the middle class and businesses that create jobs here, who's going to be on your side?"
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As his campaign stump speech carried on, Mr. Obama ridiculed candidate Brown's stance on an issue that the White House hopes will show the Democrats' populist stride -- the proposed fees on banks that would repay all of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) money that the government gave to the financial institutions and automakers, to the tune of $117 billion over the next 12 years.
"Now, what we're proposing is to make sure that taxpayers get their money back from the rescue that we had engaged in at the beginning of this year, thanks to the bad regulatory policies of the previous administration. And so we asked Martha's opponent what's he going to do. And he decided to park his truck on Wall Street," the president said, making reference to the old truck that the Republican candidate drove around the state.
The Democrats are hoping to make the Massachusetts race, and those in November, about what political party is one the side of the average American. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs put it this way: "Whether you're going to be on the side of a bank, whether you're going to be on the side of the insurance industry, whether you're going to be on the side of big oil companies, or whether you're going to be on the side of, in this case, the people of Massachusetts."
Gibbs went on to say that people should expect to hear similar language and tone from Mr. Obama as he campaigns throughout the year for Democratic candidates. "Look at what the president said today. I think that's a lot of what 2010 is going to be about, to be honest with you… I think what he laid out today is what you'll hear him talk a lot about."
Summing up the race in Massachusetts, the president made it pretty clear what side Martha Coakley is on: "She's got your back. Her opponent has got Wall Street's back."
Robert Hendin is a CBS News White House producer. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here.
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