President Barack Obama is in Cleveland Wednesday to launch a program offeringand to call for the extension of middle class tax cuts.
But the president is also in campaign mode - calling for the end of Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and arguing that voting for Republicans in November will mean a return to policies that eliminate jobs and benefit only the ultra-rich.
"We have to continue and make permanent the middle class tax cuts. The middle class has treaded water and lost ground over the last decade and they need the help," White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod told "Early Show" anchor Erica Hill Wednesday. "What we can't afford is another $700 billion in tax cuts - to borrow money for $700 billion in tax cuts - for millionaires and billionaires."
Axelrod said that while the middle class cuts will boost the economy - extra income for struggling families is typically spent right away on necessities - putting more money in the pockets of the rich will not have the same effect.
"To borrow that money in order to give them those tax cuts - which no economist believes will have a great effect on the economy - doesn't make sense," he said.
Axelrod said that the president understands that his economic agenda may not pass in a highly partisan Congress.
But, "I don't think the American people are sitting there with poll numbers at their kitchen tables," Axelrod said. "They're sitting there with bills. They're sitting there with a pile of concerns about their future, about their jobs, about their children's future. The president's job is to continue to push and promote policies that will move our economy forward."
He said that Republicans are stating - publicly - that they want to return to the economic policies of George W. Bush's second term.
Hill argued that polls show voters do see a difference in the policies Republicans are offering and those of the Bush administration. Many are saying that they associate the GOP with "change" - once the mantle of Barack Obama.
"John Boehner … the man who would be speaker if the Republicans won, he chastised us for a law that would save the jobs of teachers, firefighters and police in this economic emergency. And pay for it by cutting tax breaks for corporations that ship jobs overseas, that reward them for shipping jobs over the seas," Axelrod said, "Nothing says more about our differing values than that one statement of Mr. Boehner's."