Obama strategy: tout rising economy, hit Republicans

* President’s message is that his policies are paying off

* He says foes look “for the cloud in every silver lining”

* Obama’s Democrats face a difficult political environment

By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON, May 19 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. President Barack
Obama’s strategy for helping Democrats limit losses in November
congressional elections boils down to this: tout the improving
U.S. economy and pound Republicans for opposing his policies.

Administration officials recognize a difficult political
environment for Democrats with a U.S. jobless rate of 9.9
percent and Americans in an anti-incumbent mood. And Democrats,
who hold large majorities in the Senate and the House of
Representatives, are braced for some losses in November.

The party in power typically loses seats in Congress in the
first election after a new president takes office. This year is
expected to follow the historic trend.

Democrats believe they can stave off some of the nightmare
scenarios being spelled out by political prognosticators. Some
analysts believe they could lose control of Congress to the
Republicans.

Jobs are being created again and key indicators point to an
economy on the mend.

“Things are getting better. Our policies are working,” said
a senior White House official, speaking on condition of
anonymity. “There’s a little more optimism out there, and that
will help mitigate our losses and make this a traditional
mid-term environment for the party in power.”

Mindful that the elections are to some extent a referendum
on his presidency, Obama is defending his actions.

On the road, Obama is telling crowds that policies he
promoted that have proven unpopular with some Americans, such
as a $787 billion economic stimulus measure and bailouts for
banks and auto companies, are starting to pay off.

‘ALL THE NAYSAYERS’

“Despite all the naysayers in Washington, who are always
looking for the cloud in every silver lining, the fact is our
economy is growing again,” Obama said on Tuesday in Youngstown,
Ohio.

He points to the creation in April of 290,000 jobs and the
expectation that more are on the way.

And Obama is launching frequent attacks on Republicans. To
vote for them, he says, would risk more political gridlock in
Washington and make it harder to advance his agenda.

The idea is to make independent voters who voted for Obama
in the 2008 presidential election but are now straying think
twice about bringing Republicans back to power.

“They’ve done their best to gum up the works, to make
things look broken, to say ‘no’ to every single thing,” Obama
told a Democratic fund-raising event in New York last week.

Democrats face a political headwind this year not just over
the economy.

Some voters are upset by many aspects of the Obama agenda,
such as a U.S. healthcare overhaul that they worry will
increase costs but not care, higher government spending, rising
deficits and the prospect of higher taxes.

Republicans see an opportunity to make big gains in
Congress. They believe the Democrats were diverted from the
main American concern — jobs — in favor of healthcare and
other issues.

“The common thread in all of this is that the Democratic
Party has lost the confidence of the American people who will,
in turn, hold them accountable for their reckless spending and
government takeovers in November,” said Katie Wright, a
spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee.

Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are expected to travel
steadily in the months leading up to the election, appearing at
rallies and raising money.

The White House will have to look carefully at the
political map to determine where Obama’s message will resonate
best.

For instance, Democrat Mark Critz won a House seat in a
special election in Pennsylvania on Tuesday over Republican Tim
Burns in part by voicing opposition to the Democrats’
healthcare overhaul and energy legislation.

“There’s no question that they’re going to use the
president where he’s more popular,” said Steve Elmendorf, a
Democratic strategist.

Stock Market Report

(Editing by Will Dunham)

Obama strategy: tout rising economy, hit Republicans