Obama Aide: Reason, Not Ideology Wanted

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 21 (UPI) — President Obama’s top political adviser said Sunday he hoped Republicans learn over the congressional break voters want compromise to restore the economy.

David Axelrod, Obama’s chief re-election strategist, told CNN’s “State of the Union” he was disheartened by talk from House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, that Republicans, who control the House, would pass pending free-trade agreements and patent reform but little else this fall, including Obama’s call for a one-year extension of a cut in employees’ payroll tax.

“How do you let 150 million people, working people in America, get $1,000 tax increase on the payroll tax in the middle of these economic challenges we have, but you won’t touch a penny of corporate tax loopholes, you won’t touch tax cuts for the wealthy? It doesn’t make sense,” Axelrod said.

“So I hope that over this break they’ve heard from their constituents, they are ready to rethink this,” he said.

Asked to preview Obama’s address after Labor Day, expected to call for new job-creation measures and larger long-term deficit cuts than mandated, Axelrod said the speech would also call for a one-year extension of unemployment compensation for people out of work longer than six months.

Obama will also propose an infrastructure bank to leverage public and private money for roads, bridges, schools and other public projects, he said.

“There are basic things we need to do relative to infrastructure — rebuilding our roads and bridges — that need to get done,” he said.

Obama is also expected to call for renewed tax write-offs for businesses’ capital investments and an overhaul of patent law to spur innovation.

A number of Obama’s proposals are not new, Axelrod said. They include “things that he has been asking Congress to do for some time.”

But his proposal will contain “nothing … that reasonable people shouldn’t be able to agree on,” he said.

When asked how Obama’s proposal would address so-called entitlements such as Medicare, Axelrod said he didn’t want to “get out in front of the president on this,” but said Obama believed “modest adjustments” to Medicare were needed to keep the program viable.

Obama told an audience in Atkinson, Ill., Wednesday he would not propose “drastic cuts” to Medicare and Medicaid, but changes to those fast-growing programs must be on the table.

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