WASHINGTON – In making the case for his re-election, President Barack Obama is arguing that it doesn’t matter who the Republicans nominate to run against him because the core philosophy of the GOP candidates is the same and will stand in sharp relief with his own.
The president laid out an argument for a second term in a wide-ranging interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday, bluntly saying that if voters believe in the Republican agenda of lower taxes, including for the wealthy, and weaker regulations then he will lose.
“I don’t think that’s where the American people are going to go,” he added, “because I don’t think the American people believe that based on what they’ve seen before, that’s going to work.”
Obama argued that the two GOP front-runners – former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich – represent the same fundamental set of beliefs.
“The contrast in visions between where I want to take the country and what … where they say they want to take the country is going to be stark,” he said. “And the American people are going to have a good choice and it’s going to be a good debate.”
He rejected questioner Steve Kroft’s suggestion that the public was judging him on his performance as president. “I’m being judged against the ideal,” he said. “Joe Biden has a good expression. He says, ‘Don’t judge me against the Almighty, judge me against the alternative.’ ”
Obama is counting on voters giving him credit for avoiding a second Great Depression, bailing out the auto industry and passing a signature health care law.
He also listed such achievements as ending the Pentagon’s policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” for gay service members and the elimination of Osama bin Laden and other top al-Qaida leaders.
“But when it comes to the economy, we’ve got a lot more work to do,” he conceded.
He rejected Republican criticism that his economic policies amount to class warfare, saying he is simply trying to restore an “American deal” that focuses on building a strong middle class.