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Obama Swings at Opponents

By Kevin Robinson in News on Sep 7, 2010 4:00PM

Among the many things that Labor Day traditionally signifies in the United States - the end of summer, busting out the black loafers - Labor Day has also signified the traditional beginning of the campaign season. And while congressional GOP leadership have been acting like the campaign season is in full swing of late, President Barack Obama used the bully pulpit of the presidency to kick-off campaign season Monday. For the president's supporters, it's been a rough summer, with what looked two years ago like the chance to change the world dwindling to a forced march to November, a fading hope that a Democratic majority might be retained, at least in the Senate. It was gainst that backdrop, at Milwaukee, WI's Laborfest, the same location Obama kicked off his final run to the 2008 presidential election, that the president announced part of his latest economic package.

In front of a sympathetic crowd of union members and supporters, Obama called for a $50 billion spending package, focused on the nations highways, railroads and airports, a move that he says will put people back to work and rebuild some of the nation's deteriorating infrastructure. "It's a plan that says, even in the aftermath of the worst recession in our lifetimes, America can still shape our own destiny, we can still move this country forward, we can still leave our children something better — something that lasts," Obama told the crowd. The White House was careful to make it clear that Obama wasn't asking for a "second stimulus" package, issuing a fact sheet stating that the "plan would build on the investments we have already made under the Recovery Act, create jobs for American workers to strengthen our economy now, and increase our nation’s growth and productivity in the future. At the same time, the plan would reform the way America currently invests in transportation, changing our focus to enhancing competition, innovation, performance, and real analysis that gets taxpayers the best bang for the buck, while moving away from the earmarks and formula debates of the past."

In a move that congressional Republican leadership have been using lately, Virginia Republican Eric Cantor shot back at Obama before the speech was even delivered. "Today the president will use the Labor Day holiday as the launching pad for yet another government stimulus effort, another play called from the same failed Keynesian playbook," Cantor said in a statement. "More government stimulus does nothing to end this cloud of uncertainty."

In the end, though, the case can be made that Obama won the day, with his proposal garnering headlines across the nation, and a portrayal in the media that he's prepared to come out swinging at the GOP in the two months leading up to the election. Whether that win will carry forth for the next eight weeks, or if Obama's upcoming speeches and his Friday press conference on the economy will wind up sinking what's already turning out to be a disastrous mid-term election for Democrats, remains to be seen.