Mitt Romney said last week that President Obama should stop talking about defeating terrorists and start talking about "important issues people care about," like the economy.
Apparently, Obama is thinking along the same lines.
With a polarized Congress already on the defensive, President Obama on Tuesday will outline a five-point "to do" list for lawmakers that packages job creation and mortgage relief ideas he has proposed before, administration officials say.
Mr. Obama will present the election-year list during a visit to a university science complex in Albany. The components of his challenge to Congress -- and to the Republican-led House in particular -- will be a feature of his appearances throughout the spring, aides said.
The agenda is not exactly sweeping, and even if the five-point "to do" list were passed in its entirety, the economic impact would be fairly modest. That said, they're perfectly reasonable proposals: (1) a tax credit for companies that move their operations to the U.S.; (2) making it easier for homeowners to refinance; (3) another new-hire tax credit for small businesses; (4) extending the Production Tax Credit and expanding tax credit to investments in clean energy manufacturing; and (5) the creation of a Veterans Job Corps.
Will Congress approve the list? Well, no, probably not. While these fairly non-controversial ideas might have been easy to pass in previous years, Republican filibusters and GOP control of the House probably makes any kind of economic legislation impossible. It's not even clear if Republican lawmakers want the economy to improve before the election.
Then why bother? I suspect the point is to show the president presenting mainstream economic ideas that would have traditionally enjoyed bipartisan support, while a do-nothing Republican Congress sits on its hands.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters yesterday that each lawmaker on Capitol Hill "has to explain to his or her constituents what they did while they were in Washington these last two years. Did they just say no? Did they just block every effort put forward to help the economy grow and create jobs? Or did they actually try to work constructively to get something done?"
If only those weren't rhetorical questions.