With the midterm elections just 10 days away, President Barack Obama is blasting Republicans' economic policies at rallies in support of Democratic candidates and over the airwaves.
"This is a choice between the policies that got us into this mess and the policies that are going to lead us out of this mess," Obama told a crowd of about 37,000 on Friday at a rally in Los Angeles for California Sen. Barbara Boxer. "They are clinging to the same worn-out, tired, snake-oil ideas that they were peddling before."
At a rally in Las Vegas, Obama told supporters of Nevada Sen. Harry Reid: "They're banking on the fact that you might forget who got us in this mess in the first place."
Republicans are expected to pick up a large number of House and Senate seats in the midterm elections, but a new poll finds that Obama's efforts may be succeeding in firing up the Democratic base. The president's approval ratings have jumped substantially, according to the latest Newsweek poll, a sign that Democrats are closing the "enthusiasm gap" as the election nears.
Early voting has also shown surprising turnout for Democrats.
The president continued his attack on the GOP in his weekly address on Saturday, warning voters that Republicans seeking control of Congress would roll back his hard-won Wall Street overhaul bill.
"I think that would be a terrible mistake," he said. "Our economy depends on a financial system in which everyone competes on a level playing field, and everyone is held to the same rules -- whether you're a big bank, a small business owner, or a family looking to buy a house or open a credit card. And as we saw, without sound oversight and common-sense protections for consumers, the whole economy is put in jeopardy. That doesn't serve Main Street. That doesn't serve Wall Street. That doesn't serve anyone. And that's why I think it's so important that we not take this country backward -- that we don't go back to the broken system we had before. We've got to keep moving forward.
"This was a bill designed to rein in the secret deals and reckless gambling that nearly brought down the financial system," Obama said. "And reform included the strongest consumer protections in history -- to put an end to a lot of the hidden fees, deceptive mortgages and other abusive practices."
The measure promises limits on bank overdraft fees and an end to abuses such as retroactive interest rate increases on credit card balances. It came in the wake of a $700 billion bank rescue passed in the final months of George W. Bush's presidency. While the bailout is credited with providing stability, it's deeply unpopular with voters angry of taxpayer money being used to help prop up huge banks.
Obama promised that the measure ensures that taxpayers will "never again be on the hook for a bailout."
House GOP leader John Boehner of Ohio has called for the repeal of the measure, as have top Senate Republicans. But that's unlikely even if the GOP should take control of Congress since Obama would still wield a veto pen.
In the GOP's weekly message, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota denounced Obama's economic stimulus bill, overhaul of the U.S. health care system and plans to allow Bush-era tax cuts for wealthier people to expire.
"The Obama Experiment has failed," he said.
"We have learned the lessons not only of what hasn't worked over the past two years, but what didn't work the last time Republicans controlled Congress," Thune said. "We are determined to take this country in the right direction."
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