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Pete DeFazio To Obama: 'Act Like A Democrat'

Peter Defazio

First Posted: 04/12/11 12:47 PM ET Updated: 06/12/11 06:12 AM ET

WASHINGTON -- President Obama needs to start acting like a Democrat, Oregon Rep. Pete DeFazio said earlier this week.

Co-founder of the House Progressive Caucus, DeFazio said that he and other caucus members will be pressuring the president to keep his campaign promises and "act like a Democrat," adding that the biggest mistake House liberals made in November was to not push back against the president when he failed to represent the party.

"That’s what the House did wrong in the last Congress," DeFazio said on MSNBC on Monday, "and in part why we lost is we never pushed back no matter how wrong he was or how off-base he was; we never pushed back.”

DeFazio also accused the president of "caving" in December on his promise to let Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy expire.

"Remember, the president did run on that,” DeFazio said, when asked if he thought if Obama would call for an end to Bush tax cuts for the wealthy in his upcoming Wednesday speech. "And he did cave on it in December."

While 81 percent of Americans reportedly favor instituting a millionaire's surtax, DeFazio insists that to reduce the deficit, “it’s actually got to be more, honestly, than just the top-bracket tax cuts.” He suggested a return to Clinton-era tax rates, which he said coincided with a booming economy and a government with a running surplus.

The remarks come just before Obama's Wednesday speech on the budget, when the White House has said he will announce the administration's plans for tackling the national debt.

DeFazio is hoping leadership will heed his message.

“There are a number of us in the caucus now pushing back very hard on our leadership,” he said. “Who knows where they'll end up, but maybe we can take enough D's with us to make them uncomfortable and to make them stick with making the president act like a Democrat."

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