Biden pushes 'ultra-MAGA' label on GOP as he defends record

U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday warned voters unhappy with soaring inflation and his stalled domestic agenda against turning power over to ultra-MAGA Republicans in the midterm elections as he increasingly tries to cast former President Donald Trump and his adherents as a political foil.
Speaking at the White House less than six months before the elections, Biden acknowledged that he could taste the countrys dissatisfaction with Washington, particularly over rising prices, but he sought to channel the anger against the GOP.
Look, I know youve got to be frustrated, he said. "I know, I can taste it. Frustrated by high prices, by gridlock in Congress, by the time it takes to get anything done.
The MAGA Republicans are counting on you to be as frustrated by the pace of progress, which theyve done everything they can to slow down, that you will hand power over to them ... so they can enact their extreme agenda, Biden said.
Biden's branding of his opposition as ultra-MAGA Republicans a reference to Trumps Make America Great Again campaign slogan has emerged as a White House trope in recent weeks as the White House hopes for a pre-midterms reset for Democrats, who face stiff headwinds heading into the November elections. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that its the presidents phrase.
It is a message seemingly aimed directly at the listless and divided base of Biden's own party, as Democrats struggle to keep their voters motivated, as well as at some moderate voters who still recoil at the memory of Trumps tumultuous tenure in office.
For Democrats, who have unified control of Washington, running against the minority party is risky, as even Biden acknowledged that voters tend to blame those in control for the nations state of affairs.
But the White House believes Republicans have thrown them a lifeline, in the form of GOP Sen. Rick Scotts 11-point plan, released in late February, that would impose a modest tax increase on many of the lowest-paid Americans, while opening the door for cutting Social Security and Medicare.
The plan, meant as a draft governing agenda for when the GOP retakes power, has been rejected by many Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. But that is not stopping Biden and Democrats from trying to tie Republicans to it more broadly. Scott is the chairman of the Senate Republicans campaign arm and a member of Senate GOP leadership.
Thats a plan in writing and hes in the leadership, Biden said.
Biden argued that the potential tax hikes would make it even harder for families struggling with inflation to afford food, housing and transportation.
Joe Biden can blame me all he wants, Scott fired back in a statement Tuesday. Heres the truth: hes the President of the United States, Democrats control the House of Representatives and the Senate. Democrats agenda is hurting American families and no amount of spin can change that.
In another statement he called on Biden to resign, calling him unfit for the job.
In recent days, the White House has extended the ultra-MAGA label to broader criticism of Republicans on other matters, including the push to overturn the constitutional right to an abortion established in the Roe v. Wade decision of the Supreme Court.
Speaking Monday night at a Democratic fundraiser, Biden tested out the ultra-MAGA messaging with donors, referencing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis moves to restrict some textbooks from being used in the classroom and Scotts plan to require regular congressional reauthorization of social safety net programs.
This is not your fathers Republican Party, Biden said. This is a MAGA party. This is the MAGA party. And the head of their Republican campaign committee, Senator Rick Scott, the Ultra-MAGA Agenda he put forward, he raises taxes on 70 million people who make well less than $100,000.
John Anzalone, a Democratic pollster who has worked for Biden, said its important to draw sharp contrasts with political opponents.
Whether youre in a governors race in Michigan or youre in a Senate race in New Hampshire, those contrasts become really important, because its good for voters to know what each side stands for.
Youre talking to swing voters, without a doubt, because at the end of the day, independents, swing voters, moderates can make or break a cycle for Democrats and Republicans.
Anzalone said Bidens message about ultra-MAGA Republicans is not incompatible.
Speaking Tuesday, Biden, who ran for office aiming to heal the nations divisions, said, I never expected the ultra-MAGA Republicans who seem to control the Republican Party now to have been able to control the Republican Party. I never anticipated that happening.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
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