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Obama to usher in election year

US President Barack Obama will start setting the tone for an election-year strategy that attempts to capitalise on voter frustration with Congress but which could also mean further legislative gridlock as he seeks a second term.

world Updated: Jan 05, 2012 02:11 IST

US President Barack Obama will start setting the tone for an election-year strategy that attempts to capitalise on voter frustration with Congress but which could also mean further legislative gridlock as he seeks a second term.

Stepping back into the 2012 campaign spotlight just a day after Iowa held the first contest of Republican presidential hopefuls, Obama will travel to Ohio, a state considered crucial to his re-election chances.

The Democratic president, fresh from a 10-day Hawaii vacation, will make the case for his economic policies as he tries to draw a contrast with Republican candidates vying to face him on the November ballot.

But after a year of bruising legislative battles, he is expected to keep the heat on congressional Republicans who he has accused of obstructing his economic recovery efforts and whom he blames for much of the dysfunction in Washington.

Obama is expected to keep hammering on populist themes, portraying himself as a champion of the middle class, and aides say he will roll out further executive orders to create jobs to show voters he will take steps on his own if necessary.

President Harry Truman railed against a “do-nothing” Congress on his way to re-election in 1948, but analysts say Obama faces risks if he tries to emulate that. They warn that a go-it-alone approach can only yield small-bore projects of modest benefit and that Obama could alienate some independent and moderate voters if they blame him for increasing partisan rancour.

Republicans, who see Obama’s economic policies as ineffective and his spending plans as wasteful, accuse the president of campaigning instead of governing and have signalled continued resistance to his approach.