Obama invokes Bush to attack Republicans

Mon Aug 2, 2010 3:29pm EDT

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* Obama criticizes Republicans policies on economy

* President raises $500,000 for Democrats at event

ATLANTA Aug 2 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama rallied support for his embattled Democrats on Monday, charging that Republicans had no ideas different from those pursued by his predecessor, George W. Bush.

At a fund-raising lunch for the Democratic National Committee, Obama tried to energize Democrats who are likely to lose seats in both chambers of the U.S. Congress in the Nov. 2 elections.

U.S. voters will elect all 435 members of the House of Representatives and fill 37 of the 100 seats in the Senate.

Obama said that after losing control of Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008, Republicans did not engage in new thinking but stuck to the same policies that led the United States into the worst recession since the Great Depression.

"It's not like they engaged in some heavy reflection. They have not come up with a single, solitary new idea to address the challenges of the American people. They don't have a single idea that is different from George Bush's," he said.

Republicans, he said, are betting that Americans had forgotten recent history.

Obama has frequently said he inherited major economic challenges from the previous administration but has not often referred to President Bush directly.

Obama raised about $500,000 from more than 200 party loyalists at the event.

The election is seen as a referendum on Obama's performance on the economy, particularly unemployment.

Democrats hope to limit Republican gains in November by attacking their policies. A battle is brewing over tax cuts proposed by Bush and enacted by Congress in 2001 and 2003 which expire at year's end.

Obama, who wants to extend the tax cuts only for families making less than $250,000 a year, said Republicans would extend them to wealthy Americans who do not need them.

He was particularly biting in his criticism of Republican opposition to a $30 billion plan to increase loans to small businesses. Republicans say they do not want to add to the budget deficit and would like to see budget reductions to offset the cost of the plan.

"Day after day they keep stalling this bill and stonewalling this bill and opposing this bill. Why? Pure politics. They're more interested in the next election than the next generation," Obama said.

(Editing by Alan Elsner)

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