| WASHINGTON, July 22
WASHINGTON, July 22 President Barack Obama's
well-advertised plans to address economic topics this week are
part of an effort to break through the "fevered focus on
controversies" and "fake scandals" generated by Republicans,
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday.
While Carney noted that Obama's speeches around the nation
this week come as Congress and the White House prepare for
fiscal showdowns in the fall, he said the president would focus
on the longer-term view of "this country's future economically"
rather than on the potential clashes ahead.
Carney said at his regular briefing that Obama would
discuss "new policy initiatives." But the spokesman declined to
be more specific, saying he did not want to "get ahead of the
president in the specifics of his speech. I want everyone to
hear it with fresh ears ..."
The speeches are set this week for Galesburg, Illinois,
Warrensburg, Missouri and elsewhere.
The White House started heralding them Sunday night, with an
email to reporters from senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer saying he
had "just finished reading" the draft of one of the speeches and
wanted to explain "why it's one worth checking out."
The White House has been buffeted in recent months by
controversies over surveillance of citizens' phone and Internet
activity by U.S. intelligence agencies and Internal Revenue
Service targeting of conservatives groups seeking tax-exempt
The administration also confronts a fiscal deadline on Oct.
1, when spending legislation is needed to keep government
programs running. Lawmakers will also need to raise the nation's
debt limit, probably in November, to avoid a debt default.
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While Republicans, who control the House of Representatives,
have not unveiled a coherent strategy for these measures,
individual members of the House and Senate have threatened to
use them as they have in the past to extract concessions from
the White House on spending, and perhaps on Obamacare - the
president's signature healthcare law set for launch on Oct. 1.
The White House appears to be taking advantage of an
interval between controversies to return to proven "middle
class" economic themes that helped Obama win re-election in 2012
and then emerge victorious from the "fiscal cliff" showdown with
Republicans in January.
Since Congress takes a break in August, there are only four
weeks of legislative activity before the government-funding
"We certainly hope that many Americans will take the
opportunity to hear the president's speech and to hear what he
has to say, both in Galesburg and Warrensburg, and then beyond,"
"And he certainly hopes that you in the media will also hear
him out and look at what he has to say, analyze what he has to
say, and appreciate that the issues he'll be talking about are
the issues that the American people care (about) most deeply."