A White House effort to undermine conservative critics is generating a backlash on Capitol Hill — and not just from Republicans.
“It’s a mistake,” said Rep. Jason Altmire, a moderate Democrat from western Pennsylvania. “I think it’s beneath the White House to get into a tit for tat with news organizations.”
Altmire was talking about the Obama administration’s efforts to undercut Fox News. But he said his remarks applied just the same to White House efforts to marginalize the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a powerful business lobby targeted for its opposition to climate change legislation.
“There’s no reason to gratuitously piss off all those companies,” added another Democrat, Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia. “The Chamber isn’t an opponent.”
White House Communications Director Anita Dunn has defended the push, saying the administration made “a fundamental decision that we needed to be more aggressive in both protecting our position and in delineating our differences with those who were attacking us.”
Congressional Republicans counterattacked Thursday. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the administration was “targeting those who don’t immediately fall in line” with “Chicago-style politics” aimed at “shutting the American people out and demonizing their opponents.”
Boehner’s No. 2, Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) complained that the nation’s problems are growing while the White House “bickers with a cable news network.”
Friday, October 23, 2009
They're worried about the radicals in the WH?