New Strategy for Obama: Blame Bush

Post-partisan pledges give way to new attack role
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 14, 2009 10:19 AM CDT
President Barack Obama shakes hands with Economic Recovery Advisory Board Chairman Paul Volcker as the press is escorted out of the Oval Office in Washington yesterday.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – President Obama is reminding Americans more and more lately that he's inherited much of this mess from George Bush, reports the Washington Post. It's a shift for Obama, who has long preached against the petty politics of old. The move comes as Republicans step up their own attacks against Obama and his policies. And it's particularly dicey for a president who will need GOP support for his sweeping reforms.

"What the administration is involved in now is the politics of attribution," said one political scientist. "Each week that goes by with falling job numbers and Republican criticism of the administration's flaws means falling approval ratings. What's the antidote? That the guilty party is George Bush." The trick, he says, "is how do you shift blame to George Bush and retain any credibility on the idea that you are looking past partisan warfare? This looks like a doubling down on a very partisan approach."