Barack Obama doesn’t want anyone to forget his predecessor. “You hand me a $1.3 trillion bill, and then you’re complaining six months later because we haven’t paid it all back,” he griped at a recent town hall. And you can expect him to keep bashing Bush for a while, Washingtonians tell Politico. “The battle for the history is always an essential part of winning the future,” says one GOP strategist.
A Democratic strategist agrees. “Obama has to talk about it, because it helps explain the agenda that he’s advancing every day,” he says. Strategists agree, however, that the president has to be careful not to sound like he’s whining. Some believe that by fall, he should stop mentioning Bush entirely, but others disagree. As one Democratic pollster notes, “Ronald Reagan ran against Washington pretty much the whole eight years.”