Quotes of the day

President Obama’s political advisers, looking for ways to help Democrats and alter the course of the midterm elections in the final weeks, are considering a range of ideas, including national advertisements, to cast the Republican Party as all but taken over by Tea Party extremists, people involved in the discussion said…

“We need to get out the message that it’s now really dangerous to re-empower the Republican Party,” said one Democratic strategist who has spoken with White House advisers but requested anonymity to discuss private strategy talks.

Beyond that, the fact that Brazille thinks President Obama should try to turn the Tea Partiers into his next strawmen – not to mention that the White House is actually considering the idea – is an indication that the Democrats are running out of potential demons. Their shots against John Boehner last week seemed to fall flat, so I guess this is all that’s left…

The fact that the White House is thinking about such demagoguery is another strong indication that it is simply looking to keep Democratic turnout high enough to prevent a 1974-style tsunami. And it’s another sad milestone in the decline of Barack Obama, who promised to be a leader who could heal political wounds and bridge ideological divides, but who has since come to embody much of what he campaigned against.

The effort to bring back a more personal Obama also comes as the White House moves to counter a looming disaster for Democrats in the November election. By showing the traits that wooed voters two years ago, Obama may be better able to aid embattled Democratic candidates as he steps up his campaign travel.

Still, it’s not a reprise that comes with ease. Aides say Obama does not favor the idea of personal displays from the commander in chief.

In addition, the process of governing does not lend itself to folksy overtures the way campaigning does. “You don’t get as many opportunities to do that within the bubble of the presidency — to talk about it the way you do in a campaign — because you’re talking about specific policy issues, legislative votes and crises,” one administration official said.

Or, as Republican strategist Mark McKinnon put it: “Obama is no longer the shiny object.”

The president this evening said he wanted supporters to understand that “we are just in the first quarter here. We’ve gotten a lot of stuff done, but we’ve got a lot more work to do.”

He criticized Democrats who complain that “the health care plan didn’t have a public option,” or say to him, “’You ended the war in Iraq but haven’t completely finished the Afghan war yet.’”

His message to them: “Folks wake up! This is not some academic exercise. As Joe Biden put it, Don’t compare us to the Almighty, compare us to the alternative.”

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