Thursday, June 16, 2005

White House launches second day of attacks on Democrats


White House launches second day of attacks on Democrats

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House accused Democratic leaders on Wednesday of obstructing President Bush's agenda in a second straight day of combative attacks against the minority party on Capitol Hill.

"I think the American people reject those who simply say no and stand in the way of getting things done," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters.

The tough talk came as Bush prepared to play host to many members of Congress from both parties on Wednesday night at a picnic on the White House South Lawn.

The rhetoric suggested a level of frustration by the president at his struggle to advance his second-term agenda.

So far he has been unable to gain traction in Congress over his proposals to overhaul Social Security and has had ongoing struggles over energy legislation and the proposed Central American Free Trade Agreement, among other items.

On Social Security in particular, Bush has called on Democrats to offer their own proposals instead of simply attacking his, but the tactic has largely not worked.

"We've made some progress in this session of Congress," McClellan said. "But too often lately you're seeing Democratic leaders holding up the stop sign and saying no to everything that we're working to achieve on behalf of the American people, and that's unfortunate."

Bush's approval ratings are in the mid-40s, the lowest of his presidency, and pundits have quickly begun speculating whether he is on the verge of becoming a lame duck with three-and-a-half years left in his term.

Speaking to party loyalists on Tuesday night at a $23 million fund-raising dinner, Bush blamed "do-nothing" Democrats for holding up an overhaul of Social Security and delaying votes on his nominees to the federal bench and the United Nations.