Kaine Goes to Bat for the Tax-Cut Deal


While Democrats in Congress have balked at the tax-cut deal President Obama announced, the Democratic National Committee is out there pushing for it.

DNC Chairman Tim Kaine appeared on "The Early Show" this morning to talk about it, telling CBS's Harry Smith (video here) that "we're not going to let Americans get hurt [by letting the sub-$250K tax rates go up], and we need to continue to spur the economy."

The DNC operates as the political arm of the White House, but Kaine is caught between different factions of his party. House Democrats are angry. Senate Democrats are moving ahead with a different package than what Obama outlined, voting on a package that doesn't include an extension of the high-end tax cuts.

"You see the House doing what a legislative body always will, is that they're going to tinker around with it and try to find their own adjustments," Kaine said on CBS, explaining the haggling and disarray that's unfolded in Congress.

In an interview on MSNBC just now, Kaine said that "this is fundamentally about governing." In an op-ed in The Hill this morning, Kaine portrayed Obama as a responsible leader dealing with difficult political circumstances in a realistic way. The DNC's always-active press operation, meanwhile, has been emailing news clips of support for Obama's deal to reporters.

Organizing for America, meanwhile, hasn't gotten involved, and it's not clear that they will get involved. "When circumstances become ripe for us to get involved, we definitely will," said OfA spokeswoman Lynda Tran. President Obama held a conference call with OfA volunteers earlier this week to talk about the deal.

As the DNC-run grassroots wing of Obama's 2008 voting coalition, OfA seems to represent a more liberal base of Obama voters, created to back Obama's signature, feel-good initiatives, so it makes sense that they haven't asked their members to get to work sending letters, making calls, etc., to back this deal with the GOP...plus, they've been working on the Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal and the immigration legislation just passed by the House.

This deal seems to need public advocacy if Democrats in Congress are to come around on it. It's not completely clear how the public feels about the deal, and it's not an enviable position in which Kaine finds himself, but the DNC seems to be doing its best to support Obama in this apparent melee.

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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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