Stump rhetoric may hamper compromise

President Obama’s fiery campaign rhetoric could make it difficult for him to negotiate and compromise with Republicans back in Washington.

As Obama travels to New York City on Wednesday for another round of fundraisers and red meat, Republicans are blasting the “campaigner in chief” for blurring the lines between campaigning and governing.

After fighting with a liberal base Obama needs to turn out in 2012, the balance between governing and firing up Democratic supporters adds another challenge — especially when Obama needs to work with House Republicans to get anything done. 

Since announcing his reelection campaign, Obama has shifted between official events and fundraisers, alternately expressing his hopes for bipartisan cooperation on reducing the deficit and blasting Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanLaura Ingraham: George Will is ‘sad and petty’ for urging votes against GOP Seth Rogen: I told Paul Ryan I hate his policies in front of his kids George Will: Vote against GOP in midterms MORE’s (R-Wis.) budget plan as “fairly radical.” 

The Republican National Committee (RNC) sees the campaign rhetoric as seeping into the official events. 

“It is clear that as the president gets back into campaign shape that it’s difficult for him, or anyone else, to tell the difference between his campaign events and official, taxpayer-funded presidential activities,” the RNC said last week. 

White House officials say they are not worried that the president’s political agenda will undermine his efforts at reaching across the aisle on budget and deficit-reduction negotiations.

The reason, they say, is that Obama is not saying anything on the trail that he doesn’t say in Washington or directly to Republican leaders.

“While there’s a clear effort to motivate his supporters at these events — the case he’s making is typically not substantively different than the case that he would make at a press conference or an interview,” said one senior administration official.

Obama is walking the fine line all incumbent presidents face when running for reelection: being president and candidate at the same time. 

After President Clinton hammered Republicans over lobbying reform in his 1995 State of the Union address, then-Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) told The New York Times “it was almost like we were sitting there tonight listening to a man with a split personality.” 

“There was this man who talked about a new covenant, ‘Let’s get together, let’s work together,’ ” Lott said. “And then he would come right back over here and demean the Congress and accuse us of being on the take.”

Republicans were livid after Obama invited Ryan and other Republicans to his speech on cutting the deficit, then unleashed a campaign speech that accused Ryan of wanting to “end Medicare as we know it.”

The capper came at a closed-door gathering with donors in his adoptive hometown of Chicago the next day, where a live microphone picked up Obama slamming Republicans for trying to include healthcare repeal language in the 2011 budget deal. 

“I said, ‘You want to repeal healthcare? Go at it. We’ll have that debate. You’re not going to be able to do that by nickel-and-diming me in the budget. You think we’re stupid?’ ” Obama said. 

The White House’s embrace of those remarks only further inflamed critics.  

Obama is well-aware that words can derail compromise.

The morning the government was set to shut down, Obama directed his aides to have a “quiet day” and say nothing inflammatory that might make a deal impossible. By the end of the day, a deal was in hand. 

The tone and tenor of Obama’s road speeches has not escaped his Republican opponents. 

In an interview with ABC News this week, Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFormer top Treasury official to head private equity group GOP strategist Steve Schmidt denounces party, will vote for Democrats Zeal, this time from the center MORE (R-Ohio) lamented Obama’s decision to mix budget discussions with political warfare.

In the interview, BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFormer top Treasury official to head private equity group GOP strategist Steve Schmidt denounces party, will vote for Democrats Zeal, this time from the center MORE said that right before Obama’s big speech on fiscal issues, the Speaker, the president and other congressional leaders had a “real honest conversation about raising taxes.”

“Then the president goes out that same afternoon and gives this partisan, political campaign speech that — frankly, I was — I can’t tell you how disappointed I was in the president in not being honest with the American people — about the big problems that we face,” Boehner said. “And the fact that it’s time to own up, fess up and quit whistling past the graveyard.”

White House press secretary Jay Carney says it is Republicans who exclude calls for cooperation from their rhetoric.

“All you hear is the criticism, and you don’t hear the acknowledgment that the only way to get this done is through bipartisan compromise,” Carney told reporters on Air Force One last week. 

Every time Obama speaks about the budget debate, “he always calls for and describes the need for bipartisan cooperation and compromise and expresses optimism about the willingness to do it,” Carney said.

With a new war of words erupting Tuesday over rising gas prices, Carney repeatedly insisted that Obama is more interested in governance than politics.

“You can view it through a political prism,” Carney said. “I mean, the president is obviously running for reelection. We are 18 months from that election. The fact that he, as every candidate does, has political events does not mean — those are the political events. It does not mean that every action he takes here has to do with the election. It’s just not the case.”

Kelly Ross and Brooks Simmons contributed to this story.