Sen. Ben Nelson sees nothing wrong with President Obama’s decision to begin a public relations effort to force compromise on budget talks in Washington.
The White House has announced that the president will hold a series of campaign-style events outside of Washington as a way to put public pressure on those negotiating at the Capitol. Obama will visit a toy manufacturer in suburban Philadelphia on Friday.
Congressional and administrative leaders have been discussing what to do to keep Bush-era tax cuts form expiring and to head off deep, automatic budget cuts split between domestic and defense programs. Some economists suggest that failure to act would push the economy over a fiscal cliff and back into recession.
Nelson brushes aside questions of whether the president should be at the negotiating table rather than on the road.
“Well, is there a negotiating table?” Nelson asks during a conference call with reporters. “I saw where Harry Reid said after one of the get-togethers that it was all happy talk.”
Nelson says that as governor he often took to the road to sell his budget plan and other proposals before the legislature.
“But I think the president has a right and maybe an obligation to go out and get people to be supportive of negotiations,” Nelson says. “I don’t think there are any real negotiations underway right now.”
Nelson says some in Congress seem to be signaling that they don’t believe the “fiscal cliff” is real. He says negotiations have stalled.
AUDIO: Sen. Ben Nelson reacts to President Obama’s plans to campaign for budget talk stance. [3 min.]