Obama's strategy for not getting actively involved in budget debate

So the reason for ignoring the budget battle and focusing on basketball predictions is apparently to keep voters from focusing on the budget battle. Obama wants to keep the attention off of the battle as long as the Republicans are making relatively small cuts. He wants to wait for the larger cuts so that he can demonize them then. From John Fund at the WSJ's Political Diary.

The Obama White House is sharing its internal polling with private Democratic audiences to explain its remarkable detachment from the federal budget debate on Capitol Hill. White House aides say that the polling shows the public isn't focused on the battle over continuing resolutions to fund the government and is confused by the details.

That inattention will allow Democrats to delay responding to GOP demands for spending cuts until House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan reveals the GOP's spending priorities for next year's budget in early April. "That's when we jump 'em," a Democratic strategist told me. "There will be Medicare cuts and other things we'll be able to talk a lot about."

President Obama has apparently decided to borrow some political plays from Bill Clinton, who after his party's defeat in the 1994 mid-term elections began running ads attacking Republican plans to reform Medicare. At the same time, Mr. Clinton focused on a series of granular policy initiatives -- promoting school uniforms was one memorable example -- that were politically safe and popular with independent voters. Mr. Obama appears to be following the same strategy -- offering little in terms of policy substance, remaining disengaged in budget negotiations and waiting for Republicans to present a target for him to shoot at. Until then, Mr. Obama is filling the time with foreign travel and speeches touting alternative energy. He leaves for a five-day trip through South America this weekend. . . .

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