Democrats mount rebellion against 'Carter like' Obama over tax package
BARACK Obama was being assailed from all sides last night as his own party launched a rebellion in Congress and Sarah Palin ramped up her potential White House bid with a withering verbal assault on the American president.
Democrats in the US House of Representatives refused to vote on a tax package that they said gave away too much money to the wealthy. The unanimous decision, taken at a heated closed-doors meeting of the Democratic caucus, was a major blow to the White House, coming just days after the president announced he had found agreement on a range of tax proposals with Republicans.
Mr Obama's aides had hoped that reaching a compromise would boost the president's image as a strong and statesmanlike leader, but he now faces a party in revolt and another phase of messy negotiation that will further weaken his standing.
Adding insult on one of the worst days of his presidency, Mrs Palin compared Mr Obama with Jimmy Carter, a Democrat who served one term and is regarded as one of the least successful in the post-war era.
The former Republican vice-presidential candidate fuelled speculation that she will seek the 2012 Republican nomination to run against Mr Obama by aggressively asserting herself as more in tune with voters.
"The country is rejecting his agenda. My vision of America is diametrically opposed to his. He sees America as the problem. I see America as the solution," she told 'Time' magazine in an interview conducted by email.
When asked what she thought of Mr Obama's presidency so far, she replied: "Two words: Jimmy Carter." She added that "someone who can draw a sharp contrast" was capable of beating the incumbent in two years' time.
There are also rumblings among liberal Democrats, commentators and bloggers about the need to launch a primary challenge against Mr Obama, whom they regard as having betrayed their principles and broken campaign promises.
After several disappointments, the White House's secretly negotiated deal with Republicans on taxes made the patience of Democrats snap.
At the caucus meeting, a chant of "Just Say No!" broke out as members discussed whether or not to accept Mr Obama's proposals.
The party and president had wanted to keep 98pc of Americans on lower, temporary income tax rates passed by George Bush when they expire on December 31, while forcing the richest 2pc to pay taxes at higher, pre-2001 levels. That was blocked by Senate Republicans, who emphatically oppose tax increases as bad for jobs.
Democrats in the House were united in their fury at another climbdown by Mr Obama when he agreed to a $5m threshold for estate tax, the major inheritance tax in the US, which is taxed at a reduced rate of 35pc. (© Daily Telegraph, London)