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Obama invokes Reagan, takes on Cantor

President Obama today touted his jobs legislation in Texas, taking his case to the home state of Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry and former President George W. Bush

But during his remarks, Obama invoked the name of a different Republican –- former President Ronald Reagan. He told a boisterous audience in Mesquite, TX: “Years ago ... a great American said that he thought it was crazy that certain tax loopholes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing while a bus driver was paying 10% of his salary... You know who this guy was?... It was Ronald Reagan."

"Last time I checked, Republicans all thought Reagan made some sense,” he added.   

The current president embraced the former president’s remarks from 1985 to make his case that that the middle class shouldn’t pay more in taxes than wealthier Americans -- as well as to draw battle lines with Republican lawmakers. “So the next time you hear one of those Republicans in Congress accusing you of class warfare, you just tell them, ‘I'm with Ronald Reagan,’”  

This was the first time that Obama has used this line in his stump speech, and it reflects the president’s shift to a sharper tone as he travels across the country to promote his plan. 

A combative Obama also took a swipe at House Majority Leader Eric Cantor for suggesting that his American Jobs Act would be dead on arrival in Congress. The president told the crowd of about 1,500: “I’d like Mr. Cantor to come down here to Dallas and explain what in this jobs bill he doesn’t believe in. Does he not believe in rebuilding America’s roads and bridges? Does he not believe in tax breaks for small businesses, or efforts to help veterans?” On Monday, Cantor said the president’s all-or-nothing approach was “unreasonable.” 

Yet while Obama was in Texas, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called the President’s bluff, attempting to bring the president's legislation for a vote. McConnell’s actions came after Senate Democrats acknowledged there are not enough Senate votes (60) to pass the bill. 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid blocked a vote, calling McConnell’s move a “political stunt.”

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney held an impromptu gaggle on Air Force One and also called McConnell's move a political stunt.

“Sen. Reid called that bluff, and said, ‘Let’s schedule it right after the China bill.’ The Senate minority leader objected... It was a very disingenuous attempt to draw attention away from the fact that this president is calling on members of Congress -- both houses -- to act on jobs and the economy.”