House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy doesn't need to see the actual movie. He already smells a dud, even before President Obama gives an address on fiscal policy this afternoon at The George Washington University.
Obama "is just trying to reframe [the debate] because his first movie didn't work, so now he's filming the sequel," McCarthy said in an interview. "In history, the sequel isn't as good as the first one, and the first one was already a box office bomb."
"What I see is the president losing the argument. When in modern history have you seen a president trying to redefine a new budget?" McCarthy added.
The political picture is far more complicated. A small plurality of Americans say they prefer Obama's approach to cutting spending over Republicans in Congress, by a 48 percent to 43 percent margin, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey. But the poll has bad news for Republicans; fully 68 percent say the GOP's budget proposal will unfairly favor some groups over others, and 69 percent say Republican budget proposals will affect them personally.
Still, McCarthy said, the fact that Obama's policy address today will focus on further trimming the debt instead of new spending shows that Republican wins in 2010 have already had an impact.
"If you look at Washington itself and say, 'Did the election have an effect?' It's more so of a cultural change," McCarthy said. "To me, it's a pretty good victory in the sense that he's got to redefine, and he's abandoning a budget before he's even had a vote on it."