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Sen. Orrin Hatch says Obama's policy agenda a 'rehash of the same failed ideas'

Published: Monday, Aug. 31 2015 3:46 p.m. MDT

U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, right, looks on as Democratic challenger Scott Howell walks on stage before the start of the VoteUtah 2012 U.S. Senate Debate Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, in Provo, Utah. (Associated Press) U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, right, looks on as Democratic challenger Scott Howell walks on stage before the start of the VoteUtah 2012 U.S. Senate Debate Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, in Provo, Utah. (Associated Press)

The Obama administration released a 20-page pamphlet of policy proposals Tuesday, aiming to silence critics like Time's Mark Halperin, who said Obama's second term agenda was "absent."

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, was not impressed, and said as much in an editorial at Politico.

"With Governor Romney surging in the polls and two weeks left before the election, the president's campaign responded by releasing a glossy 20-page brochure and called it an agenda," Hatch wrote. "Sure it's got some nice pictures, but it isn't a plan. It's nothing but a rehash of the same failed ideas of the past four years."

Hatch criticized different parts of the plan, which included sections on growing small businesses, cutting the deficit, creating new manufacturing jobs and improving education, among others.

"Maybe the president's campaign staff told him that outlining a real agenda is too risky. The better course they thought was to blindly attack Mitt Romney and that would be enough," Hatch wrote. "But what the Obama campaign fails to understand is that the American people are smarter than that. They want a plan — they want to understand how the candidates for the highest office in the land would provide their children a brighter and more prosperous future and meet the very real challenges facing us today."

The Wall Street Journal called the plan a "new-old pamphlet with new-old ideas," while CNN reporter Jessica Yellin said the president has put out the information before, but never in a booklet form.

"My point is there's not anything significantly new in here," Yellin said. "It's just all compiled in a nice booklet now. So we get the point that there is something, but you can still critique it for lacking details about will he pursue immigration reform — what specifically would the tax reform plan look like drilling down into the details."

Noah Rothman, writing at Mediaite, suggested the Obama reelection team released the booklet and expected the media to tout it for them, rather than having the president do it himself while giving speeches on the campaign trail.

"Where were the proposals in his second term agenda? Not in his opening remarks which were carried on MSNBC and CNN," Rothman wrote. "Are the members of the political press still willing accomplices that will uncritically fill in the Obama campaign's blanks with specifics? It remains to be seen if that is the case but, following Obama's disastrous first presidential debate, the press showed a conspicuous lack of interest in finished the president's sentences for him or fleshing out his campaign's attacks on his opponent."

Senior Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod defended the booklet during an interview with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell.

"Of course the pamphlet reflects the ideas that the president has advanced throughout this campaign about where we need to go as a country, building on the progress that we made," Axelrod said. "It's the plan that he talked about at the convention, it's the plan that he talks abut every day, but we wanted to codify it and put it in one place."

Read Obama's plan here.

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