Blending governing with re-election politics, President Barack Obama roused a cheering northeast Pennsylvania crowd Wednesday as he warned of a "massive blow to the economy" if Republicans block a payroll tax extension.
But hours later, addressing donors in New York, he toned his rhetoric down and declared progress was possible.
Obama took to the road with a dual pitch for money, campaigning for more cash in the pockets of U.S. workers - and for his campaign treasury as well.
He pressed his case at a campaign-style rally in working-class Scranton, Pa., where he said Republicans had to choose between lower taxes for the wealthy, or a payroll tax cut that would help working Americans. Republicans say they would support extending the payroll tax cut, but reject new taxes to offset the costs.
"Are you going to cut taxes for the middle class and those who are trying to get into the middle class, or are you going to protect massive tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires?" he said. "Are you going to ask a few hundred thousand people who have done very, very well to do their fair share or are you going to raise taxes for hundreds of millions of people across the country?"