RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:
Joining us now to talk about this is NPR News analyst Cokie Roberts. Good morning.
COKIE ROBERTS: Good morning, Renee.
MONTAGNE: Now, Kerry has been generally a supporter of the Obama's strategy in Afghanistan. What does he mean by what he's saying? And what is the impact of him saying this?
ROBERTS: And so when you have an election like that where you need true believers in the Democratic Party to get out, you get something like this Afghanistan debate going and these documents coming out, and it makes it really very tough indeed.
MONTAGNE: Well, let's get to another bad moment for the president. Some Democrats have joined the chorus of voices speaking out against the White House's decision to fire USDA official Shirley Sherrod last week. It was, of course, you know, the Department of Agriculture. But the feeling is the White House had a lot to do with it.
ROBERTS: And that has started a whole conversation about race; that this administration seems incredibly uncomfortable with. It's causing a lot of people, who would love to love the president, to shake their heads, including a lot of liberal columnists. And that's, again, making it hard to energize those groups who turned out for Obama in 2008, and those are exactly the people the Democrats were hoping to get out this November when they are in a bad place.
MONTAGNE: All right. Cokie, just briefly, amid all these distractions, the president is trying to keep voters focused on efforts to improve the economy. Treasury secretary appeared on a couple of Sunday talk shows yesterday to make the case to allow the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy to expire later this year. Meaning, wealthier people will pay more taxes. What's his economic argument?
ROBERTS: Well, his argument is that they will do just fine and the deficit needs to come down. Again, politically, if the Democrats can convince people of that, that's great. If Republicans can say, wait, wait, they just want to raise taxes to spend more, then, you know, then it works for them.
MONTAGNE: This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News.
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