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Will Obama's new populist message resonate with voters?

by AirTalk

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US President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks on the economy and an extension of the payroll tax cut at Osawatomie High School December 6, 2011 in Osawatomie, Kansas. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

In Kansas on Tuesday, President Obama delivered his most populist speech to date and called for a strong governmental role in tax policy and regulation to level the economic playing field.

The speech was laced with language that echoed Occupy protest rhetoric with the president warning that growing income inequality in the United States was undermining the middle class.

Naming the wealth gap the most defining issue of our time, Mr. Obama demanded a "New Nationalism" to combat the "breathtaking greed" that contributed to the country's economic turmoil. Conservative critics of the speech in blogs like "Hot Air" and "Lonely Conservative" said that the president's appeals for a hike on taxes for millionaires constituted pure class warfare.


But what do the majority of middle class taxpayers actually think about the wealth gap and what's causing it? Do they blame the richest 1 percent, and will that sentiment translate into votes for Obama? Is this a winning strategy for the president in the up-coming campaign or will it backfire on him and lead to his defeat?


Jonathan Wilcox, Republican Strategist; former speech writer for Governor Pete Wilson

Matt Rodriguez, Democratic strategist; former senior Obama advisor in 2008, now runs the Los Angeles office for the Dewey Square Group.

Bill Beach, Director of the Center for Data Analysis, Heritage Foundation

Chad Stone, Chief Economist, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

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