“The problem is Republicans in Congress oppose raising the minimum wage. Now I don’t know if that’s just because I proposed it,” Obama said to laughter from the largely supportive crowd. “Maybe I should say I oppose raising the minimum wage, and they’d vote for it.”
Poking fun right back, House Speaker John Boehner’s office released a parody “fact sheet” in the style typically used by the White House to outline Obama’s proposals.
The headline: “President Obama Offers Plan to Destroy Jobs for Low-Income Americans.”
“When folks are still struggling to find work in this economy, why would we make that any harder?” said Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck.
Obama’s visit to a state he handily won twice served as a nagging reminder than Obama is struggling to maintain the public’s support amid concerns about his health care law and a still-sluggish economic recovery. Just 45 percent of voters here approved of the president — his lowest score in Connecticut — according to a Quinnipiac University poll released this week.
Seeking to dramatize his push for higher wages, Obama dined on a steak sandwich earlier at Cafe Beauregard, a restaurant on New Britain’s Main St., where the owners pay their workers more than $10 an hour.
“As the owner put it, he knows what it’s like to work your whole life and understands that if people are working hard, they shouldn’t be in poverty,” Obama said.
Before returning to Washington, Obama also planned to appear at two fundraisers in Boston for the Democratic National Committee, which is working its way out of deep debt.
Outside the gymnasium where Obama spoke, a handful of protesters waved the Ukrainian flag in apparent solidarity with Ukraine’s new government, while immigration activists chanted: “Obama, don’t deport my mama.”