B² the Debt Limit. Go on Offense.

DC and Deadlines could be synonymous. The latest target date approaching is the debt ceiling, which we hit on March 16th.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi used catastrophic language Friday, saying, “Failure to act would have savage impacts on American families.”

That fear mongering, combined with the recent DHS shutdown drama, means the media are ready to pounce. The trap? Spending your media time answering the questions framed by the Obama Administration on default and shutdown instead of addressing the larger problem of our nation’s debt.

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here’s this week’s likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

Q: “We hit the debt ceiling on March 16th. This means the possibility of shutting down the government and defaulting on our debt, which could be disastrous to our economy. Do you support raising the debt ceiling?”

A: “Congress will do its job, and the Administration already has the tools it needs. But we can’t keep putting a band-aid on a cancer. If we truly want to avoid hitting the debt ceiling we must reform a government that spends too much, and all against future generations. And we can start by <insert talking point>.”

Wherever you take the narrative next, don’t let Administration talking points box you in, or impel you to prove a negative about default and shutdown. Take a cue from the Obama communicators. Go on offense and call out Lucy’s political football for what it is – a smokescreen to hide how we climbed to a national debt of more than $18 trillion.  Then, lay out the pathway back.

B² the Budget

President Barack Obama laid out his $4 trillion budget proposal last week. In response, the GOP took advantage of Groundhog Day and cried “more of the same.”

The true messaging test for the GOP will come when Republicans submit their own budget. It’s easy to pan a lackluster proposal with the help of a Bill Murray movie (great movie, btw), but to defend a budget with deep cuts…? Unpopular cuts? Well, that’s another story.

Good thing it’s Tuesday. B2 day.

Here is this week’s likely media question and the B2 (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

Q: “You’re proposing cuts to entitlements. How can you suggest this when people are struggling to make ends meet?”

A: “People are struggling out there. And, if we want to protect the safety net for those people, we must reform entitlements. That starts with <insert talking point>.”

Whatever talking point you insert, start by acknowledging the victim in their question. If you skip over the human element and move straight to a policy position, you sound like you don’t care.

Also, avoid words and phrases that bring life to their narrative. Don’t use “cut” or “eliminate,” instead talk about “reform.” People don’t like cuts, but they do like reform.

You’ve got this one.