Journalists skeptical of Biden's 'ultra-MAGA' label for GOP, sparks comparison to 'Putin's Price Hike'

Biden has repeatedly used the new catchphase hoping to reshape messaging ahead of the midterms

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Journalists are starting to raise questions about President Biden's new "Ultra MAGA" label towards Republicans

Last week, Biden debuted the term, referring to President Trump's famous 2016 campaign slogan "Make America Great Again," while attacking conservatives broadly following the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that signaled the overturning of Roe v. Wade. 

"This MAGA crowd is really the most extreme political organization that's existed in American history, in recent American history," Biden said to reporters on Wednesday, declaring a policy proposal released by Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., the "ultra-MAGA agenda."

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Biden renewed the "ultra-MAGA" messaging on Tuesday during remarks about the soaring inflation.

"Look, the bottom line is this- Americans have a choice right now, between two paths, reflecting two very different sets of values," Biden said. "My plan attacks inflation and grows the economy by lowering costs for working families, giving workers well deserved raises, reducing the deficit by historic levels and making big corporations and the very wealthiest Americans pay their fair share. The other path is the ultra-MAGA plan put forward by congressional Republicans to raise taxes on working families, lower the income of America workers, threaten sacred programs Americans count on like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and give break after break to big corporations and billionaires just like they did the last time they were in power." 

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on administration plans to fight inflation and lower costs during a speech in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building's South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 10, 2022.

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on administration plans to fight inflation and lower costs during a speech in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building's South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 10, 2022. ( REUTERS/Leah Millis)

The White House appears to be on board with the president's new messaging with outgoing press secretary Jen Psaki wrapping up Tuesday's press briefing by forecasting to reporters, "Whether it's tomorrow or in days and weeks ahead… you will all continue to hear him talk more about his concern about ultra-MAGA Republicans and their agenda."

However, reporters in the briefing room appeared skeptical about Biden's catchphrase. 

"Who came up with this phrase, ‘ultra-MAGA?’" ABC Breaking News Updates | Latest News Headlines | Photos & News Videos correspondent Mary Bruce asked. "Why the need to kick it up a notch, ‘MAGA’ is not enough? I mean, why now use this phrase?" 

"I will tell you it's the president's phrase," Psaki responded. "And I think what has struck him is how extreme some of the policies and proposals are that a certain of the Republican Party that is taking up too much of the Republican Party are for and are advocating for."

BIDEN TO OUTLINE ‘PLAN TO TACKLE INFLATION,’ DRAW CONTRAST BETWEEN HIS ADMINISTRATION AND ‘ULTRA-MAGA’ PLANS

CBS Breaking News Updates | Latest News Headlines | Photos & News Videos correspondent Ed O'Keefe followed, asking the White House, "So then who is an ‘ultra-MAGA’ Republican?" 

"I would say people who support that portion of the Republican agenda," Psaki replied.

"So Rob Portman, Susan Collins, Mitt Romney, would they be ‘ultra-MAGA’ Republicans?" O'Keefe grilled Psaki, to which she responded, "They can all make their own choices, Ed, and we can let others evaluate that" before reiterating Biden's comments. 

Psaki added, "we don't need to name-call individuals unless they have positions that are aligned with what he feels is the ultra-MAGA wing of the party."

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 10, 2022. REUTERS/Leah Millis

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 10, 2022. REUTERS/Leah Millis (REUTERS/Leah Millis)

Jackie Kucinich, the Washington bureau chief of the Daily Beast, cast doubt on the Biden administration's latest messaging tactic. 

"'Ultra MAGA' (who is it even for? Wouldn't the MAGA set *like* that? ) makes me think of this @UrsalaPerano story from March about ‘Putin’s Price Hike,' Kucinich tweeted, linking to an article titled "Can Three New Words Save Democrats From Disaster?"

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The Biden administration had previously launched a "Putin's Price Hike" campaign attempting to pin soaring inflation and rising gas prices on Russia's invasion of Ukraine despite how both were surging months before the conflict began. 

Critics in the media suggested the "Putin's Price Hike" push was not resonating with Americans as polls show voters placing more blame for the economic woes on Biden's policies than Russia.