As Obama Calls Out Republicans on Campaign Trail, Republican Leader Blasts President's 'Childish Partisanship'
He was responding to President Obama's attack on Boehner and Republicans in general at a town hall gathering in Racine, Wis., yesterday.
Obama, in campaign mode once again as the mid-term elections approach, told people in Racine on Wednesday that Republicans are "out of touch." He mentioned two Republicans by name, including Boehner:
"The leader of the Republicans in the House said that financial reform was like -- I'm quoting here -- 'using a nuclear weapon to target an ant.' That's what he said. He compared the financial crisis to an ant. This is the same crisis that led to the loss of nearly eight million jobs -- the same crisis that cost people their homes, their life savings. He can't be that out of touch," Obama said.
In fact, Boehner did use the "ant" metaphor -- but as Boehner said on Wednesday, "I wasn't minimizing the crisis America faced -- I was pointing out that Washington Democrats have produced a bill (a 2,000-page overhaul of financial regulations) that will actually kill more jobs and make the situation worse.”
Boehner said the bill does nothing to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government mortgage companies that caused the housing and financial crisis by giving risky loans to people who couldn’t pay them back.
Boehner said it's "easier" for Obama to attack Republicans than it is to explain to the people of Racine "why one in every 10 Americans in our workforce is unemployed nearly 18 months after the president’s trillion-dollar ‘stimulus’ spending bill was enacted.” The unemployment rate in Racine is 14 percent, Boehner noted.
“The American people want leadership from the White House, not more childish partisanship,” Boehner concluded.
In his remarks in Racine, Obama also jumped on Rep. Joe Barton's recent apology to BP, the company blamed for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Barton accused the White House of shaking down BP, forcing it to set up a compensation fund for people who have lost money due to the Gulf oil spill.
Under pressure from fellow Republicans, Barton later apologized for the remark, saying it had been “misconstrued.”
On Wednesday in Racine, President Obama reminded his audience, "The top Republican on the energy committee apologized to BP -- did y'all read about that? He apologized to BP that we had made them set up this (compensation) fund -- called it a tragedy that we had made them pay for the destruction that they'd caused."
Obama noted that Barton later "walked back" his comments, but "he meant it," Obama added.
Obama also dismissed Republican suggestions for solving the nation's problems as solutions that have been tried and failed: "We've tried the other side's theories -- we know what their ideas are. We know where they led us. So now we've got a choice. We can return to what we know did not work, or we can build a strong future."
Obama told the people of Racine that the financial “reform” bill passed by the House on Wednesday will prevent something like the current economic "crisis" from ever happening again.
"It's reform that will protect our economy from the recklessness and irresponsibility of a few; reform that will protect consumers against the unfair practices of credit card companies and mortgage lenders; reform that ensures taxpayers are never again on the hook for Wall Street’s mistakes," Obama said.
But Republican opponents say the bill will kill jobs, raise taxes and make bailouts permanent.
Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), chairman of the House Republican Conference, said the bill simply masquerades as "financial reform."
"This legislation will kill jobs by restricting access to credit. It will kill jobs by raising taxes on those that would provide loans and opportunities to small business owners and family farmers. And it makes the bad ideas of the Wall Street bailout permanent,” Pence said in a news release explaining his opposition to the bill.
Pence said the bill also would give government bureaucrats more power to pick winners and losers. “When a financial firm is failing, the Treasury Secretary and the FDIC will actually have the authority to take taxpayer dollars and decide which creditors to pay back, and how and when they get paid,” he warned.
“Free market economics depends on the careful application of a set of ideals, traditional American ideals and principles. Chief among them is the notion that the freedom to succeed must include the freedom to fail. Personal responsibility is at the very center of the American experiment from an economic standpoint,” Pence said.
Pence said he opposed last year’s Wall Street bailout because it violated the fundamental principles of personal responsibility and limited government.’ “And I rise today to vigorously oppose this legislation that takes the bad ideas of the Wall Street bailout and makes them permanent,” he said.