The Republican National Committee offered up its take on President Obama’s Midwest bus tour Monday with a three-pronged press offensive including a “Press Corps Briefing Book,” a web ad, and radio spots that detail what they’ve termed “Obama’s Debt-End Bus Tour.”
The RNC describes the president’s effort to engage in a public dialogue about job growth and the economy at town halls and economic forums as “a totally non-political taxpayer-funded administration event that just happens to criss-cross several battleground states critical to the president’s re-election” in the Obama critique, which is disguised as a briefing book.
A DNC official told CNN, “It is telling that the Republican Party, which believes corporations are people, would attack the president for meeting with Americans in their communities. We’ve now seen all the GOP candidates swear allegiance to the Tea Party in a debate, seen two Tea Party favorites come out on top of the Iowa Straw Poll, and someone once considered among the leading candidates for the nomination drop out of the race because he was not extreme or vitriolic enough for the Tea Party which now owns and operates the GOP.”
“Rather than presenting plans to accelerate the recovery, the Republican Party is offering the same tired rhetoric that the American people are sick of.”
The GOP committee released radio spots in the states Obama will visit over the next three days-Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois-as well as a minute-long web ad that paints the president’s trip as nothing more than a campaign sweep through swing states.
“At every stop, first he’ll cast blame for everything that’s gone wrong. Then he’ll say our economy is on the right track and the U.S. will always have triple-A credit rating,” an announcer declares in the radio ad slated to run for one week in each state.
White House spokesman Jay Carney insisted the president’s bus tour is completely above board–especially given that fact that Obama is not facing a primary challenger for the Democratic nomination–even though bus tours are a trademark of political campaigns.
“The fact is that the President is not engaged in a primary election and he is doing what Presidents do, which is go out in the country and engage with the American people, have discussions about the economy and other policy issues,” Carney said during a press briefing on Air Force One en route to Minnesota.
“To suggest that any time the President leaves Washington it’s a political trip would mean that Presidents could never leave unless they were physically campaigning on their own behalf, and he’s not; he’s out here doing his job and meeting with the American people.”
But Iowa GOP chair Matt Strawn maintained the trip is all about politicking.
“The tour has everything to do with politics and nothing to do with policy,” he said during a Monday conference call with reporters. “He knows this is a state he must carry if he’s going to win.”
“The president would rather be on a bus tour than tackling issues nationally,” RNC chairman Reince Priebus echoed on the call.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who’s making his second bid for the GOP presidential nomination, also took a swipe at the president’s bus sweep in a web video released the first day of his tour that features Minnesota residents who say they’d rather Obama “stay in Washington and do something about jobs” instead of visit their home state. Calling it the “Magical Misery” tour, the 2012 GOP frontrunner’s ad sums up his thoughts on the incumbent president: “Obama isn’t working.”
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and Minnesota state GOP chair Tony Sutton will kick off the committee’s answer to Obama’s bus tour on the same day he launches his 5-city swing with a rally organized in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, the town of Obama’s first stop.