The Republican National Committee on Tuesday will launch a new attack campaign against President Barack Obama, targeting the president over his comments on the economy and record of job creation.
Using a web video, “These aren’t gaffes,” supplemented by a research piece, the RNC will focus on the president’s recent “build that” remark and resurrects a comment he made in June in which he said the private sector was “doing fine” compared to the public sector.
“The more we hear from President Obama about the economy the more we realize that he doesn’t understand what it takes to get America working again,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.
“President Obama believes that ‘the private sector is doing fine’ and entrepreneurs are successful because of government efforts, not their individual hard work and sacrifice. It is becoming clearer by the day that these aren’t gaffes, this is what President Obama believes.”
Both comments used in the RNC web video have sparked considerable debate in the 2012 presidential race. The Obama campaign, however, strongly objected to the way Republicans seized on the remarks, saying the president’s comments were taken out of context.
Most recently, Mitt Romney’s campaign and supporters zeroed in on a moment on the campaign trail in which Obama told a Virginia crowd: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.”
“If you are successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet,” Obama said.
Republicans have argued the comments were insulting to small business owners and represented a view of big government with which they starkly disagree.
The new RNC attack marries the comment with Obama’s remark last month about the private sector, which also kicked off a strong wave of pushback from Republicans.
“The truth of the matter is that, as I said, we created 4.3 million jobs over the last two, 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone. The private sector’s doing fine,” Obama said at a press conference. “Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government, oftentimes cuts initiated by, you know, governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government and who don’t have the same flexibility as the federal government in dealing with fewer revenues coming in.”
Later that day, after a firestorm of criticism from many in the GOP, Obama walked back his remarks, saying “it is absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine.”
However, that didn’t stop Republicans from criticizing the president for being out of touch with the economic reality of the private sector, and they used the so-called “doing fine” comment in attack ads in the following days.
At the time president’s re-election campaign hit back, saying the remark was being used out of context. Team Obama makes the same case this week about the more recent “build that” comment.
“Mitt Romney continues to criticize President Obama by taking his words completely out of context-all while sitting with small business owners who built their enterprises through their own initiative but with some help along the way,” Lis Smith, campaign spokeswoman, in a statement on Monday.
She continued: “As CEO of Bain & Co, he even negotiated a $10 million federal bailout to keep the company afloat. Mitt Romney’s attacks may be unfair, but his events and own actions actually prove the President’s point that while businesses are built through hard work and initiative, we’re all in this together.”
Along with the Obama comments, the RNC also hits the president in its new video over reports that he hasn’t met with his jobs council in six months, highlighting the number of fundraisers and golf trips the president has had during the same time period.