With Republicans citing the continuing economic distress to bash the economic stimulus plan pushed through by President Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress, the Democratic National Committee is hitting back with a media campaign blaming Republicans for creating the mess to begin with.
In a new TV ad announced today, the DNC goes after the top four congressional Republicans -- Senators Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Jon Kyl of Arizona, and Representatives John Boehner of Ohio and Eric Cantor of Virginia -- by saying they "supported the Bush policies that sank our economy into recession. They broke it - now they refuse to fix it."
"Tell Republicans to stop playing politics with our economy," the announcer urges viewers.
Besides the media campaign, the DNC is organizing news conferences or conference calls with reporters in their home states this week with local elected officials and others to testify to the impact of the $787 billion stimulus plan. Not a single House Republican voted for it, and only a handful of Senate Republicans did.
"Republicans supported the policies that sank our economy into the worst recession in nearly a century and have refused to work with President Obama to turn things around," DNC Communications Director Brad Woodhouse said in a statement. "They followed Rush Limbaugh and played politics with the Recovery Act - and now that it is showing signs of progress - they are distorting the truth about its success so no one will notice that they were the ones who got it wrong before and who are getting it wrong now. In each of these states there are real projects, providing and saving real jobs and laying a foundation for long-term economic growth. The Republican leadership may not want to admit the truth because it will expose their own mistakes and hypocrisy, but we're not going to hesitate setting the record straight."
UPDATE: Obama, himself, addressed what he called "a lot of misinformation out there" about the stimulus bill, which he said has helped stem job losses though "the tough times aren't over."
"Let me just lay out the facts," he said in a town hall in Raleigh, N.C., today, saying he had passed protestors on the way to the event: "Roughly a quarter of the Recovery Act’s funding has been committed, over 30,000 projects have been approved, and thousands have been posted online."
One-third of the money is going to tax cuts for families and small businesses, another third is for emergency relief including unemployment benefits, and the final third is for investments such as infrastructure projects, he said.
"Now, I know that some critics in Washington ... they are saying we’ve been slow to get these projects started. They are saying we should have broken ground on all our highway projects on the first day. That’s impossible, especially because I wanted to be sure we did our homework and invested tax dollars only in those projects that actually created jobs and jump-started our economy. We knew it would take a few months for these projects to get online," he said.
"So it will take time to achieve a complete recovery, we're not going to rest until anyone who’s looking for work can find a job. But there should be little debate that the steps we took, taken together, have helped stop our economic freefall."
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.