A new video from the DNC uses the bar graphs former Obama for America 2008 campaign manager David Plouffe emailed out to supporters two days ago to illustrate how job losses have improved since the stimulus.
Watch it here:
The video and the Tuesday email reflect a new assertiveness, a senior White House official tells ABC News. “Collectively, we’re on better offense,” the official said.
The official acknowledged that it’s been tough to convince the public of the success of the stimulus bill when the nation is at near-10% unemployment.
That combined with early projections from White House economic team that with the stimulus signed into law, unemployment would never exceed 8%, “made it seem like we oversold” the stimulus, the official said. The official explained that earlier projections were made before economists knew how bad the 4th quarter of 2008 had been, but it gave Republicans a good talking point.
And bottom line, the White House official said, the stimulus “is most successful for what it kept from happening – another Depression, or several million more unemployed.”
Last year was a referendum of the president, the official said. The White House is now preparing for the 2010 elections to be about the choice between Democrats and Republicans. Hence the more aggressive attempt to compare and contrast.
As one example of this: the bar graph. It shows in a vivid, understandable way that the stimulus bill turned the economy around which then allows voters “to hold people accountable for their opposition to the Recovery Act,” the official says.
The bar graph is also being used as an icon on twitter for supporters of the president’s.
The “Barack Obama” twitter account, which the president has never tweeted from himself, asked supporters to “donate” their twitter icon by switching to this bar graph:
At the president’s campaign website, supporters can switch their avatar as an expression of the support for the idea that “the evidence is clear — and growing by the day — that the Recovery Act is working to cushion the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression and lay a new foundation for economic growth. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the Recovery Act is already responsible for as many as 2.4 million jobs through the end of 2009.”
(More accurately, CBO puts the job creation estimates at anywhere from 800,000 to 2.4 million.)
A larger component of the presidential and Democratic pushback is to label as “hypocrites” those Republicans who opposed the stimulus bill but have heralded stimulus funds in their home districts or states. As President Obama said during his remarks heralding the one year anniversary of the stimulus bill becoming law, “there are those, let's face it, across the aisle who have tried to score political points by attacking what we did, even as many of them show up at ribbon-cutting ceremonies for projects in their districts.”
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was more direct when discussing criticisms of the stimulus from House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Virginia.
“I don't know what message Eric Cantor delivers when he tells you in Washington that it hasn't, but then tells his constituents, ‘Gee, I hope we get this grant to build high-speed rail in the district and create jobs,’” Gibbs said on Wednesday. “In Alabama, we call that hypocrisy. In Washington, we call that par for the course.”
How this squares with the president’s new call for bipartisanship is of course for voters to judge.