In a partisan speech on the economy in Racine, Wisc., today, President Obama will target House Minority Leader John Boehner and Congressman Joe Barton, R-Texas, painting them as out of touch with the American people.
In excerpts released by the White House in advance of the mid-afternoon town hall speech, Mr. Obama will call out Republicans’ opposition to the financial reform legislation currently making its way through Congress, singling out comments made yesterday by Boehner.
“Most of our friends in the other party are planning on voting against this reform,” Obama will say. “ In fact, just yesterday, I was stunned to hear the leader of the Republicans in the House say that financial reform was like using a nuclear weapon to target an ant. That’s right. He compared the financial crisis to an ant. The same financial crisis that led to the loss of nearly eight million jobs. The same crisis that cost people their homes and their lives savings. “
In an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Monday, House Minority Leader John Boehner compared the financial regulatory reform bill to “killing an ant with a nuclear weapon.”
“This is killing an ant with a nuclear weapon,” Boehner said of the bill. “There are faults in our regulatory system, some in terms of transparency, most as a result of ineffective enforcement by the bureaucracy who have no idea what these financial products look like today. That could’ve been fixed, but that’s not what we have here.”
The president today will say, “Well, if the Republican leader is that out of touch with the struggles facing the American people, he should come here to Racine and ask people if they think the financial crisis was an ant.”
In response, Boehner's spokesman, Michael Steel, implied that the metaphor is blown out of proportion.
“The President should be focused on solving the problems of the American people – stopping the leaking oil and cleaning up the Gulf, scrapping his job-killing agenda, repealing and replacing ObamaCare – instead of the House Republican Leader’s choice of metaphors," Steel said. "It's clear Boehner was not minimizing the crisis America faced – he was pointing out that Washington Democrats have produced a bill that will actually kill more jobs and make the situation worse.”
Mr. Obama will also take the Republicans to task for Congressman Joe Barton’s apology to BP in the Tony Hayward hearing two weeks ago.
“The top Republican on the energy committee even had the nerve to apologize to BP for the fact that we made them set up this fund. Apologize to BP! He actually called the fund 'a tragedy.' A tragedy? A tragedy is what the people of the Gulf are going through right now. That’s the tragedy.”
-Yunji de Nies and Sunlen Miller