President Obama visited Columbus, Ohio, this afternoon, selling his jobs plan in a likely 2012 battleground state. And the president can count on at least one supporter in House Speaker John Boehner’s, R-Ohio, territory — Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio.
Ryan said Obama’s plan is good economics, and Republicans should look at it as a whole.
“You can’t piecemeal this stuff,” Ryan said on ABC News’ “Top Line” today, adding that the bill’s proposals to repair infrastructure, pump money into schools, and extend the payroll tax cut are all needed to jump start the economy.
Earlier in the day, Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod told ABC News’ “Good Morning America” that Republicans should take the bill as a full package because it’s “not an a la carte menu.” Ryan agrees.
“To pick something that you like because it fits your ideology but it’s bad economics, I think the president’s right to say, ‘Hey that’s not going to work and we shouldn’t do it,’ ” said Ryan.
The Ohio democrat predicted Republicans will play politics and slow the bill’s progress through Congress, noting that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said funding for infrastructure and schools are already dead on arrival. Republicans, said Ryan, will pick out what they want and forget the rest.
“They’re going to maybe take the payroll tax, pass that, and call it a day,” said Ryan. “And at the end of the day it’s just not going to be enough, and then they’ll turn around and say, ‘look, we did what President Obama said, and it didn’t work.’ ”
Killing the infrastructure and construction projects in Obama’s bill would be particularly hard on Ohio, where the unemployment rate for the state’s building and construction trades is in double digits.
“It is not brain surgery, here. We’ve got to get people back to work. [We have] 20 percent unemployment in the construction trades.”
The congressman also weighed in on today’s special election for former colleague Anthony’s Weiner’s seat. The traditionally blue New York congressional district should have been a sure-win for Democrats, but Republican candidate Bob Turner has an edge over Democrat David Weprin.
“Clearly it would be bad for us” if Democrats lose the seat, said Ryan. But he added that the race is not reflective of the national political climate heading into 2012.
“The president’s election is going to be very much about context. It’s going to be about choice. Who is the nominee? Is it Michele Bachmann versus Barack Obama? Is it Rick Perry versus Barack Obama? That’s ultimately going to make the difference in the race,” said Ryan.
For more on the tight race for former congressman Anthony Weiner’s seat, watch Top Line’s interview with National Journal’s Jessica Taylor.