Ant Rant: Obama Pushes Back Against Republicans Comments About Financial Crisis

Obama says Republicans are 'out of touch' when it comes to struggling Americans

June 30, 2010, 4:51 PM

June 30, 2010— -- Amid fears the economic recovery may be stalling, President Obama came out swinging at an event in Racine, Wisconsin today, pouncing on recent comments by John Boehner, the top Republican in the House, about Wall Street reform.

Speaking before a crowd of roughly 1,000 attendees at Racine Memorial Hall, Obama attacked Republicans for their views on financial reform.

"You would think this would be a bipartisan issue. Don't you?" said Obama. "But right now, most of our friends on the other, in the other party are planning to vote against this reform.

He lit into Boehner.

"So the leader of the Republicans in the House said that financial reform was like, and I'm quoting here, using a nuclear weapon to target an ant," said Obama with a chuckle. "He compared the financial crisis to an ant. This is the same financial crisis that led to the loss of nearly eight million jobs; same crisis that cost people their homes, their life savings."

"He can't be that out of touch with the struggles of American families. And if he is, then he's got to come here to Racine and ask people what they think," said Obama.

Obama was referring to an interview Boehner did on Tuesday with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. During the interview Boehner was asked directly about the Wall Street reform bill now before Congress.

"This is killing an ant with a nuclear weapon. There are faults in our regulatory system. Some in terms of transparency. Most as a result of ineffective enforcement by the bureaucracy," said Boehner.

Boehner, like all but a handful of Republicans in Congress, opposes the Wall Street reform bill, saying he believes it imposes too much new regulation.

But when he said, "This is killing an ant with a nuclear weapon," was he comparing the financial crisis to an ant?

When ABC News spoke with Boehner today and asked what he meant, he tried to dodge the question at first.

"This bill will kill jobs in America and not solve the problems on Wall Street. There's nothing in here in this bill that will reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It really will make matters worse," said Boehner, adding "They're punishing the entire financial institutions for the sins of a handful of people on Wall Street," said Boehner.

But when pressed to answer what he meant when he used the word "ant," Boehner replied that he was not referring to the financial crisis.

"No, no, it was never about the financial crisis. My remarks had to do simply with what their bill does. Their bill, their bill is not about fixing the problems on Wall Street, it's about taking control of entire financial institutions," said Boehner.

Democrats have made it clear they will continue to harp on Boehner's comment as evidence Republicans are out of touch with the American people.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events