The Democratic National Committee is taking the aggressive step of going after Republican politicians, accusing them of posturing and hypocrisy, when it comes to the president's stimulus package.
On Wednesday, the DNC put out a web ad rapping the House Minority Leader John Boehner for making inaccurate remarks about the infrastructure dollars sent to Ohio through the stimulus. The video, titled "Boehner 'No Facts'" accuses the Ohio Republican of "using baseless attacks to mislead the public about the success of the Recovery Act." It also ties him to the "Bush economic policies of the past eight years that brought our economy to its knees."
What's noteworthy here is not the Bush line -- a predictable line of attack when it comes to browbeating GOP pols. Rather, it is the willingness, indeed eagerness, on the part of the DNC to engage Boehner in a debate over the stimulus.
If there is a particular vulnerability for the White House, it is the scope of president's stimulus spending. And among the places where the recovery package's shortcomings are most obvious, Boehner's home state of Ohio is one of them. A new Quinnipiac poll shows that Obama's approval rating in the Buckeye State dipped from 62 percent in May to 49 percent a month later.
But, at least at this juncture, it seems clear Democrats feel comfortable defending the White House record when it comes to its job creations policies, in part because it's easy to localize the importance of the stimulus. As the DNC ad points out, Boehner's district alone has received nearly $15 million in recovery-related projects.
That said, Boehner's office isn't exactly shying away from the debate. As the House Minority Leader's spokesman, Kevin Smith, told Politico:
"Ohio was very nearly the last state to get the first 50 percent of its stimulus construction money obligated for construction projects, which is ridiculous. As of late May, approximately, no contracts had been signed. Since that time, some contracts have been belatedly set in motion, but the entire process has been absurdly slow-moving -- just as Republicans warned it would be last winter when we called for an economic recovery bill based on fast-acting tax relief for small businesses and working families rather than spending on slow-moving government programs. It's embarrassing that the DNC can't defend its own indefensible trillion-dollar stimulus that isn't working but resorts to desperate tactics like this."
UPDATE: DNC Spokesman Hari Sevugan responds to Smith's response, again tying Boehner to the Bush economic record.
Kevin Smith and John Boehner need a history lesson. It was them and their Republican allies - including Dick Cheney and George Bush that - that sunk our economy into a near depression - while it's the very economic policies and the jobs bill passed by President Obama that have begun to turn things around. What's embarrassing is that after being one of the handful of Republican leaders responsible for pushing our economy over the cliff and putting millions of Americans out of work - that John Boehner would go on national TV and not tell the truth about the projects in Ohio that are beginning to put people back to work - no thanks to him.