WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama is too busy attacking Mitt Romney to care about middle-class Americans, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) charged Wednesday.
Obama "doesn't give a damn about middle-class Americans who are out there looking for work," Boehner told Capitol Hill reporters. "What he's trying to do is distract the American people in order to win his own reelection.”
Boehner knocked the president for spending too much time focusing on discrepancies in Romney's statements over when he left his private equity firm, Bain Capital, and whether he was involved in outsourcing jobs. He also said Obama's opposition to extending all the Bush tax cuts puts him at odds with the middle class since, according to a new study, letting certain cuts expire could hurt millions of small businesses.
"Why are they pushing this tax [hike]?" Boehner asked, referring to Democrats' support for letting the Bush tax cuts expire for those making more than $250,000. "I think the president explained it himself: He doesn’t believe that small businesses create jobs. He thinks government creates jobs."
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney later said he hadn't heard Boehner's comments but called it "astounding" that the GOP leader would challenge Obama's commitment to boosting the middle class.
Lifting the middle class has been "the principle preoccupation of his presidency," Carney said during his daily briefing. "It's the reason why he ran for this office. It's the reason why he is running for reelection."
Obama has been calling on Congress to act "immediately" on legislation to extend the Bush tax cuts specifically for the middle class, or those making up to $250,000, Carney said, adding, however that Boehner and other Republicans won't act.
"I believe Speaker Boehner opposes that. I hope his opposition changes," said Carney. "It's a very difficult argument to make to middle-class America that you believe your taxes should go up unless millionaires and billionaires get a tax cut."