House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) may not be a household name, but that isn’t about to stop President Barack Obama from singling him out as he bashes GOP economic policies in advance of the November elections.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Thursday to expect Obama to keep harping on Boehner over his economic ideas because he “embodies” the philosophy of George W. Bush’s administration. Gibbs said that philosophy dictates that “the free market is in total control, that we should spend money we don’t have, that we should reward the wealthiest among us with tax breaks, and we should tell those in the middle class that you’re on your own.”
Obama mentioned Boehner’s name eight times during a speech on the economy this week in Cleveland, a city that Obama partially chose because Boehner gave a speech there on the economy last month. Despite Obama’s recent focus on the Ohio Republican, CNN polling shows that 55 percent of Americans are not familiar with him.
Gibbs criticized Boehner’s appearance Wednesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” where the Minority Leader called for cutting government spending but endorsed extending tax cuts for the wealthy, which would cost $700 billion over 10 years.
“How that makes any sense is something that we will certainly let John Boehner explain,” the White House spokesman said. “If it helps to use his name so that he gets a chance to explain that, I’m sure the president will continue to do it.”
Boehner spokesman Michael Steel took issue with Gibbs’ suggestion that the Minority Leader has no new ideas; he pointed to Boehner’s proposals this week to freeze all tax rates for two years and to cut spending for next year to 2008 levels.
“Yesterday, John Boehner unveiled new proposals to cut Washington spending and stop the president’s tax hike on families and small businesses,” Steel said. “Instead of working in a bipartisan way to help the American people who are asking, Where are the jobs?’ the president’s spokesman is promising more inaccurate partisan attacks. That’s sad.”