DES MOINES – Top national Republican strategists said Tuesday they plan to use Democrat Barack Obama’s own words — in promising economic improvements, less government debt and lower deficits — against him in “ground zero” battleground states like Iowa to make sure he’s a one-term president.
“The president himself said three years ago that if people aren’t better off three or four years from now, then I should be a one-term president. Well, guess what, we’re not better off than we were three or four years ago and, for the most part, it’s because this president is not capable or not willing to lead this country,” Reince Priebus, Republican National Committee chairman said during a conference call with Midwest reporters.
Priebus made the comments on a day when RNC officials launched a Web-only video denoting that one year remains before voters will go to the polls in November 2012 to deliver a presidential-election verdict on Obama’s leadership since he took the oath of office in January 2009.
“One year from now the American people will hold President Obama accountable for his abysmal record in the White House,” Priebus said. “We have suffered through three long years of this president’s failed policies and are ready to change direction. Promise after promise has been broken — from turning the economy around to getting our spending under control.
“The American people will go to the polls next year and ask themselves if they are better off than they were four years ago. Even Obama agrees their answer will be no,” he added. “With 9.1 percent unemployment, home foreclosures and consumer costs up across the board with no long-term plan to fix it, the countdown begins for President Obama’s last year in office.”
Democrats fired back that the GOP strategy continues to be to root for failure by engaging in an obstructionist agenda via a “dysfunctional and hyper-partisan” Republican Party in Congress and a presidential field that panders “to the most extreme elements of its party” in early caucus and primary states.
“While Republican candidates gather in Pella today to tout their plans, which would double down on the same failed economic policies that brought us to the brink of a second Great Depression, President Obama is working to strengthen the middle class and get Americans back to work with the American Jobs Act,” said Megan Jacobs, spokeswoman for the Iowa Democratic Party.
Priebus said it’s the president’s own party, especially Senate Democrats, who won’t support his jobs plan and Obama ought to be focusing his “bullhorn” against them back in Washington rather than being “obsessed with his re-election campaign” by touring aboard a taxpayer-funded bus “that only seems to run on highways in battleground states.”
“I think Americans are sick and tired of the speeches, the pageantry, the constant campaigning – the idea that obviously this president is in love with the man in the mirror but not following through on his promises,” the RNC chairman told reporters. “Everybody knows that the Obama experiment has failed and it’s time to change direction for the good of our country.”
Rick Wiley, RNC political director, said six in 10 Americans disapprove of the way Obama has handled the economy and he has lost 20 approval points among the key constituents of women, Hispanics, young voters, independents and Jewish voters since 2009. Wiley also noted that Republicans picked up nine governorships since to the 2008 election in states that represent 131 electoral votes, a trend he said “bodes well as we set the table for our march toward 270 – the number of electoral votes needed to capture the White House.
“People are starving for leaders in this country,” said Wiley, who spoke with reporters in Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa – three states that “are going to be ground zero” in the 2012 presidential election. “This president leads from behind. He says one thing and does another.”
The GOP statements came one day after Obama’s campaign manager Jim Messina said Iowa still holds a special place in the president’s re-election campaign organization as the state that launched him four years ago. But the campaign is not resting on warm memories of the last campaign. Obama campaign officials said they are working every day and will use the Jan. 3 first-in-the-nation precinct caucuses to pull together the grass roots organization that propelled Obama to the Democratic nomination and presidency in 2008.