By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor
Lambasting him as the “Campaigner in Chief,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus told reporters on a conference call today that the President’s visit to Scranton was indicative of a failure of leadership.
Priebus criticized Barack Obama for spending too much time on the trail, and not enough time getting things done in Washington.
“He’s not campaigning according to the Barack Obama spin cycle out of the White House,” he said. “He’s campaigning. That’s the deal. If he’d just be honest about it, that’s the bigger issue.”
“Visits like today’s are simply the president’s attempt to distract voters from what his administration has been supporting these past three years- more taxes, more spending, and more debt,” echoed Pa. GOP Chairman Rob Gleason.
It’s the first in a day-long extravaganza of conservative attacks on Barack Obama, who will speak this afternoon at Scranton High School about the need to extend and expand payroll tax cuts.
The RNC has also released a web video, “Failed Promises: Scranton,” (below), which contrasts a 2008 speech Obama gave in Scranton with economic statistics over the past three years.
On the substance of today’s visit, most Republicans said they agreed with the principle of the President’s payroll tax cut.
Rep. Lou Barletta represents the city of Scranton. He said he supports that measure.
“I support extending the payroll tax credit. I believe that money is better staying in the pockets of American citizens than it is in the coffers of the federal government,” he said – then echoed the RNC’s main criticism.
“I think Congress can find common ground with the president on this issue and others. But I think President Obama should stay in Washington and work to find that common ground, rather than spend thousands of tax dollars to fly around and campaign.
Rep. Tom Marino said he would like to see such tax cuts made permanent.
“The federal government does not tax too little, it spends too much,” Marino said. “This economy will not turn around until we cut federal spending and downsize Washington to reduce the debt while keeping taxes low. I am glad the President acknowledges the positive effects of a tax cut like the payroll tax holiday but there is not much use to it if it is paid for with a permanent tax increase.”
Even Priebus seemed to support it, in principle.
“Generally we agree that people should pay less, but we should also do it in a way that reduces the debt and deficit, and keeping in mind our obligations in regard to seniors and entitlement programs.”
Meanwhile, as Republican party leaders criticized the President’s style, several right-leaning groups took issue with the substance of his proposal. Americans for Prosperity – Pa. and others are hosting a press conference today to blast Obama’s jobs bill.
“The President is on a fools errand with this so-called ‘Jobs Bill’ and he knows it,” explains Jennifer Stefano, AFP-PA Director of Labor and Energy Policy. “For every one government bureaucrat, 98 private sector jobs are lost.”
Meanwhile, Republicans looking at the next year’s Senate race took the opportunity to whack Sen. Bob Casey over this story, from Politico, which indicates that the Scranton native is unlikely to join the President there today. Priebus offered reporters $100 for a photo of the two together.
A Casey spokesperson noted that the Senate has votes today during the President’s visit.
Gleason discussed the Obama-Casey during the RNC call., while the National Republican Senatorial Committee and GOP candidates Tim Burns and Steve Welch each sent out press releases. The substance of all three were summarized in this video from the Tom Smith campaign (eerily similar to the RNC piece):