House Speaker John Boehner is acknowledging that President Barack Obama appears to be making some headway in his efforts to sell his jobs plan to Americans, and Republicans need to make the nation aware the GOP has a better deal, according to an interview with the National Review Online
“What we’ve seen is that people realize the president’s got a plan,” the Ohio Republican said in the interview earlier this week. “And because he’s got a plan, they support his plan.“
The challenge now for Republicans, he suggested, is to convince Americans that GOP lawmakers have a valid plan of their own that will put Americans back to work. The problem is, he told National Review Editor Rich Lowry, “The president is out there saying we don’t have a plan.”
Boehner said he spoke with Obama after Congress passed the free trade deals with Columbia, Panama, and South Korea to make sure he understood that Republicans do indeed have something concrete to offer, including areas of common agreement.
“I had to make it perfectly clear to him that we’ve had a plan,” Boehner said. “We’ve talked to him about our plan and we’ve sent a letter to him outlining areas of common agreement in the plan. But what we’ve got to do is to make sure people know we’ve got a plan.”
As for the president’s jobs bill, which the House and Senate have rejected as a whole, the speaker told Lowry he expects Republicans to pass some pieces of it without getting into a big showdown with the president.
But Boehner said he believes that “on a broader scale” Obama is “trying his best to pick a fight with us so he can drag us into his mud puddle so we can share his problem.”
“I was born at night, but not last night,” Boehner joked. “I’m just not going there. I’m trying to keep my colleagues from tripping into that mud puddle.”
Asked about why GOP approval ratings are down, Boehner pointed to the fight earlier this year over the debt limit and budget issues, saying: “It rattled the American people.”
“People don’t like the bantering back and forth,” he continued. “They don’t like to watch the fight. And so I’m not at all surprised that the numbers are down.”
Still, Boehner shrugged off polls showing Congress’ approval ratings are at record lows.
“They’ve been America’s whipping boys for 200 years, and it’s not going to change,” he said.
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