Sharp Words from Republicans as Unemployment Edges Up
Updated 2:23 p.m.
By Perry Bacon Jr.
Republicans today sharply attacked President Obama and congressional Democrats after the Labor Department announced the unemployment rate had increased to 9.5 percent, accusing them of wasting money on an economic stimulus plan that hasn't worked.
"Today President Obama will hold another White House PR event with presidential spin instead of putting forth real world, free market solutions that will put Americans back to work," said Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele. "With the unemployment rate now at 9.5 percent and continuing to rise, Americans need real solutions that help them find work -- not bigger government, higher taxes, increased federal spending and an unsustainable national debt."
The unemployment rate for May was 9.4 percent and many economists believe unemployment will continue to rise and ultimately pass 10 percent before declining.
House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio.) released a video which depicts a bloodhound sniffing around in search of jobs created in the last several months while a narrator, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.), describes job losses around the country.
"At a time when Americans are looking to Washington for leadership, the trillion-dollar 'stimulus' isn't working," Boehner said in a statement. "Americans were promised the 'stimulus' would keep the unemployment rate from going above eight percent... Where are the jobs?"
The attacks continue the Republicans' strategy of casting Obama as a big-spending liberal whose policies have been ineffective at slowing the recession. GOP officials believe their constant critiques are sowing doubts about the president's policies, although he remains popular with the public and the Democratic Congress is largely following his lead on economic issues.
Congressional Democrats praised the president and said the unemployment rate would be even higher without the stimulus.
"Today's unemployment figures represent the struggles of millions of American families who are working to make ends meet through this historic recession," said House Majority Leader Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.). "As President Obama has made clear, an unemployment rate of 9.5 percent is not acceptable. But even in the midst of these dispiriting numbers, it is clear that without the Recovery Act, which became law 130 days ago, that number would be even higher."
Posted at 2:01 PM ET on Jul 2, 2009
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