President Obama dueled with House Minority Leader John Boehner this week over who's really looking out for ordinary Americans. It started when Boehner (R-OH) told a newspaper that the pending financial reform legislation being pushed by Democrats is the equivalent of "killing an ant with a nuclear weapon." Obama shot back, saying that "if the Republican leader is that out of touch with the struggles facing the American people" he should spend more time in the heartland. Boehner then chided Obama for playing "childish" partisan games, and said Democrats are "the ones who are out of touch." Was there any substance to this spat? (Watch Obama's response to Boehner)
Boehner's remark merited a call out: Boehner's spokesman insists his boss isn't minimizing the crisis, says Kevin Drum in Mother Jones, but "it's obvious to a fourth grader what Boehner meant: He thinks there were only minor problems with the financial system before the crash, and we just don't need anything more than a few tweaks here and there to fix things up." It's pointless to deny he's "minimizing the problems on Wall Street."
"Boehner vs. Boehner"
Obama's blowing the remark way out of proportion: Boehner mentioned the "ant" once during a long interview, says Tabassum Zakaria at Reuters, while President Obama "managed to swat back by mentioning the insect four times" during a brief speech. The president is trying to highlight Boehner's line because "escalating rhetoric" is one way Washington politicians fight back when they're in trouble. And Obama knows Republicans might succeed in blocking his Wall Street reforms.
"Obama tries to make political mountain out of ant hill"
This is part of bigger problem for Boehner: Lashing out at Obama won't fix John Boehner's image troubles, say Jonathan Allen and Jake Sherman at Politico. He's facing a "bipartisan beat-down" — with even MSNBC conservative Joe Scarborough accusing the House GOP leader of being "disengaged at best." It looks like "the stakes for all sides are only getting higher as the election nears," so Boehner should get used to watching his comments go viral on YouTube.
"John Boehner gets bipartisan beat down"