- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Republican National Committee is using President Obama’s own words against him — showing the new president in a tough new ad with his feet up on his desk and defending his economic stimulus plan while the ad points out the nation’s rising unemployment rate.

As Mr. Obama’s poll numbers are dropping in key states over fiscal worries, the new RNC Web ad offers a preview of the anti-White House talking points the nation is likely to keep hearing as Congress considers whether the ailing economy needs a second stimulus program.

The slick, campaign-style ad uses five times a clip of Mr. Obama telling ABC News this week from Moscow, “There’s nothing that we would have done differently.”

The spot highlights some of the recent news reports about wasteful stimulus spending, interspersed with Vice President Joe Biden saying on ABC last weekend that the administration “misread” the economy. It also notes the administration’s stimulus Web site, Recovery.gov, will be getting a costly overhaul.

The ad calls the $787 billion package of spending and tax cuts passed in Mr. Obama’s second month in office a “failed stimulus plan” and blames the president for the government’s $1.8 trillion budget deficit.

Democrats and the White House have dismissed this notion, arguing the deficit was more than $1 trillion when Mr. Obama took office Jan. 20.

The RNC ad does not include the full context of Mr. Obama’s remarks about the economy to ABC.

“We needed a stimulus and we needed a substantial stimulus,” Mr. Obama said during the interview, right after making the “nothing” comment.

“Some of the money in the short term [was needed] just to help stop the freefall and then some other dollars that were going to be designed to put people to back to work. We’ll have more ripple effects in the economy, that money is in place and I think is going to make a big difference,” he said.

“Now, the question that some have argued is, OK, what next? Maybe you stop the free fall but you still have close to 10 percent unemployment, and, you know, this is something that we wrestle with constantly. The more that we can do to stimulate the economy in the short term, the challenge we’ve got as everybody knows is that we inherited a big deficit, and it is at a certain point potentially counterproductive if we’re spending more money than we’re having to borrow.”

Democratic National Committee spokesman Hari Sevugan said the ad’s claims have been proven false by fact-checkers.

“It’s rich for Republicans to continue to lie about the effect of the Economic Recovery Act, which rescued us from the Bush-Cheney financial disaster that they helped create, and which is now beginning to rebuild our economy and create jobs,” he said. “If Republicans would have had their way they’d have done ‘nothing’ at all.”

Still, the GOP ad, which features fast-paced instrumental music, closes with the narrator making the point Republicans are likely to keep pushing: “An economy in trouble, soaring unemployment, soaring deficits, stimulus money misused. Obama’s answer? ‘There’s nothing that we would have done differently.’”

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