Standing before a backdrop that read “GOP.gov #4jobs,” the top Republican in Congress argued that the economy continues to lag because of the policies of President Obama and Senate Democrats, including the Affordable Care Act. And during a weekly closed-door meeting of House Republicans, Boehner presented the rank and file with new polling that suggests voters no longer blame Obama's predecessor, Republican George W. Bush, for the slow pace of economic growth.
“The fact is, the president’s taken his eyes off the ball; he’s taken his eye off of the issue of jobs,” Boehner said.
“We in the House also remain very concerned that Obamacare is not living up to its promises,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., added.
The message harkens back to 2010 when Boehner repeatedly admonished the administration, asking "Where are the jobs?" Attacking Obama over the economy and his new health care reforms helped propel Republicans to historic gains in the 2010 midterm elections and retake control of the House.
So with a new Republican poll showing that voters for the first time are blaming Obama rather than Bush for the state of the economy, Boehner resurrected that message and urged his fellow Republicans to carry the party's jobs agenda into this year's campaigns.
Prior to Obama's re-election in 2012, most voters (53 percent) were still blaming "policies of the past" for the nation's lingering economic woes rather than policies of the current administration. But Republican pollster David Winston has since found that those attitudes have flipped. Nearly half of voters (49 percent) now primarily blame lingering economic problems on the policies of Obama, not Bush.
“Since he can’t blame George W. Bush anymore, the president has chosen to talk about rising income inequality, unemployment, and the need to extend emergency unemployment benefits,” Boehner told lawmakers, according to a GOP source who was in the room. “After five years in office, Barack Obama still doesn’t have an answer to the question: Where are the jobs?”