I'm not sure if I've ever seen a time that the anagram for RNC chair Reince Priebus was more appropriate than this one, but that's the first thing that came to mind when I heard he and his team at the RNC are deploying a "rapid response team" to be ready at all times during this week's Democratic National Convention. Heaven forbid they might take their cue from the GOP and lie like rugs in their speeches.
And who wants to take dibs our lazy corporate media will be happy to follow along and "report" on a lot of what they send over to them, without "fact-checking" their counter points to the speeches given? If what Priebus said in the interview here is any indication, they're not off to a good start. He got a good deal of push back from O'Brien on some of his lies, but not nearly enough in my opinion.
Priebus was still trying to pretend that the world started the day that President Obama got elected and refused to acknowledge that Republican obstruction had anything to do with the fact that the economy is not doing better than it is now.
He pretended that Republicans really just love that Bill Clinton, who they treated with almost as much animosity as they have our current Democratic president and who they
tried to impeach impeached. Now he's the good guy and him speaking at the Democrats convention must of course be bad for President Obama.
But Republicans pretending that Bush didn't exist and making sure he didn't speak at their convention is no big deal and is not bad for Republicans. Talking about him is just a distraction. Who cares if he was the one that drove our country into a ditch we still weren't out of when President Obama took office? Pay no attention to that man President Obama had to clean up after. Everything was great while he was in charge and then that terrible black president came in there and made everything worse in Priebus' world.
Priebus was also probably one of the earlier ones during the day to recite the "are you better off than four years ago" nonsense which ended up being repeated endlessly throughout the day. As I noted in my previous post, it's a B.S. meaningless question in the first place. It doesn't get to the heart of what actually needs to be done and policy questions which should rightfully be answered by all sides about what the solutions are to get our economy back on track, who wants to do what and who's responsible for pushing forward or blocking what policies and why.
Priebus doesn't want to talk policy which was made evident by this interview, among others. He'd rather play politics and try to turn this election into St. Ronnie vs Jimmy Carter, which is what the "are you better off" question is really all about. It's politics and trying to turn President Obama into Jimmy Carter and a game they've been playing and have hoped will stick but hasn't for months on end now.
And as far as old RNCPRBS trying to blame that debt and deficit on Obama, I've got a few charts for you to read here buddy:
I'm quite sure his "rapid response team" will be ignoring any data on those charts.
Transcript below the fold.
O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. You are watching STARTING POINT. We're coming to you live from Charlotte, North Carolina for the Democratic National Convention. It's not just Democrats descending on Charlotte this week.
Republicans are setting up an aggressive response operation. They're focusing on the key question, are you better off now than you were four years ago?
It's lead by our next guest, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. It's nice to have with us. Good morning. We certainly appreciate it.
REINCE PRIEBUS, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Thank you for having me.
O'BRIEN: It's a rapid response team. It sounds very official and effective and efficient. What's the plan?
PRIEBUS: Well, our plan is obviously in today's news cycle we have about three news cycles a day, as you know, and one of the things that's really important for our side of the aisle is to be ready with the facts, responses during the Democratic National Convention so here is what we did.
We were able to secure a great space down the street at the NASCAR hall of fame. We set up with about 50 to 75 press folks down there and we're going to be ready to respond to everything that the Democrats say.
And I think that the real issue this week and what you're seeing happening yesterday on the Sunday morning talk shows is the fundamental question back on the table for Americans, which is are you better off today than you were three or four years ago?
Issues come and go and they will, but at the end of the day this is going to be about facts.
O'BRIEN: As you know, there are plenty of people who would say, and we heard them on this panel in the last hour, yes. Yes, the economy was in a free fall four years ago. Yes, the banks were frozen and there was no access to capital. So, yes, we are better off than we were. It may not feel great. Obviously, there should be more jobs created, et cetera, et cetera, but the answer is yes.
PRIEBUS: The problem with that answer is the facts don't bear it out and that's why people like David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs and David Ploufe couldn't answer the questions yesterday on the Sunday morning shows because the facts are fewer people are employed today.
The debt is more out of control than it ever was in the history of this country. The president didn't cut the deficit in half like he promised. Here is the other fundamental issue --
O'BRIEN: We were shedding 800,000 plus jobs and now we're adding 160,000 --
PRIEBUS: We're worse off. There's half a million more people unemployed today than three or four years ago not to mention the under employed, people who aren't making what they should make.
Here is the other issue, though, that I didn't get a chance to get to. The president in '08 ran knowing where the economy was. He ran against the bush economy. He ran against where the economy was.
He won in large part because of the economy and because, he said, that he would fix the economy and people would be better off four years from now because of him.
So it's not good enough, what you're going to see this week and say, well, we don't want to go back to Bush.
O'BRIEN: And Bush was conspicuously absent at the RNC, right. I mean, the goal was to not have him have a big presence clearly.
PRIEBUS: I don't think that was the case, Soledad. I mean, the fact is I know bush senior is not feeling up to par. They did a great video tribute to the bush family.
The fact is, though, this is going to come down to the economy and all of the distraction also go away and people will look at this president, did he fulfill the mission of his presidency.
O'BRIEN: So when President Clinton gets up and speaks on Wednesday and he says I handed off to President Bush a surplus, a massive surplus, and the person who lost that surplus was President Bush.
The person who took us through wars was President Bush. The person who -- I didn't realize President Bush had an MBA. He is the first president -- all those things.
He was a businessman. So it's the Bush economy that we're reeling from. President Clinton who has a really high approval rating could do a lot of damage to your message.
PRIEBUS: A different time, a different situation. The problem that Obama has with Bill Clinton is that Obama is not your daddy's Democrat. I mean, he's not a mainstream Democrat like Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton worked with both sides of the aisle. He was able to get things done. Bush worked with both sides of the aisle.
O'BRIEN: As you well know, some of the people would say that's because the Republicans have been obstructionists.
PRIEBUS: But wait a second. Obama had for two of the four years he was president, Obama had a super majority in the House, a 60 vote majority in the U.S. Senate. He passed a billion dollars --
O'BRIEN: My question is, is Clinton going to be a big problem for you? The minute he points and says, President Bush, everybody, the GOP is a picture of President Bush who started with a surplus and spent it down?
PRIEBUS: No, not at all. I think the opposite. I think Bill Clinton is actually going to help us because he's going to illustrate to the American people that Barack Obama is not Bill Clinton.
Barack Obama made everything worse. He wasn't able to work with anybody on the other side of the aisle. He didn't show leadership and didn't fulfill the promises he made in '08. You have to be able to say I fulfilled these five things.
Here is what I promised. Here is what I did. What can he espouse that he did?
O'BRIEN: Can I ask you a question about the empty chair at the RNC, the Clint Eastwood thing? Did you think that went well or badly?
PRIEBUS: I think it was great. At the end of the day, it was Clint Eastwood telling the American people Barack Obama didn't fulfill his promises, and Barack Obama has to go and I think --
O'BRIEN: Do you think people took that from that? The conversations have been like he was talking to an empty chair with some sort of expletives.
PRIEBUS: There's a Washington spin and a media spin.
O'BRIEN: I don't live in Washington.
PRIEBUS: There is --
O'BRIEN: I was in a hurricane.
PRIEBUS: My cousins in which is with which is and Ohio, I mean, there's two different views of this and it's still Clint Eastwood saying Barack Obama was not a man of his word and he's got to go.
O'BRIEN: Reince Priebus, always nice to see you. We have to take a short break. We're back in just a moment. Stay with us.