Fresh off President Barack Obama‘s gaffe on the economy and subsequent backtrack later this afternoon, the Obama campaign is now circulating this 15-second clip of Mitt Romney slamming Obama for … saying “we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers.”
Here’s what Romney said in Iowa:
“He wants another stimulus, he wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.”
In its release, the Romney campaign cuts off his remarks right before he goes into his comments about the public sector.
The “message of Wisconsin” can be debated. But the controversy surrounding Gov. Scott Walker, who survived the recall election effort to unseat him this week, wasn’t about the rampant cutting of public-sector jobs like firemen, policemen and teachers. It was about the law he signed that ends unions’ collective bargaining while forcing them to pay more for pensions and health-care benefits.
In fact, from the Associated Press, take a look at how Walker spared police officers and firefighters:
Walker’s bill would strip state and local government employees, including teachers, custodians and game wardens, of their ability to collectively bargain everything except their wages.
But the measure carves out a special exemption for local police officers, firefighters and the Wisconsin State Patrol.
“Currently, we’ve had a long tradition and when it comes to fire and police service in the state of Wisconsin. Statutes are very different when it comes to whole series of rights and responsibilities,” Walker said.
That drew criticism from libertarians and liberals, including the New York Times’ Paul Krugman, who charged that he was playing fair with Republican-leaning union members in the public sector:
Tellingly, some workers — namely, those who tend to be Republican-leaning — are exempted from the ban; it’s as if Mr. Walker were flaunting the political nature of his actions.
The Obama campaign team responded to Romney’s statements about teachers, firefighters and police officers through a barrage of Twitter posts. And the campaign sent out a statement from spokesman Ben LaBolt:
“As President Obama urges Congress to pass his plan to put cops, firefighters, teachers, and construction workers back to work – after they left as many as 1 million jobs from his plan on the table – Mitt Romney has decided we need less jobs for middle class Americans, not more. That’s the message he received this week.”
Obama went back today to push a jobs bill he originally proposed in September, which he said will prevent up to 280,000 teacher layoffs and about 100,000 more firefighting and police jobs.
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