Steele, RNC: Obama presidency a "failed experiment"
This just in...Barely six months into his four-year term, Barack Obama's presidency is a flop.
Don't take our word for it. The Republican National Committee has just released a web ad that writes off Obama's presidency as "a failed experiment in just 200 days."
RNC Chairman Michael Steele invited reporters to check out the new ad during a conference call Wednesday afternoon. The ad, and the call, were designed to draw attention to Obama's declining poll ratings and the nation's rising joblessness at the 200-day mark of the president's administration (which occurs later this week).
They came on a day of escalating back-and-forth between the two major party committees, as the political fight over health care continues to percolate.
Steele angrily rebutted accusations by the White House and the Democratic National Committee, who have charged Republican and conservative critics with manufacturing opposition to the administration's health care overhaul plan.
"This administration has the arrogance to look their nose down at my mother, my sister, my family members, my co-workers who are legitimately concerned," Steele said, heatedly. "To sit back and say this is some Republican cabal is a bunch of baloney. And you can substitute that 'b' for something else, if you want."
Steele said it was "a lie" for the Democrats to label Obama's critics as "angry extremists," when just a year ago, Democrats were praising opponents of U.S. economic and war policies for standing up to President George W. Bush.
The "angry extremist" tag comes from a new Democratic web ad . It features photos of Steele, Republican congressional leaders and Rush Limbaugh (who is heard saying, of Obama, "I hope he fails.") and blames "desperate Republicans" for disrupting public meetings held by House Democrats.
The ad also includes a photograph, widely circulated on the internet since last month, of an effigy of Maryland Democratic Rep. Frank Kratovil that was hanged outside his district office in Salisbury.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs referred to the incident in accusing Republicans of ginning up sometimes angry protests at town hall meetings by Democratic congressmen, who are spending much of their August recess defending the administration plan and accusing the insurance industry of blocking efforts to fix the health care system.
The Democratic ad ends by inviting viewers to express their opinions about the Republican "mob" attacks by phoning RNC headquarters in Washington. If they did, callers were directed by a recorded Republican voice to "give us your input" at a number that turns out to be the main switchboard at DNC headquarters.
Steele defended the political trick.
"I get the joke," he said, referring to the Democrats' "Call the RNC" tagline, a standard feature of ads by both sides, and added: "Talk to your own party, because they're the ones that ginned this up."
As for White House charges that Republicans are ginning up the sometimes boisterous anger, the former Maryland lieutenant governor said that "we are not inciting anyone to go out and disrupt anything."