On ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” on Sunday, conservative commentator Ann Coulter and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee clashed with former White House green jobs czar Van Jones and former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell in the wake of President Barack Obama’s remark on Friday that the private sector is “doing just fine.”
In the segment, which followed an appearance by Obama senior campaign adviser David Axelrod, Coulter called out Axelrod for insisting that the public sector is the real weak spot of the economy.
“[I]nstantly, he goes back to the public sector workers, and that’s who we need to be bucking up here?” Coulter, the author of “Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America,” fumed. “Did they not just notice what happened in Wisconsin? The country is enraged at public-sector workers. And he’s talking about how we need to buck up the public school teachers.”
Huckabee later disputed Rendell’s suggestion that Obama’s efforts to improve infrastructure would end up helping the private sector and bring about broader economic growth.
“He’s not talking about jobs for infrastructure,” Huckabee said. “He’s talking about jobs for teachers, firemen and police officers.”
Stephanopoulos asked Huckabee if he thought something was inherently wrong with those jobs.
“There’s nothing wrong with it,” Huckabee said. “My dad was a fireman. I love fireman jobs, but here’s what you need —you need enough firemen to put out the fires. You don’t arbitrarily hire firemen, policemen or teachers, unless you have more kids in school. And what we need to be talking about is, we need not to be hiring more teachers, but hiring better teachers and getting rid of the ones that don’t teach. When 50 percent of the kids in Chicago, where Obama’s campaign headquarters is located, aren’t even graduating, we need to be talking about improving education and not just increasing the number of public employees, who in Chicago get $100,000 a year in salary and benefits.”
Jones dismissed that claim and complained that public-sector workers had been turned into a political “punching bag.”
“Look, look, first of all, maybe I was raised wrong,” Jones said. “I never heard of this threat of America called ‘public employees.’ In my neighborhood, we called them teachers. We called them firefighters. We called them cops. We called them nurses, and we were told to look up to them and respect them. For them to be a punching bag, to people like my father and my mother who were public school teachers, who did not make $100,000 a year, or what you just said, for them to become a punching bag is wrong. Furthermore, we need to take a big step back here. When you have the amount of pain that’s happening in the country, the Republican Party that has not only been missing in action, they won’t pass their own bills to help Americans right now. They won’t pass their own ideas to help small businesses right now. Why? Because their gain will come when America will have more pain.”