Barack Obama has a problem on his hands. What began as a series of gaffes has metastasized into what increasingly looks like hypocritical double-talk from his campaign.
A fresh round of fury erupted after the president’s remarks on Friday, when he described the private sector as “doing just fine.” Not surprisingly, the media (and Romney campaign) hopped all over it. Within hours, Obama had walked back his gaffe. His underlings, it appears, either didn’t get the memo — or are taking the fall.
Asked whether the private sector was doing fine, Obama adviser David Axelrod gave a disastrous dodge on CNN that received nearly universal panning — and for good reason.
As far as spin goes, he’s spun better.
But this is part of a broader pattern of doublespeak from the Obama campaign. Here is a particularly galling case from June 10 on ABC’s “This Week” (note: it’s from the same show):
“[H]is statement [Romney's] was we don’t need any more teachers, we don’t need any more firefighters or police. [Romney claims] The president is out of touch. Out of touch? We’ve lost 250,000 teachers in the last couple of years.
And then this:
“We are making a case about you grow this economy in a way that will build a strong middle class. It’s not the way Governor Romney proposes. [T]hat showed in Massachusetts. 47th in the nation in job creation. [E]xpanding the government by 30%, public sector jobs grew at six times the rate of private sector jobs.
So, according to Axelrod, Mitt Romney simultaneously believes we don’t need any more firefighters or police, and yet, as Governor of Massachusetts, “public sector jobs grew at six times the rate of private sector jobs”?
Axelrod is only, after all, following the example of his boss. Obama consistently talks like he’s a devoted warrior for increasing the size of the public sector — while also claiming he’s the one behind the shrinking of the public sector.
In the days before the widespread use of the internet in spreading political information, having such targeted, if contradictory, messages might have been possible.
But those days are long over. (Remember Obama’s clinging to guns and God moment?)
In an election (particularly a general election) it’s unacceptable to present such transparently mixed messages. But considering the poorly-executed political strategy of the past month or so, this may be something we should get used to.
It’s looking like this might be a long, hot summer for this embattled president.