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The most powerful elected Republican in the country — Speaker John Boehner — is jumping headfirst into the presidential campaign surrogate game, unloading on President Barack Obama in a Web video this morning aimed at framing the president’s campaign swing through Cleveland.
The minute-and-15-second video does not mention presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and is strictly limited to the GOP’s long-standing push for Senate Democrats and Obama to agree to a host of jobs bills that House Republicans passed during the past 18 months.
Obama is scheduled to travel to Cleveland today to deliver a speech that is expected to contrast his economic vision for the country with Romney’s.
Republican sources said the video is aimed at explicitly framing Obama’s trip to Cleveland and represents Boehner’s first serious attempt to provide Romney with backup since he endorsed the former Massachusetts governor in April.
In the video, Boehner is seen standing by the desk in his ceremonial office, with dozens of bills laid out on it. In it, the Ohio Republican slams Obama, arguing that “Friday’s unemployment report was a real punch in the gut” and that “Americans are once again left asking, ‘Where are the jobs?’” — one of Boehner’s favorite refrains since taking control of the House.
“These are the nearly 30 jobs bills that have passed the House but are currently stalled in the Democratic-controlled Senate. These aren’t big, controversial bills that no one has read — they’re practical, common-sense proposals to help small businesses create jobs and build a stronger economy for all Americans,” Boehner says. He adds that, “We’re going to keep calling on President Obama and Senate Democrats to give these jobs bills a vote.”
Boehner met with Romney for an hour Monday to discuss ways in which he and House Republicans can provide support for his presidential bid, and the Speaker is expected to campaign with Romney on Sunday, aides said.
Boehner’s decision to wade into presidential politics is a significant turning point in this year’s elections. With a host of critical pending issues ranging from appropriations measures to taxes and a potential increase in the debt limit, Republicans and Democrats in Washington, D.C., will be under pressure to find common ground even as they ramp up their war machines for November.
It also comes on the heels of the Wednesday decision by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) — one of Boehner’s closest allies in Washington — to declare an end to bipartisan cooperation on circuit court judicial nominations, a traditional signal of the end of serious legislating in Congress during an election year.