House Speaker John A. Boehner is using a poll by veteran Republican pollster David Winston to whack President Barack Obama on the economy.
At the House Republican Conference's weekly closed-door meeting, the Ohio Republican told his flock Winston had found that, as of November 2013, 49 percent of poll respondents believed the "policies of the present" were responsible for the troubled economy.
That's up by five percentage points from right after the November 2012 elections, when Winston asked respondents the same question of whether past or present policies were to blame for unemployment, lack of job creation and the like.
"Barack Obama came into office blaming George W. Bush for the state of the economy and the lack of job creation. For years that 'pass the buck' strategy worked. But at the end of last year, a turning point was reached," Boehner told his colleagues, according to a source in the room. "For the first time, a majority of Americans now say they believe the troubles in our economy are more the result of the policies of the present than the policies of the past.
"Since he can't blame George W. Bush anymore, the president has chosen to talk about rising income inequality, unemployment and the need to extend emergency unemployment benefits," Boehner reportedly continued. "After five years in office, Barack Obama still doesn't have an answer to the question: Where are the jobs?"
Of course, the White House has repeatedly said the economy would be much better off if Congress would avoid self-inflicted wounds like the shutdown and a series of debt limit crises and act on the president's jobs proposals. When asked about polls, senior administration officials tend to point out that the president remains far more popular than the Congress.
Steven T. Dennis contributed to this report.