GOP Majority Equals Return to Past, Obama Warns

Posted August 18, 2010 at 4:16pm

President Barack Obama seems to have settled on a way to rally his party as he campaigns around the country: Remind voters of the political foibles made by leading House Republicans this year.

During a Wednesday speech in Columbus, Ohio, Obama ridiculed National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas) for saying last month on “Meet the Press” that the GOP plan for cutting the deficit is a return to “the exact same agenda” of the Bush administration.

“The exact same agenda. Now, think about that. Basically … between now and November, they’re betting on you coming down with a case of amnesia. That’s their strategy. They figure you’re going to forget what their agenda did to this country over the last eight years,” Obama said, drawing laughter from the crowd.

The president also took aim at Energy and Commerce ranking member Joe Barton (R-Texas), who got himself into hot water in June for publicly apologizing to BP CEO Tony Hayward after the White House pressured BP into creating a $20 billion compensation fund for oil spill victims.

“He apologized because I had said to BP, ‘You need to set aside $20 billion to make sure that we’re making fishermen and small-business owners whole as a consequence of your mistakes.’ This guy, he apologized to BP. He said, oh, the president shook you down; a Chicago-style shakedown. That’s what he called it,” Obama told the crowd, drawing laughter again.

“He had to throw in the Chicago thing in there. Imagine that,” he added.

The president used both incidents to reinforce his favorite analogy of what voters will be choosing between when they head to the polls in November: a car driving forward on the path to economic progress, or in reverse back into an economic ditch.

“That’s what’s at stake in this election,” Obama said. “If we give them the keys back, they will drive right back into the ditch. And riding shotgun with them will be every other special interest under the sun.”