On the administration’s pledge that every penny of his jobs plan would be paid for:
I just heard the statement [on] that from the White House communications director. And his answer was extremely slippery. You would think that they would say, ‘OK, we’re going to spend x on the stimulus, and we will then raise the money in another part of the bill.’ But no. What Pfeiffer was saying was: ‘We’re going to recommend to the super-committee of Congress, which is working on the deficit reduction, a way that would offset the spending.’
So it isn’t even in a separate bill. It isn’t in this bill apparently. It’s going to be a separate recommendation. And that to me is supremely cynical because nobody has any idea in a committee like that [the super-committee] whether anything is coming out of it. So tonight he’ll promise it’s not going to add a dime on the deficit, but the way it’s structured, there is no guarantee of that at all.
But I find the entire exercise incredibly cynical. I think Steve [Hayes] is simply not cynical enough in saying it’s not going to pass. I think it’s designed so that Republicans will reject it and Obama will then have a foil that he can run against next year in November. …
This isn’t a plan about jobs or deficits or [the] budget. It’s a plan to get him reelected. This is all about setting up an argument. And the reason he chooses this venue is that it creates a dramatic picture of him against the Congress. …
This is the first campaign kickoff speech in American history that is delivered by a president in the House of Representatives.
Obama did a pivot. A year ago he was saying … ‘My plans are working. The economy is recovering. It’s slow. Everybody is impatient, but hang on.’
He doesn’t say that anymore. His new message is entirely new: ‘I have a new plan now. It’s going to work. The Republicans are going to stop it. And on Election Day next year, if we have 9 percent unemployment or worse — a second recession — it’s them, not us.’
That is his entire reelection campaign message. …
This isn’t a speech. It’s a set-up. It’s not about jobs. It’s about reelection. Obama tonight is going to establish a premise: The economy’s in trouble. He’s got a plan. The Republicans he knows will reject just about all of it. And thus he goes into next year saying that whatever happens, it’s their fault and not mine.