Tom Foreman | BIO
If you had any doubts about who would get the honor of being Republican Bad Boy for the Democrats this fall, set your mind at ease: Minority Leader John Boehner has the job.
President Obama is teeing off on him like a new Titleist. Dems on the Hill, fearful of the fall of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should the Republicans take a majority, are rallying around the attack flag. And the Democratic National Committee is launching a commercial this week that suggests he could be the bane of millions of jobless Americans.
Cue the music and the dramatic announcer. "Think republicans have no plan for the economy?” this commercial says, “It's not true. John Boehner opposes funding for government jobs; jobs for teachers, for cops, for firefighters. Boehner has a different plan; Tax cuts for businesses, those that shift jobs and profits overseas, saving multinational corporations ten billion. So to China and India and Mexico, Boehner has a message: You’re welcome.”
For many Democrats, this is enough red meat to make a gown for Lady Gaga. For many Republicans, it is another effort to push the spotlight away from the Democrats’ economic policies at a difficult time. So who is right?
Let’s start with a valid point for the DNC: Yes, Rep. Boehner did vote against a $26-billion dollar jobs bill in August. It passed anyway once the Dems got all their ducks in a row, and it helped cash-strapped states all over to pay the bills. The effect was that teachers, cops, and first responders were indeed kept on the job, who otherwise might have been sent packing.
But if it seems outlandish that any elected official would oppose paying for such services across the board, it is. Boehner said he fought the legislation because he felt Democrats were writing checks that taxpayers should not have to keep covering indefinitely. He said, “Everyone knows that state budgets have been hit hard and no one wants teachers or police officers to lose their jobs. But where do the bailouts end? Are we going to bail out states next year and the year after that too? At some point we’ve got to say ‘enough is enough.’”
What about this business of cutting taxes for great big companies that off-shore jobs? The bill in question raised taxes on businesses with international operations by a modest $10-billion over ten years. Boehner opposed that tax increase, but he did not champion a tax cut – as the Democrats claim – in this case.
Both sides, by the way, argued that their approach would save American jobs in the long run. And until the long run has happened, we can’t really say who was right.
So we threw all of that onto our sliding scale of truth, and after great consultation and consideration, we have a verdict. Democrats can still call John Boehner the Republican Bad Boy if they wish, but "It's a stretch" to believe all that they are claiming about him in this commercial.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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