It's All Politics
5:37 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

GOP, Democrats Tussle Over Romney Call For No More Police, Teachers, Firefighters

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 10:54 am

Mitt Romney's assertion Friday that the message of last week's success by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in fending off a recall was that voters want no more teachers, firefighters and police officers had a chance to ferment a bit over the weekend.

There were few signs Monday, however, that the Romney presidential campaign was backing away from its candidate's remark. And that was despite even Walker distancing himself from Romney's comment during an appearance on CBS News' Face the Nation.

Ever since Friday, Democrats have tried to recover from President Obama's "The private sector is doing fine" gaffe by accusing Romney of committing his own misstep by suggesting that voters don't want to see more teachers, firefighters and police officers.

But John Sununu, Romney's campaign chairman who served President George H.W. Bush as White House chief of staff and is a former New Hampshire governor, indicated Monday that he thought the all-but-official Republican presidential nominee's comments were absolutely justifiable.

Appearing Monday on MSNBC (about 6 minutes into the linked video,) he said:

"... You have cities in this country in which the school population peaked 10, 15 years ago and yet the number of teachers that they have maintained has not changed. I think this is a real issue and people ought to stop jumping on it as a gaffe and understand there's wisdom in the comment."

Romney's comment, to be precise, came Friday in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He lambasted Obama for saying not only that the private sector is "doing fine" but also that what's needed is more hiring of public-sector workers.

"He says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It's time for us to cut back on government and help the American people."

The Obama campaign and other Democrats have sought to use the comment to get themselves back on offense and out of the defensive crouch their party's leader forced them in because of his controversial comment.

To that end, Democrats released a video Monday meant to capitalize on Romney's remark.

Republicans, meanwhile, continued to make hay with Obama's gaffe, with the Romney campaign releasing a new video Monday whose stark message is that the president is not only out of touch, but to a historic degree.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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