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The Obama Campaign may be fighting back against the Tea Party Republicans who have hijacked any sort of meaningful dialogue. An Obama adviser went on the offensive on a television appearance while the President had a heated exchange with a tea party activist.
Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs went on MSNBC on Tuesday. Gibbs, who now serves as a re-election advisor for the president, criticized Republicans, saying that they must decide whether they’re going to “swear allegiance to the tea party” or work with Democrats to create jobs.
He advised Congress to “pay attention to creating jobs again.” He also suggested that some Republicans “do not want to see this economy get better” because they know continuing misery will likely improve their election prospects.
Gibbs says Obama favors a number of moves to help businesses step up hiring. He says “the president is not focused on keeping his job, most of all. He’s focused on creating jobs for the American people.” He reported that Congress likely will be asked to continue payroll tax relief.
Looking ahead to 2012, Gibbs said, “We’re not running against George W. Bush.” He added, “But many of the policies that got us into the mess that we’re trying to dig out of now, are the same policies that the frontrunners for the Republican nomination seek to go back to.”
Meanwhile in Iowa, the tea party confronted Obama about vice president Joe Biden’s remarks earlier in the month comparing the tea party to terrorists. “He said we were acting like terrorists,” Iowa Tea Party activist Ryan Rhodes said, confronting the president after the Decorah town hall as Obama worked a rope line of audience members. “What we stand for is limited government and a balanced budget,” Rhodes continued.
“First of all, in fairness to this gentleman who raised a question, I absolutely agree that everybody needs to try to tone down the rhetoric. Now, in fairness, since I’ve been called a socialist who wasn’t born in this country, who is destroying America and taking away its freedoms because I passed a health care bill, I’m all for lowering the rhetoric.”
Obama later countered that Biden was making the point that almost failing to raise the debt ceiling was irresponsible. “He wasn’t objecting to the balanced budget amendment, he was objecting to us almost defaulting,” Obama said. As Rhodes persisted, and Obama continued to shake hands, the president added, “It doesn’t sound like you are interested in listening.”