(CNN) – Former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was an equal opportunity critic Sunday, taking swipes at the records of Republican presidential candidates.
Gibbs, who left the White House earlier this year but remains close to President Barack Obama, was most critical of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a relative newcomer to the race.
He said voters will dissect the Texas education system and question the newly declared candidate’s acceptance of stimulus funds while he espoused the virtues of smaller government.
“They're going to wonder why a place like Texas has one of the worst education systems,” Gibbs said on the NBC program “Meet the Press.” “They're going to wonder why a guy who doesn't like the government, the largest employer in Texas is Fort Hood, an army base.”
In addition, he said, $25 billion of funding from the Economic Recovery Act went to Texas and helped Perry balance the state budget.
Perry, who announced his candidacy in the crowded Republican field on August 13, has been touting Texas job creation, which has accounted for nearly 40 percent of new jobs in the United States since 2009, though many were low-wage.
Gibbs’ criticism also extended to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who frequently cites his history of job growth.
“They’re going to wonder why Mitt Romney, when he was governor of Massachusetts, was 47th in job creation,” Gibbs said.
Although he categorized Rep. Michele Bachmann’s recent win at the Ames Straw poll as “important,” Gibbs suggested Americans have more to learn about the Minnesota congresswoman and all the GOP contenders.
“I think the American people are going to get a chance quite frankly to kick the tires a little bit and look under the hood,” Gibbs said.
In spite of the harsh rhetoric, Gibbs said Obama is “not worried about his job.”
“He is worried about creating jobs for millions of Americans who’ve been out of work for six months or two years or longer,” Gibbs said. “That’s what his focus is.”
He put the onus for compromise on Republicans, who Gibbs said must decide if they are “going to be a partner that can work with the president” on his economic policies to spur job creation.
“The question the Republican Party is going to have to ask themselves quite simply is are they willing to set aside some party allegiance, are they willing to tell the tea party that they’re going to do what’s best for the country and not just necessarily what’s best for their political party?” Gibbs said. “That’s what September, October, November, December are going to be.”