Gibbs questions GOP contenders
August 21st, 2011
02:47 PM ET
3 years ago

Gibbs questions GOP contenders

(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.”


Filed under: 2012 • Republicans • Rick Perry • Robert Gibbs
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. JustMe

    As much as I hate to "side" with Rick Perry (and trust me, I do – I can't stand the guy and feel he is in no way, shape or form Presidential material), I don't agree with what Gibbs said about Fort Hood, i.e., “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.” First of all, Fort Hood was an Employer in Texas long before Rick Perry became Governor and I don't know that there is anything Perry can do about the jobs there, because it falls under the Pentagon and Federal Governments jurisdiction, plus to cutting jobs there would indicate he is anti-military and that would be the last thing he'd want to do with his Republican base.

    August 21, 2011 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  2. TeaParty Mike

    Gibbs says, “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?”
    This is a twist on reality. For the good of the country the governments out of control spending and deficits need to be reduced. Obama and the Democrats did not want to cut any spending at all. So for the good of the country Republicans and the Tea Party used the debt ceiling as leverage to get Democrats to agree to at least some spending cuts and deficit reduction. If Republicans and the Tea Party had not taken this course of action, no deficit reduction would have occurred. The best place to handle deficit reduction would of course to in the passage of a budget. Democrats have not passed a budget for almost 3 years and Senate Democrats continue to refuse to do so because they can not bring themselves to cut any spending (in fact they want to increase spending) and want to hid the massive projected deficits they support from the American people. For the good of the country Democrats should put country first and compromise with Republicans on a budget with a sustainable size of government and spending.
    On his bus tour Obama has stated that additional deficit reduction should include revenue increases and modifications to Medicare and Social Security. Many Republicans will support a revenue increase similar to the 800 billion through tax reform Boehner and Obama previously agreed on. The big question really is will Democrats put country first ahead of party and support Obama's modifications to Medicare and Social Security. So far all I am hearing from Democrats is that Medicare and Social Security should not be touched at all and they are very angry for Obama for suggesting any changes.

    August 21, 2011 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  3. lisa2011

    I thought the constitution says 'WE THE PEOPLE' not we the 'TEA PARTY REPUBLICANS'....i guess obama knows he might be a one-term president, but he will go out with a 'BANG' by (hopefully) holding the republicans as hostage, the same way they did during the default and debt ceiling debate...God help us if any of these republican candidates become our next president..

    August 21, 2011 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  4. Petey

    The GOP candidates are like the circus that has come to your town. They're all there in the Freak Show.

    August 21, 2011 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  5. just checking

    This would be a welcome for the Texas voters, if only he didn't have so much money to dispell the truth.....Bill White came close, but not enough money. He has really harmed our schools, Bruce Barlett was right about him...........

    August 21, 2011 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  6. New Age Independant

    It seems that Democrat pundits continue their policy of deception and blame for their inability and failures of the Obama administration. Obama's record, as pitiful as it is, surely isn't something you can run a campaign on, so you can only expect the blame game to continue. I'd predicted several months ago, that this would happen along with the inevitable playing of the race card. It's hard to imagine anyone with a reasonable approach to the upcoming election to consider Obama a viable candidate for a second term.

    August 21, 2011 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  7. TeaParty Mike

    Gibbs talked about what he thinks people will be wondering about various Republicans candidates.
    When Obama releases his new jobs plan, people will be wondering why if the first stimulus is the big success Obama and the Democrats continue to claim it is, we need another. They already wonder why if the first was so successful as Democrats claim, why things are still so bad. People will wonder why if Obama's first stimulus failed to deliver as advertised, why should they expect a second Obama stimulus will do any better. They will wonder if Obama really knows what is needed to help the country grow jobs and why they should trust him when the first stimulus did not work. Obama had a tough sell on the first stimulus, in fact polls showed a majority of voters did not want it passed at all, they did not believe it was right mix to stimulate the economy and create jobs. Now with polls showing that a majority of voters do not believe the first stimulus worked, Obama is most likely going to have an even though-er sell with the American people on his new plan. Obama may have a harder time selling his new plan to the American people than to Republicans in congress.

    August 21, 2011 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  8. Another Mike in TX

    To mike in TX, the last time the democrats had the majority in both houses of Congress and the Presidency, they ran up nearly 3 TRILLION dollars in additional debt (more than the previous ten years combined) and their gamble to print money and give it away garnered a paltry 500K new jobs. That cost the American taxpayer roughly $3.5 million dollars per job. Lousy results. the last time the Federal gov't actually balanced the budget, the President was a Democrat and the Congress (both House and Senate) was controlled by the Republicans. Food for thought.

    August 21, 2011 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  9. Jeffrey

    The people of the United States of America cannot and will not elect Bachmann, Palin, or Perry. Nothing more to discuss.

    What else have you got?

    August 21, 2011 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  10. Vigla

    Root and stem... The deficits are thanks to the Republicans. Get your facts straight! Obama INHERITED the deficits and if it were up to you we would have just allowed ourselves to fall into a depression just to make you happy. It's clear you have no idea and your posts prove it.

    August 21, 2011 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  11. Vigla

    teaparty Mike, yes you do hate government because conservatives are incapable of governing. We've seen what 30 years of conservative policies have brought us. It's a failed ideology. Everyone knows that a combinaton of both conservative and liberal ideas work the best. conservatives have become too ideological for my taste.

    August 21, 2011 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  12. Iamcitizen

    I'm not interested in Perry, he is a sham, like most of the GOP. As far Obama's qualifications are concerned v Bush? Bush bankrupted the businesses his daddy gave him. So yes, I guess Bush was qualified at one thing and does it well; Bankrupting everything he touches. Obama, a Harvard grad has to put with a bunch moronic racists every single day while trying without any support to bring this country from the brink...

    Obama will be re-elected.

    August 21, 2011 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  13. GuyinVA

    Mr. Gibbs was quoted as saying, "Er, uh, um, republicans... uuuuhh, racists, and uummm, party of no, errr-uhh Bush's fault and uuhhh hope and err-uhhh, umm change... uhhh Roll Tide."

    August 21, 2011 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  14. Bill

    Gibbs would be bettter off claiming he was one of the BeeGees.

    August 21, 2011 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  15. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    @ Tea Party Mike.......

    I live in Texs and I can tell you what our good "guvnor" has done to create jobs here......NOT MUCH. As said the majority of the jobs that were created here are low paying minimum wage jobs with little to NO benefits..especially heatlhcare. What about those federal jobs that were created here, not bad for a man that so dislikes government that he declined stimulus dollars then took them not to help things like jobs or education but to help balance his budget. Speaking of education the high paying jobs we do have here will get less candidates from our state since Texas is almost at the bottom for graduation of our students here from high school. We also are close to the top of not having insured healthcare especially children and many of these uninsured have JOBS!! I thank the Lord I have a decent job here and like many I had to transfer here from another state just to keep it. Many companies transferred here so they can pay lower wages thus make more profit. We need many roads here fixed. The myth of Rick Perry that folks like you want to beleive is slowly coming out. But I guess that really don't matter to you Tea Party folks. That mid 20's approval rating probably doesn't bother you guys much either.

    August 21, 2011 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  16. T'sah from Virginia

    "...Democrats try and say Perry had nothing to do with creating the jobs, that they are a result of the Obama stimulus..."

    If it was NOT for the stimulus, I would have LOST my job – that was when Kaine was governor here. And DON'T let McDonnell FOOL you either – he took stimulus money too. Perry took stimulus money and that helped him to create jobs!! The Republicans need to stop talking out of both sides of their face!

    August 21, 2011 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
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