March 25th, 2012
09:00 AM ET
11 years ago

Plouffe calls out GOP candidates over Obama reaction

Washington (CNN) – "Reprehensible." "Irresponsible." "Hard to stomach."

White House senior adviser David Plouffe did not mince words Sunday when talking about the reaction by Republican presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich to President Barack Obama's comments on the Trayvon Martin shooting.

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"Those two comments are really irresponsible. I would consider them reprehensible," Plouffe said on CNN's "State of the Union." "I think those comments were really hard to stomach, really, and I guess trying to appeal to people's worst instincts."

While the GOP presidential candidates said the incident was a tragedy, Santorum and Gingrich were particularly critical of the president's response to the shooting in which Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old, was shot and killed by a George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer. Zimmerman claimed he shot Martin in self-defense.

A somber Obama on Friday commiserated with the Martin family and urged authorities to fully investigate the shooting.

"If I had a son he would look like Trayvon," Obama said. "I think (his parents) are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves and we will get to the bottom of exactly what happened."

Santorum said the president politicized the events, while Gingrich characterized Obama's comments as "nonsense."

"What the president of the United States should do is try to bring people together, not use these types of horrible and tragic individual cases to try to drive a wedge in America," Santorum said Friday on "The Hugh Hewitt Show," a radio program.

"Is the president suggesting if it had been a white who had been shot, that would be OK because it wouldn't look like him? That's just nonsense," Gingrich said Friday on conservative host Sean Hannity's radio show, "The Hannity Show." "I mean dividing this country up, it is a tragedy this young man was shot."

But Plouffe, who served as Obama's 2008 campaign manager, said the Republican reaction is evidence of a circus-like primary.

"I don't think there's very many people in America that would share that reaction. You know, this Republican primary at some points has been more of a circus show and a clown show," Plouffe told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

Although he indicated the Obama campaign expects Romney to be the Republican nominee, Plouffe also predicted an aggressive election come fall.

"Romney has a big delegate lead so we've always felt you know because Romney's won a couple of big states lately, the fundamentals kind of support him," Plouffe said. "But it's going to be a close competitive race no matter who come out the other side."

Also see:

Santorum's Louisiana win does little to change the game of delegate math

‘Math isn’t adding up,’ Gingrich delegate says

Santorum video: 'Obamaville' is a house of horrors

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

soundoff (79 Responses)
  1. Joseph

    President Obama is very selective about when he enters these local incidents. Where was he (and where has he been) as the deaths and injuries resulting from the hazing practices Florida A&M continue to occur? I guess it must be a "white on black" incident before this president becomes involved. Frankly, most of us have become tired of this man's inability to focus on the problems of all citizens and of the problems of this Nation specifically. As this Nation suffers, Obama continues to politicize race as one of his techniques to be re-elected. Hopefully this November all Americans will say, "enough is enough" and elect another President so we can begin to focus on solving the great number of National problems. Once out of office, Obama can then focus on having a beer with people in an effort to solve their immediate issues.

    Pres Obama must be a slow learner after his "the police acted stupidly" statement a couple of years ago.

    March 25, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  2. jeff

    Why doesn't obama come out and say something about the 2 black teenagers that followed a white tennager and poured gas over him and set him on fire this last week. Why isn't it in the media?, Why isn't the FBI and Justice Dept all over this? Why isn't this a hate crime. Oh thats right if it's black on white it alright. The reason obama should'nt have went on national tv and said "if I had a son he would look like trayvon" just fuels the fire. Why dos'nt obama come out and denounce the New black partys call for violence. putting out dead or alive posters and a $10,000 bounty on this guy. Why isn't the FBI and Justice dept investigating these guys. who are the real racist?

    March 25, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  3. lefty avenger

    The Political battle lines have been drawn. Progressive left wing liberals support the family of the wrongfully slain innocent child Trayvon and the Right Wing regressive Republicans support the cold blooded murderer Zimmerman and his slaughter of people of color. It's that simple.

    March 25, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  4. GEdwards

    @1twinsfan//"The President could saw he has two daughters and the GOP buffoons would say the President has two black daughters."
    The problem with your statement is that PRES OBAMA would be the one to say he has two black daughters.

    March 25, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
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