Democrats say Romney doesn't support firefighters, teachers, police
June 9th, 2012
03:36 PM ET
10 years ago

Democrats say Romney doesn't support firefighters, teachers, police

(CNN) - President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign continued to pounce Saturday on Mitt Romney for his comments opposing more stimulus measures, claiming they show the GOP presidential candidate isn’t on the side of teachers and first responders.

Jumping on Obama’s assertion on Friday that the "private sector's doing fine" - which he later dialed back - Romney said at a campaign event later in the day in Iowa that the president is "pushing aside the private sector" in favor of more government. That includes supporting economic stimulus measures that helped cash-strapped local governments pay the salaries of some public employees.

"He wants another stimulus. He wants to hire more government workers," Romney said. "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."

Romney pointed to the recall election in Wisconsin last Tuesday, which was triggered by petition signatures collected after that state’s Republican governor signed a controversial bill stripping public employee unions of many public bargaining rights. Gov. Scott Walker won that race, which drew considerable national attention.

Democrats, such as party vice chairman R.T. Rybak, said Romney was arguing that "the American people don't benefit from firemen, policemen and teachers," reasoning the former Massachusetts governor was therefore arguing they were expendable.

"As mayor of Minneapolis, I can tell you that residents in our city understand and appreciate the important services that our firefighters, police officers and teachers provide," Rybak said Friday. "Our businesses, homes and schools are all better off thanks to the tireless work of our firefighters, police officers and teachers. Suggesting that the American people don't want safer homes, safer streets and smaller class sizes really makes you wonder which Americans Mitt Romney is talking to."

The Obama campaign on Saturday released a web video that highlighted Romney's quote, juxtapositioned against comments the Republican candidate made in a news conference Friday.

"But one of the biggest weaknesses has been state and local governments, which have laid off 450,000 Americans. These are teachers and cops and firefighters," he said. Republicans had seized on a different line from those remarks, when he said the "private sector's doing fine."

Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul responded to the video with a statement calling it "manufactured outrage."

"While President Obama wants to stimulate government, Mitt Romney wants to stimulate the American economy," she said. "President Obama truly believes the economy is ‘doing fine,’ which is why he is doubling down on his failed policies that have impeded job creation and economic growth."

Unions also weighed in.

National Education Association executive director John Stocks said in a statement, "It is appalling how Romney takes an almost disdainful attitude towards critical public servants like firefighters protecting our communities and teachers educating our children."

And Friday evening, the International Association of Fire Fighters released a statement announcing their endorsement of the president.

The organization's president Harold Schaitberger, said in a letter to affiliate members that Obama has advocated "funding for programs that have kept thousands of fire fighters and paramedics on the job."

As Massachusetts governor, Schaitberger continued, Romney "attempted to strip away the collective bargaining rights of fire fighters in the state and has repeatedly stated that he opposes and would zero-out the federal grant programs that provide critical funding to communities to keep fire fighters working and for life-saving equipment and apparatus."

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. Lionel

    in response to "ria". The democratic base is not eroding. In fact, we are getting thousands of new voters to counter radicals like yu.

    Teachers, Firefighters, Policemen for Obama 2012

    June 9, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  2. Wes

    If you can read this, thank a teacher.

    And if a teacher reads this, they should thank the private sector.

    June 9, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  3. Darryl

    Does anyone really think Romney is going to support the middle working class to get ahead ? Not in our lifetime.He is all about Big Money and his big money friends period.If he becomes POTUS get ready, because he's going to turn back the clock and the average people of this country are going to see a drop in wages,job security and the houseing market will never recover period.Romneys agenda is Wallstreet,Big Banks,Big Oil companys,The Koch Bros,Adelson,Carl Rove,and The MORMON Super rich pac.Democracy will bw a thing of the past and a new MONEY ruled goverment will rise.People will be at their mercy and there will only be 2 classes of people.The very rich and the very poor.There will be NO-MORE middle class or the hopes of dreams and goals.And ONLY the POOR will have to go fight the WARS and come home to pay the bill along with their lives and bloodshed as always.We better NOT allow this man to get in the W/H period.

    June 9, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  4. fernace

    Mitt Romney & his GOTP crew want to cut the part of government that Benefits the American people! When they want to cut education spending, lay off thousands of teachers, but want to increase military spending, their priorities are way off! Are any of Them willing to take a paycut? Do they truly believe less education, less police, firefighters & EMS will benefit Americans!? Why don't they cut their petprojects, that only benefit themselves & their mil-bil friends! But they wont, they are in it to protect the way of life for their 1% campaign contributors! By the way, the reason the economy is still shaky, is because of the GOTP's obstruction & refusal to work w/the President! Their "wonder boy" Mourdock thinks compromise means for Democrats to come to the Republican way of thinking! That is Not the definition of "compromise," but seems to be how the GOTP sees it! They keep talking about how they will "help" Americans, but so far they are laying off thousands of people & want to lay off more! Not helping!!

    June 9, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  5. Darryl

    I only hope my previous letter makes sense to some people because it is a fact and he's got the MONEY and the backers to buy him the most powerful position in the world.God forbid !!!

    June 9, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  6. jerald

    rofl, you people didnt even listen to what romney said lol. that bill that got passed hurts ALL unions. if im a mayor and i have a contract coming up with the unions i can just hire scabbs to teach your kids, unskilled cops,and firefighters, wow. what happen to common sense people.Now the power is in my hands and you (unions) dont have a say thank you governor for more power, soon ill be a mini dicator and impose my will on people. dont you people understand what is happening here, we are losing our rights as Americans.WAKE THE HELL UP

    June 9, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  7. Badboy

    Yeah, yeah and Obama doesn't like white people. Obama is all for the poor and middle class except for the higher gas prices, and higher grocery prices and of course his carbon tax which will create higher enegy bills. Yeah, he is all about
    helping working people. His moratorium on new drilling in the gulf started the rise in gas and he wouldn't approve the Keystone pipeline which would have created thousands of good paying jobs. What an inept loser. In 2008 many independents voted for this empty suit to show they werent racist, now in 2012 they can vote against him to show they arent stupid. The Demwits will support him no matter what. I would just like to see a president that loves our coutry and doesn't hate it and white people.

    June 9, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  8. Old Artilley Man

    What should be learned from Wisconsin is that the rich have bought another election in their march to establish their version of feudalism in this nation.

    June 9, 2012 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  9. Jerry

    And the Democrats and Mr. Obama DO support and care about firefighters, teachers and police officers?! With this administration and the hundreds of flunkies that kiss Mr. Obama's butt, hypocrisy REALLY knows no bounds.

    And, I would not be surprised that some firefighters, teachers and police officers (not cops as Mr. Obama refers to them) are so gullible and impressed with Mr. Obama's rhetoric that they WILL "gulp" his spiked Kool Aid.

    No wonder our students are in such dire straits.

    America, on November 2012 stand up, be courageous, and unafraid!

    June 9, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  10. bkgrandma

    Mitt Romney is scary not because he says stupid things but because he really believes what he says. He does not care about the average American, he only cares about big business and the ultra rich. Teachers, police and firefighters are average Americans who work hard for a living and Romney doesn't understand that concept.
    He and Donald Trump deserve each other.
    OBAMA 2012!

    June 9, 2012 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  11. Dave

    Actually, Romney wants to save their jobs by making tough decisions. Obama wants to spread delusional ideas that cannot be fulfilled. Remember, we are now $15 trillion in debt (almost $5 trillion is Obama's contribution).

    June 9, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  12. CBR

    The message Mr. Romney is pushing is similar to those he pushed forward in MA. By cutting state spending the onus was then put on the cities and towns which were already overburdened. The teachers, firemen and policemen were the pawns. Problems surfaced continually. Mr. Romney began running for President two years into his term. He was an absentee governor.

    June 9, 2012 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  13. Tony

    Since Republicans will replay Obama's comment that the private sector is doing fine ad nauseam (It should be noted that the economy has replaced all private sector jobs that had been lost since Obama became president), Democrats should start running nonstop ads with Romney saying that he is "not concerned about the very poor," and he likes firing people. Just to make sure voters know who is the out-of-touch candidate, they should also run ads with the picture of Romney and his Bain Capital friends holding dollar bills in their mouths.

    June 9, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  14. Bill

    This is so un-original, even for the Democrats. Using the same scare tactics from the bygone days. Americans are that stupid. Calling for accountability, same benefits as the private sector, and stop wasteful spending is not hating teachers, firefighters, and cops. Plus, to use the Wisconsin recall as an example is beyond stupid. Why don't you point out the fact that Scott Walker curved the Unions bargaining rights LESS the police and firefighters. For the cool-aid drinkers, take a look around the world. First, it was Greece and now Spain is asking money....and I'm sure Italy and France are not far behind. They spend money they don't have for decades and now it caught up to them. America is heading down that road and Obama and the Democrats are more than happy to see it happen. America is better than that. By the way, whoever the "moderator" is, post my comment and not only the far left point of view. Otherwise, what's the point of having comments if you only post those with your point of view.

    June 9, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  15. Sydnium S. Washington, EC, HOTD

    The more, the merrier. The fewer, the more unemployment OBAMA gets. Hire and station them in those places who lack them.

    June 9, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  16. Are you kidding me?

    Anyone who votes for the GOP are blind to the truth that they do not care about the working class. Wisconsin voters will realize this in the coming months.

    June 9, 2012 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  17. Ben Dover

    To rla- and to the Republicans...may your party die off like the Dinosaurs...

    June 9, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  18. Voltaire

    Read THE REAL ROMNEY biography; Mitt was bad news from the time he was a teenager and his father cleaned up after him.

    June 9, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  19. Charlie from the North

    Will our next congress be better or worse than the 11% popular one we have now?

    Well thanks to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, that question is entirely up to "We the People". Thanks to the the right wing reactionaries in the black robes (AKA the Supreme Court) and their disastrous decision that corporations are people the monied interest are in a better position now than any time since Teddy Roosevelt broke up the "trusts" of the early 20th century.

    Well the corporate stooges on the court may have proclaimed that corporations are people and money is speech but they have not yet declared that dollars are votes. Unless or until they do the real power still rests with the people of this great land. Whether or not we are smart enough to use this power to dump the Tea Party out on their derrieres remains to be seen but until we do it will only get worse.

    June 9, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  20. Patricia Thomas

    Ria, in the 60s & 70s the wealthiest top 2% of Americans owned 8% of all of the wealth. Today they own a whopping 40%! If Romney and other Republicans have their way, the top 2% wil own 98% of all the wealth and the rest of us will be living like 3rd world refugees. Romney is only for rich white men. He is not for women, the middle class, college students, the working poor, the disabled, anyone in a union, the elderly or even poor children. Everyone who is not rich will suffer greatly under Romney.

    June 9, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  21. DJ

    Has anyone noticed how many cut backs our Schools, Fire Dept. and Police have had to take these past few years. It is not under Romney's leadership that this is happening. It is time for people to look within their own communities to see what is truly happening to our country. The political spin is not working for most of Americans who have witness the down fall of this economy time to put the blame where it truly belongs, if we do not nothing will change.

    June 9, 2012 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  22. texasgreenacres

    could this be real republicans?Now are these self respecting Romney supporters/ well? It appears that way to me now if they all feel this way in november it looks like 4 more years for president obama

    June 9, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  23. Squigman

    It's apparent that the working people of this nation believe in licking the boots of their oppressors. If the middle class and the workers were voting their self interest, rather than listening to and voting republican they'd be better off financially. Keep licking those boots and you'll never have anything you can call your own, including self respect.

    June 9, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  24. Bren

    Voters in Wisconsin–AND two of the largest cities in California–sent a clear message. They do not want their tax dollars being used to pay for Obama's public union workers/voters. But, as usual-Obama did not get the "message". On Friday, Obama said he wants even MORE tax payers' money used to hire even more of Obama's public union workers/voters. Just like what happened in the 2010 "shellacking"–Obama and the Democrats will understand the "message", when Obama is booted out of office in November!!

    June 9, 2012 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  25. texasgreenacres

    how long does it take to read my post? are you a republican?If so I can understand why your sooooooo SLOW!

    June 9, 2012 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
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