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. King

    when will these repubs get off their empty rederic of tax uts and eregulation, which almost completely destroyed our economy 4 years ago. this president tries over and ovee again to get these repubs to get some shovel ready job's to put American back to work modernizing our country, but all these repubs does is block, lay off government workers, while screaming jobs jobs jib

    June 9, 2012 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  2. sure thats what they say

    I think there are too many Secret Service government employees. Why should anyone but the president recieve coverage? Police are overrated as far as Mitt is concerned... and he has state of the art fire alarm in his homes.. why should he care about the regular guy? Teachers... phffff... what a hoax, everyone should be able to hire private tutors for their children. Jeez, when will the american people get in touch with Mitt?

    June 9, 2012 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  3. Truthiness

    All these jobs have tons of applicants for every coveted position.. and you know who ends up getting the job? Someone who knows someone or an under-represented minority. We can slash salaries, get rid of any sort of preferencing (hookups or minority), allow these people to get fired if they underperform, and we will save a ton of money and STILL have better services.

    June 9, 2012 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  4. Don

    If not supporting them means that they have to start living within their means, just like I do, so be it. The problem with the dems and unlimited governemnt is that they envision infinite funds from a finite source. And by the way – to all you socialist Amerca haters out there – my money is my money. You do NOT have the right to it. So earn your own way. I'm tired of this crap.

    June 9, 2012 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  5. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The needs of the country are to have a way to get our young educated, secure and advance the electrical grid (and the sources that power it) and have the road (and bridges, trains and planes) be built properly as well as being maintained just to name a few. These require government spending because the private sector won't do it. It won't make it enough money. Why do your think that many pharma companies don't make certain drugs; not enough money in it.

    June 9, 2012 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  6. Tubby the Tuba Texas

    "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." Sounds to me like he owes the Teachers, Firefighters and Police a major apology for this derogatory essence saying that Teachers, Firefighters and Police are NOT AMERICAN! How sad for a Republican running for the Presidency! He is NOT very AMERICAN!

    June 9, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  7. You Heard it worst on CNN

    Now its down to voting for Robomney or Robomney in 2012. Well played Myans, well played.

    June 9, 2012 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  8. enuff

    well one thing is for certain, no matter what Obama says or does, Romney will say or do anything to one-up him.

    June 9, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  9. Ron

    Total nonsense. Supporting Union Reform now that we can't afford the runaway nonsense of many of the unions in this country doesn't mean you are anti-American. Reforming the Unions is by far over due. People can't get everything for nothing any longer. You work for what you get and not just because you are in a Union failing to work hard.

    June 10, 2012 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  10. Santorumsucks

    What is astounding is 38% of Democrats voted for Walker. Like how stupid does one have to be?

    June 10, 2012 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  11. California Conservative

    FACT: Obama doesn't support America.

    June 10, 2012 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  12. ThinkAgain

    Two think make and keep a nation safe and prosperous:

    A strong military (to protect against enemies from without)
    An educated populace (to protect against enemies from within)

    And by strong military I mean one where the personnel are paid well and given the benefits they deserve and earn; and where budgets are NOT bloated by unnecessary programs, no-bid contracts and other bloats to the system that only help line the pockets of the military-industrial complex.

    An educated populace is what Democrats understand the need for and Republicans dread – because intelligent people don't fall for their lies and fear tactics.

    The choice for keeping our nation safe and prosperous is simple: Obama/Biden and Democratic majorities in the House and Senate.

    June 10, 2012 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  13. usagoblue

    The ignorance of the teabagging liars of the gop is disgusting! It's all about more money for the 1% and screw the rest. Walker didn't strip his state's Police & Fireman so he could get their union votes. So yeah, money buys even your votes. Look what happened in Ohio when they tried to strip their Police, Fire & teachers. They got shut down. So keep talking Romney, you idiot cause we will shut you out too. POWER TO THE PEOPLE!! OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    June 10, 2012 02:46 am at 2:46 am |
  14. Gordon Johnson

    Romney's new strategy to win over latino voters: "Taco Bell with Mitt!"

    June 10, 2012 03:33 am at 3:33 am |

    He just calls them government workers using the teabagger boogy man code for simpletons. They kill jobs everywhere they go, while lying about jobs,jobs,jobs being priority one, for simpletons who eat it up. Where are the jobs they promised in 2010?

    June 10, 2012 05:28 am at 5:28 am |
  16. amlcpamaine

    MarieMD thanks for the reminder on KB Toys. My long term employer was another Bain victim with Romney firmly in charge of raiding the cash and retirement accounts, paying off the top execs with golden parachutes to take control, then selling off the good parts. The result? The stockholders took a bath and Bain took fees in the millions! Our retirement plan was made worthless and thousands lost jobs. Bain put its young consultants right into my dept so they could get into the data and we used to speculate behind their backs "how many times over they'd sold their grandmother" because they were so greed-conscious and totally ignoring employees AND customers. Over 2 years it was evident they had NO concern for the company but only for their wallets. It makes me sick when people post that Romney's "business experience" would help the country. Bullcrap! It would only help even LESS than the 1% - maybe the top 1/10%!

    June 10, 2012 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  17. DisgustingRepublicans

    We have not forgot republicans. Since day one of Obama you used all your powers to kill congress and stop all bills that will help americans to score polotical points. Republicans put party aka top one percent over americans. It is a fact republicans are bankrupt on morals and god. Your hate of Obama is so disgusting that you FILIBUSTERED OR SENATE VETOED the 9/11 first responder bill. AND WHY DID REPUBLICANS TELL THE 9/11 Victims to go screw them selves. Cause Obama was going to let the Unfunded Bush tax cuts to expire only on the top one percent. Republicans are a disgrace to 9/11 victims they mite as well killed them. They are a disgrace to Country to Americans workers and to top it all they are a disgrace to GOD. If voters keep republicans in office or give them more power we the Americans will deserve the hell we will live in under republican rule. Any one think why the GREAT GENERATION put the democrats in power for over 70 years. Why they created social sequrity medicare women rights minority rights. Ask your self why they did that. The GREAT GENERATION FOUGHT WW2 they knew and lived when the ecomics of america was a facist economics they also fought against the greatist evil of the facist nazis. And it is sad to see we are about to repeat the problems they fixed. Americans need to read history and see why facism and republican way was a failure and many paid the price. Is it going to take 80 percent of the country living in poverty and millions of Americans dieing to realize facism and reoublicans only bring destroyed economies and mass death. I pray to god we dont have to repeat history to learn the republican way is evil and anti god.

    June 10, 2012 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  18. clarke

    Left hand says I will create more jobs, right hand we need fewer police, firemen and teachers? Someone let me know what Mitt decides what we need and what he will do. That is like saying I am pro life but believe in the death penalty.

    June 10, 2012 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  19. scott

    Break the Unions, they are an outdated group of thugs, that are no longer needed, Organized Crime and the enforcement of Americans to join a Union or cannot work is wrong. People are beginning to realize that Unions hurt more then help. Why do you think the cost of Automobiles are so high, auto companies have to pay outlandish wages.

    June 10, 2012 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  20. J.V.Hodgson

    Now let me see, Romney wants to stimulate the American economy but not by the measure Obama proposed of the AJA. Guess what his stimulus is an unpaid for tax reduction to corporate America, because that will 'trickle down'!! That was so painful last time the only trickle I noticed was down my leg!!
    Lets see 450,000 fire fighters, teachers police at say $50K pa. = cash back into the economy of $22.5bn of which some is returned via state and federal taxes, some mortgages dont go under and consumer spending goes up which will create some more jobs
    Next let me see, 15m unemployed and we put 450,000 back to work that puts a dent in the Unemplotment rate
    about 0.2% and reduces unemployment benefits QED its almost starting to pay for itself and was in AJA already which paid for itself and QED might be stimulus but debt neutral and deficit neutral., and GDP positive per CBO
    Say thanks to Grover Norquist Y'all and if you are middle class and Republicans get elected you will not be able to cry all the way to the bank but for sure feel the pain I alluded to earlier AGAIN.

    June 10, 2012 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  21. onlyfacts61

    Romney says, "It's time for us to cut back on government and help the American people". Can any of you confused Romney worshipers please explain this one? Can't you see cutting back on government helps corporations not YOU! You bunch of dummies!

    June 10, 2012 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  22. don in albuquerque

    Alot of Americans may not be astute enough to realize it, but this week when Walker retained the Govs office we got to see the death of democracy. No need to vote any more, big business is more then happy to select all officials for you. After all why should they even have to donate money-they already own you. And the police and firefighters voted in droves for Walker because he left their Union alone. All this thanks to the scrotums in the SCOTUS (sorry but they like many republicans no longer deserve any respect). Maybe Mitts comment should be a lesson to the Cops. Yes. They left your Union alone---THIS TIME.

    June 10, 2012 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  23. onlyfacts61

    More for the confused conservatives.Check the facts for once, Walker and these other Governors who are stripping away rights of the American people are at the same time giving huge tax breaks to Walmart and other corporations that already profit millions. So how are these governors helping Americans? DUMMIES!

    June 10, 2012 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  24. sam900

    @Gurgyl Yes, a lot of voters in WI felt like idiots that they voted for Obama last time because they get an incompetent, and highly overrated, unable to solve deficit and unemployment problems. leave alone healthcare which corporations are running away from it. Yes Obama is a one term president.

    June 10, 2012 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  25. GI Joe

    He wants to get rid of them to put Americans to work? Is he saying teachers, firefighters, police are not American?

    He also wants to start only charter schools so parents can pay $6000 per year per child to go to grade school thru high school. Guess that will keep the poor people dumb so they will vote republican.

    Disgusting to say the least.

    June 10, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
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