Flanked by his leadership team at a Thursday press conference, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) dodged two questions about Mitt Romney’s controversial remarks about the poor and middle class, and beseeched the “hand-wringing” political media to stop suggesting the election is slipping away from Republicans.
“This election is about jobs,” he said, in response to his first two questions, which were about Romney’s recently unearthed remarks from a fundraiser deriding 47 percent of American voters as freeloaders who won’t take responsibility for their lives. “Everybody’s going to try to make this election about everything other than what it is.”
Asked if he still believes the election is a referendum on President Obama, the speaker launched into an extended critique of the press’ portrayal of the contest.
“You look at all the polling and all this political hand-wringing by these Washington insiders trying to make this race look like it’s over for the president who’s going to win. It’s really kind of interesting,” Boehner said, refuting it by pointing to the Gallup tracking poll which shows the race virtually neck and neck.
“And we start talking about the much-vaunted Obama ground game,” he said. “Let me tell you something: in 2000 and 2004, the Bush ground game that got him elected was — surpassed anything we’d ever done. The Romney ground game today has already exceeded the number of voter contacts that were made in the fall of 2004.”
“So this race is far from over. And I’m looking forward the next 46 days.”
Boehner offered his own assessment of the race to 270 electoral votes.
“Think about this as a card game. The president has played his cards. His economic policies have failed,” he said. “His cards are played. Mitt Romney has a plan to get our economy back on track.”
Sahil Kapur is a congressional reporter for TPM. He previously covered politics and public policy for numerous publications including The Guardian and The Huffington Post. He can be reached at sahil [at] talkingpointsmemo.com.