The Democratic Party is trying to get political mileage out of two recent Republican gaffes, releasing a new TV ad hammering House Minority Leader John Boehner and Texas Rep. Joe Barton for allegedly sticking up for Wall Street and "Big Oil."
As Republicans bellow for fiscal restraint, the ad contends the party is only looking out for wealthy special interests. It targets Barton for personally apologizing to BP CEO Tony Hayward after they struck a deal with the Obama administration to set up a $20 billion compensation fund for victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. It targets Boehner for telling the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review last week that the financial regulation package is like "killing an ant with a nuclear weapon."
"An ant? Eight million jobs lost and Boehner still sides with Wall Street," the narrator in the ad says, after highlighting both quotes. "Barton and Boehner -- Fighting for Wall Street and big oil. That's how Republicans would govern."
President Obama teed up the ad last week when he called out both congressmen during a speech in Wisconsin.
"He can't be that out of touch with the struggles of American families," Obama said of the House Republican leader.
Boehner responded that Obama should have better things to do with his time than parsing his metaphors. Besides, he said, the metaphor wasn't meant to minimize the financial crisis but to underscore that the Democrats' bill would do more harm than good.
Barton was also compelled to retract his BP apology last month under pressure from GOP party leadership.
But Democrats are making the case that both statements show Republicans are fighting for a status-quo approach to governing.
"This fall's election will be a choice between a Democratic Party that is working to right the wrongs of the past eight years, which set this country on a collision course toward the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression and paved the way for the worst environmental disaster this country has seen and a Republican Party which doesn't see anything wrong with the way Wall Street or big oil has been operating," Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse said in a written statement.
The ad will begin airing on Tuesday.