WASHINGTON – Democrats have been virtually unanimous in their dismissal of the Bush economic forum in Waco calling it a public relations exercise.
House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., said President Bush is out of touch and compared his handling of the economy to the way his father did 10 years ago, which many say led to his re-election defeat.
"If you just go talk to people, they are frustrated, they are upset. There's unrest that we don't seem to be even talking about their problems and what to do about it," Gephardt told Fox News.
The Bush administration's nightmare is that voters will begin to associate the current President Bush's economic woes with those that ultimately led to his father's defeat in 1992, a fear that Gephardt is keyed in on.
"There's a disconnect between this administration and what's happening in the country. It's reminiscent in ways to what President Bush Sr. went through back in the early 90s. There seems to be an unwillingness to tune in to what the people are trying to say," Gephardt said.
Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., released a statement Tuesday blasting the forum and noting that since Bush took office, nearly 2 million jobs have been lost, $7 trillion has drained out of the stock market and the federal budget has gone from surplus to deficit.
Democrats are pulling out all the stops and think that one way to make sure the fall election becomes a referendum on the president and the economy is to bash the economic forum as a fraud.
"This was not a scripted play, this was kind of an emergency play, a trick play if you will, to suggest that he's engaged in the economy, trying to solve a problem," said Rep. Albert Wynn, D-Md.
"The fact is that the president has not been a leader on economic issues. He's been a follower. He put down a marker in 1998 when he was running for president on his tax cut and he hasn't changed since, and the economy has gotten weaker and weaker and weaker and I think the American people should expect more," said Sen. John Corzine, D-N.J.
Even though Democrats say they are disappointed by the Bush economic forum, they are delighted in this election year that the administration would find it necessary to spend an entire day explaining and defending its economic policies.
They refer to the old adage among politicians that if you are explaining or defending your positions, you are losing the debate.
Fox News' Carl Cameron contributed to this report.