As the election revs up, expect dirty laundry to be dragged out from every conceivable nook and cranny. Make outlandish connections, draw dramatic conclusions, take everything out of context, fight dirty, win. That’s the strategy of both the left and the right as each puts the opposing candidate under a sweat lamp and subjects them to the strictest scrutiny. The Republican National Convention’s latest stinger? That President Obama’s use of Air Force One amounts to nothing less than fraud on John Q. Taxpayer’s dime.
According to CNN, Government Accountability Office received a letter from RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, asking for an official investigation into President Obama’s travel habits, alleging that they’re more political than official in nature. This is something that The White House and Obama For America, the president’s reelection campaign, goes to great lengths to distinguish.
Despite this,the RNC letter says that Obama’s latest speeches were “events widely reported to be equivalent to campaign rallies,” and lists evidence from political battleground states Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina and Ohio. “This speech was high on class warfare, slogans, and divisive campaign-style rhetoric,” said the letter in reference to a speech in Florida.
In response to the letter, White House Spokesman Eric Schultz said that Obama’s visits added up to his “official responsibility” to hear from the people. “This week’s travel has been part of the President’s official responsibility to get outside of Washington, DC, hear from students, and discuss stopping interest rates on their loans from doubling in July – just like Friday’s trip to Fort Stewart in Hinesville, Georgia to meet with troops, veterans, and military families is likewise part of the President’s official responsibilities. When there is political travel, we follow all rules and regulations that all other Administrations have followed,” Schultz said in a statement.
Obama’s campaign manager also reassured reporters that the Obama campaign would follow general campaign guidelines. “As in other administrations, we’ll follow all of the rules and regulations to ensure that the committee pays for whatever is required for the president and the first lady to travel to political events,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said Wednesday. “These are very specific rules that are similar to what Bush and Clinton and other presidents have had to do, and they’re very clear and we will abide by all of those in our usual way.”
Though the left firmly sees the RNC letter as blatant spin, there is an admitted advantage to the use of Air Force One, if nothing else, for the convenience. Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod pushed back against Republican candidate Mitt Romney, admitting, “There’s no doubt that Governor (Mitt) Romney has an advantage,” but added semi-tongue-in-cheek, “He hasn’t had a job in six years, and he famously jokes that he’s unemployed, but he’s been running for president for six solid years. And he’s got every day, 24 hours a day to run for president. Now we don’t have that. We don’t have that advantage.”
Expect things to get nasty!