Exploiting accidental GOP candor

This week, Politico quoted a senior House Republican aide who confirmed what many have suspected about GOP motives for a long while. Commenting on why Republicans should reflexively oppose the American Jobs Act, the senior staffer said, “Obama is on the ropes; why do we appear ready to hand him a win?”

It was an unusually candid concession. The quote certainly made it sound as if Republicans aren’t concerned about what’s best for the country; their principal goal is undermining the president at a time of crisis.

The quote did not go unnoticed at the White House. Here’s President Obama yesterday, touting his jobs agenda outside an Ohio high school.

For those who can’t watch clips online, Obama said:

“Already, yesterday there were some Republicans quoted in Washington saying that even if they agree with the proposals in the American Jobs Act, they shouldn’t pass it because it would give me a win.

“That’s the kind of games-playing we’ve gotten used to in Washington. Think about that. They supported this stuff in the past, but they’re thinking maybe they don’t do it this time because ‘Obama is promoting it.’ Give me a win? This isn’t about giving me a win. This isn’t about giving Democrats or Republicans a win. It’s about giving the American people a win. It’s about giving Ohio a win. It’s about your jobs and your lives and your futures, and giving our kids a win.

“Maybe there’s some people in Congress who’d rather settle our differences at the ballot box than work together right now. But I’ve got news for them: The next election is 14 months away. And the American people don’t have the luxury of waiting that long. You’ve got folks who are living week to week, paycheck to paycheck. They need action, and they need it now.”

Note that Obama also made use of the same quote at a Rose Garden event on Monday.

What’s more, the president seizing on this has also not gone unnoticed by Republicans. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) office sent an email to more than 60 top GOP aides urging them to “be very careful on our tone when it comes to jobs/ the president.”

Too late.