CHARLOTTE — Republicans believe that Friday’s jobs report will wipe away any enthusiasm generated by Barack Obama’s nomination speech.
Popular Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said he "has no doubt" that Obama will give a heralded performance that will be relentlessly praised by the press and pundits, but continued economic struggles will dominate coverage as the campaign season continues.
"Undoubtedly we will hear a very good speech tonight from President Obama … [but tomorrow’s] jobs report is going to undoubtedly say that for 43 months—every month of the Obama presidency except the first—the unemployment rate has been above 8 percent," he said. "When you strip away all the varnish … you’re going to get … to the issues that voters really care about."
Texas Senate nominee Ted Cruz predicted a "lyrical" speech, but one that would omit a number of controversies during Obama’s first term. He said it was fitting that Obama would address the nation on the first anniversary of the Solyndra bankruptcy. The administration extended $500 million in loan guarantees to the solar panel company, which is owned by Obama campaign donors.
"He’s going to say the word investment a lot … but he won’t mention his investment in a certain company called Solyndra," he said. "Solyndra is not an aberration, it’s exactly what happens when government … gives away hundreds of millions of dollars [to cronies]."
The GOP, speaking from the NASCAR Hall of Fame outside of the DNC convention center, is also critiquing President Bill Clinton’s lengthy endorsement of Obama on Wednesday night. The party debuted a new campaign ad contrasting Clinton’s role as a "good soldier helping his party’s president" to his 2008 treatment of Obama as "the biggest fairy tale you’ve ever seen."
McDonnell and Cruz hammered Clinton’s endorsement as hollow given the two Democrats’ records. They praised the former president for tacking to the center and working with Republicans in Congress to push through welfare reform and promote economic growth. That bipartisan approach has been abandoned by the Obama administration since Republicans won control of the House of Representatives in 2010.
"It’s a very different Bill Clinton than four years ago when he said that this man, President Obama, was not qualified to be president," McDonnell said. "This party is not the same party, not the same ideology as Bill Clinton … he cared about results more than rhetoric; that’s not what you have with this president."
Cruz said a GOP takeover of the U.S. Senate would represent a new way forward for the country and pledged to work with Democrats to take on tough issues, including entitlement reform and the size and scope of government.
"I’ll work with Martians if they’re willing to be serious about shrinking the size and power and spending of the federal government," he said. "[Obama’s] solution tonight [won’t be] a plan that has any chance of working to bring government spending under control or turn the economy around."