Obama Can Talk About the Middle Class, But He Can’t Talk to Them

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DURING GOOGLE+ ONLINE TOWNHALL, A TEXAS WOMAN ASKED OBAMA ABOUT HER HUSBAND’S STRUGGLES FINDING WORK FOR THREE YEARS: “Obama was answering questions from so-called ordinary Americans during an online chat that was broadcast on the Google+ Hangout social media site and YouTube when a woman named Jennifer Weddel, of Texas, told him that her husband, an engineer, had been unable to find a position in his chosen field for three years.” (David Nakamura, "Obama Offers To Find Woman's Husband A Job During Google+ Chat," The Washington Post, 1/31/2012)

“OBAMA APPEARED SURPRISED” BY QUESTION ON UNEMPLOYED ENGINEER: “Obama appeared surprised, asking Weddel what kind of engineer her husband was. He noted that while work for civil engineers might have slowed during the recession, business leaders have told him that there is a shortage of specialized engineers--and therefore, ample job opportunities--in the high-tech field.” (David Nakamura, "Obama Offers To Find Woman's Husband A Job During Google+ Chat," The Washington Post, 1/31/2012)

“POINT WHERE THE PRESIDENT’S VIEW OF THE ECONOMIC RECOVERY COLLIDED WITH THE REALITY OF A FAMILY’S PERSONAL STRUGGLE”: “While the president largely promoted his economic and domestic agenda, there was a point where the president’s view of the economic recovery collided with the reality of a family’s personal struggle.

“Jennifer from Ft. Worth, Texas, asked the president why her husband, a semiconductor engineer who was laid off three years ago, is still struggling to find a job in his field. Obama, seemingly surprised, insisted that there’s evidence of a ‘huge demand for engineers.’” (Mary Bruce, “Obama Comes Face to Face with Economic Recovery in Google ‘Hangout,’” ABC News, 1/30/2012)

OBAMA TOLD WOMAN HER HUSBAND “SHOULD BE ABLE TO FIND SOMETHING RIGHT AWAY,” BUT WIFE WAS “UNCONVINCED”: “In the beginning, Obama told Weddel that her husband ‘should be able to find something right away.’ Unconvinced, Weddel kept pressing.” (Amie Parnes, “Obama to Voter on Google+: Send Me Your Husband’s Resume,” The Hill, 1/30/2012)

WOMAN SAID: “I JUST THINK I STUMPED HIM A LITTLE AND HE WANTED ME TO HUSH ABOUT IT”: (Jennifer Epstein, “Obama Google+ Gets Personal,” Politico, 1/30/2010)

The incident echoes another episode from the fall of 2010 when President Obama was confronted by a middle class mother and Obama supporter struggling with the impact of Democrats’ failed policies:

“I’VE BEEN TOLD THAT I VOTED FOR A MAN WHO SAID HE’S GOING TO CHANGE THINGS IN A MEANINGFUL WAY FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS…AND I’M WAITING, SIR”: “A ‘deeply disappointed’ supporter put President Obama on the grill yesterday at a town-hall meeting, telling him that he hasn't lived up to hopes, that she's grown exhausted defending him and that she is fearful about returning to the ‘hot dogs-and-beans era’ of her life because he's not helping the financially strapped middle class.

“ ‘I've been told that I voted for a man who said he's going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class. I'm one of those people, and I'm waiting, sir,’ Velma Hart told Obama.

“ ‘I'm waiting. I don't feel it yet,’ the mom and Army Reserve veteran continued.” (S.A. Miller and Geoff Earle, “Bam Fam is Now Frank-ly Fed Up,” New York Post, 9/21/2010)

“I’M ONE OF YOUR MIDDLE CLASS AMERICANS” AND “I’M EXHAUSTED OF DEFENDING YOU,” “DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED”: “ ‘I'm also a mother. I'm a wife. I'm an American veteran, and I'm one of your middle-class Americans. And, quite frankly, I'm exhausted,’ she said.”

“ ‘I'm exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for, and deeply disappointed with where we are right now.’” (S.A. Miller and Geoff Earle, “Bam Fam is Now Frank-ly Fed Up,” New York Post, 9/21/2010)

BUT OBAMA, PER USUAL, WAS ALOOF AND AVOIDED THE QUESTION: “She complained that he didn't say whether these tough times are a ‘new reality’ or just temporary.

“ ‘He didn't answer that,’ she said. ‘That was the heart of my question. Like most Americans, fear is starting to take hold, anxiety is taking hold.’” (S.A. Miller and Geoff Earle, “Bam Fam is Now Frank-ly Fed Up,” New York Post, 9/21/2010)

Together, the incidents suggest that while President Obama talks about the middle class as a campaign issue, he and his fellow Democrats remain cloistered in Washington removed from the brutal reality their failed policies have imposed on America’s families. Do they know what they have done?:


OBAMA’S DECEMBER SPEECH IN KANSAS REFERRED TO THE “MIDDLE CLASS” 27 TIMES: (Search: “middle class” and “middle-class,” “Remarks by the President on the Economy in Osawatomie, Kansas,” The White House, 12/6/2011)

OBAMA’S STATE OF THE UNION CONTINUED THEMES OF DECEMBER SPEECH: “The idea is not necessarily to break new ground, but to reaffirm the philosophy that ran all through the president's Dec. 6 speech in Osawatomie, Kansas, a speech modeled after a historic address by President Theodore Roosevelt.” (Jen Bendery, “Barack Obama to Channel Teddy Roosevelt in State of the Union Address,” The Huffington Post, 1/20/2012)

OBAMA CONTINUED TO TALK ABOUT MIDDLE CLASS STATE OF THE UNION: “ ‘The defining issue of our time is how to keep that promise alive. No challenge is more urgent. No debate is more important,’ Obama said of the need to enact an agenda that bolsters the middle class.” (Jake Tapper and Devin Dwyer, “State of the Union: Obama Makes the Case for Economic ‘Fairness,’ Second Term,” ABC News, 1/24/2012)


CBO: REAL UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IS 10%: “The rate of participation in the labor force fell from 66 percent in 2007 to an average of 64 percent in the second half of 2011, an unusually large decline over so short a time. … Had that portion of the decline in the labor force participation rate since 2007 that is attributable to neither the aging of the baby boomers nor the downturn in the business cycle (on the basis of the experience in previous downturns) not occurred, the unemployment rate in the fourth quarter of 2011 would have been about 1¼ percentage points higher than the actual rate of 8.7 percent.” (“The Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2012 to 2022,” Congressional Budget Office, January 2012)

13.1 MILLION UNEMPLOYED AMERICANS: (Table A-1, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 1/19/2012)

1.7 MILLION JOBS LOST SINCE OBAMA TOOK OFFICE: (Michael A. Fletcher, “Falling Jobless Rate is Good News for Obama,” The Washington Post, 1/7/2012)

15.2 PERCENT UNDEREMPLOYMENT: (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 1/19/2012)

NEARLY 7 MILLION MORE AMERICANS LIVING IN POVERTY: (p. 5, “Poverty: 2008 and 2009,” U.S. Census Bureau, September 2010; Table 1, “Poverty: 2009 and 2010,” U.S. Census Bureau, October 2011)

14.24 MILLION MORE AMERICANS ON FOOD STAMPS: (“Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program,” U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service, 1/05/2012)

FAMILIES ALREADY PAYING $1,698 MORE PER YEAR FOR HEALTH INSURANCE: (The Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research & Educational Trust Employee Health Benefits 2011 Annual Survey, “Average Annual Premiums for Single and Family Coverage, 1999–2011,” p. 30)

GAS PRICES $1.57 PER GALLON HIGHER UNDER OBAMA: (“Petroleum & Other Liquids,” U.S. Energy Information Administration, 1/31/2012)

WHITE HOUSE PREDICTED UNEMPLOYMENT WOULD BE ABOUT 6 PERCENT AT END OF 2011 IF $800 BILLION STIMULUS PASSED: (James Pethokoukis, “What the Plunging Unemployment Rate Really Means for Obama’s Re-election,” The American, 1/6/2012)

BUT 41 STATES HAVE UNEMPLOYMENT ABOVE DEMOCRATS’ 6 PERCENT STIMULUS PREDICTION: (“Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Summary,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2011)


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