Ed Gillespie: Obama "may be in over his head"

Former Republican Party chair Ed Gillespie blasted President Obama's record on job creation Sunday, and pointed to what he described as a "growing sense that this President may be in over his head" as Mr. Obama's biggest threat to re-election.

Facing off against former Democratic National Committee chair Terry McAuliffe on CBS' "Face the Nation," Gillespie accused Mr. Obama of "constantly" playing the blame game with the economy, and targeted what he thought was a "failure of leadership" in the president's actions.

"The American people know things have not gotten better under this President's leadership," he said. "There's a failure of leadership. The fact is there's a growing sense out there, the biggest threat to his re-election is the growing sense that this President may be in over his head."

McAuliffe, who served as DNC chair from 2001-2005, conceded that "we need a plan to create jobs," but argued that Republicans in Congress have been the barriers to real progress on that front.

"We need legislation to get this done and the Congress won't do it," said McAuliffe. "All the Republicans in Congress have done is many bills to roll back financial reform, to allow the banks to go back and write their own rules. That's all you can say has come out of the Republicans in Congress.

"The president said he's going to come out with a plan," he added. "Already Republicans are saying, 'We don't want anything to do with it.'"

Gillespie, a longtime adviser to the George W. Bush administration, fired back that Republicans were merely trying to roll back Democratic policies that were "killing jobs."

"The president can, you know, complain about bad luck," he said. "The reality is, it's bad policy. And in terms of Republicans in Congress, they're trying to repeal the policies that are resulting in the 9.1 percent unemployment that we're seeing today, ending all this wasteful spending."

Referencing Mr. Obama's upcoming September address, in which the president promises to outline an in-depth plan to grow the economy and create jobs, Gillespie said, "another speech is not going to help."

"You can't talk about jobs and the need for job creation when your policies are killing jobs. That's what's been going on," he said.

McAuliffe admitted to being "sick and tired of the political speeches," but said it would take time for Mr. Obama and Democrats to rebuild the economy after "eight years with President Bush."

"They drove the economy off the cliff," he said of Republicans during the Bush administration. "President Obama is now trying to get it back moving again. It takes time. It took eight years for them to do what they did to the economy. It's taking time for the president to get going. And you got to look at everything."

Gillespie, unsurprisingly, took issue with that characterization. "The fact is, under President Bush we had 52 months of uninterrupted job creation, the longest stretch in the history of our country."

While Gillespie's statement is factually true - the U.S. did, between August 2003 through December 2007, create jobs continually for 52 months straight - FactCheck.org notes that despite the uninterrupted growth, the actual number of jobs created during that period was relatively small - 8.3 million jobs, significantly less than the 22.7 million jobs created during the Clinton administration, which also included several months' worth of monthly declines.

Overall, according to Politifact, there was a net increase of just 1.09 million jobs during the eight years of the Bush adminstration.