On the Campaign Trail, Obama Sharpens Attacks on GOP

President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign fundraiser for Missouri Senate hopeful Robin Carnahan, July 8, 2010, in Kansas City, Mo.
President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign fundraiser for Missouri Senate hopeful Robin Carnahan, July 8, 2010, in Kansas City, Mo.

Updated 4:40 p.m. Eastern Time

President Obama hit Republicans hard for recent comments downplaying the financial crisis and for apologizing to BP in the first of three fundraisers he's appearing at today for Senate candidates.

"The other party spent a decade driving the economy into the ditch..now they want the car keys back. They can't have them back. They don't know how to drive," the president told a crowd at a grassroots fundraiser in Missouri for Senate hopeful Robin Carnahan.

The President took on Republican House leader John Boehner for his comment that the financial reform package moving through Congress is akin to killing an ant with a nuclear weapon. "That's what he called what we just went through...You can imagine a movie...'The ant that ate our economy' That's a big ant!" joked the president.

Responded Boehner in a statement to CBS News: "On President Obama's watch, more than three million Americans have lost their jobs and unemployment is near 10 percent. The American people continue to ask, where are the jobs? But the President keeps whining and indulging in childish partisan attacks. How out of touch can he get?"

Mr. Obama also chastised Republican Joe Barton for publicly apologizing to the chairman of BP over the company's putting $20 billion away to cover claims from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico at the request of the White House. "Does anybody here think BP should get an apology?" the president asked. The crowd answered with a resounding "NO."

Speaking at a second fundraiser, Mr. Obama continued the attack on Barton, saying that the remarks show what side the Republicans are really on. "They don't think in terms of representing ordinary folks. That's not their orientation. So that's the choice that we face in this election," he said.

Mr. Obama also took on Carnahan's opponent - Republican Congressman Roy Blunt, who was recently part of the House GOP leadership. He attacked Blunt and the Republicans for voting against the president's recovery act. "If he had his way, there'd be a lot of Missouri families paying higher taxes today," the president said in touting the success of the stimulus program.

Obama's furthered his attack on the GOP in Congress. "Sometimes I wonder if that 'NO' button is just stuck in Congress," he said. "They can't do what's right for the American people."

He blasted Republicans over their attacks on runaway Washington spending, saying that the debt and deficit are one of the things that keeps him up at night, and yet the GOP was part of the reason why he inherited a trillion dollar deficit. "It's a little odd getting lectures on sobriety from folks who spent like drunken sailors in the last decade," said the president.

In the second fundraiser in Kansas City, the president also sharpened his attacks on the GOP's economic policies "They are peddling that same snake oil that they've been peddling for years and somehow they think you will have forgotten that it didn't work," he said.

Showing his support for Carnahan, currently Missouri's Secretary of State, the president said she is working to move the country forward and the debate in the November elections will be about the direction that government should take the country.

"She doesn't want to move us backwards, she wants to move us forward, and that's the choice in this election," he said. He also touted Carnahan's loyalty to the state.

"She's going to Washington to represent one constituency. That's you the people of Missouri," he said at the first of 2 fundraisers that together raised nearly $500,000 for Carnahan's campaign. "If you fight for Robin Carnahan.. she will make sure that America moves forward," added Mr. Obama.

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Robert Hendin is a CBS News White House producer. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here.
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    Robert Hendin is senior producer for "Face the Nation" and a CBS News senior political producer.