In the wake of President Obama's assertion that "the private sector is doing
fine," his defenders are challenging Republican Mitt Romney's call for smaller
government, suggesting it is a job elimination plan that threatens public
Rep. Tyler Olson, D-Cedar Rapids, Iowa, weighed in Tuesday, calling on Romney to explain to "firefighters, teachers, policemen and all Iowans when he returns to the state next week why he plans to cut their jobs."
The Romney campaign has not released details, but according to the Quad City Times, an invitation being circulated says the presumptive GOP nominee will be at LeClaire Park at 4 p.m. June 18.
In an email from Obama for America, Olson said Romney cut public service jobs while he was governor of Massachusetts. Similar cuts on the federal level would undermine economic recovery and hurt the middle class, Olson said.
He was referring to Romney's remarks in Council Bluffs June 8 that the federal government needs to "cut back on government and help the American people." Olson extrapolated that Romney thinks "teachers, police officers and firefighters don't help the American people, do unnecessary jobs, or make essential contributions to our communities."
The Romney campaign called Olson's remarks a "desperate attack" not consistent with the president's recent bragging about cutting federal employment, as shown in this Washington Post chart.
"The only time government employment has gone down during a recession has been under me," Obama said in Albany, N.Y. "I make that point just so you don't buy into this whole bloated government argument that you hear."
However, Olson said part of the Obama economic recovery plan is to put more first responders on the streets and teachers in classrooms.
"We know that firefighters, policemen, and teachers are the backbone of successful communities and Romney suggesting they aren't vital to our well-being is just another example of how out of touch he is with Iowa's priorities," he said.
That's "a very strange accusation," Romney said Tuesday about the argument made by Olson and other Obama supporters, since teachers and firemen and policemen are hired at the local and state levels, not by the federal government.
Obama's $800 billion-plus federal stimulus did provide funds to prevent public employee lay-offs and Romney said the president has a plan for another stimulus.
"It didn't work the first time. It certainly wouldn't work the second time," Romney said.
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