Here's the new ad, entitled "mute button." Ouch:
The revelation highlighted in this spot is drawn from Bob Woodward's insider account, "The Price of Politics." The Hill reports:
President Obama’s fraught relationship with congressional leaders during his first term extended to Democrats as well as Republicans, according to a new book by the legendary Washington journalist Bob Woodward. In one scene during negotiations over the 2009 economic stimulus package, Woodward reports that when Obama called then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to discuss the bill, she put the president on speakerphone so that the group of Democratic lawmakers in her office could hear him, according to a report in The Washington Post. But when Obama began making an “uplifting speech” over the phone, Pelosi pressed the mute button. “They could hear Obama, but now he couldn’t hear them,” Woodward writes in “The Price of Politics,” according to the Post. “The president continued speaking, his disembodied voice filling the room, and the two leaders got back to the hard numbers.”
Oh my. Pelosi is denying the story, of course, but she's been known to lie from time to time when it suits her immediate political interest. Plus, in the eyes of Beltway liberals, Woodward's behind-the-scenes reportage has been basically treated as gospel ever since Watergate. This wasn't an Ed Klein "scoop." This comes from Bob Woodward, a well-known liberal who supports Democrats. Pelosi can protest all she wants -- most people are going to believe the account because she has every reason to lie; Woodward does not. The result is an incredible window into the shabby respect Obama commands within his own party's leadership structure. When it came to the actual work of hammering out details of their massively wasteful "stimulus" slush fund, Pelosi, Reid and the gang muted Obama's "uplifting speech" and pressed ahead with real business. You can almost picture the scene:
Reid: Hey, I think he's finally done.
Pelosi: (Unmutes phone) Thank you so much, Mr. President. We really appreciate your leadership.
And this was in early 2009, when HopenChange fever was still fresh. Think about that. If Obama is re-elected, he'll likely face a Republican House and a roughly evenly-split Senate. As Romney's ad asks, if Obama can't lead his own party effectively, why should voters expect him to move anything "forward" over the next four years? Mitt Romney faced an 87 percent Democratic legislature in Massachusetts and still managed to balance four budgets without raising taxes, and pushing unemployment down to 4.7 percent by his final year in office. Parting thought: We learned yesterday that President Obama isn't meeting with foreign leaders at the United Nations this week because his busy campaign schedule couldn't squeeze it in. Not to worry, Robert Gibbs told Fox News, Obama is able to speak with his international counterparts by phone whenever he needs to. Based on the picture painted by Bob Woodward, do they actually listen?
UPDATE - Ed Morrissey makes a good point regarding additional evidence that Obama's influence among Congressional Democrats is pretty scarce: The fact that not a single Democrat in either house has voted for the president's budget proposals over the past two years. I guess Obama does bring the parties together in some respects.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography