WASHINGTON--The Republican 2012 presidential contenders debate Wednesday night at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. and the Democratic National Committee, in a pre-emptive strike, slammed the rivals for their Tea Party alliances.
In a report released on Wednesday morning, the DNC said Tea Party proposals--a balanced budget amendment, supermajorities to raise revenues and caps on spending--would result in massive job loss and hurt the middle class.
The emphasis on jobs comes as the debate takes place the night before President Obama unveils his newest jobs plan before a joint session of Congress. Obama rolls out his proposals with the jobless rate stuck at about 9 percent and zero job growth last month.
The Wednesday match-up, sponsored by NBC News and Politico, is the first debate for Texas Gov. Rick Perry and sparks may fly between him and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney--who Perry quickly displaced as the front-runner once he jumped in the race.
Democrats have stepped up their efforts to link Republicans to the Tea Party--a movement that has grown increasingly influential in GOP politics.
DNC communications director Brad Woodhouse and former Obama White House press secretary Robert Gibbs are flying to California today to be in the "spin room" at the Reagan Library to rebut and comment on the debate. Democratic activist Maria Echaveste based in Berkeley, Calif. may join them on site as part of the team and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa may make media rounds via remote TV hookups.
The DNC said in their report, "In their zeal to appeal to the most extreme elements of the GOP and the Tea Party, Republican presidential candidates have signed on to an economic plan so extreme that
it would wreak havoc on our economy, cost 9.5 million American jobs and, because of its strict constitutional limits on spending and revenue, would leave future congresses and presidents all but helpless to implement policies to grow the economy, create jobs, or make the U.S. globally competitive.
"While tens of millions of Americans would be harmed by the economic fallout from such, the wealthiest Americans and big corporations would be protected - not forced to pay their fair share or make any future sacrifices to turn the economy around.
"The Tea Party economic plan endorsed by the GOP presidential field, euphemistically referred to as Cut, Cap and Balance, might make for great sound bites at a Tea PartyExpress rally, but based our analysis, it would be devastating to American workers and the middle class."