Election Day 2016 may be nearly 500 days away, but the Democratic attack machine is giving an early demonstration of what Republicans can expect if they face off against Hillary Clinton next year.
Democrats seized on comments Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush made Wednesday apparently saying Americans “need to work longer hours.” Bush’s campaign said the comments were taken out of context.
The Democratic National Committee called it “easily one of the most out-of-touch comments we’ve heard so far this cycle,” a liberal outside group organized a conference call with reporters to bash Bush and Clinton herself got in on the action.
Now, Clinton’s allies are deploying a bit of high-tech rapid response to mock Bush. Correct the Record, a Democratic group that coordinates directly with the Clinton campaign, created a fake online calculator meant to highlight and satirize Bush’s comments about work.
The calculator starts by asking users to input the number of hours they work so they can be scolded by Bush to work even more. “You work 40 hours? How about 55? If only you worked harder…” says an illustration of Bush as a finger-wagging Uncle Sam.
“It can be tough to tell how many more hours these exhausted workers should be tacking on,” said Adrienne Watson, communications director of Correct The Record. “Fortunately, this new calculator helps employees answer this question themselves so that they can get back to what’s really important – working.”
Clinton herself, meanwhile, is taking her attacks on Republicans to new levels. After Bush’s comments to the New Hampshire Union Leader hit the web, Clinton’s Twitter account responded by saying, “Anyone who believes Americans aren’t working hard enough hasn’t met enough American workers.”
The context of Bush’s remarks show he was referring to the 6.5 million people stuck in part-time jobs who want find full time work, according to the Bush campaign. The campaign said Bush was not saying that people already working full-time jobs should work more.
“I talked about these struggling Americans who deserve the opportunity to work, who understand the value of work and who want to achieve earned success for their families,” Bush said in a blog post on his website. “Hillary Clinton made it clear she disagrees with me. She thinks the economy is doing just fine. She thinks American workers are doing just fine.”
But the dust-up over the remarks, regardless of context, is the latest sign that the general election is heating up unusually early, thanks to Clinton’s status as her party’s presumed nominee. And her allies want to show she’s prepared.
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And Bush is hardly sitting back. The official super PAC supporting Jeb Bush – which reported a eye-popping $103 million fundraising haul today– declared to federal election officials that it spent $47,000 on digital ads attacking Clinton in Iowa and New Hampshire.
On top of all this, Clinton dared utter the name of a different Republican rival for the first time. While Clinton has sliced and diced the GOP field, and sought to tie Donald Trump and Bush together on immigration, she has so far avoided saying either of their names. But in two tweets – one in English and the other in Spanish – she attacked Trump by name for his recent offensive comments about Mexican immigrants.