The continuing lifespan of “jobs are there”

Both John Baer of the Daily News and PA2010’s Dan Hirshhorn have written thoughtful analysis pieces on Tom Corbett’s “the jobs are there” comment, and what  both his and Dan Onorato’s campaign reactions — or non-reactions — to the gaffe says about their  strategy.

Baer writes about how Team Corbett has done its best to simply ignore the Onorato campaign’s ongoing offensive. “Corbett’s campaign manager did not return a phone call. Corbett’s campaign Web site last night showed “no upcoming events,” and the last news release listed was, ironically, “Tom Corbett Visits With Business Owners in Downtown Elizabethtown,” from the July 9 event at which he made the controversial remark.”

In sharp contrast, writes Hirschhorn, Team Onorato has morphed into “all jobs, all the time” mode. “Over a seven-day stretch this month, Democrat Dan Onorato held events in six cities, criticizing gubernatorial rival Tom Corbett at every stop for his comments about unemployed Pennsylvanians. His campaign blasted reporters more than half-a-dozen releases, produced a Web video and started an online petition. In each city he visited, Onorato picked up earned media—campaign parlance for when the press covers a candidate’s activities. Newspaper editorial pages came down mostly on his side of things.”

I would add another element: the aggressive way a handful of newspapers have continued to write article after article about the comment, independent of Onorato’s PR blitz. Yesterday, Corbett complained that some outlets have distorted and changed his initial comments, pointing out at least one paper claimed he called the unemployed “lazy.” I think the AG has a legitimate point — Democratic strategists and some columnists have exaggerated the quote, and made it more broad-sweeping and offensive than what he actually told reporters in Elizabethtown.

The full remarks, as initially reported here, are:

“One of the issues, and I hear it repeatedly – one of the individuals said, ‘I can’t get workers. People don’t want to come back to work while they still have unemployment.’’ He said.  “They’re literally telling him, ‘I’ll come back to work when unemployment runs out.’ That’s becoming a problem.” “The jobs are there. But if we keep extending unemployment, people are going to sit there and – I’ve literally had construction companies tell me, I can’t get people to come back to work until…they say, I’ll come back to work when unemployment runs out.”

About pubradiopolitics
Scott covers state government and politics for Pennsylvania's public radio stations, including WITF in Harrisburg, WHYY in Philadelphia and WDUQ in Pittsburgh.

One Response to The continuing lifespan of “jobs are there”

  1. BrettB says:

    Silence is deadly.

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