Obama blasts GOP leader's 'ant' comment as 'out of touch'

Obama struck out at Boehner (R-Ohio) during a town hall meeting in Racine, Wis., for saying the Wall Street reform bill was akin to using a nuclear weapon to kill an ant.

"That’s right. He compared the financial crisis to an ant," Obama said, according to prepared remarks. "The same financial crisis that led to the loss of nearly eight million jobs. The same crisis that cost people their homes and their lives' savings."

While Obama did not mention Boehner by name in excerpts released by the White House, he made it clear who he was talking about saying, "He can't be that out of touch with the struggles facing the American people, he should come here to Racine and ask people if they think the financial crisis was an ant." 

Democrats have been piling on Boehner over the remarks made in an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Boehner told the newspaper that while there are faults in the regulatory system, the Wall Street reform bill will not fix them. He also charged that the Wall Street bill would institutionalize "too big to fail."

The House is expected to vote on a Wall Street conference report on Wednesday, with a Senate vote likely to come next week.

Obama criticized the GOP as a whole for preparing to vote against financial regulatory reform.

"He should ask the men and women who’ve been out of work for months at a time," Obama said. "He should ask the Americans who send me letters every night that talk about how they’re barely hanging on."

The president also blasted Republicans repeatedly for opposing his economic policies, seizing on a theme the White House is pushing that Republicans are in the pockets of big business.

"The Republican leader might want to maintain a status quo on Wall Street," Obama said, "but we want to move America forward.”

Obama again jumped on Rep. Joe Barton's (R-Texas) comments apologizing to BP for what he said was a White House "shakedown" of the oil company.

"The top Republican on the energy committee even had the nerve to apologize to BP for the fact that we made them set up this fund," Obama said. "Apologize to BP!

"He actually called the fund 'a tragedy.' A tragedy? A tragedy is what the people of the Gulf are going through right now. That’s the tragedy. And our government has a responsibility to hold the corporations accountable that caused it. They want to take us backwards. We want to move forward.”