By Justin Sink - 10/18/11 04:22 PM EDT
The Republican National Committee launched a new ad Tuesday criticizing the president's bus tour through North Carolina and Virginia this week as taxpayer-funded campaigning.
The ad, titled the "Debt-End bus tour," features a montage of members of the media describing the president's push for his jobs and tax reform packages as campaign-style.
"Instead of finding common ground with Republicans, President Obama would rather campaign instead of lead,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.
The attack echoes criticism made Monday by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Obama's challenger in the last race for the White House.
“Today the President of the United States in his visit to areas of the country that have a lot to do, in the view of many, with the upcoming election, attacked our plan and attacked it rather vociferously," McCain said of the president's response to a new GOP plan to create jobs.
"In fact I was somewhat taken back since the president and his spokesperson had billed his trip as a taxpayer-paid visit," he continued.
The White House has pushed back on criticism that Obama's intentions are purely political.
"It really is kind of nutty to say, 'well, you’re out there campaigning,' as if there was something wrong with campaigning for a piece of legislation that would help grow the economy and put people back to work," said White House spokesman Jay Carney. "So the answer is, yes, he is going out across the country to talk about the very thing that is on most Americans’ minds, the very thing that worries them the most, the very thing that they think Washington needs to do something about."
Obama himself appeared to be trying to keep the trip from veering too far into campaign mode Monday at a stop in Asheville, N.C., where crowds met him with chants of "four more years."
"I appreciate the four more years, but right now I'm thinking about the next 13 months," Obama said.