David Plouffe Calls GOP Primaries a 'Clown Show'; A Paul Ryan VP Run?

Every Sunday, we scour the political talk shows for the best parts so you don't have to. Today, Senior Advisor to the President David Plouffe responds to Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann is optimistic, and Paul Ryan hints at a possible vice presidential run.

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Obama campaign strategist and senior advisor David Plouffe hit four political talk shows on the eve of the Supreme Court's health care law hearings, where he'd pulled no punches in assessing the Republican presidential race as a "clown show." Also, noted primary casualty and Atlantic Wire mis-reader Michele Bachmann was confident her party would eventually choose someone that made everybody happy. Now sit back, relax and enjoy The Sunday Grind.

On CNN's State of the Union, Candy Crowley played Plouffe clips of both Gingrich and Rick Santorum criticizing the president for a perceived politicization of the Trayvon Martin shooting. His response: That the Republican primary had become a "circus show, a clown show."

 "I don’t think there’s very many people in America that would share that reaction.  You know, this is – this Republican primary at some points has been more of a circus show, a clown show.  And those two comments are really irresponsible.  I would consider them reprehensible." 

"The president spoke movingly about this tragedy, as a father, made it clear that there’s an investigation going on ... So I think those comments were really hard to stomach, really, and I guess trying to appeal to people’s worst instincts.

Segment begins at 6:00:

On ABC's This Week, Plouffe again addressed Newt Gingrich's remarks on The Sean Hannity Show in which Gingrich characterized the president's personal reaction to the Trayvon Martin shooting as "disgraceful ... [an attempt] to turn it into a racial issue."

“Those comments are reprehensible,” said Plouffe. “Speaker Gingrich is clearly in the last throes of his political career…You can make a decision whether to go out with some shred of dignity or say these irresponsible reckless things. And he’s clearly chosen the latter.”

Later on the show, Bachmann told host George Stephanopoulos the contentious Republican presidential primary was not unlike the 2008 contest between Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama, and would have no negative effects on the party:

“I think the quicker that the Republicans can unify behind our candidate and make Barack Obama and his failed policies the focus of this election, the better off we all will be, but the people need to decide."

Bachmann has yet to openly back a candidate, but she explained the she does that by design:

“Whoever the people choose, I will back that candidate, because I want mine not to be a divisive voice,” Bachmann said. “I want to help unify the party and bring together the Tea Party element, the evangelical, and the establishment, and then reach out to independents and disaffected Democrats.”

A full transcript of both interviews is here.

On NBC's Meet the Press, Plouffe described Mitt Romney as "the godfather of our health care plan."

"Mitt Romney is the godfather of our health care plan. If he is president, remarkably he is running away from that past, and he says he is going to try to throw all this away. We’re going to have a big fight about health care again."

He made an oblique reference to Etch A Sketch-Gate:

"Here is what is etched in stone. Mitt Romney will cut taxes for people like him, huge tax cuts and thinks that's somehow a way to help the country ... He will add more to the deficit. He will try to outlaw abortion in this country. He doesn't believe in a clean energy future ... Those things are etched in stone. They are not going to be able to be erased. They are going to be seared in the public's consciousness by this November."

Asked about 2016's outlook for a Democratic presidential candidate, and if Secretary of State Clinton might be among those throwing her hat into the ring, Plouffe said:

"First, we've got to get through the next seven months. There are lot of people in our party who would be strong candidates. She would be a very strong candidate."

Finally, on Fox News Sunday, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan left the door cracked open to the possibility of running as vice president on the Republican ticket:

“I would have to consider it, but it’s not something I’m even thinking about… it’s not a bridge I’ve even come close to crossing.”

That is his first time not Ryan hasn't flatly denied a bid for the White House.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.