RNC Chairman Priebus Wiggles Around Polling Question

March 03, 2011 11:22 am ET — Kate Conway

Appearing on Fox News last night, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus continued to misrepresent the situation in Wisconsin, doubling down on GOP talking points at the expense of an accurate discussion. Priebus attacked what he called "big government unions," claiming that they are "the obstacles to balancing budgets in Wisconsin and all over this country" (even though that's not true).

He then stated, "I think the American people are tired of it," prompting host Neil Cavuto to point out polling that suggests public opinion favors union rights. Priebus was unable to address these polls, and instead he speculated, "I think they support the idea that government employees shouldn't be making more money and having five times better benefits and pensions and health care programs than all the rest of us."

CAVUTO: So, well, they might be, but then there are these polls, Reince, and apparently not completely tired of it. Some of them are supportive of the workers at the court, they might mix up the union heads with the workers, but they seem to be saying, this is, I think, a safe comment from a lot of these polls because they're all over the map, we support Republicans' cost-cutting efforts; we don't support them going crazy. What do you say?

PRIEBUS: Right, but here's the thing. I think they support the idea that government employees shouldn't be making more money and having five times better benefits and pensions and health care programs than all the rest of us. I think people agree with that. I think that people agree with the fact that when it comes to balancing budgets, asking government employees to pay just a fraction of what the rest of us have to pay in Wisconsin and the rest of the country is reasonable.

Watch:

Of course, public employees aren't compensated better than their equivalents in the private sector. In Wisconsin, public employees earn five percent less in total compensation than their private-sector counterparts. And across the country, workers who choose jobs in the public sector face an average 3.74 percent lower total compensation package than private-sector employees.

Priebus probably knows this, just as he probably knows that poll after poll has shown that people oppose taking away public workers' collective bargaining rights, leaving him no choice but to answer Cavuto with a fabricated smear designed to elicit an emotional reaction and evade the facts.

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