ABC News’ John R. Parkinson reports:
During his Pen & Pad briefing on Jan. 4, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the phrase “job killing” eight times over the course of the briefing.
Cantor, R-Virginia, used the term earlier this month to describe everything from “cutting the job killing regulations,” and “a job killing health care bill that spends money we don't have,” to the Obama Administration’s “job killing agenda.”
While there is no evidence of a connection between gunman Jared Loughner’s motive and the political discourse in Washington, the Tragedy in Tucson has ushered in a heightened level of scrutiny to analyze the rhetoric of lawmakers.
Today, in his first Pen & Pad briefing since the Jan. 8 shooting in Tucson, Ariz., Cantor did not utter the phrase “job killing” a single time.
But Cantor was asked about the apparent change in the GOP’s “job killing” rhetoric. Here’s a transcript of the exchange:
Q: Mr. Leader, back to the health care debate. What kind of advice or counsel have Republicans received about going forward in the debate and the tone of the debate? Have you told or has the leadership told rank and file Members not to use any certain words? For example, we saw over the weekend that the "job killing bill" is now the "job destroying bill." Is that the kind of language you are encouraging?
Mr. Cantor: This is about the health policy. This is about a policy oriented debate. Obviously, there are strong feelings on both sides of the bill. And, you know, we expect the debate to ensue along policy lines. And there are going to be some policy differences. But all along, you know, the Speaker and I have continued to say, this is a Congress that's going to be focused on delivering results. This is going to be a Congress that is focused on policy, and affecting the kinds of reforms that the American people want. Active discourse is just a piece of that. But for sure, we have continued to say, we are going to be about a decency here and engage and promote active debate on policy.
“Whether it’s job-killing, job-destroying, job-crushing, job-ending, job-eliminating, job-preventing, job-limiting, job-hurting, job-excising, job-removing, job-exterminating, or job-doingawaywith – the point is clear. Too many Americans remain out of work because of laws like ObamaCare and other pursuits that create uncertainty and discourage employers from hiring,” said Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring.
Last weekend, Speaker of the House John Boehner also seemed to tone down his word choice at the House Republican retreat in Baltimore when talking about the health care reform law, opting to go with the phrase “job destroying” instead of “job killing.”
Sources close to Boehner say there was nothing intentional or planned in the Speaker’s use of “job-destroying” and that the Speaker had used the phrase frequently in the past.
ABC News’ Jay Shaylor contributed to this report