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Posts Tagged ‘Jared Bernstein’

FishPoolDC: Our Insider’s Notes from Today’s Press Briefing

Notes from a briefing room press insider…

The T-Word: In a rare morning on-camera briefing, Press Secy Robert Gibbs tag-teamed with Jared Bernstein and Melody Barnes, chief WH economic and domestic policy advisors, respectively, to tout 250,000 saved/created education jobs reported under the Recovery Act. The announcement faced a skeptical press room (esp. on the lack of clarity on “saved” v. “created” numbers), and generated “transparency” contagion, originating with JB remarks — including that he “never contemplated this level of transparency” in local/state reporting to the RAT (independent Recovery Accountability and Transparency board). Capitalizing on the t-word, ABC’s Jake Tapper asked about the transparency of the health care debate (RG: “I do think the administration has been transparent”) and NBC’s Chuck Todd followed later with, “And this goes to the whole transparency question that Jake asked” to introduce a public option question that met with RG’s “I shockingly don’t have a lot new on this.” On bank bonuses, Bloomberg’s Hans Nichols questioned whether, “in the interest of transparency,” RG could discuss WH convos with banks reported to be ready to dole out excessive bonuses. RG said he didn’t know “who has talked to whom on this.”

Axe-ing Fox: In more colorful comments today, RG continued to engage the Fox/WH wars by elaborating on top advisor David Axelrod‘s Sunday comments. As for Axe charging that Fox is just trying to make money, RG clarified: “I assume all of you are trying to make money, but maybe I have misinterpreted your otherwise altruistic ventures.” Landing the conversation-ending uppercut, RG observed of the targeted network, “Sometimes programming can be tilted toward accentuating the most profits.” Ouch.

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FishPoolDC: Our Insider’s Notes from Today’s Briefing

Another Guest-Lecturer: Press Secretary Robert Gibbs ceded time at the top for Jared Bernstein of the VPOTUS team to do a little show-and-tell on the Recovery Act. Bernstein pulled out one of the swanky briefing room screens to help outline 10 major projects in the works for the second, “accelerated” stage of the Act. (Perhaps his most animated moment came when he curiously emphasized that “RURAL” America will benefit from 200 waste and water systems in the 10-project plan.) “I’m getting to like this thing!” he said gleefully as he jabbed his finger on the podium button for each slide change. Asked if the slide show was paid for with stimulus money, Gibbs butted in to deliver another blow to the black-and-white team: “We cut newspapers.”

How We Spell “Recovery”: The Obama team is measuring “acceleration” by building on the claim of 150,000 jobs created or saved in the first Recovery Act stage with a pledge to create or save another 600,000 by this fall. Bernstein (and later Gibbs) was pushed hard on the 150,000 figure, which he branded an “absolute, tried-and-true economic methodology.” (Paging Tony Fratto.) But, asked for the split between jobs created and saved within that
150,000, Bernstein said he wouldn’t “pretend to give a level of accuracy on that.” He did, however, make multiple plugs for the newly unveiled whitehouse.gov/recovery site. (Opened today!) In other numbers news, Bernstein defended the inaccurate 8-percent unemployment projection from the Congressional stimulus fight (actual: 9.4) by noting that the prediction predated the surprisingly bleak 4th-quarter GDP figure.

The Answer is Blowin’ in the Wind?: In a light exchange of smartassery, Bloomberg’s Hans Nichols asked if Gibbs would concede that wind is free amid an explanation regarding the “multiplier effect” of such projects as windmills and window replacements. RG didn’t contend the assertion, but said it was “blowing hot in my direction.” Growing less patient with Nichols, he granted the privilege to “ask as many questions as you want,” but “don’t act like the question didn’t get answered.”

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