Campaign Buzz June 8, 2012: President Barack Obama Press Conference Backlash: Mitt Romney, GOP Jump on Obama’s Statement that the Private Sector is Doing Fine — Shows He is Really Out of Touch — Obama Backtracks

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger published by Facts on File, Inc. in 2011.

THE HEADLINES….

IN FOCUS: PRESIDENT OBAMA PRESS CONFERENCE BACKLASH: ROMNEY, GOP JUMP ON OBAMA’S STATEMENT THAT THE PRIVATE SECTOR IS DOING FINE — SHOWS HE IS REALLY THAT OUT OF TOUCH — OBAMA BACKTRACKS

Romney: Obama’s ‘Private Sector’ Comment Will Go Down in History: Mitt Romney wasted no time Friday seizing on remarks by President Obama in which he said that the “the private sector is doing fine,” saying that the remark will “go down in history” as an “extraordinary miscalculation.”
“[Obama] said a number of things and one of the most interesting things he said was this,” said Romney, standing in a park in Western Iowa. “He said the private sector is doing fine.”
“He said the private sector is doing fine,” Romney repeated, slower, putting an emphasis on every word of the phrase. “Is he really that out of touch? I think he’s defining what it means to be detached and out of touch with the American people.”
“Has there ever been an American president who is so far from reality as to believe in an America where 23 million Americans are out of work or have stopped for work, or can only find part time jobs, and need full time jobs, where the economy grew in the first quarter of the year at only 1.9 percent?” said Romney.
“For the President of the United States to stand up and say the private sector is doing fine is going to go down in history as an extraordinary miscalculation and misunderstanding by a president who’s out of touch,” said Romney. “And we’re gonna take back this country and get America working again.”…. – ABC News Radio, 6-8-12

  • Romney: Is Obama “really that out of touch?”: Mitt Romney jumped Friday on President Obama’s statement that “the private sector is doing fine,” calling the comment an “extraordinary miscalculation and misunderstanding by a President who is out of touch…. – CBS News, 6-8-12
  • Obama backtracks on comments that private sector is doing “fine”: Just hours after President Obama said the “the private sector is doing fine” and Republican challenger Mitt Romney criticized him for being “out of touch,” the president insisted that more work needs to be done to jump-start the economy…. – CBS News, 6-8-12
  • Obama gets grief for saying private sector ‘fine’: President Barack Obama made Mitt Romney’s day by declaring “the private sector is doing fine” and opening himself to the accusation that he — not the rich Republican — is the one who is out of touch…. – AP, 6-8-12
  • Obama Dials Back Optimism After Romney Criticism: President Barack Obama sought to contain political damage by clarifying optimistic comments about the state of the US private sector, saying it is “absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine.”… – BusinessWeek, 6-8-12
  • Obama walks back remark about private sector ‘doing fine’: President Obama this afternoon tried to clarify earlier remarks about the state of the economy that set off a round of criticism from Republicans, including the party’s presidential nominee, Mitt Romney. Obama told reporters that he didn’t mean to … LAT, 6-8-12
  • ‘Private sector is doing fine’? Obama retracts as GOP mocks: President Obama’s remark that the sagging economy is due to cuts in public-sector jobs riled Republicans in Congress, who pledge to extend the Bush tax cuts and repeal health-care reform…. – CS Monitor, 6-8-12
  • Obama seeks to clarify private sector remarks, says it’s ‘absolutely clear economy not fine’: President Barack Obama, seeking to clarify comments about the strength of the US economy, said later Friday it is “absolutely clear” that the US economy is “not doing fine.” Obama spoke hours after saying in a White House news conference…. – WaPo, 6-8-12
  • Romney: Obama comments on economy will ‘go down in history as an extraordinary miscalculation: President Barack Obama declared Friday that “the private sector is doing fine,” drawing instant criticism from Republicans who said it showed a lack of understanding of the nation’s economic woes. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney…. – WaPo, 6-8-12

Full Text Campaign Headlines June 8, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Comments in Reaction to Obama Press Conference on the Economy “President Obama’s Comments Show He Is Out Of Touch”

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Mitt Romney: President Obama’s Comments Show He Is Out Of Touch

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 6-8-12

“For the President of the United States to stand up and say the private sector is doing fine is going to go down in history. It’s an extraordinary miscalculation and misunderstanding by a President who is out of touch, and we’re going to take back this country and get America working again.” – Mitt Romney

Remarks
Council Bluffs, IA
June 8, 2012

Click Here To Watch Mitt Romney Discuss President Obama’s Comments On The Economy

MITT ROMNEY: “Now this morning, the President had a press conference. I don’t know if you heard it, but he called a press conference and pulled people in and said a number of things, and one of the most interesting things he said was this: he said the private sector is doing fine. He said the private sector is doing fine. Is he really that out of touch? I think he’s defining what it means to be detached and out of touch with the American people. Has there ever been an American president who is so far from reality as to believe in an America where 23 million Americans are out of work, or stopped looking for work, or can only find part-time jobs and need full-time jobs, where the economy grew in the first quarter of the year at only 1.9 percent, where the median income in America has dropped by 10% over the last four years, where there have been record number of home foreclosures, for the President of the United States to stand up and say the private sector is doing fine is going to go down in history. It’s an extraordinary miscalculation and misunderstanding by a President who is out of touch, and we’re going to take back this country and get America working again.”

President Obama’s Comments Show He Is Out Of Touch

Now this morning, the President had a press conference. I don’t know if you heard it, but he called a press conference and pulled people in and said a number of things, and one of the most interesting things he said was this: he said the private sector is doing fine. He said the private sector is doing fine. Is he really that out of touch? I think he’s defining what it means to be detached and out of touch with the American people.

Has there ever been an American president who is so far from reality as to believe in an America where 23 million Americans are out of work, or stopped looking for work, or can only find part-time jobs and need full-time jobs, where the economy grew in the first quarter of the year at only 1.9 percent, where the median income in America has dropped by 10% over the last four years, where there have been record number of home foreclosures, for the President of the United States to stand up and say the private sector is doing fine is going to go down in history.

It’s an extraordinary miscalculation and misunderstanding by a President who is out of touch, and we’re going to take back this country and get America working again.

Political Buzz June 8, 2012: President Barack Obama Press Conference: Obama Presses Congress to Pass his Jobs Proposal — Urges European Leaders to Fix Economic Crisis

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger published by Facts on File, Inc. in 2011.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Barack Obama pauses while speaking in the White House Press Briefing Room in Washington, June 8, 2012. | Reuters

The bully pulpit is really the only source of leverage the president has. | Reuters

 IN FOCUS: PRESIDENT OBAMA PRESS CONFERENCE: OBAMA PRESSES CONGRESS TO PASS HIS JOBS PROPOSAL — URGES EUROPEAN LEADERS TO FIX ECONOMIC CRISIS

Obama Calls for Aid to States, Says ‘Private Sector Doing Fine’: Amid fresh concerns about the durability of the U.S. economic recovery and the threat of financial shocks from Europe’s debt crisis, President Obama today urged lawmakers to send more federal aid to states and localities to boost hiring, asserting “the private sector is doing fine.”
“We’ve created 4.3 million new jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,00 just this year alone. The private sector is doing fine,” Obama said during a morning news conference in the White House briefing room.
“Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy has to do with state and local government. Often times, cuts initiated by governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they had in the past from the federal government. And they don’t have the same kind of flexibility as the federal government does in dealing with fewer revenues coming in,” he said…. – ABC News Radio, 6-8-12

  • President Obama prods European leaders to work on economy: Europe’s economic crisis could send shock waves roaring across the Atlantic that would drag down the fragile US economy and threaten President Barack Obama’s hopes for a second term. The president demonstrated Friday just how deeply he’s…. – San Jose Mercury News, 6-8-12
  • Obama news conference signals rising concern about economy: President Obama on Friday prodded European leaders to take further steps to stabilize their financial system while urging Congress to act on his jobs proposals at home, twin moves that signaled rising concern in his administration about…. – LAT, 6-8-12
  • Obama hits Republicans for lack of action on jobs: President Obama urged Congress to take steps to boost the economy and called on Republican lawmakers to explain why they are not taking action if they don’t…. – CBS News, 6-8-12
  • Obama tells Congress, European leaders to improve the economy, avert a crisis: President Obama on Friday put the country’s economic problems on the shoulders of Republicans in Congress, saying their failure to pass his entire jobs bill is keeps Americans out of work. “If Republicans want to be helpful … they should be asking…. – Fox News, 6-8-12
  • Obama: Congress has ‘no excuse’ not to pass jobs agenda: Facing a slowdown in the US economy, President Obama on Friday tried to inject new momentum behind his jobs agenda, declaring that Congress has “no excuse” not to support his proposals aimed at putting more Americans back to work…. – WaPo, 6-8-12
  • Romney: Obama’s private sector remark ‘out of touch’: Presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney seized on President Obama’s comments today about the state of the private sector during a speech in Iowa calling the president’s remarks “out of touch.” “He said the private sector is doing fine.”… – USA Today, 6-8-12
  • Mitt Romney pounces on Obama saying private sector ‘doing fine’: Mitt Romney hit back at President Obama’s comments Friday morning that the private sector was “doing fine,” with the GOP nominee saying it was evidence that the president does not understand the economy nor the financial struggles facing Americans…. – LAT, 6-8-12
  • Obama: Congress, Europe must stem economic crisis: The economy at risk, President Barack Obama accused Republicans on Friday of pursuing policies that would weaken the US recovery. He simultaneously urged Europe’s leaders…. – AP, 6-8-12
  • Obama uses bully pulpit to talk economy: MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts talks to Melissa Harris-Perry, host of MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry show, about President Barack Obama’s remarks about the economy and Congress’ not approving his entire jobs plan…. – msnbc.com, 6-8-12
  • Obama: Europe Must Act as Crisis Puts Drag on Recovery: Play Obama: Congress Must Act on Economic Growth President Barack Obama pressed Europe’s leaders to take “decisive” action to stimulate growth while dealing with debt, saying the euro-zone crisis is putting a serious drag on the US economy…. – Bloomberg, 6-8-12
  • Obama Urges Europe to Act Decisively: President Barack Obama on Friday said the euro zone needs to take decisive steps to inject capital into its weak banks and deepen collaboration on its financial system and budgets to stem the financial crisis…. – WSJ, 6-8-12
  • Obama to speak on state of US economy, Europe’s woes as re-election campaign: President Barack Obama will address the state of the economy, including the debt crisis in Europe that’s become a drag on the US, in remarks at the White House Friday. The president will also call on Congress to pass proposals that he says…. – WaPo, 6-8-12

Full Text Obama Presidency June 8, 2012: President Obama’s Press Conference Discusses the State of the Economy — Urges Congress to Pass Jobs Proposal — Transcript

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

President Obama Discusses the State of the Economy

Source: WH, 6-8-12
President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the economy (June 8, 2012)President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the economy in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, June 8, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

President Obama today took to the podium in the White House Briefing Room to discuss the state of the economy and answer a few questions from reporters.

He began by addressing the ongoing crisis in Europe — America’s largest trading partner — and why it’s an area of focus for his administration.

“If there’s less demand for our products in places like Paris or Madrid,” he said, “It could mean less businesses…for manufacturers in places like Pittsburgh or Milwaukee.”

The President told reporters that, while there are reasons for concern, European leaders have the capacity to solve their problems — and they’ll have the support of the United States in that effort.

The President also said that the continued instability of the international economy is another reason why lawmakers need to do more to create jobs here at home:

[Since] the housing bubble burst, we’ve got more than a million construction workers out of work. There’s nothing fiscally responsible about waiting to fix your roof until it caves in. We’ve got a lot of deferred maintenance in this country. We could be putting a lot of people back to work rebuilding our roads, our bridges, some of our schools. There’s work to be done; there are workers to do it.  Let’s put them back to work right now.

The housing market is stabilizing and beginning to come back in many parts of the country. But there are still millions of responsible homeowners who’ve done everything right but still struggle to make ends meet. So, as I talked about just a few weeks ago, let’s pass a bill that gives them a chance to save an average of $3,000 a year by refinancing their mortgage and taking advantage of these historically low rates.  That’s something we can do right now. It would make a difference.

Instead of just talking a good game about job creators, Congress should give the small business owners that actually create most of the new jobs in America a tax break for hiring more workers.

These are ideas that, again, have gotten strong validation from independent, nonpartisan economists. It would make a difference in our economy. And there’s no excuse for not passing these ideas. We know they can work.

Read the full remarks from the press conference, including President Obama’s answers to reporters, here.

Remarks by the President

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

10:40 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning.  I just want to say a few words about the economy, and then I will take some of your questions.

Today, we’re fighting back from the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression.  After losing jobs for 25 months in a row, our businesses have now created jobs for 27 months in a row — 4.3 million new jobs in all.  The fact is job growth in this recovery has been stronger than in the one following the last recession a decade ago.  But the hole we have to fill is much deeper and the global aftershocks are much greater.  That’s why we’ve got to keep on pressing with actions that further strengthen the economy.

Right now, one concern is Europe, which faces a threat of renewed recession as countries deal with a financial crisis.  Obviously this matters to us because Europe is our largest economic trading partner.  If there’s less demand for our products in places like Paris or Madrid it could mean less businesses — or less business for manufacturers in places like Pittsburgh or Milwaukee.

The good news is there is a path out of this challenge.  These decisions are fundamentally in the hands of Europe’s leaders, and fortunately, they understand the seriousness of the situation and the urgent need to act.  I’ve been in frequent contact with them over the past several weeks, and we know that there are specific steps they can take right now to prevent the situation there from getting worse.

In the short term, they’ve got to stabilize their financial system.  And part of that is taking clear action as soon as possible to inject capital into weak banks.  Just as important, leaders can lay out a framework and a vision for a stronger eurozone, including deeper collaboration on budgets and banking policy.  Getting there is going to take some time, but showing the political commitment to share the benefits and responsibilities of a integrated Europe will be a strong step.

With respect to Greece, which has important elections next weekend, we’ve said that it is in everybody’s interest for Greece to remain in the eurozone while respecting its commitments to reform.  We recognize the sacrifices that the Greek people have made, and European leaders understand the need to provide support if the Greek people choose to remain in the eurozone.  But the Greek people also need to recognize that their hardships will likely be worse if they choose to exit from the eurozone.

Over the longer term, even as European countries with large debt burdens carry out necessary fiscal reforms, they’ve also got to promote economic growth and job creation.  As some countries have discovered, it’s a lot harder to rein in deficits and debt if your economy isn’t growing.  So it’s a positive thing that the conversation has moved in that direction, and leaders like Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande are working to put in place a growth agenda alongside responsible fiscal plans.

The bottom line is the solutions to these problems are hard, but there are solutions.  The decisions required are tough, but Europe has the capacity to make them.  And they have America’s support.  Their success is good for us.  And the sooner that they act, and the more decisive and concrete their actions, the sooner people and markets will regain some confidence and the cheaper the costs of cleanup will be down the road.

In the meantime, given the signs of weakness in the world economy, not just in Europe but also some softening in Asia, it’s critical that we take the actions we can to strengthen the American economy right now.

Last September, I sent Congress a detailed jobs plan full of the kind of bipartisan ideas that would have put more Americans back to work.  It had broad support from the American people.    It was fully paid for.  If Congress had passed it in full, we’d be on track to have a million more Americans working this year.  The unemployment rate would be lower.  Our economy would be stronger.

Of course, Congress refused to pass this jobs plan in full. They did act on a few parts of the bill — most significantly the payroll tax cut that’s putting more money in every working person’s paycheck right now.  And I appreciate them taking that action.  But they left most of the jobs plan just sitting there. And in light of the headwinds that we’re facing right now, I urge them to reconsider.  Because there’s steps we can take right now to put more people back to work.  They’re not just my ideas; they’re not just Democratic ideas — they’re ideas that independent, nonpartisan economists believe would make a real difference in our economy.

Keep in mind that the private sector has been hiring at a solid pace over the last 27 months.  But one of the biggest weaknesses has been state and local governments, which have laid off 450,000 Americans.  These are teachers and cops and firefighters.  Congress should pass a bill putting them back to work right now, giving help to the states so that those layoffs are not occurring.

In addition, since the housing bubble burst, we’ve got more than a million construction workers out of work.  There’s nothing fiscally responsible about waiting to fix your roof until it caves in.  We’ve got a lot of deferred maintenance in this country.  We could be putting a lot of people back to work rebuilding our roads, our bridges, some of our schools.  There’s work to be done; there are workers to do it.  Let’s put them back to work right now.

The housing market is stabilizing and beginning to come back in many parts of the country.  But there are still millions of responsible homeowners who’ve done everything right but still struggle to make ends meet.  So, as I talked about just a few weeks ago, let’s pass a bill that gives them a chance to save an average of $3,000 a year by refinancing their mortgage and taking advantage of these historically low rates.  That’s something we can do right now.  It would make a difference.

Instead of just talking a good game about job creators, Congress should give the small business owners that actually create most of the new jobs in America a tax break for hiring more workers.

These are ideas that, again, have gotten strong validation from independent, nonpartisan economists.  It would make a difference in our economy.  And there’s no excuse for not passing these ideas.  We know they can work.

Now, if Congress decides, despite all that, that they aren’t going to do anything about this simply because it’s an election year, then they should explain to the American people why.  There’s going to be plenty of time to debate our respective plans for the future.  That’s a debate I’m eager to have.  But right now, people in this town should be focused on doing everything we can to keep our recovery going and keeping our country strong.  And that requires some action on the part of Congress.  So I would urge them to take another look at some of the ideas that have already been put forward.

And with that, I’m going to take a couple of questions.  And I’m going to start with Caren Bohan — who is with Reuters, but as we all know, is about to go get a fancy job with National Journal.  (Laughter.)  And we’re very proud of her.  So congratulations to you, Caren.  You get the first crack at me.

Q    Thank you very much, Mr. President.  Could you tell the American people what role the United States is playing in the European debt crisis?  And also, do you think European leaders have a handle on what’s needed to stem the crisis?  And finally, you talked about a number of ideas that you’ve already put forth to shield the American economy.  Do you plan to give a speech or lay out additional ideas now that the crisis is really escalating?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, a couple of things.  First of all, the situation in Europe is not simply a debt crisis.  You’ve got some countries like Greece that genuinely have spent more than they’re bringing in, and they’ve got problems.  There are other countries that actually were running a surplus and had fairly responsible fiscal policies but had weaknesses similar to what happened here with respect to their housing market or the real estate markets, and that has weakened their financial system.  So there are a bunch of different issues going on in Europe.  It’s not simply a debt crisis.

What is true is, is that the markets getting nervous have started making it much more expensive for them to borrow, and that then gets them on a downward spiral.

We have been in constant contact with Europe over the last  — European leaders over the last two years, and we have consulted with them both at the head of government and head of state level.  I frequently speak to the leaders not only at formal settings like the G8 but also on the telephone or via videoconference.  And our economic teams have gone over there to consult.

As I said in my opening remarks, the challenges they face are solvable.  Right now, their focus has to be on strengthening their overall banking system — much in the same way that we did back in 2009 and 2010 — making a series of decisive actions that give people confidence that the banking system is solid, that capital requirements are being met, that various stresses that may be out there can be absorbed by the system.  And I think that European leaders are in discussions about that and they’re moving in the right direction.

In addition, they’re going to have to look at how do they achieve growth at the same time as they’re carrying out structural reforms that may take two or three or five years to fully accomplish.  So countries like Spain and Italy, for example, have embarked on some smart structural reforms that everybody thinks are necessary — everything from tax collection to labor markets to a whole host of different issues.  But they’ve got to have the time and the space for those steps to succeed.  And if they are just cutting and cutting and cutting, and their unemployment rate is going up and up and up, and people are pulling back further from spending money because they’re feeling a lot of pressure — ironically, that can actually make it harder for them to carry out some of these reforms over the long term.

So I think there’s discussion now about, in addition to sensible ways to deal with debt and government finances, there’s a parallel discussion that’s taking place among European leaders to figure out how do we also encourage growth and show some flexibility to allow some of these reforms to really take root.

Now, keep in mind that this obviously can have a potential impact on us because Europe is our largest trading partner.  The good news is, is that a lot of the work we did back in 2009 and 2010 have put our financial system on a much more solid footing. Our insistence of increasing capital requirements for banks means that they can absorb some of the shocks that might come from across the Atlantic.  Folks in the financial sector have been monitoring this carefully and I think are prepared for a range of contingencies.

But even if we weren’t directly hit in the sense that our financial system still stayed solid, if Europe goes into a recession that means we’re selling fewer goods, fewer services, and that is going to have some impact on the pace of our recovery.  So we want to do everything we can to make sure that we are supportive of what European leaders are talking about.  Ultimately, it is a decision that they’ve got to make in terms of how they move forward towards more integration, how they move forward in terms of accommodating the needs for both reform and growth.

And the most important thing I think we can do is make sure that we continue to have a strong, robust recovery.  So the steps that I’ve outlined are the ones that are needed.  We’ve got a couple of sectors in our economy that are still weak.  Overall, the private sector has been doing a good job creating jobs.  We’ve seen record profits in the corporate sector.

The big challenge we have in our economy right now is state and local government hiring has been going in the wrong direction.  You’ve seen teacher layoffs, police officers, cops, firefighters being laid off.  And the other sector that’s still weak has been the construction industry.  Those two areas we’ve directly addressed with our jobs plan.  The problem is that it requires Congress to take action, and we’re going to keep pushing them to see if they can move in that direction.

Jackie Calmes.  Where did Jackie go?  There she is.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  I’d like to ask you a couple — about what a couple of other people have said about Europe.  And one is that I’d like to know if you agree with former President Bill Clinton, who said in the past week that the European’s policies that you’ve described here today are much like those of the Republicans in this country — politics of austerity that would take us in the same direction as Europe — if you agree with that.  The Republicans, for their part, have said that you’re simply blaming the Europeans for problems that have been caused by your own policies.  So I’d like you to respond to both of those.  And also, tell us precisely how much time you personally spend on the European situation.

THE PRESIDENT:  Any other aspects to the question?  (Laughter.)

Q    I do have more questions.  (Laughter.)

Q    Is she going to National Journal?  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  First of all, in terms of the amount of time I spend — look, I think it’s fair to say that over the last two years I’m in consistent discussions with European leadership and consistent discussions with my economic team.

This is one of the things that’s changed in the world economy over the last two or three decades, is that this is a global economy now, and what happens anywhere in the world can have an impact here in the United States.  Certainly that’s true after the kind of trauma that we saw in 2008 and 2009.

And if you think about the situation in Europe, they’re going through a lot of the things that we went through back in 2009, 2010, where we took some very decisive action.  The challenge they have is they’ve got 17 governments that have to coordinate — 27 if you count the entire European Union, not just the eurozone.  So imagine dealing with 17 Congresses instead of just one.  That makes things more challenging.

But what we’ve tried to do is to be constructive, to not frame this as us scolding them or telling them what to do, but to give them advice, in part based on our experiences here in having stabilized a financial situation effectively.  And ultimately, though, they’re going to have to make a lot of these decisions, and so what we can do is to prod, advise, suggest.  But ultimately, they’re going to have to make these decisions.

Now, in terms of characterizing the situation over there, what is absolutely true — this is true in Europe and it’s true here in the United States — is that we’ve got short-term problems and long-term problems.  And the short-term problems are:  How do we put people back to work?  How do we make the economy grow as rapidly as possible?  How do we ensure that the recovery gains momentum?

Because if we do those things, not only is it good for the people who find work, not only is it good for families who are able to pay the bills, but it actually is one of the most important things we can do to reduce deficits and debt.  It’s a lot easier to deal with deficits and debt if you’re growing, because you’re bringing in more revenue and you’re not spending as much because people don’t need unemployment insurance as much; they don’t need other programs that are providing support to people in need because things are going pretty good.

Now, that’s true here in the United States, and that’s true in Europe.  So the problem I think President Clinton identified is that if, when an economy is still weak and a recovery is still fragile, that you resort to a strategy of “let’s cut more” — so that you’re seeing government layoffs, reductions in government spending, severe cutbacks in major investments that help the economy grow over the long term — if you’re doing all those things at the same time as consumers are pulling back because they’re still trying to pay off credit card debt, and there’s generally weak demand in the economy as a whole, then you can get on a downward spiral where everybody is pulling back at the same time.  That weakens demand and that further crimps the desire of companies to hire more people.  And that’s the pattern that Europe is in danger of getting into.

Some countries in Europe right now have an unemployment rate of 15, 20 percent.  If you are engaging in too much austerity too quickly, and that unemployment rate goes up to 20 or 25 percent, then that actually makes it harder to then pay off your debts.  And the markets, by the way, respond in — when they see this kind of downward spiral happening, they start making a calculation, well, if you’re not growing at all, if you’re contracting, you may end up having more trouble paying us off, so we’re going to charge you even more.  Your interest rates will go up.  And it makes it that much tougher.

So I think that — what we want both for ourselves, but what we’ve advised in Europe as well is a strategy that says let’s do everything can to grow now, even as we lock in a long-term plan to stabilize our debt and our deficits, and start bringing them down in a steady, sensible way.

And by the way, that’s what we proposed last year; that’s what’s proposed in my budget.  What I’ve said is, let’s make long-term spending cuts; let’s initiate long-term reforms; let’s reduce our health care spending; let’s make sure that we’ve got a pathway, a glide-path to fiscal responsibility, but at the same time, let’s not underinvest in the things that we need to do right now to grow.  And that recipe of short-term investments in growth and jobs with a long-term path of fiscal responsibility is the right approach to take for, I think, not only the United States but also for Europe.

Q    What about the Republicans saying that you’re blaming the Europeans for the failures of your own policies?

THE PRESIDENT:  The truth of the matter is that, as I said, we’ve created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone.  The private sector is doing fine. Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government — oftentimes, cuts initiated by governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government and who don’t have the same kind of flexibility as the federal government in dealing with fewer revenues coming in.

And so, if Republicans want to be helpful, if they really want to move forward and put people back to work, what they should be thinking about is, how do we help state and local governments and how do we help the construction industry.  Because the recipes that they’re promoting are basically the kinds of policies that would add weakness to the economy, would result in further layoffs, would not provide relief in the housing market, and would result, I think most economists estimate, in lower growth and fewer jobs, not more.

All right.  David Jackson.

Q    Thank you, sir.  There are a couple of books out with, essentially, details about national security issues.  There are reports of terrorist kill lists that you supervise and there are reports of cyber-attacks on the Iranian nuclear program that you ordered.  Two things.  First of all, what’s your reaction of this information getting out in public?  And secondly, what’s your reaction to lawmakers who accuse your team of leaking these details in order to promote your reelection bid?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, first of all, I’m not going to comment on the details of what are supposed to be classified items.  Second, as Commander-in-Chief, the issues that you have mentioned touch on our national security, touch on critical issues of war and peace, and they’re classified for a reason — because they’re sensitive and because the people involved may, in some cases, be in danger if they’re carrying out some of these missions.  And when this information, or reports, whether true or false, surface on the front page of newspapers, that makes the job of folks on the front lines tougher and it makes my job tougher — which is why since I’ve been in office, my attitude has been zero tolerance for these kinds of leaks and speculation.

Now, we have mechanisms in place where if we can root out folks who have leaked, they will suffer consequences.  In some cases, it’s criminal — these are criminal acts when they release information like this.  And we will conduct thorough investigations, as we have in the past.

The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive.  It’s wrong.  And people I think need to have a better sense of how I approach this office and how the people around me here approach this office.

We’re dealing with issues that can touch on the safety and security of the American people, our families, or our military personnel, or our allies.  And so we don’t play with that.  And it is a source of consistent frustration, not just for my administration but for previous administrations, when this stuff happens.  And we will continue to let everybody know in government, or after they leave government, that they have certain obligations that they should carry out.

But as I think has been indicated from these articles, whether or not the information they’ve received is true, the writers of these articles have all stated unequivocally that they didn’t come from this White House.  And that’s not how we operate.

Q    Are there leak investigations going on now — is that what you’re saying?

THE PRESIDENT:  What I’m saying is, is that we consistently, whenever there is classified information that is put out into the public, we try to find out where that came from.

Okay?  Thank you very much, everybody.  Thank you.

END
11:09 A.M. EDT

Political Buzz June 8, 2012: Congressional Leaders Press for Inquiry to Investigate National Security Leaks Used in New York Times Feature on President Obama’s ‘Kill List”

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger published by Facts on File, Inc. in 2011.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

IN FOCUS: CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS PRESS FOR INQUIRY TO INVESTIGATE NATIONAL SECURITY LEAKS

iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Congress Warns Intel Leaks Put ‘Lives at Risk’:
Source: ABC News Radio, 6-7-12
Top Democrats and Republicans Thursday demanded an end to leaks of classified intelligence because, they said, the leaks are putting lives at risk and jeopardizing future operations.
Thursday afternoon, the senior Democrats on the House and Senate intelligence committees joined together with Republicans to denounce a recent flood of national security leaks about U.S. covert actions in counterterrorism and espionage, and to announce their collective effort to investigate the recurring issue of classified information being disclosed in the media.
Earlier this week, the FBI has opened a leak investigation into the disclosures in the New York Times last week that President Obama ordered the intelligence community to speed up cyber attacks against Iran with the Stuxnet worm, according to federal law enforcement officials. In recent weeks, there have also been stories about the president’s “kill list” of al Qaeda drone targets and another about the double agent who helped the U.S. foil the latest attempted al Qaeda attack on a U.S. airline.
Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, called recent leaks “one of the most serious of breaches” that he has seen in 10 years sitting on the committee…. READ MORE

  • Pressing for Leak Inquiry by a Special Counsel: Calls for a special counsel to investigate leaks of classified information by Obama administration officials gathered momentum on Thursday after the Justice Department’s national security division partly recused itself from the inquiry…. – NYT, 6-7-12
  • Top lawmakers declare war on intelligence leaks: Leaders of the Senate and House intelligence committees said Thursday they were drafting legislation to further limit who can access highly classified information and possibly impose new penalties for revealing it…. – AP, 6-7-12
  • Obama administration playing dangerous game with intelligence leaks: Senator McCain and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney traded insults this week over intelligence leaks – McCain called the Obama White House “grossly irresponsible” to leak classified information for political gain, while Carney called McCain…. – Fox News, 6-7-12
  • Intelligence committees vow to stop leaks of secrets: The House and Senate intelligence committees announced plans Wednesday to draft new laws against leaks of classified information, adding to an uproar on Capitol Hill over a series of recent stories that revealed details of terrorism threats and CIA … WaPo, 6-7-12
  • Bipartisan congressional group calls for legislative action on leaks: A bipartisan group of congressional members called for an investigation into the source of security leaks that led to stories published by the New York Times, but stopped short of claiming the leaks were made for political purposes…. – LAT, 6-7-12
  • CIA Declines Lawmakers’ Request for Information on Leaks: The CIA won’t respond to a US House Intelligence Committee request for information about leaks of classified data, said Representative Mike Rogers, the panel’s chairman. The committee had asked about last month’s … BusinessWeek, 6-7-12
  • Calls grow for outside probe of US national security leaks: * McCain accuses White House of leaking for election-year gain * Committee chiefs have called for urgent probe of leaks * Leaks have involved cyber-warfare, drone strikes…. – Reuters, 6-7-12
  • Congressional leaders to meet with intelligence chief on leaks: Congressional leaders on intelligence issues will meet Thursday with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on apparent leaks of classified information involving a cyberwarfare program against Iran…. – CNN, 6-7-12
  • Analysis: Despite outrage, security leaks may go unplugged: Democratic and Republican intelligence experts in Congress are joining forces to condemn a series of jaw-dropping intelligence leaks which some Republicans charge are timed to boost President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign…. – Reuters, 6-6-12
  • Senate Will Investigate National Security Leaks About Terrorism ‘Kill List’: Senators John McCain and Saxby Chambliss called for the appointment for a special counsel to investigate leaks in wake of recent articles in The New York Times…. – NYT, 6-5-12
  • FBI Probes Leaks on Iran Cyberattack: The FBI has opened an investigation into who disclosed information about a classified US cyberattack program aimed at Iran’s nuclear facilities, according to two people familiar with the probe…. – WSJ, 6-5-12
  • McCain Calls on White House to Plug Intelligence Leaks: Describing the string of recent intelligence leaks to news outlets as “disturbing” and “simply unacceptable,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., accused the White House of putting the president’s ambitions for another term in the Oval Office ahead of national security.
    “A really disturbing aspect of this is that one could draw the conclusion from reading these articles that it is an attempt to further the president’s political ambitions for the sake of his re-election at the expense of our national security,” McCain said on the Senate floor late Tuesday…. – ABC News Radio, 6-5-12
  • Axelrod Denies Participating in Anti-Terror Discussions: The communications director of President Obama’s reelection campaign today denied a report in the New York Times that he had sat in on weekly White House meetings on terrorism.
    On Tuesday the paper said that after the failed 2009 Christmas Day “underwear bombing,” David Axelrod started attending the discussions with Obama and top national security advisers…. – ABC News Radio, 6-4-12

Campaign Headlines June 8, 2012: Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush Says Mitt Romney Should Pick Sen. Marco Rubio for Vice President, Running Mate in Interview

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Jeb Bush Says Romney Should Pick Marco Rubio as Running Mate

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-8-12

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Jeb Bush gave an impassioned endorsement of fellow Floridian Marco Rubio, advising Mitt Romney to pick the U.S. senator as his running mate and describing Rubio as “the most articulate conservative elected official on the scene today.”

“Marco Rubio is my favorite [choice], because we have a close relationship,” the former Florida governor told Charlie Rose in an interview that aired on his PBS show Thursday evening.  “I admire him greatly … He speaks with great passion about American exceptionalism.  I think he would lift the spirits of the campaign and provide some energy.  Governor Romney is running a very good campaign right now and closed the gap and leading in some polls, but I think this would be an added bonus.”

In the wide ranging, hour-long interview that aired in parts Thursday morning on CBS’ This Morning and then in its entirety Thursday evening on PBS, Bush said Rubio has had enough preparation to be “one heartbeat away from the presidency” despite being a first term senator…READ MORE

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