White House brass splits on job stats

Monday, January 25, 2010 - 5:18pm

White House advisers appearing on the Sunday talk shows gave three different estimates of how many jobs could be credited to President Obama’s Recovery Act.

The discrepancy was pointed out by a Republican official in an email to reporters noting that “Three presidential advisers on three different programs [gave] three different descriptions of the trillion-dollar stimulus bill.”

Valerie Jarrett had the most conservative count, saying “the Recovery Act saved thousands and thousands of jobs,” while David Axelrod gave the bill the most credit, saying it has “created more than – or saved more than 2 million jobs.” Press Secretary Robert Gibbs came in between them, saying the plan had “saved or created 1.5 million jobs.”

Their remarks in context:

Axelrod, on CNN’s State of the Union: “But understand that, in this recession that began at the beginning of 2007, we've lost 7 million jobs. Now, the Recovery Act the president passed has created more than — or saved more than 2 million jobs. But against 7 million, you know, that — that is — it is cold comfort to those who still are looking.”

Jarrett, on NBC’s Meet the Press: “The Recovery Act saved thousands and thousands of jobs. There are schoolteachers and firemen and— and— teachers all across our country, policemen, who have jobs today because of that recovery act. We're investing in infrastructure. We're investing in public education so that our kids can compete going forth into the next— generation.”

Gibbs, on “Fox News Sunday”: “Well, Chris, let's take for instance the example you just used of the stimulus package. We had four quarters of economic regression in terms of growth, right? Just last quarter, we finally saw the first positive economic job growth in more than a year. Largely as a result of the recovery plan that's put money back into our economy, that saved or created 1.5 million jobs.”