From Republicans: same old, same old, says Gibbs
President Obama was a political pinata at the Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire last night, with candidate after candidate hammering away at Mr. Obama's handling of the economy.
But former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says they were just espousing alternative policies that have already failed and were the very ones that got the economy in trouble to begin with.
And Gibbs said some of them have poor records of their own.
Gibbs told "Early Show" co-anchor Chris Wragge that former Minn. Gov. Tim Pawlenty left Minnesota with a deficit when his term ended (an assertion Pawlenty had earlier disputed on "The Early Show," telling co-anchor Erica Hill his last budget is still in force and resulting in a surplus).
Gibbs added that, "Mitt Romney's record on the economy when he was governor, Massachusetts ranked 47th out of 50 states in creating jobs.
"So, I can understand why these guys would want to attack somebody else. And not talk about their own records."
Gibbs said the president inherited "a huge recession that started in late 2008. But you know, many years before that, we saw the middle class losing security, their paychecks shrinking. So we've been in a bad economic time not just for the past 2-1/2 years, but for many years before that.
"I think what you heard last night from the Republican candidates was, let's repeat the very same policies, tax cuts for millionaires, removing responsibility from our financial system, many of those ideas are what they espoused to try to get us out of this problem. Those are the ideas that got us into this problem.
"I think what the president is focused on, you saw him down in North C Carolina yesterday meeting with CEOs about ways to continue to strengthen and grow this economy, is how do we improve education? How do we improve job training? And how do we invest in those jobs for the future?
"And I think all of that will create a strong foundation that will take some time to get us out of this hole. There's no doubt about that. But I think we are slowly making progress. The president doesn't believe, and I don't think many people believe, it's fast enough, and he's going to continue to work it through."
But is Mr. Obama running out of time on the jobs creation front?
"No," Gibbs responded. "Look -- I think -- he would be the first one to tell you that he doesn't think this economy is producing jobs fast enough. But again, I don't think this all happened in the last year, the last two years. It took us many years to get to this point, and it's going to take us a while to get out.
"We lost 3-and-a-half million jobs the six months before the president came into office. And in the past 15 months, we've created 2 million jobs. Again, that doesn't fill the hole that we've lost, because we certainly lost jobs in the beginning of our administration. And the key is, we've got to continue to make progress. It is slow, it's sometimes steady, and it's a little bit in fits and starts. But, I think the president has to continue to do what he's done, and that is focus on strengthening the economy and creating jobs."
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