White House press secretary Jay Carney, who tangled with Fox News’ White House correspondent Ed Henry last week, showed that while he isn’t afraid to go toe to toe with reporters he also isn’t up to the task of defending the President very effectively.
That was very evident yesterday as he was grilled by ABC News’ Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper about what the President has and is doing to create jobs as he had promised to do.
TAPPER: We hear him hectoring Congress about all the stuff that needs to be done to help create jobs ––
CARNEY: That’s right. And Congress —
TAPPER: — and then he flew off to Chicago. What is he doing today?
CARNEY: The President is having meetings with his senior staff. The President has called on Congress to move quickly on things that have bipartisan support and are in Congress’s lap, the trade —
TAPPER: The same stuff he was doing a couple months ago, calling on Congress to pass things.
CARNEY: Congress has the power to pass legislation that the President can sign. The actions that it can take could create more jobs right now, if it passed the patent reform, if it passed the free trade agreements. And as you know, there are other issues that the President encourages and will push hard for the Congress to take up when it returns from its recess, including extension of the payroll tax cut, which would put — which has this year put an additional $1,000 in the pockets of every American, or typical American family.
And he believes we need to do that again next year, because that assists those families in having them — you know, giving them the ability to make ends meet, and puts money back into the economy, which in turn sustains businesses and creates jobs. And he will continue to come up with and propose measures that we in Washington together can take to spur further economic growth and job creation.
TAPPER: Has he called Mitch McConnell? Has he called John Boehner? Has — is he working on things that they can do? If every —
CARNEY: Jake, I don’t — I know you weren’t here yesterday, but I know you were here for most of the days before that, when this President and those leaders and others worked seven days a week to avert a major economic crisis in this country that would have made –
TAPPER: You’re the one always saying the President can walk and chew gum at the same time. I’m asking you —
CARNEY: Well, what are — are you asking me what — he is — he is focused —
TAPPER: Other than calling on Congress to pass things you’ve been calling on Congress to pass for months, what is he doing to help the economy?
CARNEY: He is working very closely with his senior economic advisers to come up with new proposals to help advance growth and job creation. He is working with members of Congress to help advance growth and job creation. And he will continue to do that. There are things that Congress can do now to create jobs, and they should. There are things that Congress will be able to do when they return from recess to help create jobs and spur growth, and they should. And he looks forward to working with Congress to do that.
The $1,000 payroll tax cut that Carney mentioned has largely been spent on food and gas, which have increased dramatically in price this year, and not on services or merchandise that will create jobs and help the economy grow.
As for specifics on what Obama has done or is planning on doing to create desperately needed jobs with unemployment still over 9%, the best Carney could do was talk about how the President looked forward to working with Congress on this issue.
Carney has shown in the past two weeks that as reporters’ questions get tougher his answers get weaker, and he continues to be a weak link in the White House’s PR machine.