While discussing the fact that the United States has been slow to recover from the recession, David Gregory parroted the Republicans' talking point that you can't claim the stimulus plan worked because it failed to keep unemployment below 8 percent as the administration claimed it would.
Gregory also ignores the record amount of obstruction the Democrats have had to deal with ever since President Obama took office with either blocking or watering down the stimulus package they did manage to get passed. As many have pointed out, one of the biggest drags on the economy right now has been the number of government jobs that have been lost, as opposed to the private sector which has been recovering more quickly.
As Vice President Biden pointed out, the economy was in a lot worse shape than they realized when that statement was made and no one can argue that putting more teachers and firefighters back to work is not going to improve the unemployment numbers. He also pointed out that Mitt Romney's record on job creation is not the best one either as a businessman or during his term as governor.
Transcript of their exchange below the fold.
DAVID GREGORY: But the bottom line is that you and President Obama have a record.
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Yes.
DAVID GREGORY: And this recovery out of a steep recession has been much slower than in past recoveries after recessions. And this administration's done a lot between stimulus and health care and financial regulation. You stepped up to the plate, take-- taken some big swings. And yet, recovery is still very, very slow.
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: It isn’t --
DAVID GREGORY: The argument is, "Why not give somebody who's got-- a real background in business to try to turn it around?"
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Well, take a look at his background in business. When he was in business, how did he save companies? By piling debt on them. When he was governor, he ranked 47th out of 50 states in job creation. Look, look at what he's proposing. But let's go back to what we're proposing. In terms of recovery out of a financial recession this deep, unfortunately, this is not way off. This is not slower than a significant financial recession, which this is the greatest recession in the history of America short of a depression.
And if these guys would get out of the way-- for example, had they passed our jobs bill, all the experts said it would have created two million more jobs. Two million more jobs. These guys wouldn't even let us put back to work 400,000 teachers, firefighters and cops by a 0.5% tax on the first dollar after the first million you made. Come on, man.
DAVID GREGORY: But you can't guarantee jobs. I mean, it was--
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: No, no, but-- no--
DAVID GREGORY: It was this administration that said you could keep 8% unemployment if you passed the stimulus act. You can't go by those predictions.
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: No, no, no, here's what you can go by. You can go by what the consensus among economists says was likely to happen if certain actions are taken. And by the way, the reason why that-- that was off, that-- that projection, at the time, that was stated by some of the economists. It was estimated that the economy the previous quarter had fallen 5%. It actually fell almost 9%. Nobody, including all the business models at the time, thought the devastation was as great as it turned out to be.