Pam Key at The Blaze captures this exercise in spin from today’s State of the Union on CNN, as Tim Kaine attempts to explain why Barack Obama has to promise yet again to shift his focus to job creation. Ed Henry wonders why it took so long for Obama to focus on jobs and the economy, since Obama took office during an unemployment crisis that went from the mid-7%s to double digits in the first two years. Kaine says that Obama’s been really, really busy [rush transcript from CNN]:
HENRY: Now you mentioned that difficult economy, employment still very high at 9.8 percent. The president mentioned that yesterday in his weekly radio and Internet address. Let’s [listen] to what he said.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: As president, that’s my commitment to you, to do everything I can to make sure our economy is growing, creating jobs, and strengthening our middle class. That’s my resolution for the coming year.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HENRY: Now when you make a resolution, usually that means that you did something wrong and you want to do something better in the new year and that is year-end news conference the president also said his singular focus in the next two years is going to be focusing on creating jobs. Does that suggest that maybe he did not fully focus on creating jobs in the first two years?
KAINE: Well, Ed, he had a lot of things he had to do. When he started as president we were in the midst of two wars. He stopped one of them and we were also in the midst of the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression and we to spend an awful lot of time stabilizing the financial system of the country so that it wouldn’t put us into a deeper tailspin.
With that work done he now can focus specifically on increasing job production. We’ve seen an economy from losing 750,000 jobs a month when he started to gaining jobs now. We just have to do work to accelerate the path of that recovery.
HENRY: But are you acknowledging, though, that all the time he spent on health care reform, for example, in the first two years, did that pull him off having that singular focus on jobs in the first two years?
KAINE: Well, Ed, I think health care reform is going to go down in history as one of the great achievements of this president. And it’s not unrelated to the economy. One, you know, one-sixth of the American economy is health care and what we see in the small businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to provide health care to their employees. So it was important, both for the future of the economy, the health care and dealing with the deficit to bring health care costs down.
The president again has taken an economy that was shrinking in terms of its size, GDP, jobs being lost and now we’re gaining jobs again, but we just have to, you know, now that we’re climbing out of the ditch we were in, we have to keep climbing and that’s what the president is focusing on.
“He stopped one of them”? Actually, that was George Bush who “stopped” the war in Iraq, thanks to the surge strategy that Obama opposed and repeatedly assailed in public … until it worked. It was Bush that signed the Status of Forces Agreement with the Nouri al-Maliki government, which Obama has wisely chosen to follow rather than implement the 16-month withdrawal he demanded as a candidate on the campaign trail. You’ll notice that Obama has been in office 24 months, and that we still have tens of thousands of troops in Iraq, don’t you, Governor Kaine? Bush “stopped” the war in Iraq by winning it.
On jobs, Kaine wants to argue that ObamaCare has been a net job creator as well as a significant deficit reducer. Thanks to the doc-fix legislation passed this year, the latter claim is now defunct. I’d also love to see the actual dynamic analysis as to how many actual jobs — outside of government — ObamaCare has produced, and then we can compare that to the drag on private-sector job creation it has caused with its additional cost burdens and uncertainties.
Regardless, the voters made it pretty clear in the midterms that they don’t see ObamaCare as a stimulant to the private economy or as a great example of rational prioritization in this economic mess. Obama admitted as much in his weekly address, but Kaine wants to pretend as though it was a victory speech instead.