Coupled with this week’s “unexpected” revelation that the economy contracted in the fourth quarter of 2012, I’m sure that today’s heightened unemployment rate was most unwelcome news to a White House that is most auspiciously focused on other matters — better get your chief economists on it, stat!

Via the WFB, enter Council of Economics Chairman Alan Krueger — it’s like a bad side reel of nothing but tired and recycled White House talking points circa 2011.

I think today’s report is the continuation of a pattern where we’re seeing the job market healing. It’s not back to full health… So, January’s numbers are in line with what we’ve been seeing, and we just need to keep building on this progress and making sure that Washington doesn’t give us any self-inflicted wounds. … That’s why the president has supported investing in more infrastructure to improve our roads and our highways and improve our productivity in the future, make other steps to strengthen the economy while we get the deficit under control. … I think that what’s important is that the administration and Congress continue to make the steps that build a stronger economy, and economy that works better for the middle class and helps to put us on a path to a sustainable budget in a balanced way. … I think the main risk we face right now is Congressional gridlock could prevent us from the steps we need to build a stronger economy, and economy that works better for the middle class.

The labor force is still “healing”? Is there an echo in here?

But, the middle class! Infrastructure! Congressional gridlock! Balanced approach! The bad economics news has forced the White to come out and say something, but they’re all the same excuses we’ve been hearing for ages now. President Obama may be ready to move on with immigration, gun control, climate change, and whatever else strikes his fancy while we all just sit back and get used to the new normal, but unfortunately for him, the economy has other plans.

I’ll say this for them: They have a story, and they’re stickin’ to it. …So, that’s something, I guess.