I got a lot of mail about this Barack Obama quote over the weekend, but I think that most of those missed the real Obamateurism in it. Here’s the quote first, with Obama “bristling” over the criticism of the Porkulus job numbers:
President Obama brushed off criticism over his administration’s inaccurate reporting on job creation Wednesday, telling Fox News the accounting is an “inexact science” and that any errors are a “side issue” when compared with the goal of turning the economy around. He said job growth is his No.1 responsibility.
The president was responding to criticism from Republicans, as well as Democratic Rep. David Obey, who drew attention to embarrassing errors on the Recovery.gov Web site that tracks stimulus funding. The site is under fire for claiming a number of jobs were created from the stimulus in congressional districts that don’t exist and accepting unrealistic and inflated jobs data from various sources.
Obama said he understood the “frustration” but said his focus has to be on accelerating job growth.
“I think this is an inexact science. We’re talking about a multitrillion-dollar economy that went through the worst economic crisis since 1933. The first measure of success of the economic recovery is, did we pull ourselves back from the brink? We did,” Obama said. “The question now is, can we make sure we’re accelerating job growth? That’s my No. 1 job. Nobody’s been more disappointed than I have to see how high the unemployment rate has gotten. And I spend every waking hour, when I’m talking to my economic team, about how we are going to put people back to work.”
The e-mails I got claimed that Obama called accounting an “inexact science” but that’s not quite right. What he actually said was worse. He said that job-creation accounting is an inexact science, and that’s exactly what the critics have been claiming all along. The administration has insisted that they had “saved or created” a million jobs, and 640,000 580,000 somewhere above a half-million jobs directly. But they can’t demonstrate that they’ve “saved or created” most of the ones they’ve claimed directly, thanks to the highly “inexact” formulas that the White House promulgated.
In other words, Obama didn’t call accounting an inexact science. He admitted that Porkulus accounting is a faith-based system.
Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.