Here’s what’s wrong with 30 seconds in politics:
The president has a lot on his plate.
So said Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, when asked why the president’s Jobs Council hasn’t met in several months.
So notes the Republican National Committee, in a 30-second spot entitled “The Busiest President” leading with a Politico headline: “President Obama’s Jobs Panel Missing in Action.”
Carney is pictured at the podium in the West Wing briefing room telling reporters: “There’s no specific reason, except the president’s obviously got a lot on his plate.”
The explanation is replayed with a screen billing a legs-up-on-the-desk president’s schedule for the last six months: “10 golf trips, 106 fundraisers, 0 jobs council meetings.”
“A lot on his plate,” Carney says in an ad closing with a photograph of a plate filled with $100 bills.
At his press conference yesterday, Carney was asked: “On the Jobs Council, obviously who haven’t met formally or publicly for six months — why exactly is that?”
“Look, the president solicits and receives input and advice from members of his Jobs Council and others about economic initiatives all the time. And I would point you to the numerous initiatives put forward by the Jobs Council that this administration, under the president’s direction, has taken action on, including a presidential memorandum in August of last year that selected 14 job-creating, high-priority infrastructure projects for expedited review — four of those are already under construction; in March of this year, just a few months ago, an executive order launched an inter-agency effort to cut red tape and improve outcomes for infrastructure projects; new federal plan that will require time-lines concurrent instead of sequential reviews; early coordination among federal, state, and local agencies to reduce duplication and adoption of other best practices. There are numerous initiatives that have been proposed by the Jobs Council that this administration has acted on, and that will continue to be the case.”
“So there’s no reason they haven’t met publicly?” he was asked.
“No,” Carney said, “there’s no specific reason except the president has obviously got a lot on his plate. But he continues to solicit and receive advice from numerous folks outside the administration about the economy, about the ideas that he can act on with Congress or administratively to help the economy grow and help it create jobs.”
That press conference also included a question about House Speaker John Boehner saying the president “doesn’t give a damn about middle-class Americans.”
“I would simply say that the president’s focus from day one in office has been on the middle class, has been on restoring the security that had been eroding for the middle class for a decade in this country,” Carney said. “All of his domestic initiatives are focused principally on the middle class.”
Not such good fodder for an RNC commercial.