J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo
President Obama leaves the White House Roosevelt Room for his Asia trip after making comments on the October jobs report, Nov. 5, 2010.
President Obama had a chance to defend his economic stimulus Friday with the U.S. Labor Department report that the economy created 151,000 jobs in October.
That was much more than economists expected though the unemployment rate stayed the same at 9.6 percent.
But he noticeably didn't take the opportunity to explicitly link the job gains to the stimulus in comments he made at the White House before leaving on his ten-day Asia trip.
Was it merely an oversight? (It would seem hard to overlook the $787 billion stimulus.) Or has the president decided the stimulus was so unpopular with many voters in the midterm elections, including those all-important independents, that he's better off not bringing it up?
While the president didn't cite the stimulus at all, he made sure to note that the economy added more than private-sector 100,000 jobs for four consecutive months for the first time in four years.
It was his way of trying to remind people that he inherited the bad economy without citing his predecessor George W. Bush by name.
Here's part of the president's comments.
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. We are in the middle of a tough fight to get our economy growing faster, so that businesses across our country can open and expand, so that people can find good jobs, and so that we can repair the terrible damage that was done by the worst recession in our lifetimes. Today we received some encouraging news.
Based on today’s jobs report, we’ve now seen private-sector job growth for 10 straight months. That means that since January, the private sector has added 1.1 million jobs. Let me repeat, over the course of the last several months, we’ve seen over a million jobs added to the American economy. In October, the private sector has added 159,000 jobs. And we learned that businesses added more than 100,000 jobs in both August and September as well. So we’ve now seen four months of private-sector job growth above 100,000 [jobs], which is the first time we’ve seen this kind of increase in over four years.
Now, that’s not good enough. The unemployment rate is still unacceptably high and we’ve got a lot of work to do. This recession caused a great deal of hardship and it put millions of people out of work. So in order to repair this damage, in order to create the jobs to meet the large need, we need to accelerate our economic growth so that we are producing jobs at a faster pace.
Because the fact is an encouraging jobs report doesn’t make a difference if you’re still one of the millions of people who are looking for work. And I won’t be satisfied until everybody who is looking for a job can find one. So we’ve got to keep fighting for every job, for every new business, for every opportunity to get this economy moving. And just as we passed a small business jobs bill based on ideas from both parties and the private sector, I am open to any idea, any proposal, any way we can get the economy growing faster so that people who need work can find it faster.
This includes tax breaks for small businesses, like deferring taxes on new equipment, so that they’ve got an incentive to expand and hire, as well as tax cuts to make it cheaper for entrepreneurs to start companies. This includes building new infrastructure, from high-speed trains to high-speed Internet, so that our economy can run faster and smarter. It includes promoting research and innovation, and creating incentives in growth sectors like the clean energy economy. And it certainly includes keeping tax rates low for middle-class families and extending unemployment benefits to help those hardest hit by the downturn while generating more demand in the economy...