Vice President Joe Biden sat down with All Things Considered host Robert Siegel Tuesday in Milwaukee where the vice president and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner had taken the Obama Administration's middle-class task force.
Biden stood by his optimistic forecasts that the economy before long would begin to add jobs on a monthly basis in the hundreds of thousands.
Robert noted that the White House has recently had to temper some of the vice president's more sunny comments about job growth.
But Biden didn't back away from his overall prediction that the economic turnaround will gain speed. If Biden had any doubts, he sure didn't show them.
ROBERT: You've made some forecasts of job growth that have led the White House spokesman to remind us that you're an optimistic man.
ROBERT: Talking about new jobs being created at a quarter of a million a month soon, half a million a month.
BIDEN: No, that's not what I said. That's not what I said. Here's what I said. And by the way, I said back in January we'd be creating jobs by the second quarter and everybody said the same thing then.
Well guess what? The last quarter we created an average of 53,000 jobs a month.
I said we will be creating jobs between a hundred and 200,000 a month. But we will, at some periods in there, there will be an ebb and flow, create between 250 (000) and 500,000. I think we'll hit a month where we'll create as many as 500,000 jobs a month.
But that's a long way (from being able) to erase an 8 million job deficit.
ROBERT: Let me put the question this way: do you have to get to that? Does the economy have to get to that level soon for your hopes for the American middle class to bear out?
BIDEN: No. What has to happen is there has to be continued forward progress. There's going to be ebbs and flows. If (it's) three paces forward and one pace back, but it has to constantly be moving in the direction of job creation, number one.
Number two, no one's doubting right now that we're gonna have continued projected growth on the GDP that is extended out.
And that's already happening. When the recovery act came up I predicted that the GDP would grow. We inherited a 6.4 deficit, that is (percentage) decline in GDP. 5.6 percent last quarter. I predicted that too.
ROBERT: So you've been a pretty good forecaster.
BIDEN: Well no, here's my point. I am absolutely confident that the policies we put in place are sending the economy and the American public in the right direction. Of that I am confident.
Whether it turns out we create an average of 100,000 jobs a month or 200 or more, that remains to be seen. But we will continue, continue to engage in job creation, the economy will continue to grow and business will begin to expand again.