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Obama White House: Who really cares about unemployment anyway?


When White House senior political advisor David Plouffe remarked that voters in 2012 won't be all that concerned with rising unemployment when they cast their vote for president, two things came to mind: 1) he's out of his mind; or 2) he's suffering from chronic wishful thinking.

I tended to lean toward the latter, although the remarks from Obama's former campaign manager were hard to ignore. Still, I gave Plouffe the benefit of the doubt. But today, White House spokesman Jay Carney echoed Plouffe's nonsense during today's press briefing, making the comments even harder to ignore:

[ABC News' Jake] TAPPER: OK. And lastly, comments by Senior Adviser David Plouffe were criticized today. Earlier this week, he said, quote, "The average American does not view the economy through the prism of GDP or unemployment rates or even monthly jobs numbers. People won't vote based on the unemployment rate, they're going to vote based on how do I feel about my own situation: Do I believe the president makes decisions based on me and my family?"

And Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney said that those comments were -- he suggested they were out of touch, and he said that if Plouffe worked for him, he would fire him.

CARNEY: Well, I understand that we're engaged in the – or rather, the Republicans are engaged in a primary campaign, trying to get some media attention. I don't know where, you know, the voters that some other folks might be talking to -- but -- or -- but most people do not sit around their kitchen table and analyze GDP and unemployment numbers. They talk about how they feel their own economic situation is. And they measure it by whether they have a job, whether they have job security; whether their house – whether they're meeting their house payment, whether their mortgage is underwater; whether they have the money to pay for their children's education or they don't; whether they're dealing with a sick parent and can afford that, or whether they can't.

They do not sit around analyzing The Wall Street Journal or other -- or Bloomberg to look at the -- you know, analyze the numbers. Now, maybe some folks do, but not most Americans. I think that's the point David Plouffe was making; that's the point the president was making just moments ago in his statement in the Rose Garden.

After downplaying the importance of the nation's unemployment rate, the White House turned around and defended its economic record by declaring unemployment will drop to 8.2 percent by... November 2012.

"The president has taken responsibility that we have to do everything we can," White House senior economic advisor Austan Goolsbee told CNBC when asked if the White House will take the blame for Friday's poor jobs report. "It is his number-one priority. We wake up every day -- what can we do to get the growth rate higher?"

Goolsbee boasted that "hundreds of thousands of jobs if not millions" could be created by the fourth quarter of 2012.

"I think these numbers from last month and this month are a call to action for Washington to stop the bickering, to stop the, frankly, dangerous actions that doing nothing will have for the economy, that we should do the things that there's bipartisan agreement on that will create jobs and get the growth rate higher," Goolsbee said.

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