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Exchange of the Day

Robert Gibbs is in super-spin mode on stimulus jobs. You see, the states only report the guy hired to build the road, while the White House wants to count the guy who sold the guy who builds the road a Coke in its job figures. The White House calls that the “multiplier” effect:

Q Robert, two weeks ago in a conference call with the nation’s governors, Vice President Biden mentioned that he was concerned and they expressed their concerns that the job figures that they’ll report on the stimulus will be significantly lower than what the administration has already said was created.

MR. GIBBS: I think part of that is — as I understand it, the reports themselves do not count a multiplier effect for jobs, which –

Q Right. The states have to report auditable jobs only.

MR. GIBBS: Right, that when we obviously know that in order to pave a road it’s not the person paving the road. Somebody has got to make the pavement. Somebody makes those orange cones so we don’t crash into the people paving the road. So, you know, we feel comfortable with our estimates.

Q Well, the Vice President doesn’t, because he used the term “mouse-trapped” when he talked about how the administration and the states could be captured by this discrepancy in the figures. So I want to ask, how did the White House get itself into this box, given that jobs creation should be enough to be the key part of a partisan debate on –

MR. GIBBS: I don’t think — I don’t think what the Vice President is saying is different than what I’m saying. There are different measures for different things. We feel very comfortable that the estimates that have been made are completely accurate. These reports measure something different than that. It’s just two different measurements. But we feel comfortable with where we are.

Q Is that number one million jobs saved or created?

MR. GIBBS: That’s whatever the CEA last reported to you guys.

Q Well, it’s what I believe Vice President Biden said last week. So you stand by that?

MR. GIBBS: Everybody does, yes.

Q States don’t, though. They will report less.

MR. GIBBS: Again, because they’re not reporting multiplied jobs, right? So let’s say — well, I won’t use that example, that will just get me in trouble. I’ll go back to my example –

Q Come on.

MR. GIBBS: No, no, no, no, no –

Q Come on. (Laughter.)

MR. GIBBS: No, no, no, no — no, no, no, no — (laughter.) The angel won, the devil lost.

No, no, again — again, go back to my example. Go into the example of virtually everything that if you’re creating jobs for clean energy jobs, there is a process along the way. There’s many different components, not all of which are measured in these reports. That’s — what I’m telling you is –

Q But would there have been a way to resolve the discrepancy that will emerge when these reports come in on Thursday?

MR. GIBBS: We’re not worried about whatever discrepancy it is you’re trying to make into a much bigger story.

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