TAPPER: The items that the president outlined today that Congress needs to do right now, he's been talking about a number of them — patent reform, the trade deals and infrastructure things — for a long time. This is not –
CARNEY: Well, for several weeks, some of them. But yeah.
TAPPER: Some of them for several months, right? So — the trade deals. In any case –
CARNEY: Well, the trade deals have not been in front of Congress for that long. We're saying that they are there now and they should be acted on right now.
TAPPER: Okay. What has been the holdup? He's the leader of the free world; he's not some guy down the street. What has been the holdup? Why has this not happened, despite his declared wishes?
CARNEY: Well, as you point out, he is the president of the United States; he's the chief executive. He is not a leader or a member of Congress, and Congress — these are actions that Congress — in terms of the free trade agreements, we have negotiated the agreements, renegotiated them, brought them to Congress as a package, and with a compromise on TAA that was worked out in a bipartisan way with the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee — or Ways and Means Committee, rather — and, you know, that is now in Congress' court, so it could be acted on.
Patent reform is working its way through Congress. It needs to be acted on, so — and what I think the point is, is that there's no silver bullet. There's no single piece of legislation that will somehow address all of our economic concerns. We just need to act continually, to take the actions that we can take that will have a positive impact on our economy and job creation. And those — the four he mentioned are ones that he thinks — and that have bipartisan support, and therefore could pass and become law relatively easily, compared to all the other things that we have to do that are so hard to negotiate.
TAPPER: Right, but when the president wants something to pass Congress — I mean, really wants it, whether it's Wall Street reform or the health care bill or whatever — he has a way of pushing it, of having it happen. What is the White House going to do today to have any of these items acted upon?
CARNEY: Well, the president's going to go out to the Rose Garden and call on Congress to act on them. One of the things that the president has that's unique is a rather substantial bully pulpit. And he utilized that today, as he has in the past, to press Congress to act on these measures. Now, we acknowledge — in part, because we have called — call on Congress to make this happen — that Congress is now engaged — and the Senate having cancelled its recess, the House cancelling a coming recess — you know, in the process of working assiduously to get us a bipartisan compromise on deficit reduction and debt reduction.
However, Congress, like the president, can walk and chew gum at the same time. And so we call on them to take the actions that we can take, that are there for the taking, because they have bipartisan support and to do the things that they can do to help grow the economy and create jobs.
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.