Romney’s Foreign Policy Speech and Jobs Numbers: Today’s Q’s for O’s WH — 10/7/2011

Oct 7, 2011 12:54pm

TAPPER: I wanted to ask you a question about a Romney comment as well. Specifically, he said, “If you do not want America to be the strongest nation on Earth, I am not your president. You have that president today.” Without reading the quote –

CARNEY: Again, I think –

TAPPER: — on Iraq and Afghanistan, if you could address the idea that this is — this is a common theme the Republicans are making, that the president does not believe in American exceptionalism, does not believe America should be the strongest nation on Earth, is ceding leadership.

CARNEY: Again, I think, Jake they have to say something. And it doesn’t make any sense because, from the moment Barack Obama became a national figure, it was based on the idea that America is the exceptional country around the world. That was the essence of the speech that he gave at the convention in 2004 that put him into the public consciousness.

It is something he repeats all the time. He ends many speeches, I believe — I hear him say often that this is the greatest country in the world. He believes that. And he lived it. He has lived it.

Separately, you know, his record on foreign policy and national security policy speaks for itself. We are stronger. We are safer. We have taken the fight to our principal enemy with a level of aggression and success that is unprecedented. We have improved our relationships around the world with our allies and our partners. And we have made great strides in engaging with the Far East, for example, with the Pacific Region, in a way that was neglected prior to this administration.

We — I think we have every reason to be quite proud of the record that this president has in foreign policy and national security matters.

TAPPER: Can I ask a question about jobs? This was another disappointing jobs report for the president. If the economy does not significantly improve by next year, can President Obama be re-elected, and does he deserve to be?

CARNEY: Well, first of all, I think that the jobs report actually was better than expected. But as we said and others have said already this morning, it is far from good enough.

TAPPER: It’s below the rate of population growth.

CARNEY: No question. No question. And that’s why we need to do something about the economy and job creation. That’s why the president is out there every day talking about the need to pass the American Jobs Act. And if others have better ideas or good ideas that will help the economy grow and create jobs now, as opposed to sometime in the future, then he wants to hear them and he’s eager to have conversations about it.

TAPPER: Well, haven’t Boehner — haven’t Boehner and Cantor requested a meeting with the president and he hasn’t responded?

CARNEY: Well, the president has met with them. I mean, I think any American who has watched this president engage with members of Congress of both parties during the time that he’s been in office understands well that he has made every effort to consult with, cooperate with, negotiate with Republicans in Congress. And he will continue to do that.

The president’s put forward a plan. Again, it was designed with the idea that it would be filled with things that have traditionally enjoyed bipartisan support. It is a plan that is paid for, so it is not an issue of contributing to our deficit. And he believes that Congress ought to act on that plan.

The Republicans have put forward a plan, as you know. Elements of that plan that this president believes are completely meritorious he has supported, and in the case of patent reform, signed into law, and it — looks forward, hopefully, to signing into law the free trade agreements as well as TAA in the relatively near future. Those are important things that will not have an immediate impact on jobs but are important, and he supports them.

What we haven’t seen yet from the Republicans is our jobs proposals that — our proposals that have an immediate impact on economic growth and jobs. You know, the idea that deregulation is the answer to our economic woes is just unfounded, as many economists and economic advisers to — I mean, senior economic advisers to President Reagan and President Bush 41 made that case clear based on the data, based on the information from the private sector just the other day.

TAPPER: I understand why you’ve changed the subject to that, but the question was –

CARNEY: But your question is, can he get reelected? Absolutely.

TAPPER: Can he get reelected if the economy does not significantly improve, and does he deserve to?

CARNEY: Yes. And here’s why: Because what the election will be about is, whose vision for America’s future is best? Whose ideas for moving America forward are best? And what we confidently believe is that the American people will see in President Obama’s vision for the future the right answers. What we also believe is that if the Republican nominee, once he or she emerges, runs on the proposals that have been generated so far, which are essentially mirror images — or not mirror images, but exact replications of the policies that got us into this mess, the American people won’t think that is the right answer.

You know, what we don’t need to move forward is to reach back to implement the things that got us into the mess.

One perfect example of this that’s moving right now, with regards to the president’s nominee to be a consumer watchdog, to look out for consumers who have been in the past taken advantage of by financial institutions, the efforts by Republicans — the explicit determination by Republicans to prevent that nomination from coming — from being approved, and basically to roll back all of the Wall Street reforms that this president fought hard to put into place.

Well, wait a second. Everybody knows that the worst financial crisis this country has seen since the 1930s occurred in part because of lax regulation. Did — is that the argument, that we should remove all of the protections that the — that this legislation put into place precisely to prevent the kind of collapse we had, or near-collapse we had in 2007, that that should happen; to ensure that the kind of taxpayer-funded bailouts that occurred last time will never happen again, that should be removed? I just think we’re happy to have that debate. And on the merits of that debate, yes, the president will be re-elected.

-Jake Tapper

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