Concerns About McGurk/Concerns of Carville - Today's Q's for O's WH
TAPPER: To follow up on the question on McGurk, the letter from the six Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is pretty specific about their issues. They say he lacks - McGurk lacks the leadership and management experience necessary to lead America's largest embassy in one of the most volatile - the world's most volatile regions. Members also have issues that stem from his role in the botched 2011 status of forces agreement negotiations. Furthermore, senators are concerned by reports that some Iraqi political groups have stated they will not work with McGurk if confirmed. And finally, the public release of information detailing unprofessional conduct demonstrates poor judgment and will affect his credibility in the country where he's been nominated to serve. These are pretty serious concerns. Are - do you just dismiss them?
CARNEY: Well, I would simply say that we believe that the United States will be greatly served by Mr. McGurk's experience in Iraq, which is substantial. And some of the points that you raise go to differing views about Iraq that have very little to do with our proposed nominees and just a - a nominee and just a difference of opinion. There are some who believe we should still be at war in Iraq. There are some who believe the president should not have ended U.S. involvement in the war in Iraq. The president simply disagrees. He made a commitment that he would do that. He made a commitment that he would withdraw U.S. forces, that we would get out of the war in Iraq more responsibly than we got into it. And he has fulfilled that promise. So that - there are elements of that letter that have to do with a broader disagreement, and -
TAPPER: OK, forget the ones about -
CARNEY: But in terms of McGurk, the president supports his nomination. He put him forward. He has a great deal of experience in Iraq, not just in this administration but in the prior administration, and thinks he will serve ably as ambassador.
TAPPER: There have been a couple of ambassadors that have had to step down, to - Luxembourg and the Bahamas. And there have been State Department reports suggesting dysfunctional leadership. Are you at all concerned that - did the emails that came out last week indicate a certain lack of professionalism by Mr. McGurk?
CARNEY: I don't have anything more for you on that particular issue. The State Department is probably the best place to go for that. I can tell you that the president put forward this nominee because he is qualified for the job and will serve ably when he's confirmed.
TAPPER: All right. My one other question is about the economy. James Carville, in an interview and also in a memo that he co-wrote with Stan Greenberg, expressed concern that the president, when he talks about how the economy is improving, risks leaving the impression among voters that the economy is doing well. And I know that - I'm sure you disagree. I just wanted to give you an opportunity to respond.
CARNEY: Sure. I would simply say that every time the president speaks about the economy, it is about the need to continue to help it grow, to continue to help it create jobs. What we all know is that this country has been through the worst economic cataclysm of our lifetimes. That is what was taking place in 2008 when the last election happened and in January 2009 when President Obama was sworn into office. And that has - stopping that cataclysmic economic slide, that decline, reversing it and beginning to climb out of the hole that the recession dug for this nation, has been the principal mission of this president and this administration.
He never fails to talk about the fact that we have much work to do, as you heard him say on Friday and as he says every time he discusses the economy. And I'm sure he will discuss it in those terms tomorrow when he speaks about it in Ohio. Look, we are highly cognizant of the fact and understand deeply the fact that the American people are still hurting. This economy and the recession that we went through resulted in something on the order of 9 million jobs lost.
We saw recently in the survey by the Federal Reserve about the wealth of the median American family being devastated by the recession - devastated. In - from the fourth quarter of 2007 until the first quarter of 2009, we saw a 40 percent decline in median wealth. That's a way - a fancy way of saying that the bottom fell out and the American people paid a huge price for the recession and the policies that led up to the recession.
And it is the central mission of this president, this presidency, this administration to put in place the policies that will help us grow, will help us create jobs and do it in a way that builds a foundation for the economy that is not shaky, that is not constructed out of the insubstantial stuff of housing bubbles or tech bubbles or financial industry bubbles but is built on investments in education, in innovation, in infrastructure, in energy. And that's been his objective and that encapsulates the policy approach he's taken when it - as it regards the economy.