Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration wants to boost the staggering U.S. economy by boosting exports and offering small-business tax credits, but the prospects for additional stimulus spending are weak, the president's top political adviser conceded Sunday.
"Everybody agrees we have to do more," David Axelrod told CNN's "State of the Union." He said the administration has boosted the economy with its first stimulus package, which it pushed through Congress shortly after taking office in 2009, and Obama has pledged to double U.S. exports in five years, but, "We
have to accelerate that."
But with members of Congress expressing increasing concern about the budget deficit, which already tops $1 trillion for a budget year that ends in September, Axelrod admitted there's "not a great desire" for additional government spending.
Washington (CNN) – White House press secretary Robert Gibbs left open the possibility Sunday that President Obama could take a turn on the hardwood with NBA super star LeBron James.
“Look, I can only imagine if the president had an opportunity to play against LeBron James, he would take it,” Gibbs said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“I don't know that we would make the game public or the outcome or the score public because let's just say somebody [like James] who is 6-foot-8, quite that size, starts with an advantage that is hard for the president to make up.”
Gibbs was reacting to comments James made to ESPN Thursday after he announced he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat. The NBA star said he wouldn’t mind playing against the commander in chief.
“'I think President Obama would hold his own. I've seen him shoot the ball — he's a lefty, too. You know, pretty much all lefties can shoot,’" James said of the president, according to a report by The Hill newspaper. "’He's worked on his game a lot; I've seen him playing with the North Carolina University [University of North Carolina] also. So I think he'll hold his own.’"
Despite Obama’s and James’ shared love of basketball, Gibbs acknowledged Sunday that James had disappointed the president by deciding against joining Obama’s hometown favorite, the Chicago Bulls.
“He disappointed people in Ohio. He disappointed people in Chicago,” Gibbs said of James.
All Ax Almost All the Time
A trifecta for Obama senior adviser David Axelrod on CNN, ABC, and Fox. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs pulled a solo appearance on Meet the Press.
They Don’t Put These Folks Out for Nothin’
As the President’s poll numbers inch downward and the election inches closer, his men were out touting an economy that is better than it has been and worse than it will be. Delivering the best snark of the day, Gibbs said the Obama administration was not yet ready to “unfurl the mission accomplished banner.”
What, Us Worry?
“This is not a big surprise, “ says Axelrod of the President’s shrinking approval rating, in particular, the numbers among independent voters – 38% approval now compared to 56% approval same time last year. A poll reader of some repute and a master political guru, Axelrod suggested the media, in this case CNN, was overfocused on polls. (Imagine that in an election year). Anyhow, Axelrod says he told his boss a year ago his polls would go south. And they have.
Axelrod saw no inherent conflict between the President’s increasingly aggressive political rhetoric (say comparing Republicans to joy riding teenagers who want the car keys back) and his promise to change the tone in Washington. He says the President has done all he can. It’s those dang Republicans. “In order to have a partnership, you have to have people who are willing to be partners.”
In an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union, attorney Kenneth Feinberg said he expected to have his independent compensation program running by the first week of August. Feinberg told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley that his operation will be superimposed on top of the claims process already put in place by BP, which has more than 1,000 people working out of 35 offices in the Gulf Coast region.
“We’ll keep the people who are good. We’ll add people. We’ll accelerate claims. We’ll process the claims as quickly as we can,” Feinberg said. “We’re already prepared to give eligible claimants not one month emergency payments but six months with no obligation, no release required. Just to try and help people in the Gulf.”
Feinberg described the six-month payouts as providing “some degree of additional financial certainty” for the many individuals and businesses facing the economic havoc caused by the disaster. But Feinberg added that claimants can ask for less than six months in compensation if they so choose.
The well-known attorney, who administered the multi-billion-dollar 9/11 victims’ compensation fund and who set salaries for the top executives at banks recently bailed out by the federal government, also provided an overview of how he sees the claims process.
"On immigration, the reality is that the last time this debate occurred in the Senate there were 11 Republicans who joined in, and of course President Bush helped to lead the effort. And most Republicans are not willing to move forward now," Axelrod told CNN's "State of the Union."
Obama gave a major speech on the need for immigration reform earlier this month, but it failed to breathe life into the stalled immigration legislation. He met with members of Congress before and after his speech, and his position is that the bill can only pass with Republican help.
According to Axelrod, Obama told a bipartisan group last summer, "Look, we need to solve this problem, we need accountability in the system at the border. We need accountability among employers so they are not violating the law. We need the accountability on the part of the 11 million who are here illegally. We can do that, but we have to do it together."
Updated: 12:58 p.m.
Washington (CNN) - With less than four months until this year's midterm Election Day, the Obama administration is defending its record in response to criticism from liberals and progressives who are increasingly saying the president has not been aggressive enough in pursuing their preferred agenda.
"My admonition would be: Don't make the perfect the enemy of the good," Obama senior adviser David Axelrod said Sunday on CNN's State of the Union in an effort to speak directly to the president's liberal critics. "We've achieved more in these two years - in terms of advancing a solid progressive agenda for this country that will help working families and make this a better, more balanced economy - than anyone has done, you know, in our generation."
As evidence of Obama's movement on liberals' preferred agenda items, Axelrod mentioned comprehensive reform to the nation's health care system that would extend coverage to more of the uninsured and improve care for those with insurance.
"We've been talking about that for a hundred years," Axelrod told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. "Barack Obama got it done," he said. "We've been talking about financial reform for a long time. We've got the deepest reform since the Great Depression."
The senior Obama aide also mentioned the administration's move to boost fuel efficiency standards and the president's desire to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays and lesbians serving in the U.S. military. "That policy is going to be changed," declared Axelrod.
Axelrod continued, "And I can go through a long list of things that have languished for years and decades and generations that this president got done in the midst of a very difficult time."
While he defended the president's record to liberals, Axelrod also sought to fault Republicans for a lack of cooperation with Obama, who campaigned on the idea of changing the tone in Washington.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Lawmakers come back to work Monday facing a tough decision: Whether it's more important to spend money to keep the economic recovery going or to watch their pennies.
One camp, made up mostly of Democrats, is arguing that Congress must spend to help cash-strapped states and people who are hurting from the downturn.
The other side - mainly Republicans but also a few fiscally conservative Democrats - says that adding to the nation's deficit poses an even bigger economic problem. They don't mind helping the unemployed and the states, as long as the measures are paid for.
Lawmakers don't have much time to argue. They'll be in session for a month before leaving for the extended August recess. And when they return after Labor Day, they'll be wrapped up in the November elections and likely will get little done.
There are three pressing issues that lawmakers will wrestle with in July.