March 6th, 2009
12:50 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama aide on jobs numbers: 'No way to spin it...terrible'

[cnn-photo-caption image=
caption="Romer chairs the Council of Economic Advisors."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - She is known for her cheery disposition and motherly demeanor, especially beside some of the dour faces that surround her, but Christina Romer, the president's chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisors, is delivering the cold, hard facts on the nation's new jobless numbers. Making her way from camera to camera, Romer is the face of the administration's bad news.

"I think there's no way we could or should spin these. They are terrible. We know that we've lost now more than 650,000 jobs each of the last three months, and that's a tragedy for the American families that are losing those jobs and for the whole economy," Romer told CNN.

On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the February unemployment figures, which showed an increase from 7.6 to 8.1 percent - numbers Romer said were not surprising. "I think the important thing is they were much of what we expected. But they are still very bad," she said. "The unemployment rate clearly went up a little bit more than the market had been expecting. The job loss is just what we were expecting."

Romer, who stands just over five feet tall, speaks with pride about being part of a group of several dozen academics who've joined the Obama administration's economic team. Born on Christmas, Romer is sporting a bright red coat and her trademark smile today. Her reassuring demeanor has some observers likening her to a school teacher or librarian.

She is a powerhouse player with a PhD from MIT and numerous books and papers under her belt regarding the Great Depression. But Romer delivers the economic blows with a kind of optimism not displayed by the rest of the presidents economic team.

Romer told CNN Friday she is confident the administration is on the right path. "The message I'd like to give to the American people is the president has been so careful to say to the American people we know it will get worse before it gets better. Precisely because we knew that plans we put in place take time to work. But they are in place. The fiscal stabilization plan, the financial stabilization plan, and the housing plan. Those are our three big doses of medicine for the economy but they're likely to take unfortunately a few months to work."

Romer does not believe any one plan is more important than the other in getting accomplished quickly. "I'm actually a great believer that they all need to work at once. That I think they reinforce each other. That it's not, you need to get the financial markets working before the fiscal package does something. I think there's influence the other way. As we get people creating jobs they're more likely to pay their loans and so the banks are healthier. I think we just got to go through on each one of these simultaneously," Romer said.

On a day when Americans are learning this is the worst unemployment rate in a quarter century, Romer is consistently realistic but rosy. "The President's message is we will recover. I think that's what the American people need to hear. Cause sometimes in the midst of it it's hard to keep your eye on that, on that hope that is absolutely coming down the line."

Filed under: Christina Romer
soundoff (148 Responses)
  1. cruiserGT

    Godluvr said : "This is a time for those who know how to pray to pray. "

    Not because it is our only alternative, but because we and our leadership require wisdom in trying times.

    Americans must let their government know that we want our markets stable. If you do not want this, then you definitely won't like the next thing you need to say... Let your elected officials know that now is not the time to spend (give away money), it is the time to cut spending. Now is not the time to tax, now it the time to cuts taxes.

    The markets will respond in light speed.

    March 6, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  2. Josh

    I cant believe all you people that just bicker on here!

    It has been 46 days!

    At least she is open and upfront about it. They knew this was going to happen. What would you prefer? "Mission Accomplished"?

    Ridiculous. You still believe in the people that sold all these bad loans, that gave out billions of dollars in bonuses while your stocks plummetted, that took trillions of dollars in YOUR TAX DOLLARS and did not help a single person. I don't know how you got so brain washed, but they sure used a strong soap!

    March 6, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  3. And it grows and grows.....

    Don't worry, Obama or Nancy will find a way to spin it or blame it all on Bush.

    March 6, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  4. Moe, NY

    Thank you Ms. Romer for telling it like it is....I find that rather refreshing, but then again the Republicans/Conservatives are the Queens and Kings of spin. Hopefully, President Obama's economic plan will kick in and things will get better. I, for one, want to see President Obama win this one...he has my support.

    March 6, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  5. Tom Kaye

    In just two months from Sept. 08 to Oct. 08, (Bush) the stock market went down well over 3,000 points.

    In three months since Obama's been elected it's gone done 1,500 points.

    While the current plunge is nothing to write home about, I'd say Obama's been doing much better than Bush.

    March 6, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  6. Kevin in Ohio

    Its starting to smell like BO...... and it stinks.

    March 6, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  7. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Let's challenge RUSH LIMBAUGH, STEELE AND THE REST OF THE GOP to show us just one (1) job they have created.

    March 6, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  8. Mike

    Here is the headline from the DNC: " Its president Bush's fault, dont blame us"

    March 6, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  9. Lynn

    Why do some people continue to point to Wall Street's reaction to everything as an indication of the effectiveness of this administration's policies? Was Wall Street not responding well when all of this subterfuge was going on to contribute to the current financial situation? The majority of Americans live on Main Street. We are tired of sacrificing and doing all the back breaking work to make a few people ridiculously wealthy.

    March 6, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  10. Jon


    March 6, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  11. Capt. SNarKy

    AndyL said

    "The stock market and jobs will continue to spiral downward as long as President Hope & Change continues to tell investors and business man that it's not ok to make a profit in new socialist America. Just sit at home on welfare and make the evil rich pay for it. Thank you for rewarding failure Mr. President."

    I forget who to attribute this to, but someone once said – " the downside of Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money."

    March 6, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  12. Pee Wee

    She looks like she could be Limbaugh's sister!

    March 6, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  13. The Last Patriot

    Looks like the Obama/Pelosi/Reid war on private sector enterprise is getting results already! Yay!

    March 6, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  14. N D pin dent

    LOL @ AndyL's "Thank you for rewarding every failure Mr. President" are serious.

    March 6, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  15. Angie in Pa

    Truth Hurts! But atleast We Hear the Truth Unlike W And His Administration HID everything From Us and was so Secretive!

    March 6, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  16. RI Santa Rosa CA

    After Bush and friends took the country down over 8 years, it will take some time to clean up. It is frankly incredible that some posters here blame the current situation on Obama, who has been in office a few weeks,

    March 6, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  17. Lisa

    How much do you wanna bet that all the folks blaming the economic crisis on our newly elected President listen to Rush Limpballs? How much? Dittoheads!

    March 6, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  18. Lisa

    How long will we keep blaming Bush for the mess we are in?


    March 6, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  19. Lotta Muni

    In other words, this lady will spin numbers when it benefits the white house. I've heard her speak and she lives in a fantasy land with tinkerbell.

    March 6, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  20. Tim

    @ AndyL who sid "The stock market and jobs will continue to spiral downward as long as President Hope & Change continues to tell investors and business man that it's not ok to make a profit in new socialist America.
    I call BS
    We dont owe investors squat. De-regulation and greed by the folks you are trying to distract from is what got the market where it is.
    This would have happened no matter who was in the White House.

    Face it, we implcitly trusted the companies we own stock in. There greed cuased there own demise and our portfolios go down with them.
    When we invest over time we win and lose. We all got burned by the greed, But hey, we all are grown up enough to admit we take risks and sometimes its a bad risk when we invest.
    That applies to companies and investors.
    Investment is risk. Live with it.

    March 6, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  21. Lawrence

    If President Obama were to invade, say 20 countries, and send 150,000 to 200,000 newly recruited troops to each country, he could create the 3,000,000 jobs he is hoping for. He has historical precedent – after all, FDR got us out of the depression through World War II

    March 6, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  22. Carrie

    I love how everyone can say look what Obama has done when it comes to the economy but the man has been in office for just over a month!

    What were all of you saying for the past 8 years as the downward spiral began!? You can't blame the Democrats who just barely controlled the House for the past 2 years!

    March 6, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  23. Charlie in Maine

    Open and honest. Now that is cahnge I can believe in. Ironic he is the youngest President in quite some time but he is the first adult to hold the job since George Sr.

    March 6, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  24. playlist

    YEA Right!! do you neocons actually think you can hang 8 years of UTTER failure on Obama....yea...thats why you're in EXILE and that's the CHANGE we believe in!!!

    March 6, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  25. Charlie in Maine

    Note to Mike,

    It took the Republicans eight years to get us into this mess. It will take Obama more than one month to get us out of it.

    March 6, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
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