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. Glennis

    And when the last of the jobs are gone as a result of Obama's business punishing agenda, how will they spin it?

    March 6, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  2. Howard

    Something else for all you hardcore Christian Conservatives to think about.
    During Bush's Presidency our country was hit constantly with natural disasters. If you believe Obama is the antichrist shouldn't God punish us even more severely. I wonder how many natural disasters we will experience? Just throwing that out there.

    March 6, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  3. Terry, Lakeland Florida

    wait I thought Obama was goign to fix everything with a wave of his magic wand the day he took office?

    March 6, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  4. Snake eyes


    March 6, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  5. Patrick - Indianapolis

    Conservative jealousy at its finest. Honestly, I love how hateful they are. Their hate is like vitamins to me!

    March 6, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  6. Dawn

    Mike I need to answer you, but one question you need to answer. "If you don't know your history you are doomed to repeat it"

    The Great Depression the Wall Street crashed, Obama has only been in the office for 45 days. He is not Super President, by the way was already taken. He has to go one day at a time. Taking and doing going and promoting. Talking, doing and promoting.

    By the way, there is more people that are back to work, one after the signing if the Stimulas in Missouri they broke ground to build a bridge. In Chicago, that place that made windows, a company in California bought it to make energy efficient window and to rehire the worker, and there is more.

    Get a life, it will take some time.

    March 6, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  7. cruiserGT

    Howard – LOL! You and I both know that President Bush was personally responsible for all those natural events.

    I know you were kidding, but let's all hope that God is still the foundation we stand on. Everything else aside, we need mercy and grace in great abundance to get through this mess.

    March 6, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  8. Michael

    How ard,

    Wow, you really think God blesses or punishes a nation based on the one person who is their leader? You ever been to church or read the Bible?

    March 6, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  9. Troy

    @mike... He's been in office for less than 2mo. Bush and the republicans destroyed the economy way long before he even took the oath.

    March 6, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  10. Terry, Dallas Texas

    So doing nothing would be better eh? It's kind of hard for capitalism to succeed when NO ONE HAS A JOB!!

    March 6, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. angie

    I find it very amusing that once upon a time in our nation's history, there was another man who was labeled as a "Communist" while others chafed under his desire to change the system. That man was Martin Luther King and he will forever be remembered as a great man who strived for the greater good despite the oods. Obama is no different in that regard. So, to all those who use the term "socialist" to spread fear, keep hating, keep being angry, resentful and hostile; your hearts are filled with hatred and jealousy and it shows everyday with your dispicable comments. You and your ilk represent the "old America", those tired, racist and obsolete views that have brought nothing but trouble to the rest of us who want to take that big leap forward into the 21st century. Your attitudes would keep us in the Stone Age forever!

    March 6, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  12. AndyL

    @thanks, but no thanks.

    Free market means you are allowed to "fail". Other will fill the void, when companies like Pan Am failed, they were not bailed out at tax payers cost. Also don't forget these bank failures are due to socialist policies of the Clinton administration who wanted everyone to own a home whether they could afford it or not. Now resposible people who managed their monies properly are stuck paying the bill for all the deadbeats. Again thanks to Obozo the Clown failure is rewarded.

    March 6, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  13. FreeNLovIt

    To Howard,

    Obie is not the AntiChrist. W and Obie BOTH will serve as platforms from which the AntiChrist will jump into a great leadership role.

    March 6, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  14. Nana68

    Goofy people did you not thing when the dow hit a record 14,000 that it was not going to hit rock bottom some day goof balls

    March 6, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  15. James

    Oh, I feel so sorry for the rich – can't handle a little increase in taxes – would rather see thousands layed off. If they can't handle giving a little more in rough times what kind of patriots are they – they would rather outsource their money and jobs to another country!!

    March 6, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  16. AndyL

    @ thanks but no thanks

    Forgot to mention one thing. Any monies that I have to invest, will be invested in a place where success is rewarded and where one is allowed to reap the benefits of his\hers risk taking and hard work. At this time this place is not the United States of America and the numbers on Wall Street lately certainly reflect my sentiments. Until we return to democracy and capitalism, there will be no investment or recovery in this country.

    March 6, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  17. Ryno

    I'm sure if we try we can blame Bush for these 25 new job's

    March 6, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  18. Scandal

    I am sooo sick and tired of you Republicans blaming Obama for this mess! Again....where were you and that fat crap Rush" when Bush was making this mess happen?! I bet if John McCain won...none of you woulld be complaining about the'd just sit quiet in ignorant bliss and comatose as you did for eight years.

    March 6, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  19. John

    Hey Dawn,

    Wall Street is reacting every day to Obama, so while he doesn't pay attention to "gyrations" of the market, the market is following him very very closely.

    He might want to "change" his position.

    March 6, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  20. MZ

    Can't wait til the Obama Kool-Aid wears off !! The Stock Market sure doesn't seem to be drinking any of it !!!

    March 6, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  21. The One

    This is now Obama's problem. It is about time he took responsibility for what is happening across America. We were led to believe that Obama was the solution to all our problems. But he hasn't made even a dent in the biggest economic and financial problems. More people lose their jobs every day Obama is in office. I just hope he can turn it around.

    March 6, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  22. Alex Badme, Albuquerque, NM

    Just keeping scaring people. They then don't spend. You then don't need workers to make anything, ship, sell, inspect, etc. DUH. Politicians and the Media are killing us all. I just want to know how far they want to tear our society apart so they can say we need the government to control everything we do. They are winning folks. The sky is indeed falling under the weight of the media and politicians. Try this exercise. Shut up for 1 month. Talk about Britney or Paris Hilton or some other BS for a month and see what happens.

    March 6, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  23. Realist

    Godluvr March 6th, 2009 1:41 pm ET

    When the jobs dry up and the land becomes barren: "If my people, who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven and forgive their sins and heal their land." There is famine in the land. The salt of the earth (Christians) have lost their effectiveness and their affectiveness. When they turn back to God, pray and seek His face in earnest; the economy will begin to turn around. It started with Bush, and President Obama is saddled with it now. But this is not the time for finger pointing. This is a time for those who know how to pray to pray. Laugh if you will, God is speaking from His high heaven. TGBAG.

    Shut up you bible thumping moron. Its hypocrites like yourself and other "god fearing" imbeciles that got us into the mess we're in to begin with.

    March 6, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
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