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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Filling Gaps in the White House Website, Part 23

In an interview with NBC's Chuck Todd, the president fudges the distinction between "when" and "if."

TODD: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed - can you understand why it is offensive to some for this terrorist to get all the legal privileges of any American citizen?

OBAMA: I don't think it will be offensive at all when he's convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him.

TODD: But having that kind of confidence of a conviction - I mean one of the purposes of doing - going to the Justice Department and not military court is to show of the the world our fairness in our court system.

OBAMA: Well --

TODD: But you also just said that he was going to be convicted and given the death penalty.

OBAMA: Look - what I said was people will not be offended if that's the outcome. I'm not pre-judging; I'm not going to be in that courtroom, that's the job of prosecutors, the judge and the jury.

In an interview with Fox's Major Garrett, the president dismisses concerns about recovery.gov:

GARRETT: David Obey said yesterday that erroneous estimates from the Administration on the job creating power of the stimulus bill -- and I'm quoting now -- are outrageous and the administration owes itself, the Congress and every American a commitment to work night and day to correct these ludicrous mistakes. Your reaction?

OBAMA: Look I understand David Obey's frustration -- I think that we made a decision very early on, on the biggest stimulus package in history. And, every economic model that we looked at at the time said that if you start economic growth, that unemployment will cap out at a certain rate. Now, there is no doubt that unemployment's been worse than any of the economic models that occurred at the time.

GARRETT: But his criticism isn't about the job creating part, it's just about what you have said about the job creating. Have there been mistakes and do they need to be corrected?

OBAMA: Look, I think this is an inexact science. We're talking about a multi-trillion dollar economy that went through the worst economic crisis since 1933. The first measure of success of the economic recovery is: did we pull ourselves back from the brink? We did. Have we gotten economic growth going again? We have.

The question now is: can we make sure we're accelerating job growth? That's my number one job. Nobody's been more disappointed than I have to see how high the unemployment rate has gotten. And, I spend every waking hour, when I'm talking to my economic team, about how we are going to put people back to work.

GARRETT: So this is a side issue? The estimate thing?

OBAMA: This is a side issue.

GARRET: Got it.