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« Biden, The Amtrak VP, Praises Rail Funds In Stimulus | Blog Home Page | Strategy Memo: Tourney Time »

White House's Changing Economic Language: No "Mission Accomplished" Banners

The Obama administration is clearly trying to strike the right balance when it comes to talking about the economy. First, the president was described as being too negative and lacking the message of hope when it came to his public statements. Then his budget was criticized for its overly rosy projections of a recovery.

This week, the administration is pointing to positive indicators - including a four-day streak of gains at the stock market, in suggesting that the nation may be turning a corner.

"I don't think things are ever as good as they say and they're never as bad as they say," Obama told CEOs yesterday.

Today, the president continued his economic focus as he met with Paul Volcker, head of his economic recovery board. He was asked about his economic adviser Larry Summers saying one problem was an "excess of fear" among Americans.

"If we are keeping focused on all the fundamentally sound aspects of our economy, all the outstanding companies, workers, all the innovation and dynamism in this economy, then we're going to get through this. And I'm very confident about that," Obama said.

Press secretary Robert Gibbs attempted to explain the new language on the state of the economy.

"I think we've seen some glimmers of hope," Gibbs said. Asked if the administration sees any stabilization, Gibbs was careful not to declare the end near, alluding to a famous declaration from Pres. Bush.

"We're hopeful that the pillars are beginning to be put in place to stop the downturn, to turn the economy around, to create jobs, put more money back in people's pockets, and provide that long-term economic growth," he said. "[It's] important to stress that we've unfurled no 'Mission Accomplished' banners and I think any suggestion of that would be quite premature."

Before the president took office and early in his term, he would repeatedly say that things would "get worse before they get better." I asked if that was still the case.

"Sure," Gibbs said. "What's important -- whether things get a little bit worse or a little bit better, the President is taking steps to put us on a path towards job creation, economic growth, income growth -- and more importantly, to address the long-term challenges that we've faced for so long.",