Tales from the Trail
INDIANAPOLIS – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama refuted controversial comments by his Chicago pastor again on Friday and sought to play up his own origins in an effort to combat perceptions that he is an “elitist”.
WASHINGTON – One interesting tidbit that came out of the exit polling from Pennsylvania Democratic voters is that a large majority believe the U.S. economy is already in recession — contrary what the current president said on Tuesday.
A whopping 88 percent of voters in Pennsylvania — a state trying to transition from steel and coal industries to high-tech and medical research — said the U.S. economy was in a recession, with 42 percent saying it was a serious recession and 47 percent said it was a moderate contraction, according to exit poll data on CNN’s Web site (page 5 of data).
On Tuesday, President George W. Bush cited the most recent economic data showing small growth in the fourth quarter of 2007. But he also acknowledged that the first quarter figures had not yet been released.
“We’re not in a recession. We’re in a slowdown,” Bush said after meetings with leaders of Canada and Mexico. “We haven’t had first quarter growth statistics yet. But there’s no question we’re in a slowdown.”
Democratic presidential hopefuls Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have both said the economy was in a recession as has Republican presumptive nominee Sen. John McCain.
But White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said on Wednesday such pronouncements were a little early in the game.
“We don’t have data yet and it’s a little premature to declare it so definitively as a recession because the data isn’t in,” she told reporters.
The Commerce Department is due to release the GDP figures for the first quarter on April 30, which is also when the U.S. Federal Reserve’s interest rate-setting committee will announce whether it is cutting rates again.