WASHINGTON – Trying to figure out where the Obama team is going on the economy? It probably helps to be a stool maker.
The $825 billion stimulus bill moving through Congress “is just one leg in a multi-legged stool,” the president said during a visit to Congress this week.
Reporters have been trying ever since to figure out exactly how many legs are on the economic recovery stool.
“Is it a three-legged or a four-legged stool?” one reporter asked White House spokesman Robert Gibbs during a briefing Thursday. And, “What are those legs specifically?”
“I think roughly you have, whether you’re talking about stools or pillars or what have you, three main areas,” Gibbs said. “You have a Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, which is moving through Congress. You have a financial stability package. And you have financial re-regulation.”
“I don’t know that it’s tremendously pertinent to get caught up in whether there are three stools, three legs on this stool or four, or rungs, or what have you,” he said.
“I think the American people understand that we have to deal with … each of these in order to move the economy forward.”
Then Gibbs added a complication: ”I’m not sure … which leg housing is.”
But he sought to reassure the American people.
“You may not understand which leg of the stool you’re on, but you understand it’s a problem that has to be dealt with.”
What about the “international leg of the stool that was discussed by the G20 here … people say that it’s not moving anywhere,” asked a reporter, referring to a group of industrialized and major developing nations.
Gibbs said more detail on the international leg would be forthcoming as the G20 meeting in London in April draws near.
Reporters were not entirely satisfied with the level of detail coming from the White House spokesman.
“I’m wondering,” said one, “when you’re going to show us a little more leg.”
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Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young (Gibbs at a briefing Tuesday)