Today in Washington: May 22, 2012

As Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s criticisms pick up steam, the White House responds to disenchantment with the economy.

Posted: 05/22/2012 05:25 PM EDT

Washington, D.C., is still reverberating from Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s off-script, free-spirited comments in which he criticized the Obama campaign’s attack on Mitt Romney’s business record with Bain Capital as "nauseating."

 

The fact that the Obama campaign surrogate spokesman and “golden boy” of the Democratic Party could somehow go off-message over the weekend during a nationally televised interview begs for reaction from a White House that is still reeling from gaffes from the likes of Vice President Joe Biden's remarks in support of same-sex marriage and Hilary Rosen's statement that Romney's wife "had never worked a day in her life."

 

You'd have to think that the Obama administration must be experiencing a degree of trepidation as some of its most trusted spokespeople make statements that could cause more harm than good. During today’s press briefing at the White House, reporters pressed Obama spokesman Jay Carney on whether there are plans to use Mayor Booker as a surrogate for the campaign after his public rebuke and subsequent retreat.

 

Carney was coy, saying only that the president has cited Booker’s accomplishments as a mayor and that any questions about future plans to use him as a surrogate need to be directed toward the campaign.

 

But reporters also took a page from Booker’s rogue statements, asking the White House if Mitt Romney’s role with Bain Capital Equity Firm disqualifies him as a viable president. Carney said, "The issue here is not whether private equity plays a role in the economy, the issue is what experience you bring to the presidency. The president’s job is not to maximize the profits of the few but to look for opportunities for all Americans.”

 

Still, many Americans, especially those in the African-American community, have yet to recover from the effects of the worst recession since the Great Depression. So the press corps wanted to know what the White House’s view is of a new ABC News poll, which states that twice as many people say they are worse off today than they were two years ago.

 

Carney urged people not to take those results out of context saying, “That recession’s causes pre-date President Obama having taken office. And it is also true that most Americans do not want to go back to the policies that lead to that condition.”

 

While the White House admitted that there are still strides to make with the economy, it contends that we are not on the trajectory we were on four years ago.

 

 

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