It’s hard to believe a strategist as savvy as David Plouffe managed to come out with such an unfortunately-worded statement at the Bloomberg news breakfast yesterday:
“The average American does not view the economy through the prism of GDP or unemployment rates or even monthly jobs numbers,” Plouffe said. “People won’t vote based on the unemployment rate, they’re going to vote based on: ‘How do I feel about my own situation? Do I believe the president makes decisions based on me and my family?’”
What Plouffe is basically saying is Americans should just be grateful Obama has good intentions, and not expect any meaningful way to measure his achievements. But obviously if the key to being a successful president was simply making well-meaning decisions, then we’d have a lot more successful presidents.
Dave Weigel castigates Plouffe at Slate, writing that the blunder “is what we should call a Coakley Gaffe — a statement that reveals the subject is thinking about politics first, reality second.”
And it looks like the fallout for Plouffe might just be beginning. Mitt Romney quickly latched onto his comment, calling on Obama to fire him over it (and subsequently ensuring the gaffe gets even more media attention, as Ed Morrissey writes).
Plouffe’s optimism also couldn’t have been more poorly timed, coinciding with the release today of this month’s dismal job numbers:
The unemployment rate jumped unexpectedly higher in June as U.S. job growth was virtually non-existent.
Any hope that the economic recovery was temporarily scuffling seems to be crushed in lieu of a much more pessimistic view.
But let’s all take comfort in the knowledge Obama’s heart is in the right place.