Jarrett to Congress: Pass the Jobs Bill, or Else

More

Top White House adviser Valerie Jarrett threw down the gauntlet for Congress: Pass the president's jobs bill, or face the consequences.

"What we know is that if they do act, we are going to see growth. We are going to see job creation," Jarrett said at the Washington Ideas Forum on Wednesday. "If they don't act, we don't know what's going to happen, but we know it won't be as good as if they do act."

Asked whether the votes are there, Jarrett said, "We'll see." When the Senate takes up the bill next week, "Everybody gets to see where folks stand."

Washington Ideas Forum - Full Coverage

Jarrett, a longtime close friend of President Obama, acknowledged that turning the economy around has been harder than his administration anticipated. She laid the blame on the Bush administration and the "mess" the president "inherited," and said Obama's reelection strategy will hinge on emphasizing that he has done the best he could under the circumstances.

"People would wish that he had a magic wand and could turn things around overnight, but we can't," she said. "Part of our process is to tell this story about how hard this was going to be, and it turned out to be much harder than any of the economists would have predicted."

She also said the administration hasn't done a good enough job getting the message out about its accomplishments. And she acknowledged that Obama is frequently exasperated by the politics that often overshadow policy debates. "There is a frustration -- I sensed [it] from him even in his earliest days in the state Senate," she said.

Despite external calls for a White House shakeup in response to Obama's sinking approval ratings -- Democratic consultant James Carville famously called for mass firings recently -- Jarrett said the mood remains calm and optimistic. And the president, she said, has not been smoking.

"His ability to kind of kick that terrible habit is terrific," she said. "I don't think he's been doing any sneaking."

View the full session at FORA.tv

Jump to comments
Presented by

Molly Ball is a staff writer covering national politics at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to a Seaside Town in Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where the Wild Things Go

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Adults Need Playtime Too

When was the last time you played your favorite childhood game?

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In