Does CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien's job description include spoonfeeding Democratic talking points to Obama's deputy campaign manager? Quoting a study used by the Democratic-appointed CBO director to defend the stimulus plan, O'Brien asked Stephanie Cutter if there should be another stimulus, on Monday's Starting Point.
"So, is the takeaway from this, the stimulus worked, so there should be another stimulus?" O'Brien asked after touting a survey of economists that included the Obama's former economic advisers. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
CBO director Douglas Elmendorf had staunchly defended Obama's stimulus plan last week before Congress, and he cited the survey of economists who said unemployment would have been higher without it. Elmendorf was jointly appointed by then-Speaker Pelosi and then-Senator Robert Byrd in 2009 as the CBO director.
The study in question was conducted by the University of Chicago's business school and involved over 40 economists. 80 percent of them either strongly agreed or agreed with the premise that the nation's unemployment rate was lower at the end of 2010 than it would have been had the stimulus bill not been enacted.
A brief transcript of the segment, which aired on June 11 on Starting Point at 8:07 a.m. EDT, is as follows:
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: So there was a question they polled with this question. Did the stimulus help lower unemployment and 80 percent said "yes," "no" said 4 percent, and "uncertain" said 2 percent. These are 42 economic experts who were polled of this. So, is the takeaway from this, the stimulus worked, so there should be another stimulus? That would be another solution for the crisis that we're in right now, or the slowly improving crisis that we're in right now. What do you think?
STEPHANIE CUTTER, Obama deputy campaign manager: Well, I think those economists said that the stimulus worked in stemming off the economic downturn. The economic downturn, according to those economists, was much worse than anybody predicted in the fall of 2008. But what the stimulus did is it protected us from going off that cliff. It protected us from falling into a depression and actually resulted in saving and creating more than 3 million jobs.
But we need to do more. That's the message that the President was communicating on Friday. That we need to do more. We need to keep our foot on the pedal of this economy and continue doing things to help it grow rather than putting up roadblocks.
And that's the debate I think that we're going to have on the campaign trail. How do we grow this economy? President has solutions out there that would jump start our economy now, put people back to work. It's actually, according to independent economists, a million jobs that are sitting on the table in Congress if they would just move on those proposals.
O'BRIEN: Stephanie –
CUTTER: But unfortunately, we need some people to put the country ahead of politics, to move those proposals forward and so far House Republicans haven't been willing to do that.