White House Shifts Blame From Obama When Confronted With Damaging Stat on Sluggish Growth

January 6, 2017

When confronted Friday with a damaging statistic about sluggish economic growth during President Obama's tenure, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that Obama would take responsibility for whatever happened during his presidency before shifting blame to events that preceded him entering office.

"The president is also going to leave office, I believe, with a distinction of being the first president since Herbert Hoover not to experience a year of growth three percent GDP," NBC News reporter Ron Allen said during the White House daily press briefing. "That's correct, right?"

Earnest said that he is unaware of the statistic but can "certainly look into it."

"That's what I've read," Allen said before asking if the statistic is true, would Obama accept responsibility for it.

He also wanted to know how the White House would explain the "sluggish" economic growth over the past few years.

"And the other thing, some would argue that the slow growth is, in part, what has contributed to this feeling of anxiety in the country, that things aren't getting better and that may be one of the crucial variables that swung the election, if you want to keep going on down this road or what," Allen said.

Earnest started his response by saying that Obama will take full responsibility because he has done so in the past.

"Well, I'll say a couple things about that," he said. "I think the first is that the president of the United States is somebody who takes responsibility for what happens in this country while he's president, and President Obama has certainly done that in a variety of settings."

Earnest then said that Obama has acknowledged and given credit to the private sector for "driving our recovery."

He then shifted the blame to the 2007-2008 financial crisis that occurred under former President George W. Bush before Obama entered office.

"The president has also frequently made the observation that the financial crisis that the United States encountered was just significant, it was historic," Earnest said. "The largest recession in our nation's history since the Great Depression, and all that occurred right as President Obama was taking office."

"And so we were digging out of a historically large hole–certainly the largest hole that any president faced," he added.