I always learn so much about other people’s jobs when the president gives a press conference. When he’s asked about his own performance or scandals plaguing his administration, the president has a tendency to start popping out other people’s job descriptions. The job description deflection was on prominent display today.
The president was asked about prosecutions of Wall Street wrongdoers: “[O]ne of the reasons why so many of the people of the Occupy Wall Street protests are so angry is because, as you say, so many people on Wall Street did not follow the rules, but your administration hasn’t really been very aggressive in prosecuting. In fact, I don’t think any Wall Street executives have gone to jail despite the rampant corruption and malfeasance that did take place. So I was wondering if you’d comment on that.”
The answer was Eric Holder’s job description:
So without commenting on particular prosecutions — obviously that’s not my job; that’s the Attorney General’s job.
Q: Just a follow-up on Wall Street. Are you satisfied with how aggressive your administration has been when it comes to prosecuting? Because I know a lot of it was legal, but a lot of was not. There was fraud that took place.
THE PRESIDENT: Right. Well, let me say this: The President can’t go around saying, prosecute somebody. But as a general principle, if somebody is engaged in fraudulent actions, they need to be prosecuted. If they violated laws on the books, they need to be prosecuted. And that’s the Attorney General’s job, and I know that Attorney General Holder, U.S. attorneys all across the country, they take that job very seriously. Okay?
Moving onto Solyndra, the president tells us about the Department of Energy bureaucrats’ jobs.
Q: There have been reports with Solyndra in particular that investors warned your administration that the government — that loan of $500 million in that company might not be a wise use of taxpayers’ money. In retrospect, do you think your administration was so eager for Solyndra to succeed that it missed some of the critical warnings?
THE PRESIDENT: And all I can say is that the Department of Energy made these decisions based on their best judgment about what would make sense. And the nature of these programs are going to be ones in which for every success there may be one that does not work out as well.
Asked about whether he’d negotiate with Republicans to get a bill passed in Congress, Obama gave reporters a job description. He’s a super delegator:
I mean, here is a good question, here’s a little homework assignment for folks: Go ask the Republicans what their jobs plan is if they’re opposed to the American Jobs Act, and have it scored, have it assessed by the same independent economists that have assessed our jobs plan. These independent economists say that we could grow the economy as much as 2 percent, and as many as 1.9 million workers would be back on the job. I think it would be interesting to have them do a similar assessment — same people. Some of these folks, by the way, traditionally have worked for Republicans, not just Democrats. Have those economists evaluate what, over the next two years, the Republican jobs plan would do. I’ll be interested in the answer.
On China’s currency and trade with China:
I am absolutely confident that we can win that competition. But in order to do it, we’ve got to make sure that we’re aggressive in looking out for the interests of American workers and American businesses, and that everybody is playing by the same rules, and that we’re not getting cheated in the process.
THE PRESIDENT: That is a — that is a term of art, so the Treasury Secretary, I’ve got to be careful here — it’s his job to make those decisions. But it’s indisputable that they intervene heavily in the currency markets, and that the RMB, their currency, is lower than it probably would be if they weren’t making all those purchases in the currency markets to keep the RMB lower.
And persuasion? That’s your job:
So there may be some skepticism that I personally can persuade Republicans to take actions in the interest of the American people. But that’s exactly why I need the American people to try to put some pressure on them.