Excerpts from the Press Briefing by Scott McClellan, September 26, 2003 (Full Transcript)QUESTION: Scott, there's a new Census Bureau report that says 1.7 million people slid into poverty last year. Is the President surprised by these numbers?
MR. McCLELLAN: Steve, a couple things. I think, one, that the numbers do reflect the economic slowdown that we have been through and the unemployment situation. Unemployment is a lagging indicator. But let me remind you that the action that we have taken to boost the economy and to create jobs is essential to turning this around.
We have also worked on a number of fronts, besides putting forward the economic packages that we have, to create an environment for job growth. We have also worked on a number of initiatives to build upon the successes we have made in moving people from welfare to work. We have worked to expand home ownership for low-income Americans so that more Americans can realize the American Dream and participate in what the President refers to as an ownership society. We've also pursued historic education reforms to improve the quality of education, which I think is key in the long-run as well. We've worked to reach out to faith-based groups. We passed a child tax credit to increase the child tax credit for families.