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 Home > News & Policies > February 2004

Excerpts from the Press Gaggle by Scott McClellan, February 12, 2004 (Full Transcript)

Scott, can I turn to today? Do you think it's awkward at all for the President to be coming to a state that's lost a lot of manufacturing jobs, lost a lot of jobs in general, not only to talk about the economy, but to talk about it at a time when Gregory Mankiw is under criticism for his out-sourcing comments?

MR. McCLELLAN: And, actually, I think you should go back and look at what he has said in the last couple of days. But I expect the President will talk about the -- what we are doing to create jobs here at home. This President is focused on creating jobs here at home.

And one important part of expanding job growth here at home is to continue to promote free trade. That's what this administration is doing. And keep in mind that America's workers are the best in the world. Productivity is high. That means better wages and better living standards for America's workers. And that is also why you have foreign companies coming to America, investing here, and hiring American workers to do jobs.

And it's also very important that we continue to make sure that workers have the training they need to meet the jobs of the 21st century. There are a number of growing sectors in our economy, and we want to make sure that people have the skills they need to fill those jobs. And I think the President will talk about this very issue that you raise in his remarks.

QUESTION: Does that mean he's going to clarify, in some way, this whole debate that's been going on this week?

MR. McCLELLAN: It's important that -- well, what do you mean, "clarify"?

QUESTION: Well, you've got people -- you've got Speaker Hastert now, even, you've got Republicans and Democrats criticizing Mr. Mankiw's comments. And so I'm asking whether the President is going to --

MR. McCLELLAN: I think the Speaker said something about, it's important that we are creating jobs here at home. And I'm glad he agrees with the President of the United States. The President of the United States has shown, by his actions, that we are committed to creating as robust environment as possible for job creation. I would remind you that over the last five months, we have seen some 366,000 jobs created, new jobs created. We are continuing -- the economy is strong and is growing stronger because of the actions that we have taken.

There's more that we need to do. That's why the President has a six-point plan that includes expanding free trade, because free trade is good for our economy here at home and it's good for expanding job growth here at home. And he also has put forward his 21st century jobs program, so that we can make sure workers have the skills they need to fill these high paying, high skilled jobs of the 21st century. And I think he will talk to this issue today. Any job loss is regrettable. We have made that very clear. And that's why this President is not satisfied, because there are people still out there looking for work. And he's committed to making sure that they have the possibility to work.

QUESTION: But, Scott, does he believe, as a fundamental part of his economic world view, that some jobs, as a part of this economy, disappear and will never come back?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sorry?

QUESTION: Does the President believe, as a part of his economic world view --

MR. McCLELLAN: One thing, one thing --

QUESTION: -- appear to be gone forever?

MR. McCLELLAN: There are a lot of growing sectors in this 21st century. There are a lot of growing sectors of the economy. I mean, there are some people he met with just the other day at the White House, some economic leaders in some of those high growth areas. Health care is certainly one area. We need to make sure -- there are jobs available in those areas, and we need to make sure workers in America have the skills to fill those jobs. And that's where the President's focus is. The President's focus is on creating jobs here at home. And we know that when we have free trade with a level playing field, American workers can compete with anyone, because they're the best workers in the world.

QUESTION: But just as he recognizes that there are new jobs flowering in this 21st century economy, does he also recognize that some kinds of jobs are gone and will never return?

MR. McCLELLAN: Look, I know you're trying to get me to say certain things. What I'm saying is what the President is doing. The President is acting to make sure this economy is strong, and acting to make sure we have as robust an environment as possible for job creation. New jobs are being created. Over the last five months, there are a lot of positive signs about the direction this economy is moving. And we will continue to act, as long as there are people who are looking for work and cannot find a job.