President Obama appeared at the White House press briefing room to boast that the unemployment rate dropped to 4.9 percent in January, the lowest it has been since February 2008.
During his statement, he ridiculed Republican presidential candidates in New Hampshire for “talking down” the economy, which he described as “the strongest, most durable economy in the world.”
“I know that’s still inconvenient for Republican stump speeches as their doom and despair tour plays in New Hampshire,” he said. “I guess you cannot please everybody.”
He argued that Republicans didn’t have any other plan to help the economy besides cutting taxes.
“As far as I can tell, those who are running down the economy and adding to the anxiety don’t seem to have any plausible coherent recipe other than cut taxes for the very folks who have been doing the best in this economy,” he said, referring to the wealthy. “And somehow magically that’s going to make other folks feel good.”
Obama also mocked Republicans who he said were blaming “immigrants or poor people” for taking “more and more of your paycheck.”
“That’s just not true, the facts just don’t bear that out,” he added.
Obama previewed his upcoming budget, hinting that it would include more progressive taxes and spending to keep up “progress.”
The president defended the continued poor labor participation rate, arguing that it was the product of a demographic change and part of the “hangover” of the recession that began in 2008. He also argued it was the result of an older population who needed more skills in a more dynamic economy.
As he exited the White House, one reporter shouted, “Are you in a good mood?”
“I am in a good mood!” he said, as he exited the briefing room.