'What Is the Focus of the White House Right Now?' Reporter Asks Carney

By Susan Jones | November 5, 2013 | 7:57 AM EST

President Barack Obama speaks at an Organizing for Action event in Washington, Monday, Nov. 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

(CNSNews.com) - On Tuesday, President Obama will discuss immigration reform with business leaders at the White House. Last week, he plugged foreign investment in the United States. In his weekly radio address on Saturday, Obama urged Congress to pass a budget. On Sunday, he bashed the tea party in a campaign appearance with liberal Virginia Democrat Terry McAuliffe. In between, he's been defending Obamacare. And he's also talking about more protection for LGBTs.

"What is the focus of the White House right now?" a reporter asked Obama spokesman Jay Carney on Wednesday.

In a four-paragraph response, Carney said it's the economy and the middle class:

Well, as any -- as is the case with any White House, we obviously have a lot of issues that we're addressing at the same time. The principle organizing focus of this White House, as directed by the president, has always been the economy and job creation and middle class security. And that is why even when, by necessity, some issues take more of our attention in public and take more of the president's attention both in public and in private -- and that includes health care reform, it includes prior to that Syria and the debate over what to do about the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime.

Every day, the president and his team are, you know, pushing forward on economic issues, on creating a better bargain for the middle class, on trying to find ways that we can work with Congress to increase economic growth and job creation. And that's why you'll hear the president talk about matters economic in the coming days because they're always the first priority when it comes to domestic issues.

You saw him last week host, or rather, speak to the SelectUSA Summit here, which was a remarkable event, bringing so many participants -- and it was oversubscribed -- around the idea that this country needs to do what so many other countries do, which is actively engage in the process of soliciting foreign investment to the United States so that jobs are created here -- high-paying, quality, middle class jobs and -- you know, which is not to say that we won't continue to focus, as we obviously are, on these other issues. But number one priority has and will be economic progress. It was the day he was sworn into office when the economy was collapsing here in the United States and around the world, and it is today.

And when you look at these issues -- and I think this goes to the noise that the president spoke about in his weekly address and the way that Washington often seems irrelevant to the concerns of the American people and therefore can sound like the grownups in Charlie Brown -- what most Americans -- when the sort of issues break through of late, what they hear about Washington is that because of a political fight, an ideological fight, they shut down the government, did harm to the economy, reduced job creation. You know, that's -- that's got to be enormously frustrating, and I think we've seen that borne out in some of the public data. We ought to be doing what we can every day to help the economy and help the middle class. That's certainly the president's view.

In his Saturday address, Obama said, "We need to grow and create more good jobs faster. That’s my driving focus. And I’ll go anywhere and do anything to make it happen." He said he wants to close "wasteful tax loopholes" and spend the money on "new roads, and bridges, and schools, and airports." He also wants to spend money on education and renewable energy.

Republicans insist that job-creation can and should come without expanding government. Their plan includes approving construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, repealing Obamacare, enacting patient-centered reforms, and eliminating wasteful government spending; eliminating tax loopholes; tax and regulatory reform; and immigration reform.