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Gibbs: Not Interested In Popularity Contest Among Newspaper Economists

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The Obama administration is not in the business of winning "a popularity contest among economists that are interviewed by newspapers," the president's spokesman, Robert Gibbs, declared on Thursday.

The president, criticized by his opponents for not bringing instant stability and growth to the nation's financial and housing markets, is sticking to his guns in light of these critiques. The White House, Gibbs explained, was focused on building a "post-bubble economic model" with a stronger foundation on which business could grow.

"We just can't have our economy grow once some sector identifies a bubble and everybody gets involved in that bubble until it pops, and then we wait for the next bubble to break through," he said. "That is not the way our economy grew for decades and it certainly is not a sustainable way to grow the economy for decades to come."

The long-term focus, however, has required short-term sacrifices; mainly absorbing some criticism from Republicans, economists and even some Democrats over the down stock market and the lack of detailed proposals on bank and housing policy. In the process, Gibbs has had to disavow, from the White House briefing room podium, the opinions of nearly half the CNBC franchise.

On Thursday, however, it was a group of economists participating in the "Wall Street Journal forecasting survey" who were offering critical assessments. And the White House spokesman, who during the campaign would often use the economists quoted in newspapers as leverage against John McCain, was forced to plead once more for less-reactionary opinions and more long-term perspective.

"The president has great confidence in his economic team. I spoke a minute ago about some statistics in which we've seen... we've got a long way to go. I think if you stepped back and objectively looked at what this administration and the Department of Treasury have been able to do in a very short period of time, passed and begin to spend money for a [stimulus] plan... the introduction of a capital plan. The introduction of the very first plan that helps responsible homeowners avoid foreclosure, a business lending initiative that when fully implemented will increase credit available to businesses and families by $1 trillion and the beginnings of health assessments for banks in order to understand exactly what is on their books and how best to solve their problems... The stock market reads 14,000 in October 2007 [roughly] a month and a half before the recession.... I'm not entirely sure the perceptions of the ups and downs of the market are necessarily the perceptions of where the economy is heading."