Vice-President Joseph Biden said on Sunday that the administration understood the need to pass a larger stimulus package upon entering office but chose to scale down their ambitions in order to win GOP votes.
Appearing on ABC's "This Week," Biden endorsed the viewpoint held by Keynesian economists like New York Times columnist Paul Krugman (who he referenced by name), acknowledging that the stimulus passed was likely too small. But, he added, there would have been no package at all had it not been made smaller and, subsequently, more palatable to moderate Republicans.
"There was a reality," Biden told host Jake Tapper. "In order to get what we got passed, we had to find Republican votes. And we found three. And we finally got it passed."
"I think it would have been bigger [if not for that]," he added. "I think it would have been bigger. In fact, what we offered was slightly bigger than that. But the truth of the matter is that the recovery package, everybody's talking about it [like] it's over. The truth is now, we're spending more now this summer than we -- I'm calling this ... the summer of recovery."
The notion that the stimulus was, in all likelihood, too small for the crisis it was supposed to mend is hardly controversial among sober-minded political and economic observers. The White House, after all, continues to press Congress for additional (marginal) stimulus packages -- underscoring what the president clearly feels is an additional need to jolt the economy.
But Biden's comments are already being jumped on by Republican strategists, who have spent the past year ridiculing the stimulus as a massive, wasted, $800 billion check. Kevin Madden, a longtime consultant and confidant of Mitt Romney, predicted television ads attacking the White House for Biden's remark.
As for the argument that the stimulus (even undersized) hasn't had its desired effect, Biden cast blame on a miscommunication campaign that has kept the public in the dark.
"People don't know a lot of what's going on in the Recovery Act," Biden said. "Understandably, because there has been so much stuff that has been flowing our way."