POLITICS

Gibbs: Without Stimulus Five Million Jobs Will Disappear

The White House warned on Wednesday that the country would stand to lose five million jobs over the next three years should a stimulus package not make its way to the president's desk. Simply implementing more of the same economic policies, the president's aides added, would not be enough of a fix.

"Continuing the policies that got us where we are today is not a recipe for getting us where we need to be tomorrow," spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters.

The laying down of numerical markers -- Gibbs also predicted that Friday would bring news of more steep job losses -- is one of the more direct pleas the Obama administration has made in support of its stimulus package.

"Our failure to do something in size and scope commensurate with the challenges we have at hand, will find ourselves worse off than we are now," Gibbs concluded.

Gibbs dodged a question as to whether Obama was privately encouraging moderate Democrats to speak or vote against the stimulus package, something Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee said had taken place in his conversations with the president.

"I think the president continues to meet with members of both parties to try and get the very strongest bill possible," Gibbs said. "He said yesterday that there was no doubt this legislation will undergo changes to get the strongest bill possible. I'm not going to get into every private conversation the president has. But suffice to say he wants a bill that will get the economy moving again."

Of equal evasion, Gibbs declined to project whether or not he believed the stimulus would get the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster in the Senate.

"There are people hired here to count votes... with job descriptions different than mine. And I don't know hypothetically what might happen at any given moment. The President, as he has done throughout this process... wants to hear from members about any idea or concerns they have about what's in a specific package," he said.