Doocy, WH Press Slam Psaki Over Biden’s Putrid Economy, Weak Jobs Report

The Psaki Show went into the weekend on Friday with a bang as Fox’s Peter Doocy and a cadre of liberal White House reporters blasted away at Press Secretary Jen Psaki with questions over the disappointing September jobs report and continued concerns over gas prices, inflation, job openings, and even shipping lanes affecting the supply chain.

Of course, there were still a few eye rollers with questions about the U.S. axing Columbus Day and even a surprise with none other than Brian Karem interjecting to question President Biden’s health.



Doocy time first. The Fox correspondent led with the unnerving scenes at U.S. ports showing droves of cargo ships stuck idling and unable to dock (click “expand”):

DOOCY: The economy first. A half-million containers are floating around the California coast without any destination. This is a major problem in the global supply chain. According to Vice President, this might happen by August. So why didn’t we do more to prepare for it?

PSAKI: To address global supply chain problems?

DOOCY : In August, she was referring to Christmas toys that you might want for your kids. The delays can be long and could take many months.

PSAKI: This is a question I asked because since January, we have been talking about global supply chain issues. Since then the President has established a task force and we have begun a series of actions to solve these problems. Now, it’s not just about ensuring that we are having different companies speak to each other. That’s certainly what we have done. We’ve been a forum for hosting different industry leaders to see what we can — what we can reduce in terms of red tape in the process. Covid, which continues to pose a problem to global supply chains is another major issue. We have also tried to make sure that we are the most important provider of vaccines to the globe. So, we’ve not only been talking about this since January. We’ve been working to put in place range of steps to help address the challenges in the supply chains.

DOOCY. It’s more than Covid, as we know it. There are also labor shortages and issues with shipping lines here — overground shipping lines in the U.S. Is the President satisfied task force that is doing a good job?

PSAKI: The — the President recognizes there are several — several layers of the challenge here that contribute to the bottleneck and on ports and transportation bottlenecks specifically, we appointed — the President appointed a White House ports envoy this summer, John Porcari, to work with Secretary Buttigieg and bring stakeholders, labor, private industry together, to help solve the global transportation supply problem. He appointed someone with a wide range of experience at this level, which shows how focused we are on the problem. As I mentioned, we are also focused on the work done by the supply chain taskforce. The semiconductor shortage has been a problem that affects a wide range of industries. We’re working hard to address the problems in global supply chains at each point where they are bottlenecked.

Doocy’s second topic sought comment on leaked comments from former Governor-turned-gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) fretting that Biden’s “unpopular” in Virginia, but Psaki replied that, “if you look at facts,” Biden and his agenda are extremely popular.

The Fox reporter’s final exchange was most interesting as he honed in on Biden having claimed on Thursday that he, in Doocy’s retelling, “cold-called a Pennsylvania hospital to ask the desk-receiving nurse why it was taking so long for a good friend’s wife to be seen.”

Psaki claimed there were no untoward circumstances since Biden shared the story to show the strain medical staff feel when dealing with Covid cases.

Doocy continued pushing. “But setting aside the privacy of the individual, how often does President Biden call around trying to help his friends cut the line?”

Psaki counted with “that was certainly not his intention” and rather him being concerned about “a friend.”

Her condescending side came out as Doocy closed by wanting to know whether staffing issues at the hospital stemmed from a vaccine mandate: “I would love for you to account for me where that is the issue over — more so than number of unvaccinated who are filling emergency rooms, filling ICU beds. That is the problem in hospitals across the country.”

Elsewhere, economic questions weren’t in short supply.

“One of the things that the jobs numbers showed is that there are more jobs available — a historic number of jobs available compared to how many people are actually seeking jobs. Why do you think there are so many people who are still reluctant to re-enter the workforce,” asked CBS’s Nancy Cordes.

Following Doocy, NBC’s Peter Alexander tied inflation to concerns about the holiday season: “[W]hat does the President say to — inflation is a big issue right now for Americans from coast to coast as we head into the holidays, what does the President say to Americans right now who are worried about those rising costs?”

In terms of hardballs, we had to skip ahead to Reuters’s Nandita Bose with two long but outstanding questions about take home pay and gas prices, respectively (click “expand”):

The Labor Department data shows that the average hourly wage in August has fallen by 0.9 percent compared to last year. That’s year-over year data after you adjust for inflation. So, it is clear that inflation is eating away at people’s wages and I can understand why you say that this is temporary. The President, however, when asked about his plans for addressing this issue, will discuss competition issues and will also talk about the impact of inflation on meat prices. But, are there any immediate steps the White House might be considering as they look at the data flowing in? And is he starting to get — is the President starting to get increased concerned, perhaps, that this is now starting to actually eat into people’s paychecks?


Reuters has some reporting shows a lot of American consumers we’re talking to have started to link the rise in gas prices to the administration’s policies that ban fossil fuels. A pause in federal land- and water leasing. My question is this: Why not keep production in check at home, with American companies? Instead ask OPEC to increase production elsewhere that isn’t as environmentally regulated. Is there any consideration, perhaps, being given to — to this, you know, keeping in mind the rise in gas prices?

Even CNN was a part of the action as White House correspondent Jeremy Diamond surprisingly tangled with Psaki as he twice called out the administration’s absurd spin about the putrid jobs numbers (click “expand”):

DIAMOND. To give you a bigger picture, this morning we witnessed another job loss, which was well below our expectations. Gas prices have risen to a 7-year high and inflation has soared. The President still needs Congress’ support for his Build Back Better agenda. Is there a way you can assess the current situation in his presidency, and do you feel that it is necessary to adjust course?

PSAKI: We certainly don’t see things as darkly as you do. Look, the President’s focus is on leading through a challenging time, and that has been his focus from the first day he took office. If you look at the data month over month, as I noted a few minutes ago, he has also created five million jobs under his presidency, we’ve created an average of 500,000 jobs a month. Our economic growth is faster than ever and our unemployment rate has fallen. That’s progress. That’s moving exactly in the right direction. And as it relates to the President’s agenda, we’re continuing to press forward with members of Congress who have a broad range of views about the path forward, but we’re making progress. The President remains confident we’re going to get it done. Here’s what government looks like.

DIAMOND: Does today’s job report not signal that the economy may not be heading in the right direction or that recovery might not be happening at the speed it needs to?

PSAKI: I don’t believe that is what economists are projecting at this point in time.

Moving into the potpourri section of things, AFP’s Sebastian Smith had a humdinger about Biden’s poll numbers:

Yeah, the President’s very tough approval rating these days and I know you don’t like to talk about polls and you might say that they don’t mean anything, but it’s also fair to say that the White House, when there are good polls, you — you publicize them. What do you think of the really bad polls? Are they that he’s doing something wrong? Or is it the communication? Or is that he’s doing unpopular things that have to be done? Perhaps something else. We are grateful.

On a separate note, Friday saw a deadly bombing in Afghanistan that killed at least 100 people, but it wasn’t mentioned until the second-to-last question of the entire briefing thanks to the Press Trust of India’s Lalit Jha.

As Psaki went to leave the podium following the final official question, Karem suffered a case of the body snatchers as he asked Psaki about whether Biden was physically “okay” in light of his continued coughing and sniffling.

And as we stated earlier, two reporters chimed in by pressing the Biden administration to change Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day nationwide. After the AP’s Aamer Madhani asked “why should the U.S. continue to celebrate Columbus Day,” CBS News Radio’s Steven Portnoy later followed up with a ponderance as to whether Biden was “grudgingly proclaiming Columbus Day[.]”

To see the relevant transcript from October 8’s briefing, click here.

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