The vice president tells NPR that the Obama administration's economic policies are taking the country in the right direction. And he stands by a prediction for job growth that even some allies have called "optimistic."
Vice President Joe Biden is bullish on the Obama administration's efforts to mend the U.S. economy after the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
"I'm absolutely confident that the policies that we put in place are sending the economy and the American public in the right direction," Biden told NPR's Robert Siegel on Tuesday.
Last week, Biden told a political fundraiser in Pittsburgh that the economy would create 100,000 to 200,000 jobs a month, adding that there will be some months in which as many as 250,000 to 500,000 jobs would be created. The comments prompted White House spokesman Robert Gibbs to quip: "He's an optimistic man, and that's why we like him."
Biden acknowledged Tuesday that those predictions were "a long way [from erasing] an 8-million-job deficit."
"What has to happen is there has to be continued forward progress," Biden said. "There's going to be ebbs and flows ... but it has to constantly be moving in the direction of job creation."
Earlier Tuesday, Biden appeared with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he made the administration's case for an overhaul of the financial system. For two days in a row, Senate Republicans have blocked an attempt to begin formal debate on the measure.
Biden said the measure would give the government the power to break up big interconnected banks if they fail, without dragging down markets and without forcing taxpayers to cover the losses.
"Never again should the government be faced with the choice of bailing out an irresponsible bank or watching the whole economy implode," Biden told the audience.
The vice president rejected the idea that his remarks in Wisconsin struck a populist note, telling Siegel that the middle class bore the brunt of the financial meltdown.
"Most of the middle class didn't get taken by these credit default swaps and by these incredible derivatives that they've come up with," he said. "They paid for the consequences of the market collapsing, bringing down the economy. ... That's how they lost their jobs, their factory closed, their unemployment rate went up."
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