President Obama wants Congress to pass his jobs bill as is and quickly, but he would not veto individual bills if Congress broke the American Jobs Act into pieces. Senior administration officials said that if House Republicans were to separate the employee payroll tax cuts, for example, Obama would sign that bill and then demand that Congress move forward with the rest of the package.
The comments reflecting thinking inside the White House seems to break from Obama's Chicago campaign headquarters. Senior campaign strategist David Axelrod said Tuesday morning that Obama wants the whole bill and nothing short of it, and does not support an à la carte approach. The administration officials insisted there is no difference and stressed that Obama will not rest until he gets the whole package, regardless of whatever pieces he might sign along the way.
Fascinating: Obama's top strategist says no negotiations, no a-la carte selections -- take it or leave it. Other officials then rush out to suggest the president would, indeed, sign piecemeal jobs bills passed by Congress. And the administration "insists" all the while that there's no daylight whatsoever between this new position and what Axe said this morning. Okay then. I would call this warp-speed reversal a sign that the White House is reeling and grasping desperately for a unified message, but I wouldn't want to risk ending up on Obama for America's re-tooled "fight the smears" website, AttackWatch.