CNN panel rejects Biden White House spin attempting to change definition of recession: 'You can't fake this!'

CNN panel rejects Biden White House spin attempting to change definition of recession: ‘You can’t fake this!’

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A panel on CNN Monday slammed the Biden administration’s attempt to change the definition of a recession as incoming GDP numbers may signal an economic downturn.

Data being released on Thursday will show whether the US economy shrank for two consecutive quarters, which has long been how economists defined what a recession is. However, several White House officials have already pushed their talking points as a preemptive spin on the likely bad headlines they will face.

On “The Lead,” CNN anchor Kasie Hunt began the discussion by telling the panel she’s “struggling” with what the White House is putting out there.

“I get that why they want to do it from a political perspective, but like, you can’t fake this!” Hunt exclaimed.

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CNN’s Kasie Hunt leads a panel discussion about the Biden administration’s attempt at redefining what a recession is.
(CNN)

CNN editor at large Chris Cillizza mocked President Biden for saying “We’re not going to be in a recession, in my view” during an exchange with Fox News’ Peter Doocy, telling Hunt, “‘In my view,’ I should be drafted into the NBA.”

“It doesn’t really matter what you think,” Cillizza said. “There is a technical definition, two straight quarters of negative economic growth. They clearly believe that it is likely to come to pass later this week. They’re trying to pre-but it.”

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“We get why they’re doing it politically, at the same time, we have these terms for reasons,” Cillizza continued. “You don’t have to like it. Of course, they don’t like it because, you know, Joe Biden’s handling of the economy was at 25% or 30% in our most recent poll. Yeah, it’s a problem for them – this adds to the problem, but you don’t get to change the nomenclature in the middle of a campaign because it doesn’t work for you.”

“And again, voters are gonna feel what they feel in their lives no matter what they say,” Hunt added.

President Joe Biden told reporters on Monday, "We're not going to be in a recession, in my view."

President Joe Biden told reporters on Monday, “We’re not going to be in a recession, in my view.”
(Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Several top aides and administration officials have made media appearances in recent days to tamp down recession fears.

Jared Bernstein of the White House Council of Economic Advisers insisted that neither Biden nor the White House was going to “sugarcoat” the incoming GDP numbers, telling CNN on Saturday that only the National Bureau of Economic Research’s Business Cycle Dating Committee can determine whether the US economy is in a recession rather than looking at two quarters of decreased GDP.

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Treasure Secretary Janet Yellen asserted on Sunday that two quarters of negative GDP growth is not the “technical definition” of a recession despite acknowledging that it is the “common” definition, defining it on NBC as a “broad-based contraction in the economy” based on a wide range of data.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen insisted on Sunday that two quarters of negative GDP growth is not the "technical definition" of a recession.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen insisted on Sunday that two quarters of negative GDP growth is not the “technical definition” of a recession.
(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

White House Director of the National Economic Council Brian Deese echoed Yellen in citing the so-called “technical definition” of a recession, which he said on CNN involves a “much broader spectrum of data points,” and dismissed having “technical debates about backward -looking data.”

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White House adviser Gene Sperling also pushed similar talking points during his appearance on Fox News’ “The Story,” suggesting on Monday that the “jobs market” plays a significant role in what actually contributes to a recession.

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