A clip of former President Bill Clinton defining a recession as “two quarters in a row” of economic contraction has been circulating on social media, and Republicans are using it to take a dig at President Joe Biden.
The video showed the then-president at the White House in December 2000 alongside incoming President George W. Bush answering questions from a press pool. Asked about his fears of a recession, Clinton replied by defining the term, saying: “Well, a recession is two quarters in a row of negative growth.”
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Sen. Ted Cruz retweeted the clip on Saturday with the caption: “Bill Clinton was right.”
The comment from Clinton has taken on new meaning in recent weeks as the Biden administration attempts to avoid describing the economy as a recession.
Though a recession is usually defined by two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth, administration officials have disputed the definition in an apparent deflection on the nation’s financial woes. The country’s GDP fell at a 1.6% annualized rate in the first quarter and by 0.9% in the second rate, meeting the common definition of a recession. Still, the administration has been hard at work arguing that isn’t really the case.
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As estimates concluded that the economy contracted for the second straight quarter, Biden released a statement that did not include the word “recession.”
“Coming off of last year’s historic economic growth — and regaining all the private sector jobs lost during the pandemic crisis — it’s no surprise that the economy is slowing down as the Federal Reserve acts to bring down inflation,” Biden’s statement, released Thursday, said. “But even as we face historic global challenges, we are on the right path and we will come through this transition stronger and more secure.”