CNN anchor Dana Bash asked Governor Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) twice whether he would give President Joe Biden credit for the “good parts” of the economy — and both times, Hutchinson suggested that what Biden truly deserved “credit” for was inflation and the current supply-chain bottleneck.
Hutchinson made a Sunday morning appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” to discuss his state’s vaccination rate and how the economy — both in Arkansas and across the United States — was beginning to recover in some areas.
Bash began with the question about vaccines, asking whether Arkansas’ status as the 8th lowest in vaccinations nationwide was proof that Hutchinson’s refusal to implement a mandate had been the wrong choice.
“Is it time to acknowledge that your approach isn’t working?” she asked.
Hutchinson said no, that he believed the people of Arkansas were responding better to education and facts about both COVID-19 and the available vaccines than they would to a mandate telling them that they had no choice but to get the vaccine.
.@DanaBashCNN on Arkansas having 8th lowest vaccination rate in the country: “Is it time to acknowledge that your approach isn’t working?”
Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR): “Not at all … In Arkansas, that information-based education is what is working …” pic.twitter.com/fV2UatfmUC
— The Recount (@therecount) November 28, 2021
Bash then pivoted to the economy, saying, “Inflation is justifiably getting a lot of attention. People feel it every day in their lives but if you look at the broader economic picture, there are some really positive indicators: new jobless claims are at their lowest level in 52 years, wages, retail sales, overall GDP — that’s all up. Doesn’t Biden deserve some credit for that?”
“Well the inflationary pressures are at his feet and that is the challenge. Much of the supply challenges are at his feet in terms of reducing production domestically and relying more upon international energy for the United States,” Hutchinson replied, adding, “We have to be energy independent and so, yes, I think that is a challenge.”
Hutchinson went on to note that, even though the statewide unemployment rate in Arkansas was just 3.7% — lower than it was before the pandemic began — there were still a number of hurdles preventing the overall economy from working the way that it should.
“We do have to increase our supply chain. We have to increase our worker engagement, and those are critical needs that we have,” he said.
“And does Joe Biden get some credit for the positive parts of the economy that even you say are happening in your state?” Bash pressed again.
“Whenever you’re at the top and you’re in a leadership position and something good happens you can try to take credit for it,” Hutchinson replied, prompting a laugh from Bash. “I don’t have any problem with that but pressures on inflation and on the supply chain particularly energy is something that he needs to correct, and so there’s problems that he needs to address, and we all want to come out of this. He puts it all on COVID and I don’t believe that is the biggest – well, it is a challenge, but there are other things you could address, such as the inflationary pressures that he can control.”