Gibbs Widens Door to Deficit

The administration is touting a flurry of economic-related proposals this week it says will help boost the economy, but at his briefing Tuesday, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs admitted those proposals may add to the nation's deficit.

A reporter prompted Gibbs, "I guess in other words you -- you're prepared to deficit spend right now, notwithstanding this..."

Gibbs conceded, "Well, I -- I -- I -- there are certainly proposals in here that would -- that would do that, yes."

President Obama began the week in Milwaukee with a push for an initial $50 billion towards a wide-ranging infrastructure plan for what the officials hope would generate growth and jobs in 2011. Late Monday, officials were releasing details of phases two and three of the economic frenzy; a plan to allow businesses to write off 100 percent of new plant and equipment investments through 2011, as well as a plan to increase and permanently extend the research and development credit for businesses.

All told, if Congress were to pass the proposals, they could add up to $350 billion dollars or more. Gibbs, accounting for offsets like the closing of corporate tax loopholes as well as those for big oil and gas companies, says the total would be more like $180 billion.

Given widespread criticism of the president's first go-round with a stimulus plan, the White House is reluctant to brand its new efforts the same way. Still, Gibbs may touch a nerve with critics of the ballooning deficit.