Posted Tuesday, March 1, 2011, at 10:24 AM
The battle over the credibility of Moody's Economy.com analyst Mark Zandi continued today , with dueling comments that happened in the Senate and the House GOP leadership's press conference at roughly the same time.
In the Senate, Barbara Boxer started a free-form speech about the need to be sober about spending cuts by citing "Republican economists -- Mark Zandi, who worked for John McCain in 2008."
Over at the RNC, Boehner confronted Zandi's analysis of GOP spending cuts -- specifically, by saying they could remove 700,000 jobs from the economy by 2013 -- by calling Zandi Nancy Pelosi's "pet economist."
Not much grappling there with the substance of what was a very short (six page!) analysis of the effect of spending cuts. That would at least be interesting, because neither of the things Boehner or Pelosi said are untrue. Zandi worked for McCain. Zandi is cited all the time by Democrats, and participated in conference calls when they were developing the stimulus. (The models they actually used to predict job gain/loss were similar to his but came from Christina Romer.)
I mentioned some of the political taffy-pulling to Zandi, who brushed it off.
"I think the stimulus efforts were a success. They were designed to end the free fall in the economy, and they did that," Zandi told me in an e-mail. "Not sure how I became the chief architect."