The White House Tuesday attempted to deflect claims by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton that small business creation has "stalled out" during the Obama years, showcasing the awkward efforts at coordination between President Obama and his party's likely 2016 nominee.
"I didn't see the entirety of her remarks," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said after repeated questioning by an ABC News reporter. "We'll take a look at the statistics and get back to you."
The remark came a day after comments by Clinton appeared to throw doubt on the Obama administration's management of the economy.
"I was very surprised to see that when I began to dig into it," she said Monday in New Hampshire of tepid small business growth. "Because people were telling me this as I traveled around the country the last two years, but I didn't know what they were saying and it turns out that we are not producing as many small businesses as we" previously did.
The exchange was indicative of the delicate balancing act the White House will have to perform in coming months: to defend Obama's accomplishments while not jeopardizing Clinton's presidential aspirations.
As a presidential candidate, Clinton is attempting to appear in tune with Americans' economic concerns, which could come at the expense of the president.
Earnest declined to get into a back-and-forth with Clinton.
"The president himself has said many times that there are additional important steps that could be taken in Washington, D.C.," Obama's top spokesman said, "where members of Congress no longer serve as an impediment to forward economic momentum but actually that they could support it."