White House Press Secretary Jay Carney hosted a press gaggle with reporters yesterday, one of whom brought up an issue of particular interest.

Q: Jay, there’s a poll out this morning that’s saying that opponents of the President in Congress are simply just trying to sabotage the American Jobs Act in hopes that he won’t get reelected, and that the majority of the country out there right now, or half of the country, believes that there are those in Congress who are trying to sabotage the President. Any comment on that?

CARNEY: Well, I certainly think that what is the case is that unfortunately Republicans in Congress are not taking the kinds of actions that they could take to help the economy grow and create jobs in the near term. I mean, this is the fundamental problem with the proposals that they’ve put forward and called and labeled jobs proposals, because independent economists have looked at them and judged some of them to be fine policy, but none of them to be the kinds of policies that would grow the economy or create jobs in the near term. I mean, that’s simply a matter of economic analysis.

So I think the American public, which has pretty overwhelmingly made clear in surveys that it believes that the number-one issue right now is economy and jobs, wonders why Congress doesn’t share its priorities, so — their priorities.

As to motivation, that’s obviously for the American people and constituents of the various elected members of Congress to decide.

I mention this for a couple of reasons. First, Carney seemed to come pretty close to saying he can understand why so many Americans consider the “sabotage” charge plausible.

Second, the fact that the question was even put to the White House press secretary at all suggests the issue is gaining just a little more traction all the time.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.