Former White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain acknowledged Wednesday that prices in the US are “still high,” and warned President Biden that he “needs to make more progress” in bringing costs down.

During an appearance on MSNBC’s “All In,” Klain predicted that pocketbook issues will be a big part of the November election as Biden and his allies scramble to fine-tune their messaging on the economy.

“Although inflation has moderated, prices are still high, the price of gasoline is still high, other prices are still high, and people feel that pinch,” Klain said, who was chief of staff for Biden’s first two years in the White House.

“And though wages have gone up, and the statistics say wages have gone up faster than prices, people still feel pinched in their pocketbooks,” he added. “And so, I think the president needs to make more progress on that.”

A Wall Street Journal poll released Tuesday night shows Biden, 81, trailing Trump, 77, by 20 percentage points (54% to 34%) among registered voters in seven vital swing states on the question of which man would best be able to handle the economy.

The survey also found that a majority of voters in each state — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — rated national economic conditions as “not so good” or “poor.”

After peaking at 9.1% in June 2022, the annual inflation rate came in at 3.2% in February, the most recent month for which statistics are available.

“I understand that people say, ‘Hey, I’m glad you have all these good things going on in the economy, I’m glad that there are jobs,’” Klain said, “but people want to see that their own personal pocketbook is better off.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Klain said that Biden must “try to use his tools to try to bring more order at the border” despite the president insisting that Congress had to pass additional supplemental security spending to give him the power to confront a surge in migration.

“I think the president needs to continue what he’s doing to try to get the border under control and use his limited powers if Congress won’t act to try to do that,” he said. “And I think that’s the right thing to do.

“I do think, as the campaign proceeds, we’re going to have a discussion about migration in our country and the contributions that migrants make to our economy, and, just generally, the inhumanity in what [Donald] Trump is saying about migrants, calling them animals.”

“I think that will be a part of the campaign,” Klain went on, “but I think that the president needs to do his job, first and foremost, which is to try to use his tools to try to bring more order at the border and to try to clean up the mess that he was left by Donald Trump.”

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