Byron York
What is it with Barack Obama and 27 months? Listen to the president and his aides talk, and you'll soon hear claims that the administration has accomplished great things in the last 27 months.

"The private sector creat(ed) nearly 4.3 million new jobs in the last 27 months," the president said at a fundraiser in Baltimore recently.

"We have created 500,000 manufacturing jobs over the last 27 months," top Obama economic adviser Gene Sperling said at the same time on CNN.

"We've had 4.3 million private-sector jobs created over the last 27 months," Obama campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said in a conference call with reporters a day earlier.

There are plenty of other examples. Beyond that, whenever Mitt Romney or some other Republican attacks the president's record, the Obama campaign sends out reams of rebuttal material pointing to economic progress -- all in the last 27 months.

The problem, of course, is that Barack Obama has been president for 40 months. So why do he and his supporters speak as if he has only been in the White House for the last 27 -- that is, since March 2010? It's as if the first third of Obama's presidency just doesn't count.

Obviously, the president is trying to make his record look better; his first months in the White House saw devastating job losses and economic misery. Yet most of what Obama accomplished domestically also occurred in that unmentioned period.

In fact, March 2010 just happened to be the month in which the president's signature achievement, the national health care program known as Obamacare, became law.

It came at a time when Americans were desperate for Obama to devote all of his attention to fixing the economy and helping create jobs. What is sometimes forgotten today is that, at the time, the president and his allies in Congress argued that passing Obamacare was, in fact, the most important thing they could do to create jobs.

Democrats had wanted to pass national health care for generations. But faced with a terrible economic crisis, they were pressed to explain why they were spending time on health care rather than the economy. So after passing the $826 billion stimulus in February 2009 (another accomplishment of the lost period that sometimes goes unmentioned), they began to argue that passing the health care bill was critical for economic recovery.

Obamacare, they claimed, was really a jobs bill.


Byron York

Byron York, chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner