In an April 2009 speech at Georgetown University in which he laid out the "five pillars" of economic recovery, Obama argued that an economic comeback would be impossible without passing his health care bill. "If we don't invest now in a more affordable health care system," he said, "this economy simply won't grow at the pace it needs to in two or five or 10 years down the road."
Six months later, in October 2009, with health care still consuming the Democratic Congress and his administration, Obama said, "We know that reforming our health insurance system will be a critical step in rebuilding our economy."
Even later, in January 2010, a headline on the website Politico told the story straight out: "Obama: Health bill will create jobs."
The president's Democratic allies were just as vocal. "The key issue in building a sustainable recovery is reform of health care," said Rep. Henry Waxman, then chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce committee, in March 2009.
"(Obamacare) will create 4 million jobs," then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said nearly a year later, in February 2010, "400,000 jobs almost immediately."
Even as the president and his team claimed that passing Obamacare was the most important thing they could do to bring about economic recovery, they also promised that at some point in the future they would "pivot" from health care to the economy. It was a little confusing -- why the need to pivot if Obamacare was really about jobs? -- but in the end, there would be no pivot until after the health care bill became law. It came first.
These days, the president doesn't talk about pivoting much -- his campaign even became angry recently when Romney brought it up. But Democrats are likely to hear much more about it as the campaign goes on. Whenever Team Obama touts its record over the past 27 months, the Romney campaign will remind them that's not the whole story.