"The president is asking people just to be patient with him," Republican Party vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan said on CBS's "This Morning" today about Obama's grade for himself. "Look, Charlie, the kind of recession we have, we should be bouncing out of it creating jobs. We're not creating jobs near the pace [we] could...so I think the 'incomplete' speaks for itself."
It sure does. There's a reason why Democrats aren't too keen on discussing Obama's record. Several reasons, actually, which is why the Obama campaign is perfectly satisfied with giving its candidate "incomplete" economic marks. Put bluntly, there aren't many better rhetorical options. Over to you, Stephanie Cutter:
Jen Psaki, the Obama camp's traveling press secretary, was pressed further on this point by reporters. She served up some anti-GOP boilerplate but ultimately stuck with the Empty Chair President line:
REPORTER: "But as a recipient of many 'incompletes' myself, I know that it's not a passing grade. (Laughter.) So how do you make your pitch to the American public that an incomplete deserves a reelection?"
JEN PSAKI: "Well, I think what an incomplete means is that there's more work that he wants to do for the middle class and for the American people. The alternative is to go back to the old playbook of failed policies and failing grades, and that's what Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to do. That's where they want to lead this country. So you have a choice: Either you have somebody who has accomplished a great deal, who has helped bring the economy back from the brink of collapse and still wants to fight more for the middle class and do more for the American people, or you have the Romney/Ryan team that wants to go back to the failed, rotten policies of the past. So I think an incomplete and a desire to do more is far better than a failing grade."
The Romney campaign isn't impressed. Spokeswoman Andrea Saul passes along this response:
“Four years ago, President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. Now, according to the Obama campaign, ‘incomplete’ is a perfectly fine grade for his economic performance. If he can’t even give himself a passing grade, why would the American people give him another four years?”