Guy Benson
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After tripping over this question repeatedly throughout the long weekend, Democrats have finally settled on their official spin: Americans are better off today than they were four years ago:
 

A day after fumbling a predictable and straightforward question posed by Mitt Romney last week — are Americans better off than they were four years ago — the Obama campaign provided a response on Monday that it said would be hammered home during the Democratic convention here this week: “Absolutely.” The focus on the campaign’s handling of the question, after halting and contradictory responses from Democrats on Sunday, complicated the White House’s effort to begin striking a set of themes the president intends to highlight here and carry through the general election.


"Absolutely."  Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter has gone so far as to assert that "by any measure" voters are in better shape today than they were four years ago.  Really?  Let's consult the raw data:
 

Unemployment: 7.8% then, 8.3% now

Median income: $54,983 then, $50,964 now

Gas prices: $1.85 per gallon then, $3.78 now

National debt: $10.6 trillion then, $15.9 trillion now (with the debt hitting the magic $16 Trillion mark tonight, appropriately)

Half of all Americans are now considered "poor" or "low income."

One out of every six Americans is living in poverty -- an increase of millions since Obama took office.

Food stamp usage has increased by 45 percent under this president.

Average family health care premium costs have increased to roughly $15,000 per year.


But remember, friends, the president's team insists that you're better off in 2012 -- "by any measure."  Obama's defenders will argue that he inherited a very difficult situation, and that things were extraordinarily ugly when he took office.  That's true.  But he campaigned promising to fix things.  We're now enduring the slowest economic 'recovery' since the Great Depression.  Obama sold his healthcare debacle by pledging that premiums would drop, deficits would drop, overall federal healthcare spending would drop, and no one would be displaced from their current plan, "no matter what."  These were all false claims.  He also used lofty promises to push through a $825 Billion borrowed "stimulus" package.  How's that going?
 


 

And he told the American public that if he hadn't turned around the economy by this fall, he'd face a "one term proposition:"
 


 

His own team remains flummoxed by the "better off" question.  In September, suggesting that they're wary of falling into the happy talk trap about which James Carville issued stern warnings.  Republicans are pounding away:
 


Better off?

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Guy Benson

Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Senior Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography