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
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:
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography