Obama advisers were out in force today on Sunday news shows ahead of the Democratic National Convention this week. As expected there were the usual “us” versus “them” accusations that are customary in an election year.
One question posed to top advisers David Plouffe and David Axelrod by “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos and “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace respectively, received a politician’s song and dance answer.
The Republicans have made this question central in their campaign for the White House: Are you better off after four years of Obama? If there is a key time to answer this, just before the convention is it.
So that is what the news shows asked this morning. Chris Wallace asked David Axelrod, “Can you honestly say the average American is better off today than four years ago?” Axelrod dodged the question several times. A determined Wallace did not give up. Finally an answer was given. “Here’s what I can say, Chris,” answered Axelrod. “We are in a better position than we were in the economy in the sense that when the President took office, we were losing 800,000 jobs a month, and the quarter before he took office was the worst since the Great Depression. We are now in a different place: 29 straight months of job growth and private sector jobs. Are we where we need to be? No.” Axelrod did not answer yes.
With increased unemployment, higher gas prices, more national debt and lower incomes, Wallace asked again. It took years to create the crisis, explained Axelrod, “It’s gonna take some time to work through it.” Again, not a yes.
George Stephanopoulos wasn’t having better luck pinning down a direct answer from David Plouffe. Three times he declined to answer directly. Plouffe’s first answer was almost identical to Axelrod’s. “It took us a long time to get into that hole, it’s going to take us a long time to get out of it,” Plouffe said. Plouffe did not answer yes. Stephanopoulos posed the question again. Plouffe dodged giving an answer by saying Romney would make things worse.
“You still can’t say yes,” Stephanopoulos said. “Well, we clearly improved, George, from the depth of the recession,” Plouffe responded. “We were losing 800,000 jobs a month. We’re now gaining them.” Again, not a yes and again the same answer Axelrod gave.
Top Obama advisers would not answer a simple question: Are Americans better off today after four years of Obama? Has the President’s auto bailout, mortgage-renegotiation policies and health care reform improved the average American’s position? The Labor Department states there were 316,000 net fewer jobs in July 2012 than January 2009. With high unemployment, high under employment, lower-income and a rising deficit, anyone would have trouble answering yes.