Well that didn't take long. The Obama team realized what a weak response the surrogates gave on Sunday TV to the question of whether we're better off than we were four years ago and is out in force today with a much more positive one.
Stephanie Cutter provided some great answers and sounbites on today's episode of the Today Show in a great do-over.
On the Today Show, NBC’s Natalie Morales asked Obama campaign deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter: “Let me begin by starting with that central question on a lot of people’s minds, and that is are we better off today than we were four years ago when President Obama was elected?”
“Absolutely,” Cutter said. “Let me just walk you through what life was like four years ago.”
Cutter noted that “in the six months before the president was elected, we lost 3.5 million jobs,” and added that wages had been declining, the auto industry was on the brink of failure, and so on. “Let’s take a look where we are today… we’ve created 4.5 million private sector jobs” — note the omission of public sector jobs, which have a net loss of more than 600,000 — “the auto industry today is the number one auto industry in the world.”
Acknowledging the weak recovery, to a degree, Cutter said “it might not be as fast as people hoped. the president agrees with that. He knows we need to do more.”
Though the unemployment rate, at 8.3 percent, is currently higher than it was when President Obama took office (7.8 percent), it wasn’t that Plouffe (and others) didn’t have a case to make yesterday.
President Obama and his team have continually struggled with how to convey the news that the economy is growing, while not seeming clueless about the economic pain Americans are feeling. Yesterday’s responses seem to now be viewed by the campaign as an over-correction.This is a much more positive message, addressing the question head on instead of trying to change the question and a great message to take into the convention.
Clearly senior staff from the White House and Obama campaign realized that saying Americans were worse off than they were four years ago — or at least not insisting that Americans are better off — was untenable.
Better to take the Labor Day hit for changing messages than stick with a losing message, the thinking seems to be.