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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.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


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.
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.
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.
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Comment Preferences

  •  On the primary issue of Climate Chaos, we are NOT (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eXtina, Gooserock

    better off. When that important issue will be factored in as a campaign issue, that will be a great day indeed.

    ❧To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 08:35:08 AM PDT

    •  When the scientists have more money than (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bewareofme, eXtina, Agathena

      Big Oil and Big Coal, then they'll focus on it.

      "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

      by zenbassoon on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 08:38:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There's (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zenbassoon, Agathena

        a ton of clean tech that gets buried so I don't think it's a lack of R&D financing rather lobbying that likes no competition.

        "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

        by bcdelta on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 09:09:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Probably Can't Be Addressed Politically (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eXtina, Agathena

      It requires more severe imposition on the economy than we've ever done; whereas we're now 45 years into a process of strengthening the economy to impose on government more than it's been able to do in a lifetime.

      The case needs to be taken person to person to some of top economic ownership who aren't in the dirty energy business and see if a force can be assembled that can empower government.

      There's not remotely the kind of time to spare that it will take to make government sufficiently responsive to the people in preference to business, and then to convince huge majorities of the people that it's imperative. That could take half a century before we'd really be able to start.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 08:40:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Don't agree. The ecology and economy are tied (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eXtina, slapshoe

        together. If the fossil fuel industry did not control the government, the economy and the message we could have built a stronger green economy. It will happen of necessity when we reach a more critical point in environmental destruction.

        ❧To thine ownself be true

        by Agathena on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 09:11:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Going green (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Agathena

          has not been sold the right way rather just on the environment and the point is many do not care.

          What must be added to the sales pitch is foreign oil is $700 billion per year leaving the US - imagine what it would do for the economy if this money stayed in the US.

          Next we wouldn't be funding countries that don't like us.

          Other problem with oil is that it's a global commodity and can be used and manipulated to create inflation and hence tax the entire planet.

          Getting off oil is a matter of national security in addition to the environmental issues.

          If you want to sell something you have to appeal to as many people as possible.

          The technology exists to move away from this, but you're 100% right that the issue is lobbying.  Lobbying is killing the US and needs to be reined in big time.

          "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

          by bcdelta on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 09:32:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Just for a second, think about where you (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JoanMar, eXtina, tcdup, ExStr8

    would be if McInsane/Twit from Alaska would have won in '08.

    I would be homeless. No joke.

    O and team quickly pulled us back from the precipice.

  •  Stephanie to the rescue! (7+ / 0-)

    It was most disappointing to see the Democratic surrogates falling into the not too subtle trap of the media.
    Why the campaign wouldn't have come up with a cogent response to this question - they knew was coming - was beyond me.
    They all failed on Sunday - Axelrod, O'Malley, Burton,
    Gibbs - the whole lot.
    My respect for Ms Cutter grows every time I see her.
    Great job!

    •  Love her! And Jen Psaki and most of the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JoanMar, eXtina

      MSNBC female political analysts.

      You women make my heart soar!

    •  Trap? (5+ / 0-)

      Not being prepared to answer the most predictable question in the universe is being "trapped"?

      They were breathtaking in their ineptness and I for one am pissed off over it - this election is too important for them to F!@# it up! The Plouffes and the Axelrods and the Gibbs and the others better get their act together and fast so that they don't piss away the election for the rest of us.

      Maybe they could focus on, not only are we way better off than we would have been if Obama hadn't been elected,  

      BUT ALSO

      there's no knowing in advance how horrific a dystopia a reactionary, anti-science, anti-women, anti-education, anti-birth control, anti-labor, anti-diversity, anti-safety nets, anti-healthcare, anti-environment Republican  Administration will lead us.

      “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

      by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 08:52:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was 'aghasted' at yesterday's incompetence (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JoanMar

        and O'Malley actually answering 'no', OMG

        hopefully it's a speed bump

        I can understand the dilemma of 'insulting' the people who aren't better off as of yet but my god there are ways to deal with it

        the lack of preparedness was an unpleasant surprise

        "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

        by eXtina on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 09:17:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yesterday I was baffled (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          eXtina, JoanMar

          today I am angry as I see the Republicans trying to make hay from the incompetence.

          The point is that we're better off than we would have been and we will be better off that we would be with a Republican Administration.

          “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

          by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 09:30:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I totally agree with you. (0+ / 0-)

        Used the word "trap" only because I know how lazy the media have become and they were licking their chops thinking that the Dems had no easy way of answering it. They were proven correct.
        Until they met Stephanie Cutter, that is.

    •  shephanie cutter is the designated attack dog (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JoanMar, eXtina

      those others you mention are not. they've been with obama since the "no drama obama" days, stephanie has not, so she can be in yer face, sharp voiced. but, as usual with some of you, obama sux!

  •  Use the house fire theme with this: (11+ / 0-)

    Four years ago the house was on fire.

    The fire is now out, but the insurance company (the Republicans) is dicking us around and preventing us from rebuilding as fast as we would like.

    Because EVERYONE has had experience with people dicking them around.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 08:40:15 AM PDT

  •  absolutely (6+ / 0-)

    that is the answer to this better off question

    the US and the World economy was melting!

    Things are not back to normal but we are much better off than 4 years ago

    "Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative." - John Stuart Mill

    by smartone on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 08:43:26 AM PDT

  •  We are not (0+ / 0-)

    better off than 4 years ago economically - in fact it's way worse.

    And it's been a long time coming - 25/30 years of bubbles to bust, wars, etc.

    The country is far too polarized to affect the right change.

    To come out of our economic morass entails people coming together.

    WW2 united the country and is what took us out of the depression ultimately.  Now I don't want to see more war, but enough need to come together to move forward.

    So it will get way worse before it gets better.  Shame we only seem to learn under duress.

    Doesn't have to be like this.

    "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

    by bcdelta on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 08:43:58 AM PDT

    •  so you think a free falling economy (3+ / 0-)

      is way better than one growing incrementally?   You think that somehow the slow decline over forty years of real income only happened in the last four years of that forty years? You think the stock market reaches new lows every day?   You think the real estate market is still losing value at the same rate it was in 2008-2009?   You think GDP is falling?

      Coming together on the rational side of the political divide would be great, but coming together with the Tea Party on their side of the political equation, would that do any good?

      Who has been intransigent for the last four years?  Who has been screaming no at every jobs plan, stimulus to improve infrastructure, create green electrical grids and the manufacturing jobs to support them, to help people get health care but lower costs, etc.?  

      Come together is great for a song.  Sing it to the tea party.

      •  Tea Party (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eXtina

        is the lunatic fringe of the Republican party now - Bachmann/Palin.

        And a lot of Tea Party candidates are crazy.  So I wouldn't recommend communing with them.

        My point was that we didn't get into the crisis during Obama's term or Bush's - it goes back to the mid 80s.

        And one can real trace it back to the oil based stagflation of the 70s and we haven't learned the lesson here.

        Winning an election in out two party system entails getting the swing votes in the center.

        I don't think the message "it's better" will resonate with swing voters when they buy more expensive food and gas weekly.

        Congress needs to compromise and get stability back then other issues can be addressed.

        "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

        by bcdelta on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 09:07:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  the Tea Party agenda is winning (0+ / 0-)

          right now, the whole Republican Party has taken the Southern Strategy and the radical evangelical take, calling for the end of abortion in every circumstance, attacking every social advance of women, people of color and GLBT of the last sixty years, taking the gutting of Medicare, tax cuts fir the rich and packing it all into the platform.

          And Congress needs to compromise.  Don't you mean the Republicans in Congress?  The Democrats have been compromising.  Where were you when the Republicans took the economy hostage every few weeks for the last four years?  In the stimulus bill, every extension of unemployment insurance (the biggest bang for the buck in federal spending!!!), the debt limit extensions.  It wasn't the Democrats how got blamed the the credit rating being devaluted, the Republicans were mentioned by name by the credit agency.

          There are almost no swing voters in this election, not many undecideds.  And the polling is telling us they aren't buying the lies they heard from the Republicans.

          So when you have a rational fact based argument about what we can do with congress, that the economy is worse off, etc.,  come back and post that.

          •  The credit downgrade (0+ / 0-)

            Was due to too much spending without the tax revenue to support it and this started in the 80s and has continued to this day.

            And the excess in spending + bubbles busting has led to a need for even more spending - bailouts, etc.

            I think there are a lot of swing voters in the middle - just my opinion.

            Congress needs to stop solely doing the bidding of lobbyists and both sides do it.

            Take ACA - won't work unless we get the cost of medicine down.  I don't see anyone taking on insurance or pharma.

            This being said it's not easy given lobbying power.

            So if Congress won't come together then the people must.

            A better/fairer country is very doable, but entails going around lobbyists.

            "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

            by bcdelta on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 09:49:11 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  the credit downgrade (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              eXtina

              would never have happened if Congress had raised taxes and not held the debt ceiling increase hostage at that particular moment.  And in each factor, Republicans were the no votes, Republicans were the problem.

              And the polling consitently shows fewer swing votes of undecideds than any previous election, maybe as low as 6% when at this point in previous elections it would be around 14%.  Fact based communities tend not to value opinions over facts.

              Lobbying power is a problem, but who supports unlimited PAC money, refuses campaign reform, opposed stopping Congress from taking advantage of  free everything from lobbyists, and even insider trading.  Republicans voted everything down.  Reform won't happen as long as the Koch Brothers and the Adelsons of this world can buy anything.  And both sides do it, nowhere near the same extent.   We are hundreds of millions down in that battle.'

              Again, come up with some facts, not talking points for the right wing.

              •  Not supporting right wing (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                eXtina

                "Corporations are people too" was particularly insidious legislation that enables people with money to buy elections via clever advertising - no argument here.

                It think our credit rating should be junk at this point and we got here by 30 years of too much spending without the tax revenue to support it.

                As for polls - not an expert on this so I was just expressing my thoughts.

                As for securities fraud/insider trading - didn't see Bush DOJ prosecute anyone for the tech bubble Ponzi scheme, which was cut and dried securities fraud - it's illegal to sell highly risky investments to unsophisticated investors.

                Also haven't seen Obama DOJ prosecute anyone for mortgage securities fraud or Corzine stealing from segregated accounts at MF Global.

                Furthermore, derivatives need to be done away with entirely, but we just had JP Morgan lose a few billion here with money where they were not allowed to be trading such instruments.

                Wall Street owns both parties and evidenced by lack of prosecution or any palpable reform.

                "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

                by bcdelta on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 10:13:16 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  the credit downgrade (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  eXtina

                  wouldn't have happened given that US is still where the money runs in a crisis.  Look at what is still happening with EU insecurity, etc.

                  That downgrade happened only because of intransigience.

                  And eventual downgrade might happen, but if it is based on fear of non-payment, not in the short run absent republican shenanigans.

                  •  Unclear to me (0+ / 0-)

                    how we can ever pay the debt down without serious currency devaluation and if we devalue our currency and others don't = inflation and then hyperinflation.

                    "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

                    by bcdelta on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 01:22:45 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  we could try (0+ / 0-)

                      a combination of efforts, the deficit can be lowered by raising taxes and reining military spending, stopping all the wars at the behest of oil companies, etc., the debt at its current level won't lead to hyperinflation, if we started growing the economy again from the bottom up instead of stealing money and creating bubbles, reinvested in manufacturing and infrastructure, the 'debt' would simply become a non-issue in terms of GDP

                      Again, over concern with debt is a right wing talking point.  Fiat currency leaves us a lot of room to play with debt load.  The Japanese have worse debt, and stagnation, but still have a high standard of living and quality of life for people.   Chimeras to steal.  People with more money than they can spend in several lifetimes but who can't pay a penny of tax are telling you we can't pay the resultant debt, something must be done to people barely getting by. Learn to smell the lies.

                      •  We absolutely should try (0+ / 0-)

                        And yes the wars need to end, defense needs to be cut given a lot of waste - can be done without weakening security..

                        We just plowed Kadafi under because he wanted to nationalize oil - of course the narrative was human rights.  So both parties bow to big oil, defense, Wall Street, pharma and all other lobbies.

                        Bubbles - were supported by both parties again driven by lobbying or ideology.

                        Lobbying must be reined in.

                        Cuts need to come across the board in govt. and not just defense.  Wherever there is money in a public trough there is waste.

                        Cuts need to be gradual and persistent.  If this happens it will show the govt is serious about our debt problem and the end result will be a spike in consumer confidence = more jobs and growth.

                        My comments are based on a lack of compromise in DC so until people want to compromise we cannot take the action you suggest.

                        Concern over excess debt is math and reality - not a right wing talking point.  

                        Agreed that corporates and the rich need to pay their fair share.

                        I believe in tempered capitalism, which is only attainable if Congress reins in lobbying and does the bidding of everyone.

                        "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

                        by bcdelta on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 10:19:48 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

  •  What would the UER be with those 600K public (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bewareofme, eXtina, jfromga

    sector jobs?  GOP wants "spending cuts" but it's never spelled out that spending cuts = job cuts.  

    If public sector jobs were at George Bush levels the UER would be 7.8 or less right now.  

    I wish somebody from OFA or Dems as a whole would make that case.  

    An OFA Campaign Web Ad is the new Reid "sternly worded letter".

    by Jacoby Jonze on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 08:44:32 AM PDT

  •  We need a Ghost of Christmas Future. If people (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eXtina, Phoebe Loosinhouse

    could only see what it might have been, it might shake a little sense into their heads. The Republicans have no shame.

  •  Media is marching to the GOP's drumbeat with (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eXtina, CoyoteMarti

    this and I hope the DNC makes them pay for it.  Each time this question is posed the Democrats' response should be blistering:  4 years ago George Bush was President.  (Pause to allow that to sink in with the interviewer.)  Then continue with: George Bush led us into the Great Recession.  President Obama led us out.

    Soon enough, the dipsticks would stop beating this drum.  They think they have us over a barrel with this meme, but I say it is a trap into which they will fall.  Do they really want to remind the country about the Bush years?  

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