I and others have been hoping that Obama would mount a more aggressive and concerted defense of his economic record and a stronger case that the economy is recovering. And on the trail today in New Hampshire, he did both as clearly as he has yet:
Buzzfeed says that Obama has discovered “morning in America,” and there’s something to this. Yesterday Obama made a similarly optimistic pitch that we’re recovering, which suggests that he is pivoting hard to this message for the home stretch.
The key to the new stump speech is that Obama describes the trajectory of the unemployment rate — the larger story — noting that it reached an abysmal 10 percent at the depth of the crisis before falling to its current 7.8 percent. In the wake of yesterday’s good news about the housing market, Obama also referenced rising home values.
The news is hardly all good, to be sure. Today brought word that jobless claims are up again, after some encouraging news last week. But as Steven Benen notes, the big story is this: “in nearly every key area of the American economy, we’re seeing a strengthening recovery, the best since before Obama even took office.”
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are feverishly trying to counter-program this, and let’s face it, Romney is proving to be a very convincing bearer of the message that the Obama economy is nothing but a disaster. It also helps that Romney is backed up by hundreds of millions of dollars in swing state ads depicting the economy as sliding ever deeper into a worsening human tragedy of epic proportions.
The question, though, is whether people will see things in quite these terms. Rising numbers of people are telling pollsters that they think we’re on track to recovery, and the economic confidence numbers are also on the upswing. Which may explain why Obama thinks it’s now safe to carry the above message, after a period of hesitancy borne of worry that trumpeting the recovery risked alienating swing voters who aren’t feeling it yet. Republicans are going to do everything possible to ensure that Obama owns the economy. He may as well try to own it on his own terms.