Obama adviser treads carefully when asked whether Americans are better off

September 2, 2012

Asked repeatedly on Sunday whether the country is better off than it was four years ago, David Plouffe, a top adviser to President Obama, would not provide a direct yes or no answer. He responded that the nation has improved from the "depths of the recession" because of Obama's leadership, but would not flatly say whether the country is better off or not.


(Keith Bedford/Bloomberg News)

Plouffe said on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" that, "I think the American people understand that we got into a terrible economic situation," and "they know we had a deep hole."

"Yes or no? Are Americans better off today then they were four years ago?" asked Stephanopoulos later in the interview.

"I think everybody understands we were this close to a great depression. Because of the leadership of this president, we staved that off. We are beginning to recover. We have a lot more work to do," responded Plouffe.

"We have clearly improved form the depths of the recession," Plouffe also said. "The question for the American people is which path are we going to take," he added.

Other prominent Democrats were posed with the same question on Sunday.

"Can you honestly say that people are better off today than they were four years ago?" CBS's Bob Schieffer asked Democratic Governors Association Chairman Martin O'Malley on "Face The Nation."

"No, but that's not the question of this election," O'Malley said. "The question, without a doubt, we are not as well as we were off before George Bush brought us the Bush job losses, the Bush recession, the Bush deficits."

Plouffe also said that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's campaign is built "on a tripod of lies" which he said comprised of a "welfare attack that is just absolutely untrue, the suggestion that we are raiding Medicare, absolutely untrue, and then this whole 'we can't build it' nonsense."

Asked about Clint Eastwood's attention-grabbing Republican convention speech, Plouffe praised the actor/director's career work and added, "the Romney campaign would probably not, three days after their convention, [prefer] still having questions being raised about Clint Eastwood."

Updated at 11:42 a.m.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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Sean Sullivan · September 2, 2012