Washington: As the US presidential race enters its home-run, the campaigners for President Barack Obama's second term concede that there is not the same level of enthusiasm among voters that was four years ago, but argue that Americans are not that dissatisfied with the administration.
Admitting that the race is running too close to predict with each coming day, the Democrats say.
"No," replied Democratic Gov Martin, a prominent Obama surrogate, when was asked if he could "honestly say that people are better off today than they were four years ago?"
"But we are making progress out of the deep, deep hole," he said.
Stephanie Cutter, Obama deputy campaign manager, said, "In terms of the question are people better off today than they were four years, I just want to remind you what was happening four years ago at this time. In the quarter before the president took office, we lost three million jobs."
"Our country was bleeding. Our financial system was on the verge of collapse. We were passing bank bailouts to ensure that our system could stay afloat."
The Obama campaign acknowledged voters were concerned about the economy, but said the administration inherited unique and challenging conditions from former president Bush.
Obama's senior campaign adviser Robert Gibbs reiterated Cutter and O'Malley's statements. Gibbs said voters "understand that we have been through a traumatic economic experience in the country, unlike anything that we have ever seen."
"I don't think that there is voter disappointment."
"And voters understand it took us years and years of tremendously bad decisions by running up huge debts, and providing huge tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires that didn't create jobs, and they understand that it is going to take us a while to get out of that mess," Gibbs told CNN.
Responding to questions, Gibbs said nobody is sitting up here saying this is 2008.
"What has happened since the election in 2008 and right now, again, is this huge economic calamity caused by a series of bad decisions that were made before the president ever got there," he said.
The Romney campaign was quick to capitalise on such acknowledgements by the Obama advisors.
"Today’s admission by Democratic Governor O'Malley that Americans aren't better off today than they were four years ago is more proof that President Obama's policies aren't working," the Republican vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan, said.
"President Obama's failure of leadership has led to 42 straight months of unemployment above 8 per cent, 23 million Americans struggling for work, USD 5 trillion in new debt and a USD 716 billion cut in Medicare to fund Obamacare," Ryan said.
"Just today, President Obama's own surrogates admitted that we are not better off than we were four years ago. It's clear that we need to move in a different direction, but Vice President Biden only brought the same failed policies and tired attacks to Pennsylvania that have not turned around our economy or helped the middle class," said Amanda Henneberg, Romney Campaign spokesperson.
First Published: Monday, September 03, 2012, 15:49