Republicans try to counter Democrats' convention

WOLFEBORO, New Hampshire Mon Sep 3, 2012 4:54pm EDT

1 of 2. Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney leaves The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire September 2, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder

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WOLFEBORO, New Hampshire (Reuters) - U.S. Republicans prepared a counterpunch to the Democratic National Convention this week by introducing their new line of attack with a not-so-new question: "Are you better off than you were four years ago?"

While Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spent time on his boat in New Hampshire on Monday, his running mate, Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan, and other Republican officials converged on Charlotte, North Carolina, where President Barack Obama will accept his party's nomination and enter the home stretch of the 2012 race for the White House.

The Romney campaign kicked off its effort to "bracket" the convention with a new emphasis on what it called Obama's failed presidency, a theme Romney himself punctuated in his speech a week earlier to the Republican National Convention.

Asking Americans if they are better off than they were before the current president took over is hardly a new line in U.S. presidential politics, but Republicans ran with the phrase in their efforts to upstage the Democratic gathering.

They spent Sunday and Monday morning trying to highlight Democratic Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley's answer of "No" when CNN asked him if Americans are better off than they were before Obama took office.

Democrats hustled to blunt that message on Monday.

"By any measure the country has moved forward over the last four years; it might not be as fast as people hoped," senior Obama adviser Stephanie Cutter told NBC's "Today" show. "The president agrees with that. He knows we need to do more. That's what this week is about, laying out a road map of how we can continue this progress, how we can continue moving the country forward."

The Romney campaign kicked off the week's counter-messaging Sunday night with a blistering preview of the Democratic convention, saying Obama "is going to give us a series of excuses, alibis and scapegoats."

"Every president since the Great Depression, except Jimmy Carter and President Obama, who asked for a second term could look back at the last four years and say, "you are better off than you were four years ago," it said in a statement.

Ryan, the Republican vice presidential nominee, planned a campaign event in Greenville, North Carolina, before heading to the battleground states of Iowa and Ohio on Tuesday.

Reince Priebus, national chairman of the Republican Party, and U.S. Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah on Monday opened an "'Obama isn't working' Rapid Response Center" at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte.

Romney was spending much of the week in Vermont, preparing for his three debates against Obama, a campaign official said.

Rob Johnson, former campaign manager to Texas Governor Rick Perry's presidential campaign, said that when it comes to convention counterprogramming, "it is always a good thing to knock the other side off message."

Having a presence in Charlotte will help Republicans achieve that, Johnson said.

"This week it will be important for the Republicans to be in Charlotte to attempt to expose the holes in the propaganda of the Obama team," Johnson said. "There is no substitute for being on their turf in person."

Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons shrugged off the new Republican attack line.

"Maybe that argument is the best they can do, but I think it will miss the mark," he said.

Simmons, who helped set up and run the Democratic response unit at the Republican convention in 2008, said polls continue to show that "George W. Bush is more responsible for what happened to the economy four years ago."

"Despite the GOP rhetoric, President Obama took us from losing 750,000 jobs a month when he took office to gaining jobs every month," Simmons said. "Really they are arguing that things are not as good as they could be. Much tougher case to make."

(Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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Comments (49)
DocRockk wrote:
Bush and the Republicans are who created the recession, before Obama was ever President, and now they want us to put them back in charge, because Obama hasnt cleaned up their mess fast enough!? What gall.

Americans need to be constantly reminded of just who it was that put us here, and it was not President Obama.

Sep 03, 2012 4:19pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Naksuthin wrote:
I am voting for Obama this time because like a lot of Americans and America as a whole, we are all better off than we were 4 years ago. when Republicans held the presidency

4 years ago….As the last Republican President , George Bush, prepared to hand over the reins of the economy to Obama in January 2009 , the US was teetering on the edge of collapse. Newcasters were calling it possibly the “Second Great Depression”
The Dow had plunged to From 14000 points down to 8000. The Nasdaq had plunged from a high of 2800 all the way down to 1500. Everyone who had a 401K back in late 2008 watched in horror our 401K’s lost about half it’s value. The Investment Company Institute, a trade group for the mutual-fund industry, says that retirement assets lost $2.1 trillion in the year ending Sept. 30, 2008

In 2002 President Bush had pushed Fannie May and Freddie Mac, as well as the federal home loan banks,to loan $440 billion dollars to minority borrowers many of whom were ill equipped to pay back those loans (Read Bush’s speech at The resulting deluge of defaulting loans created an implosion of the housing market and home prices came crashing to earth. Everyone was losing equity. No one was buying. People started abandoning whole neighborhoods to the repo man. This was in January 2009…days before Obama took over the reigns from Republican President Bush.

Four years years ago The Banks were collapsing, weighed down by subprime loans . Big Giants like Bear Sterns, Citigroup Inc., Morgan Stanley , American International Group, Inc., Goldman Sachs, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, had to be bailed out while other giants like Lehman Brothers collapsed after surviving for over 100 years and Merrill Lynch was absorbed by Bank of America
Remember the names Countrywide, Washington Mutual, Indymac GONE

And Obama wasn’t even president yet.

Four years ago Unemployment had skyrocked. Between 2007 and 2009 the US lost 5.6 million jobs. In January, the final month of the Bush Administration , the private sector shed over 800,000 jobs in that one month alone.
Four years ago The Giants of the American auto industry were in deep trouble. In 2008 gas was 4 dollar a gallon and US automakers had nothing in the pipeline but SUVs and Big Trucks. Customers started turning to Japanese fuel efficient cars. The Big Three were in deep trouble and pleaded with the Bush administration for federal bailout money

All this…..And Obama wasn’t even President yet.

Four years ago Terrorism was uppermost in the minds of most Americans. Orange alerts, airport searches. Images of terrorists striking American cities, and who can forget those regular threatening taped messages from Osama Bin Ladin

And Obama was not even President yet

Four years ago America was stuck in to long and drawn out wars, : Iraq and Afghanistan. On the day Obama took office we had been stuck in Iraq and Afghanistan for about 7 years…. Civil war had broken out in Iraq and Afghanistan had been all but abandoned as troops and supplies were redirected to Iraq. What had started out as a quick and easy war to topple Sadaam grew in to a protracted civil war between Sunnis and Shiah’s…with American troops caught in the crossfire. Millions of Christian Iraqis fled across the border to escape the carnage.

And Obama wasn’t even president yet.

NOW Fast forward over 4 years later…and what a difference.

The DOW is now back up to 13,000 (even WITH economic problems in Europe dragging it down) and the NASDAQ hasn’t been this high since the Clinton years. If you have your retirement savings in stocks you are back in the drivers seat. Your retirement savings have recovered all they lost during the Great Recession
Americans who once saw their 401K’s cut in half during the closing days of the Bush Administration can breath easier once again.
American businesses too are prospering. US business are now flushed with so much money….over 2 trillion dollars in cash…that they are having trouble deciding if they should use it to buy out their competitors or buy back their own stock.

Just One year after Obama took office, America finally stemmed the bleeding jobs picture. America began creating more jobs than it lost. And every single month since February 2010 has been accompanied by more jobs created. Some months more than others but ALWAYS in positive territory….and this despite the huge recession in Europe and and slowdown in China , which has negatively affected American business and employment numbers.

The US auto industry is back on it’s feet , thanks to a bailout by the Obama Administration…..and today the Big Three is the pride of the world auto industry…. with record breaking sales and innovative new products.

Banks which lead the US into disaster in 2008 and had to be bailed out …are back to profitability. Most of the banks were so profitable they paid off their Tarp loans.

Today No one talks of the Second Great Depression…that’s a distant memory. And the Great Recession is over.

Today the long expensive war in Iraq is OVER.

As for housing in June 2012 Housing starts rose 6.9% over May to a 760,000 annual rate, the highest level since October 2008, and were up an impressive 23.6% compared with a year earlier. And the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported that (in June 2012) builder confidence is at its highest level in five years.

Today Osama Bin Ladin, who theatened the US for almost a decade. is dead..fulfilling a promise Obama made in Americans in the 2008 debates. Never again will Americans have to listen to another tape recorded message mocking the US and threatening harm.
And Al Qaeda’s top leadership is either dead or in hiding thanks to Obama’s reliance on successful and deadly predator drone attacks

I doubt very much Romney could have done half as well

Sep 03, 2012 4:19pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
tuckbodi wrote:
“4 years ago” means when President Bush was in office, and then the answer is Yes. And this is coming from someone who voted for him.

Sep 03, 2012 4:24pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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