(CNSNews.com) – Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz insisted the economy was improving and sought to interpret what President Barack Obama really meant when he admitted Monday that Americans were not better off today than four years ago.
Obama was asked in an ABC News/Yahoo News interview Monday if the country was better off than it was four years ago.
“Well I don’t think they are better off than they were four years ago,” Obama said. “They’re not better off than they were before Lehman’s collapse, before the financial crisis, before this extraordinary recession that we’re going through.”
Historically, the defining question that incumbent presidents face in reelection campaigns is whether the country is better off now than four years earlier.
On Tuesday, CNSNews.com asked, “Yesterday, the president said that Americans are not better off now than they were four years ago. Do you agree with that?”
Wasserman Schultz, a U.S. representative from Florida, held a conference call on Tuesday.
“Well, what President Obama said was that certainly since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, that Americans are not better off,” Wasserman Schultz told CNSNews.com. “That was specifically the president’s comment. I thought. And I think anyone who looks at the economy knows we have come a long way.
“We are certainly no longer dropping like a rock like we were in the months leading up to President Obama taking office,” Wasserman Schultz continued. “And now we’ve begun to turn the corner. President Obama has repeatedly said we have a long way to go. We’ve now gone through 18 months of private sector job growth. We’re no longer losing hundreds of thousands of jobs a month, which is where we were just before he was inaugurated.”
During Obama’s presidency, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, annualized growth in the real Gross Domestic Product peaked at 3.9 percent in the first quarter of 2010. By the first two quarters of this year, it had dropped to 0.4 percent and 1.0 percent, respectively.
The unemployment rate climbed from 7.8 percent when Obama came into office to 9.1 percent currently and has been as high as 10 percent. Since the passage of the $800 billion stimulus bill in February 2009, 1.7 million jobs were lost.