CHARLOTTE -- Democrats should not shy away from answering the question about whether Americans are "better off" after four years of Barack Obama's presidency, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Monday.
"I think Democrats should welcome that question," Pelosi said during a roundtable meeting with reporters at the Huffington Post Oasis in downtown Charlotte, where convention-goers can stop in for free spa services. "Especially considering the source of who's asking it. Mitt Romney? Mitt Romney? Paul Ryan?"
Originally used by Ronald Reagan against Jimmy Carter in 1980, the question, "are you better off than you were four years ago," has reemerged as a major theme of Republican counter-programming at the Democratic National Convention. During an interview with ABC News Sunday, Obama senior advisor David Plouffe declined to answer the same question, but Pelosi on Monday pushed back against the Republican talking point.
"Our country is better off. Our country is better off than where we were," she said. "President Obama, this extraordinary president in a very extraordinary time pulled our country back from the brink of depression, meltdown of our financial institutions, deepening of our deficit. And in the first two years, three and a half million jobs were created with the Recovery Act. President Obama was a job creator from day one."
She conceded, however, that it was a difficult case to make when faced with an unemployment rate above eight percent, but argued that the economic situation would have been far worse with the Recovery Act.
"We have to think in terms of the country than in each individual person," she said, adding later: "It's a hard sell, and if you don't have a job, what difference does it make to you?"