Obama aide: ‘The country is better off’

Torrey AndersonSchoepe
Torrey AndersonSchoepe
The Ticket

CHARLOTTE, N.C.—As the Democratic National Convention opens on the heels of some of President Barack Obama's surrogates fumbling when asked if the country is better off than it was four years ago, Obama campaign aides took the question head-on Tuesday morning.

"The country is better off," declared Stephanie Cutter, the president's deputy campaign manager.

Joined by fellow Obama campaign architects Ben LaBolt and Jim Messina, Cutter sat down with Yahoo News' Olivier Knox and ABC News' Diane Sawyer and Jake Tapper for a live "Newsmakers" broadcast.

Summing up their point, Obama's aides reinforced the "bumper sticker" line credited to Vice President Joe Biden: "Osama bin Laden is dead, GM is alive."

"We broke the back of al-Qaida," Cutter said. "The auto industry was on the verge of bankruptcy…and now they're creating hundreds of thousands of jobs."

Cutter also hit back at a Mitt Romney campaign aide's contention during last week's "Newsmakers" at the Republican National Convention that "we're not going let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers."

"We do care about fact checks. We do care about the honesty of our ads," she said.

At the RNC last week, Romney's wife, Ann, took the stage tasked with humanizing her husband, and the role is no different for Obama's wife, Michelle, who speaks tonight.

"I think that what the first lady can do better than anybody else is give a lens into the values that drive the president," Cutter said.

And, like their Romney counterparts, the Obama advisers were mum on yet another convention-speaker mystery: who will introduce the president on Thursday night at the Bank of America Stadiuma venue with nearly 74,000 seats that Team Obama said again on Tuesday they will be able to fill up amid questions about enthusiasm and weather.

Looking toward November, Obama's aides agreed that it's going to be a tight race that they're careful to characterize as a "choice" for voters.

"We're confident in the choice, and we're confident when people understand that choice that we're going to win this election," Messina said.

"Confident," Cutter said.

"Ditto," LaBolt agreed.