O’Malley Does an About-Face: Yes, We are Better Off

Jonathan Miller

A day after saying, no, the country was not better off than it was four years ago, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley reversed course on Monday and said, yes, indeed it was.

“We are clearly better off as a country because we’re now creating jobs rather than losing them,” O’Malley, a Democrat, said on CNN’s Starting Point. “But we have not recovered all that we lost in the Bush recession. That’s why we need to continue to move forward.”

He then motioned to a panel that included Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, among others. “Is there anyone on this panel that thinks we’ve recovered all we lost in the Bush recession? Clearly we’re moving forward, we’re creating jobs, unemployment is down, job creation is up. And that job creation would not happen without the president’s leadership.”

O'Malley later took to Twitter to reiterate his point.

On Sunday, when asked whether the country was better off, O’Malley responded, “No, but that's not the question of this election,” saying it was largely George W. Bush’s fault for the economic problems facing the country.

O’Malley is scheduled to speak at this week’s Democratic convention in Charlotte.

Mitt Romney's campaign was quick to jump on the new line coming from Democrats. Senior Romney aide Eric Fehrnstrom, speaking on Fox News on Monday, said that "saying things are better off is an insult to the 23 million people who are either out of work or underemployed."

He later added: "There is no amount of gloss or slick convention staging that can cover up the fact that this is the weakest recovery since the Great Depression." He then invoked the singer of "Take this Job and Shove it" to make a final point: "You know there used to be a country-and-western singer called Johnny Paycheck. If he was still around he'd have to change his name to Johnny Foodstamp.”