Republicans -- including Mitt Romney's campaign for president -- are jumping on Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's answer to a question posed to him on CBS today: Do you believe people are better off than they were four years ago?
"No, but that's not the question of this election," O’Malley responded on Face the Nation. "The question, without a doubt, we are not as well off as we were before George Bush brought us the Bush job losses, the Bush recession, the Bush deficits, the series of desert wars charged for the first time to the national credit card."
Republicans quickly pounced on the first part of the response. The Romney campaign sent out a press release Sunday recycling a quote from the nominee's speech on Thursday. "This president can ask us to be patient. This president can tell us it was someone else’s fault. This president can tell us that the next four years he’ll get it right," Romney said. "But this president cannot tell us that you are better off today than when he took office."
The press release highlighted O'Malley's comments.
Though O'Malley's answer is getting attention, it was not inconsistent with the president's own words during an ABC News interview last October. "Well I don't think they are better off than they were four years ago," Obama said at the time. "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."
Other Obama surrogates have offered less direct answers to the question.
"In terms of the question, are people better off than they were four years ago, I just want to remind you what was happening four years ago at this time," Obama campaign aide Stephanie Cutter told CBS as she followed on O'Malley's response. "In the quarter before the president took office, we lost 3 million jobs, our country was bleeding, our financial system was on the verge of collapse."