“We’ve clearly improved ... from the depths of the recession,” said David Plouffe, one of Obama’s top White House aides.
He sought to swiftly turn the question into criticism of the Republicans.
“The Romney path would be the wrong path for the middle class, the wrong path for this country,” he insisted.
Asked the same better-or-not question that has become a staple of presidential campaigns, another top adviser, David Axelrod, answered, “I think the average American recognizes that it took years to create the crisis that erupted in 2008 and peaked in January of 2009. And it’s going to take some time to work through it.”
Obama spoke on the University of Colorado campus in Boulder, and made his by-now familiar plea for students to register and vote. He benefited enormously from the support of younger voters four years ago and can ill-afford a fall-off in their support — or enthusiasm— in 2012.
Democrats regard passage of a sweeping health care law as a high point of achievement for Obama during his term. Yet the law has also unified Republicans who argue it amounts to a government takeover of the health care system and a budget-buster to boot.
Obama has lately been eager to answer his critics, and he did more than that in his speech.
“Gov. Romney promised that on his first day in office he’s gonna sit right down, grab a pen and repeal Obamacare,” the president said, referring to the law by the name Republicans first attached to it as an insult.
“What that means is that right away he’d kick 7 million young people off their parents’ plan. He’d take hope away from tens of millions of American with pre-existing conditions by repealing reform,” the president said.
“You know, he calls it Obamacare. I like the name. I do care. .... I don’t know exactly what the other side is proposing; I guess you could call it ‘Romney doesn’t care.’ But this law is here to stay.”