With declining poll numbers and Democrats on the verge of losing control of Congress in November, President Obama went before reporters at the White House on Friday to defend his handling of the economy. And in a nod in the direction of the hard-fought midterm battles taking shape across the country, he repeatedly stressed that the economy's problems began under the GOP watch well before he took office.
Still, the president acknowledged his administration's efforts haven't provided the boost he had hoped for, calling economic progress "painfully slow."
"We aren't there yet," Obama said repeatedly during the roughly 80-minute news conference. "It's understandable that people are asking, 'What have you done?' [But] the policies we have put into place have moved us in the right direction."
Echoing recent speeches, Obama tried to instead frame the upcoming election as a choice between Democrats' efforts to "move forward" and Republican obstructionism. He contended that GOP candidates are pushing "the exact policies" that led the nation into economic strife. If the election is a "referendum" on progress, Obama acknowledged, his party could face stiff losses in November. "If the election is about the policies that are going to move us forward versus the policies that are going to get us back in a mess, then Democrats will do very well," he said.
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