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May 3, 2015

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election 2012:

Line of Attack: Is this really the weakest recovery ever?

Editor’s note: Line of Attack is a feature that will run each week until the Nov. 6 election. In Line of Attack, we will parse a political attack, looking at the strategy behind it, how the campaign is delivering it and what facts support or refute it. We’ll assign it a rating on the fairness meter: Legit, Eye Roll, Guffaw, Laughable or Outrageous.

Attack: This is the worst economic recovery American has ever had.

Method of delivery: The televised ad from Crossroads GPS, an independent conservative group, uses CBS News anchor Scott Pelley to deliver the attack. “Good evening,” Pelley said in the July 17 broadcast. “This is the worst economic recovery America has ever had.” The ad then cuts to a list of bad economic news: job losses, skyrocketing unemployment, failed promises by President Barack Obama. Then a narrator articulates the whole point of the attack: “The results of President Obama’s failed stimulus policies.”

Strategy: The economy’s sluggish recovery from the Great Recession is the most lethal yoke opponents have to tie around Obama’s neck. Although the ad doesn’t blame the president for the crash that took place in 2008, before Obama took office, it holds him accountable for failing to turn the ship around.

Fairness meter: Obama and Democrats have conceded their frustration that the recovery has not resulted in enough jobs and that unemployment is too high.

But there’s no evidence to back up the assertion, repeated by Crossroads GPS, that this is the worst recovery in American history.

It’s not clear where Pelley gets the assertion that this is “the worst economic recovery America has ever had.” The rest of the CBS News segment focuses on Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, predicting that job growth would be sluggish.

A CBS News representative declined to comment to the Las Vegas Sun. A Crossroads spokesman did not provide any historical backup.

Elliott Parker, professor of economics at UNR, ran some numbers after the Las Vegas Sun brought the attack to his attention.

By his calculation, the recovery after the 2001 recession was slower, as measured by private gross domestic product, than the current recovery.

A separate analysis of Department of Commerce numbers by The Wall Street Journal late last month said the recovery was the second-weakest post-war, behind the 1980-81 recovery.

And that’s not even looking back to America’s earlier history, including the Great Depression.

Even Mitt Romney, in June 2011, couched his criticism of the economy’s recovery by saying: “This is the slowest job recovery since (former President Herbert) Hoover.”

Romney’s more modest claim of truncating history was deemed false by the nonpartisan website PolitiFact.

We rate this attack Laughable.

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  1. I rate your assessment laughable. I expect no less from left-wingers than to be apologists for the second-worst president in my lifetime - Osama Obama. I rate only the peanut farmer as worse and I voted for the jerk (the first time)! To be precise, I voted against Gerald Ford for pardoning Richard Nixon.

  2. Oh give me a break!

    Just two or three days ago there was a story in the Sun than the economy's "growth" has slowed significantly and yet Bernake is not going to take any action.

    The state of our economy is far from "Laughable" and anything that can spur action from either major party is to be welcomed.

  3. Like someone recovering from a major auto accident, you have to look at the progress...not compare prior to the accident.

    What Obama inherited was the worst economic collapse on record. EVERY economic indicator has improved. The reason unemployment is stagnant is the PUBLIC-sector job losses, the private sector has added jobs for 41 months in a row.

    Personal Income improved
    Consumer Confidence improved
    Stock Markets have more than doubled
    Construction Spending has improved
    Auto Sales have improved
    Unemployment Claims have dropped
    Factory Orders improved

    I have many more. How about some of you detail what has gotten worse.

  4. boftx, Try to stay relevant...the story was about a campaign commercial stating "this is the worst economic recovery American has ever had"

    How about giving some facts to support this laughable claim instead of trolling. Commercials speaking lies does nothing to 'spur action from either major party'. How about you point your hatred towards the ones who took over the House and stalled a strong recovery INTENTIONALLY.

  5. If the Obama team had a plan they would certainly be using these same ads to push their plan. Instead, with no plan in mind they are using rags like the Sun to engage in an attempt to bombard the air waves with negatives about his not giving up 10 years worth of tax returns.......I will call for Romney to show his last 10 years, when the primary accuser (with NO EVIDENCE), Senator Reed gives us 10 years of his tax returns. I know that is not the law, but the law also does not require Romney to do it either. Obama, ya had 4 years with a Senate majority and did nothing but piss billions of dollars away (Solendra et al.) JUST what we need for another 4 years, another career politician with no business training or experience. Time for a change, as Romney could certainly do NO WORSE.

  6. Comparisons like this are meaningless UNLESS it shows what we could be doing better. We are in a different world already. The Federal Reserve and other government manipulations have been carried to extremes that don't work any more. For example, holding interest rates down a percent or two might work when interest rates are above 5%. At 0%, it makes things worse. We must UNWIND the manipulations and allow an economy to start up. Similar to the thinking on cutting regulations. I'm all for regulations that are needed but not for regulations that are not needed--so many unintended consequences. And then there is the cost of writing, promulgating, enacting the regulations with the endless administrative costs and salaries that our taxpayers must pay for. And then there is the monitoring and enforcement.... The costs to regulate just don't end. For now, let's pretend we have free markets, free economic activity, and move everything in that direction. The steps might be small steps, but let's start walking so we can get some economic results.

  7. When did Crossroads GPS become non-partisan? Their donors remain anonymous, like Romney's 10 years of tax returns. Same reason most likely.

  8. "There is no "recovery" and cannot be any true recovery until the whole mess crashes, burns, and is rebuilt."

    What you are hoping for is Hoover's approach of do nothing. We saw the results, a run on the banks. Lines of people trying to get their money out before their bank is the next to collapse. The domino effect of that is total loss of confidence and a self-feeding frenzy of bankruptcies.

    While I hated the way Bush's 800 billion bank bailout was handled (bank executives paying themselves 18 billion in bonuses), it was absolutely necessary. Ben Bernanke is a scholar of the Great Depression and his actions have prevented the total collapse you want. This also happens to be Romney's nothing and let the private sector sort it out. We let the private banking sector 'self-regulate' during the Bush administration...exactly what brought on the collapse in the first place. We tried massive tax cuts during the Bush administration...that ended in NET LOST JOBS.

    No President has been perfect, and Obama is no exception. But Romney's lack of details and what few details he has given are nothing more than going back to Bush's policies. Romney has surrounded himself with the EXACT same advisors that Bush had.

  9. "Mitt Romney says on CNN Sunday that 'something dramatic' is needed to boost the struggling economy, but he does not offer up any specifics" NY Daily News.

    The last time Romney was being specific is when he said that Jerusalem is the Capital of Israel. How does that create jobs in America - outside of combat infantry and armor?

  10. It is very unfair to accuse the President of overseeing the weakest recovery in U.S. history. Simply, it is factual, there is NO recovery. The anemic jobs created last month do not even keep up with the new members of our workforce. The adjusted figures will be worse. Please, please, get this Puppet out of the White House. As a democrat, I must say, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy are turning in their graves. My, oh my what have we become?

  11. Politics aside, a slow economic recovery does have benefits. One obvious example is how inflation is way lower than expected.

  12. William,

    Here is the story that ran in the L.A. Times:

    You can find many others reporting it, too. I chose the reference to the Times since there is no way that paper can be said to have a right-wing bias.

    Follow up reports indicate that the Fed will not take steps to address this.

  13. stephenrblv - Rather lofty assertion without any sources to prove your point.

    .....ill wait.......

  14. boftx, I don't get what your complaining about. I've seen nobody claiming the economy is not slowing. Yes, since 2011 (when Republicans took control of the House) the recovery has slowed down. But, the good news is it is still recovering and growing. Yes, the economy is 'propped up' (rightfully so) and is very fragile currently. Rebuilding a destroyed foundation is crucial for the long term, and that takes time.

    All that still has nothing to do with the point of the article that ""this is the worst economic recovery America has ever had" THAT statement is laughable as supported in the article, there have been worse recoveries from less severe downturns. Nobody, left or right, is laughing at the overall economy.

    I opine that we were doing much better before Republicans stalled congress completely in 2011. There little stunt of not increasing the debt limit roiled the markets and America received its first credit downgrade in history. The House then approved the upcoming fiscal cliff, and now complains about it. Boehner and Obama reached a compromise of $4 in spending cuts for every $1 in new revenue. Boehner couldn't sell it to tea party republicans and we ended up with the so-called fiscal cliff.

  15. Mindless, desperate and disingenuous, Dumbocrats play the same old tune: "It's Bushes fault." Hey, get over 2000. Bush won and he served 2 terms (1 more than Osama Obama will). It's time for you fops, and Osama Obama, to "Man Up" and take responsibility for the putrid record compiled by the cretin with the Cheshire Cat grin and vacuous agenda. If by some miracle, Osama Obama is reelected, I guess we'll hear the same BS from the left for another 4 miserable and unsuccessful years: "It's Bushes fault." Wa, wa, wa. Crybabies!

  16. Like with lifeboats, one can't save all. This recovery is aimed at protecting the interests of important campaign contributors who've been receiving the influence they've paid for.
    I suggest that the path to stability, harmony and trust will be charted by those inspired by fair media, that peoples champion and conscience of nations holding history of inspiring citizens to gather overwhelming public opinion in order to force needed changes, and is recognizably absent.

  17. @milt1007,

    Do any of you people deal in reality or just enjoy manufacturing your own misinformation?

    What was the Dow Jones when Obama was elected?

    What was the unemployment rate when he was elected?

    How many jobs a month were lost just prior to his election and the first months he took office?

    How many jobs were created when the Bush tax cuts went into effect?

    We are having a slow recovery because the GOP and tea nuts refuse to compromise, deal or negotiate with this president. They are hoping the poor recovery will help them win the White House and Congress, that's the plan, plain and simple.

    The only other economic disaster this country faced which was worse was The Great Depression. The country suffered through 25% unemployment and people bank accounts completely wiped out. That depression lasted well over ten years. You people ignoring American history can't see the handwriting on the wall, it will happen again because your dislike or hate of Democrats and Obama blinds you to the causes of our economic downturn.

    You nay sayers are being minipulated like silly putty in the hands of those who crushed this economy, and then took advantage to increase their personal wealth.