A defiant President Barack Obama today told Americans that they are ‘absolutely better off’ than they were when he was sworn into office in January 2009.

The question ‘are you better off than you were four years ago’, famously posed by Ronald Reagan in 1980, has dogged the Obama campaign over the past week as aides have responded ‘no, but’ or dodged the issue entirely.

‘We are absolutely better off than we were when I was sworn in and we had 800,000 jobs becoming lost in a month,’ he said today ahead of his Democratic convention speech in Charlotte.

The Romney campaign has been goading Obama on the issue, printing ‘Are you better off?’ signs and stickers and making it their main line of attack during the Democratic convention.

Obama gave his justification for saying that Americans were ‘absolutely better off’ – barely pausing for breath as he rattled off a list of the improvements his campaign claims, in the interview with NBC12 in Virginia.

‘We lost nine million jobs during the course of the worst recession since the Great Depression and in part because of the actions that we took – saving an auto industry, making sure we were providing tax cuts to middle-class families, making sure that we were helping states that teachers and fire fighters and teachers wouldn’t have to be laid of putting tens of thousands of people back to work around the country, rebuilding roads and bridges.

‘All of those things allowed us to start growing the economy again. We’ve now seen growth and job creation over the last 29 months but obviously we’ve got so much more to do and that’s true here in Virginia, that’s true all across the country

Referring to his convention speech, he said: ‘What I’ll be doing on Thursday is laying out is laying out a very clear path of how we can continue to grow the economy and start the middle class  and I think it will be a sharp contrast with what we saw last week [at the Republican convention].

Obama also refused to back down from his controversial ‘You didn’t build that’ comments about small businesses in July, saying that he stands by the point he was making and admitting only that his ‘syntax’ was wrong.


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