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RUSH: Here’s Ronaldus Magnus. October 28, 1980, Cleveland, Ohio. Jimmy Carter and Ronaldus Magnus had engaged in a presidential debate, and here is a portion of the closing statement from Ronaldus Magnus…

REAGAN: Ask yourself: Are you better off than you were four years ago? Is it easier for you to go and buy things in the stores than it was four years ago? Is there more or less unemployment in the country than there was four years ago? Is America as respected throughout the world as it was? Do you feel that our security is as safe, that we’re as strong as we were four years ago? And if you answer all of those questions, “Yes,” why, then I think your choice is very obvious as to who you will vote for. If you don’t agree — if you don’t think that this course that we’ve been on for the last four years is what you would like to see us follow for the next four — then I could suggest another choice that you have.

RUSH: That would be me, Ronaldus Magnus.

So that’s when it all started. Sunday on the Sunday shows, and even carrying over into yesterday, the Drive-Bys and the Democrats struggled with this. And we have a montage, a media montage where the members of the media here say the Obama camp is “struggling” with this question. Now, how do you “struggle” with the question? Either you are or you aren’t better off. It was, “It’s the economy, Stupid,” in 1992. Cut, dried. Somehow Obama is “struggling” with the most fundamental measure of whether a president should be elected.

ANDREA MITCHELL: The Obama campaign is struggling to answer the question that stumped Jimmy Carter when he was seeking a second term.

JOHN BERMAN: (background noise) There is this nagging question they’re struggling to answer: Are you better off today than you were four years ago?

CHRIS WALLACE: Are you better off than you are four years ago? TheyÂ’re really struggling with that.

SOLEDAD O’BRIEN: Democrats have been struggling to answer a critical question about President Obama’s first term.

TAMRON HALL: … struggling this weekend to answer the question: Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

JON SCOTT: Democrats are still struggling to come up with a good answer.

MONICA CROWLEY: Are you better off than you were four years ago? The Obama camp is struggling to articulate a unified response.

CHUCK TODD: This Democratic convention is getting off to a bit of a defensive start as the Obama campaign seems to be struggling.

RUSH: Now, recently I read somebody who said that there really isn’t any bias in the media. There’s just consensus. Meaning they all think alike. It’s not so much that there’s studied, contrived conspiratorial bias as it is they just think alike. These sound bites are legion. It’s “gravitas” or now, in this case, “struggling.” The Obama campaign is struggling. And the reason they’re struggling is because the answer to the question is, “No!” And it doesn’t help them. “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” No! Of course they’re struggling with how to answer this.


RUSH: I don’t know how anybody, honestly, well, not anybody, because there are people doing better, but they’re at the upper end. They always will do better. Well, even there are exceptions there. Some people lose it. But the bottom line is this. We had a study, we reported a study some two weeks ago that found that all incomes have declined more in the last three years during the recovery than they did during the recession. Remember, these people are living off the news that the recovery started in June of 2009. That’s what the regime has put out there, and that’s going to come back to bite them. And it is, because there hasn’t been a recovery. “The fragile recovery.”

You’ve heard the news. The fact of the matter is that since June of 2009 all incomes have declined more since June of 2009 than they did during the actual recession. How can anybody be better off? The cost of food stamps has doubled in the last four years. The number of people on food stamps has doubled in the last four years. An 85-year-old career criminal blames it on the fact that government isn’t giving her enough. Doris what’s her name, the moron club, out in Torrance, California.

Martin O’Malley, Maryland governor, stepped in it on Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer. They’re talking about the presidential race and the economy, and are people better off now than they were four years ago?

SCHIEFFER: Can you honestly say that people are better off today than they were four years ago?

O’MALLEY: No, but that’s not the question of this election.

RUSH: No, no, they’re not better off. And then he got taken to the woodshed a la’ Cory Booker and hours later he was back correcting himself. “Yeah, of course everybody’s better off.” I forget what he said the rest of this bite. The question is, you know, the usual Bush caused this and who is better equipped to fix it, do we want to continue the policies that got us in this mess, blah, blah, blah. The same old rigmarole. Here was Joe “Bite Me” yesterday in Detroit, AFL-CIO Labor Day, and this is what Bite Me had to say.

BIDEN: Let me make something clear and say to the press: America is better off today than they left us when they left. (edited cheers) And if it weren’t so hot, if it weren’t so hot, I’d go into detail why I say that.

RUSH: Did you hear what Chains said there? “Let me make something clear and say to the press: America is better off today than they left us when they left.” Can you imagine the morons trying to figure that out? “America is better off today than they left us when they left and if it weren’t so hot I’d go into detail why I say that.” Okay. So I guess this is the campaign: Osama is dead. Solyndra is dead and your job is dead and the economy is dead and all that hope and change stuff is dead, too. And Bush made it happen. Here’s Biden, Joe “Bite Me.” It wasn’t too hot to continue with this.

BIDEN: You want to know whether we’re better off? I got a little bummer sticker for you: Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive!

RUSH: Pathetic. That’s absolutely pathetic. The Volt is dead. They just shut it down. They just shut down production. And, folks, again I want to stress to you, General Motors has been nationalized. The regime bought it and gave it to the United Auto Workers. It has not rebounded. It has not paid back its so-called loans. I hate talking this way about General Motors. General Motors is American iconic. Nobody likes sitting here using General Motors as an example of American failure. We don’t even like talking about it. But we can’t avoid it because this party, the Democrat Party and Obama, are the architects of it.


RUSH: A casual perusal of the cable networks shows that they are still occupied with this whole question of, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” So I’m going to stick with the audio sound bites on this because the Democrats are over a barrel on this. Let’s go to Fox News Sunday. David Axelrod wouldn’t answer the question. Chris Wallace said: “David, can you honestly say the average American is better off today than four years ago?”

AXELROD: Here’s what I can say, Chris. I can say that we’re in a better position than we were four years ago in our economy in the sense that when this president took office, we were losing 800,000 jobs a month. The quarter before he took office was the worst quarter that this country has had economically since the Great Depression, and we are in a different place, 29 straight months of job growth, 4.5 million private sector jobs. Are we where we need to be? No.

RUSH: These people really are delusional and they think everybody’s morons. And that 800,000 jobs lost in the fourth quarter of 2008, most of that was after Obama was elected and everybody knew what the hell was coming. That’s when unemployment started skyrocketing, after he won the election. Wallace then ticks off all the ways we’re not better off to Axelrod. “You keep talking about Romney. I’d like to talk about the Obama record and I want to put statistics up on the screen. Unemployment was 7.8% when the president took office. It’s now 8.3%. Median household income was almost $55,000. It’s now less than $51,000. Gas was a $1.85 a gallon when he took office. Now, it’s $3.78, almost doubled. National debt was $10.6 trillion and it may go past $16 trillion this week. So, just looking at the president’s record and those statistics, David, is the average American better off than four years ago?”

AXELROD: Chris, as I said to you before, 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.

RUSH: The average American sees nothing of the sort. The average American says this is not how this country works; this is not how we get out of trouble. We don’t make excuses for what happened four, five years ago. We do something about it. And this bunch is doing things that are making it worse. On ABC This Week, George Stephanopoulos talked to David Plouffe. This is the guy, by the way, who picked Charlotte. David Plouffe is the guy who picked Charlotte for the convention site because they need North Carolina and they thought it would help. It turns out it isn’t helping. Stephanopoulos says, “Can the president argue that Americans are better off today than they were years ago?”

PLOUFFE: Listen, George, I think the American people understand that we got into a terrible economic situation, a recession, the Great Depression is the only thing the country has ever seen like it. So they know we had a deep hole. It took us a long time to get into that hole. It’s going to take us a long time to get out of it.

RUSH: What is this “it took us a long time to get into the hole”? We were fine in 2007. The thing that blew up was the subprime mortgage crisis brought to us by Democrats and the government. There wasn’t a long buildup to this. Well, I take that back. There was a long buildup to it. The subprime mortgage crisis started in 1999, making loans to people who can’t pay it back. It did take a while for that to finally bubble up and show that there was nothing there. But that’s what it was. It wasn’t Bush. It wasn’t Bush economic policies. Gosh, these people tick me off. I cannot tell you how these people tick me off. So their excuse now is, “Well, it took a long time for this mess and it just happened to coincide when our wonderful president was elected.” That’s a bunch of crap, folks. He has exacerbated what was wrong, and he epitomizes what was wrong in all those years that led up to this. So they continue talking about it. Stephanopoulos essentially asks him three times about this.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes or no, are Americans better off today than they were four years ago?

PLOUFFE: Listen, George, you know they did a good job of reciting all the statistics everyone’s familiar with. I think everybody understands we were this close to a Great Depression. Because of the leadership of the president, we staved that off. We’re beginning to recover. We have a lot more work to do. We need to grow jobs more quickly. We need to grow middle-class incomes more quickly.

RUSH: Stephanopoulos again.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, it sounds like, a year ago, the president told me, I don’t think Americans are better off than they were four years ago. You still can’t say yes?

PLOUFFE: WeÂ’ve made a lot of progress from the depths of the recession. We have a lot more work to do. And that’s the question we’re going to lay out for the American people, is the Romney path would be the wrong path for the middle class, the wrong path for this country. We have got to continue to recover not just from the recession, but again, how do we build an economy from the middle out so that we have an economy, a tax policy, all centered on how do we make the middle class more secure in this country?

RUSH: The bottom line is this: You guys, Plouffe, Axelrod, you can talk all you want about what led up to this. But the bottom line is this: We are having the worst recovery in the history of the country. Now, we’ve had recessions, and this recession is no different than any other recession. What’s different is this recovery. And that’s you guys. You guys are pathetic. Am I ticking off the independents? Should I dial this back, Mr. Snerdley? Am I sending the independents running? Well, I just get so ticked off about this.

A bunch of cry babies (crying), “Look what we inherited.” You know, real leaders inherit problems. The measure of a leader is what you do moving forward. You guys have sat there and you’ve done nothing. This is the worst recovery in the history of the country, and there’s no excuse for it. There is simply no excuse for this, other than you guys are dead wrong, philosophically, economically. That’s the only measure that we ought to be talking about here, is this recovery. And it’s pathetic. It is embarrassing. This is a third world dictatorship, tin horn type recovery. This is embarrassing.

You can talk all you want. You can lie to yourselves and the rest of us, and you can cry and whine and moan about Bush and whatever the hell you think led to this, but people are measuring your leadership by virtue of this recovery and you are failing big time. There isn’t a worse recovery that anybody can point to. This is the worst recovery since the Great Depression. And that recovery was exacerbated by another Democrat, FDR. And that’s the only measure the American voter is going to be looking at.

The American voter is going to go in the voting booth and they’re going to ask: Are the people running the show competent to get us out of the mess? They’re not going to go in there blaming the mess on somebody and voting for who they think is responsible. That was four years ago. They’re going to be voting on leadership and who’s better qualified to get this fixed. There might be some stragglers who can’t get past the fact that Obama’s the first black president. Poor guy. Can’t vote against him because of that. That’s not fair. Maybe some of that.

These people are not growing the middle class at all. Plouffe and these guys want to talk about the middle class, they’re not growing it at all. How can they grow it more quickly when it isn’t growing? Median family income is down five grand in four years. There is no growth. If there’s no growth how can you grow it more quickly? Median income has gone down. That is the middle class, 55 to 50 is the middle class. And once again incomes for all income levels declined more during this recovery than during the recession. These guys haven’t got anything to stand on. They’re in quicksand. The only thing they’re growing is government and government dependence. That’s it. Latest food stamp numbers show it.

What are we supposed to believe, Obama’s lying flacks here or our own lying eyes? No, these people tick me off. And if this is too strident for the independents, I’m sorry. I’m simply passionate about the country. This is unacceptable to find median income and wealth creation plummeting like this in this country when it isn’t necessary. There’s no reason this has to happen. But to some people it does have to happen. Some people think this country’s had an unfair advantage since the beginning of time, since its founding. Some people think this country has unfairly, unjustly come by all of its wealth. It’s time that we found out what the rest of the world has to live like. And meanwhile, Obama is out playing golf 104 times, shooting pool, going bowling and this kind of stuff. Bragging apparently about how much better he is at that stuff than anybody else.


RUSH: So I checked the e-mail during the break and I got an interesting one. “Rush, why doesn’t the Romney campaign detail Obama’s record like you just did?” Folks, I don’t know. I can’t answer questions about why. I just have one guess. I think they are afraid. That’s why I was being facetious asking Snerdley, “Am I offending the independents?” Republicans, consultants, whoever they are, think that reciting his record — being critical of Obama — is going to tick off the independents.

They think there’s too much attachment to his race — black presidency, first one — so you gotta give people permission to vote against him. You’ve got to gently guide them. (I think that’s what they believe.) You have to gently nudge them to the point where they think it’s okay. Remember, we played those sound bites of Reagan hammering Jimmy Carter. Now the Republican consultants say, “Yeah, but it’s a different electorate now. It was 80-some-odd percent white back in Reagan’s era.

“It’s only 74% white now Mr. Limbaugh. You can’t run a Reagan campaign in 2012.” BS! Of course you can. I said BS! Of course you can run a Reagan campaign. Obama’s the political opponent. He’s got a record. It’s dismal. And there’s nothing unfair or mean about pointing it out. For crying out loud, the mainstream media said Ann Romney’s speech was too vicious. They’re going to say it about you anyway. You might as well get the truth out there.

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