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c Appearing on the NBC “Today Show” in 2009, Mr. Obama said that if the economy did not recover within three years, “then there’s going to be a one-term president.”

These and other Obama remarks will be the political fodder for a tidal wave of Republican videos on television and the Internet over the ensuing year. But none will be more ubiquitous than his claims that he has stabilized and turned around the economy since its plunge into the Great Recession.

But official government data draw a starkly different picture: A nearly 9 percent national unemployment rate, a weak economic growth rate that’s barely creeping along at a snail’s-pace 1.8 percent, and millions of discouraged workers giving up and leaving the labor force because they cannot find jobs.

That is the sober reality of the dismal Obama economy: weak capital investment, banks reluctant to lend, home values continuing to decline, college graduates unable to find jobs and nearly a dozen states permanently stuck with double-digit unemployment rates.

A recent Republican National Committee ad uses Mr. Obama’s own words to indict his performance as president. An Internet spot titled “It’s Been Three Years” shows candidate Obama saying the “real question” is whether or not Americans will be better off in four years.

The ad flashes forward to a one-on-one interview with ABC News analyst George Stephanopoulos in October in which Mr. Obama says, “I don’t think they’re better off than they were four years ago.”

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and former chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.