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Romney campaign officials say it’s Mr. Obama’s ideas that have failed. They pointed to the comments of Mr. O’Malley, who was asked Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” by host Bob Schieffer: “Can you honestly say that people are better off today than they were four years ago?”

“No, but that’s not the question of this election,” Mr. O'Malley replied, blaming President George W. Bush for the nation’s economic condition.

David Plouffe, Mr. Obama’s senior adviser in the White House, also declined to answer “yes or no” three times on Sunday when asked on ABC’s “This Week” if the country is better off than in 2008.

Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican and the GOP’s vice presidential nominee, said Mr. O'Malley’s admission “is more proof that President Obama’s policies aren’t working.” “President Obama’s failure of leadership has led to 42 straight months of unemployment above 8 percent, 23 million Americans struggling for work, $5 trillion in new debt and a $716 billion cut in Medicare to fund Obamacare,” Mr. Ryan said in a statement.

“While Team Obama continues their campaign of fear and division, we are talking about the big issues that Americans face. That’s why we have a plan to strengthen the middle class and create 12 million jobs, protect Medicare, and cut the federal deficit so our economy can start growing again.”

The president said he will offer “a better path forward” Thursday night when he accepts his renomination at the Democratic convention.

“It’s a path that will grow this economy, create more jobs, and strengthen the middle class,” he said.