The Washington Times - June 30, 2011, 10:08AM

After 2½ years in office, President Obama now “owns” the economy as an issue, according to top adviser David Plouffe, who added he was confident that voters understand that recovering from a devastating recession Mr. Obama inherited takes time.

“Of course he does,” Mr. Plouffe told NBC’s “Today” show host Matt Lauer when asked point-blank if Mr. Obama owns the economy.


“But the American people understand that we — it took us a long time to get to this mess,” Mr. Plouffe said. “It’s going to take us some time to come out. We are making progress.”

Mr. Plouffe, who was Mr. Obama’s campaign manager in 2008, conceded that progress isn’t coming quickly enough, however, and cited several steps the president mentioned at his press conference Wednesday, including passing three long-stalled trade deals, that Congress could take to improve the nation’s economic situation.

Asked about the Aug. 2 deadline for raising the federal government’s borrowing limit, which some Republicans have dismissed as artificial, Mr. Plouffe stressed it’s “a real date.”

“It would be deeply irresponsible, as the president said yesterday, if we default, if the United States of America does not pay its bills. It would have catastrophic consequences on the economy,” he said. “It could affect things like Social Security checks, veterans’ benefits, on and on.”

Bipartisan negotiations over the debt limit are at a stalemate as Republicans balk at Mr. Obama’s insistence that some tax increases be included in a final deal to reduce the deficit. The president used his press conference to chide the GOP repeatedly on the issue, calling on the party’s leaders to “do the right thing for the American people” and agree to end a number of tax subsidies benefiting the wealthy.