President Obama on Thursday labeled the recession a result of “a decade of irresponsibility” that he inherited, continuing his strategy of trying to frame this fall’s congressional elections as a choice between Bush-era policies and his own.
“For the better part of 10 years, folks faced stagnant incomes, skyrocketing health care costs and tuition bills, and declining economic security,” Mr. Obama said in a speech at a Kansas City, Mo., electric vehicle plant. “It was in the middle of this crisis that my administration walked through the door.”
Though unemployment still hovers just below 10 percent, Mr. Obama said his policies — including the $862 billion stimulus bill and small business tax breaks — have moved the nation “in the right direction” and he touted the fact that the economy has added private-sector jobs for the last six months.
His remarks were part of a two-day fundraising swing for Democratic Senate candidates Robin Carnahan in Missouri and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada.
Polls show most Americans don’t believe the stimulus act has significantly helped the economy, and Mr. Obama has found himself in recent weeks both defending the first round of spending and pushing for Congress to pass still more spending that he says will help small businesses, keep teachers on the job and provide benefits for the unemployed.
“The surest way out of these storms we’ve been in is to keep moving forward, not back,” he said.