Ryan set to campaign on 'are you better off' question
September 3rd, 2012
10:01 AM ET
2 years ago

Ryan set to campaign on 'are you better off' question

Greenville, North Carolina (CNN) – Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential nominee, will put the question that Democrats struggled to answer this weekend at the heart of his campaign message Monday: Are you better off than you were four years ago?

While nothing new for the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan campaign, that question gained renewed attention Sunday after prominent surrogates for President Barack Obama couldn't give a definitive "yes" answer in various television appearances. On Monday Democrats seemed more certain, though still attempted to balance touting improving economic data with the tough realities that many Americans still face.

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Ryan, campaigning in North Carolina, will make a stab at answering the question Monday at a campaign stop in Greenville, 230 miles from the site of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

Republicans have long sought to portray Obama as unqualified to the challenge of fixing America's ailing economy, and much of last week's Republican National Convention was spent attacking Obama's record on jobs creation.

Romney's campaign said the theme would continue through the week, leading up to Obama's acceptance of the Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, speaking on CNN's "Starting Point," said his team was set up adjacent to the Democrats' event to push their message that Americans are not better off than they were in 2008.

"We were able to secure a great space down the street at the NASCAR Hall of Fame," Priebus said. "We set up with about 50 to 75 press folks down there and we're going to be ready to respond to everything that the Democrats say, and I think that the real issue this week and what you're seeing happening yesterday on the Sunday morning talk shows is the fundamental question back on the table for Americans, which is: Are you better off today than you were three or four years ago? Issues come and go and they will, but at the end of the day this is going to be about facts."

Ryan's presence in his rivals' convention state may seem familiar - Vice President Joe Biden was supposed to campaign last Monday in Tampa, Florida, just as the Republican convention got underway.

But Biden's two day swing through Florida was canceled due to Hurricane Isaac, which also rained out the first day of the Republican convention.

Both Florida and North Carolina are crucial battleground states that both campaigns are fighting to win. A CNN/Time poll released Monday of likely voters in Florida and North Carolina indicated the race for the White House was knotted up in both states.


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • North Carolina • Paul Ryan
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Mack

    Of course we are better off. The country was in a free fall thanks to Bush and the Republicans.

    September 3, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  2. Halls for Obama

    I hope someone remeber "Yes We Can Not Yes I can" It take every one to make a world go around Not just one man.

    September 3, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  3. Michael MCManus

    Are you better off than you were four years ago? If the question is asked of the country as a whole, the answer is a resounding yes! When Obama took office the country was hemorrahging 800,000 jobs a month. The financial system was about to collapse, and GM was going to stop making cars. None of that is true any longer.

    That question now, is too cute by a factor of at least a 4 million. That is the number of jobs that have been added. The hidden factor is exponentially larger because; there are people that are being asked to answer that question that may not believet that they are better off, but are still employed. If the job losses had continued at the rate in place when Obama had taken office, would not be working. That excludes other benefits that they will impact them in the not to distant future.

    September 3, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  4. w l jones

    Strange for a man who live on Government hand out all his life. Did you every use your social security number to get a job...or had a real Boss who depend commodity good for sale for profit. Bless.

    September 3, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  5. GI Joe

    We're better off than we were with Bush -

    AND we're better off than we would be with V/V (commonly called R/R).

    September 3, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  6. bcarreiro

    It is congressional republicans who blocked this country from moving forward and stalemate of the year award goes to Boehner. Its the 98% who make the 2% who they are!!!

    September 3, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  7. Yonni

    Ryan please no more lying to us we are watching you. Tell us the hard truth like Christ Christie promised us on his keynote address during the R convention. Tell us about your Medicare and budget proposal only the truth not like your marathon or GM story OK

    September 3, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  8. Spearsfor44

    We are better off: That means better off for the Country, better for the many who have jobs and got jobs in the last 3 years and a better plan to help those that still needs jobs.

    September 3, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  9. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    We would have all been better off if Lyin' Ryan and the congressional tea baggers had forgotten their oath to Grover Norquist and worked to get America moving after the Bush/republican near depression.

    September 3, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  10. v_mag

    Every 4 years, someone brings up this question. It's supposed to be a 'gotcha' for whoever is currently in office. But the situation is always more complicated than that. Along with "are you better off", you have to figure how well off you were when the previous guy left office. Also, whether you'd be better off if the other guy had won 4 years previously, and how well off you could expect to be in 4 years if the challenger wins.

    In the current case, it's pretty easy to make a case that things were headed into depression when Obama took office, and they are better now. It will be much worse for the middle class if Rob-money wins. He will simply go back to the Bush way of doing things. Starting stupid, unpaid for wars and giving welfare handouts to the rich. He'll keep the government from regulating the out-of-control banks and other corporations who crashed things last time. He'll run to bail out any failed institutions with your tax money.

    Admittedly, Obama has disappointed in many ways, but Romney will unapologetically return to ripping off the poor and middle class. On balance, Romney will be so much worse for the country than Obama.

    September 3, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  11. onlyfacts61

    Ryan needs to realize we aren't all stupid. Facts show the DOW dropped to its lowest in March 09 after beginning it's decline in October of 07. The decline was due to high oil costs, lack of car sales and the housing bubbel bursting. So for those that owned stock as many well-off Republicans do, their stock value began to drop before Obama walked in the door and continued to drop until Oct. 09. If these people held on to their stocks and didn't sell at low prices their stocks are now back up to values equal to or higher than when Bush left office. So if Ryan was an honest man he would say first of all we live in a global market and secondly you can't blame the POTUS for everything and third, but you are at least better off than you were when Bush left. Ryan did say close to this in his 02 stimulus speech. The comedy here is the well-off Republicans who are all doing very well are believing Ryan and Romneys crap. Hannity and Rush are loaded and getting richer everyday, yet they never shut up about how Obama is destroying the economy. Wake up Republicans, look at your own bank account and then ask yourself am I better off now or was I better in January of 08. Can you even be honest with yourself or are you going to mislead your own brain? I think I already know the answer.

    September 3, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  12. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    With no help from the republicans, the stock market is almost double what it was when Obama was sworn in. We are no longer losing 800,000 jobs a month, we are out of Iraq, bin Laden is dead, troops are coming home from Afghanistan, women still have reproductive rights, medicare is not on a voucher plan, college students can stay on their parents health care, banks have regulations, housing is making a comeback, etc. Yes, we are better off than Lyin'g Ryan would want you to believe.

    September 3, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  13. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Will Medicare Voucher boy, Lyin' Ryan lie about the $700 billion his economic plan will take out of medicare, plus the $500 billion he will remove from medicaid, in order to give the wealthy even bigger tax cuts? He is so good at lying, seniors and soon to be seniors, can hardly wait to pay for the tax cuts for the wealthy.

    September 3, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  14. OT

    A better question is "where would you be if McCain and that clown Palin or Romney and Ryan for that matter had been in office this whole time?" The last version of their creed turned the surplus into a recession in 8 years. My guess is these would have turned he recession into the next great depression. Look what amnesty did in in England, yes that socialist country with public healthcare.

    September 3, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  15. ColoradoJoe

    to answer that question: YEP! people with homes under water or just lost homes, retirement funds depleted, jobs lost, most the reason for that occurred prior to Obama taking office. You are feeling the after effects of investment banking & and hedge fund industry that bet against you. Then that same industry needed the TARP to bail most of them out, but notice, they didn't help bail you out. They just said, oh well, suck it up. Take note, Romney's background IS an investment manager. Who do you think we talks to most of the time? CEOs, CFOs, wall street. That's how he makes his money... Investments. It is a legit business, but that is his mindset. If you feel wall street is the demon....

    September 3, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  16. ColoradoJoe

    My question for Ryan, since HE was in office while the Janesville plant was going under, why didn't HE do something to help them? His home town plant and HE just stood by and watched it go under.

    September 3, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  17. Gene

    I think a lot of Americans are better off. A long way to go, but Romney will blunt that progress. Ryan can lie all he wants to. In fact, the more the better. America will soon be in tune to it–fact-checkers will out him (I know he continues to lie anyway). Ultimately, most people are smarter than to fall for it.

    September 3, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
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