September 3rd, 2012
01:34 PM ET
10 years ago

Biden not hesitant on 'better off' question

(CNN) – His fellow Democrats may have struggled over the weekend to answer the question "are Americans better off now than they were four years ago," but Vice President Joe Biden addressed the query head on at a rally in Detroit Monday, saying it was clear President Barack Obama's accomplishments have put Americans in a better place.

"Folks, let me make something clear," Biden said at the Labor Day event. "I'll say it to the press. America is better off today than they left us when they left."

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Biden's remarks came after a day of clean-up for Democrats, some of whom struggled to answer the "four year" question on television Sunday. Democratic Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said on CBS the answer was "no" before suggesting it was the wrong question to ask.

O'Malley, along with spokesmen for the Democratic National Committee and Obama's campaign, both appeared again Monday to say the economy was doing better today than it was in 2008, pointing to accomplishments made by the president in staunching job losses.

In Detroit Monday, Biden also pointed to Obama's singular foreign policy achievement, the killing of Osama bin Laden, and the successful recovery of the American auto industry, as examples of how the country was now in a better place than 2008.

"You want to know whether we are better off? I've got a better off. Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive!" Biden proclaimed, using a favorite campaign line.

Mitt Romney's campaign disputed Biden's claim, writing "the truth is that the middle class has been crushed in the Obama economy."

"Americans aren't better off than they were four years ago, and they deserve a president who recognizes that," Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg wrote.

Filed under: Economy • Joe Biden
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    Joe, you are absolutely right. We are lot better off now than four years ago. No wars, no looting. We are 100000000 times better off now than GOP idiotic rule.

    September 3, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. Jane

    Dow up from 6500 to 13000; Unemployment down from over 10 to 8. Auto industry (Romney: let them go bankrupt) saved. Residential housing construction (Romney: let them go to foreclosure quickly) up. ALL OF THIS done in the face of total organized obstruction by the Republicans, unmoved by the possible detriment of the American people. Yeah, we are better off, thank you.

    September 3, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  3. rla

    Busing in students to fill the stadium I hear??? The lemmings of 08 must not be as dumb as they were

    September 3, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  4. ObamaCares

    Biden Is correct, W left us (Americans) in the cesspool.

    September 3, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  5. JD

    Have people thought about their 401Ks?! If they had anything left and were able to leave it alone, many have made that much back and possibly then some.

    September 3, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  6. cali girl

    Me and mine are doing great. My 401k going up, business is better this year than last 7 years.

    September 3, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  7. Lynn

    Where's the line to buy another ticket to the Hindenburg. The Republicans think that was such a fun ride, let them go by themselves next time. I prefer staying afloat.

    September 3, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  8. thebear69

    4 years ago, the economy had not collapsed yet. Asking if we are better than 4 years ago is like judging a surgeon by asking a post-operative patient if they feel better than they did berfore the car wreck. Obama would have to have been a miracle worker to get us back to where we were before the crash – even if he had had Republican cooperation.

    September 3, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  9. mikle

    Some people will lie to self. We are not better off than four years ago. Debt more, unemployment more, mid.class less, young people disappointing,. Please, tell me what better. Just don't talk like Obama--bla-bla-blaq-. Tell real reason or fact.

    September 3, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  10. thebear69

    Four years ago the economy had not crashed yet, Obama would have had to have been a miracle worker to have bet the "are you better off than you were 4 years ago" standard – even if he had had Republican cooperation. It's like judging a surgeon by asking a post-operative patient if they feel better than they did before the car crash.

    September 3, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  11. AlwaysRight

    I suppose given that it's Biden, and you never know what he's going to say, this might come as a surprise. But come on cnn. Is this really shocking? He might be better off, but the rest of us aren't.

    September 3, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  12. JD

    Have people thought abouth their 401Ks?! If they had anything left and were able to leave it alone, many have made that back, plus more. Remember who you lost it all under....

    September 3, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  13. "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." --B. Obama

    Sorry joey, but you and the uhbama have totally wrecked this country. Amateur hour is over; time to get qualified people in to turn things around.

    Romney/Ryan-the only trusted way forward.

    September 3, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  14. ThinkAgain

    Our nation didn't go into a Great Depression; bin Laden is dead; we're out of Iraq and getting out of Afghanistan; the Dow is over 13,000; home values are going up; GM is on top; we've had 29 straight months of private sector job growth.

    Yes, we're better off than 4 years ago when Republican policies were taking us down the tubes. We still have a long way to go – and the only way to get there is to re-elect President Obama and put Democratic majorities in the House and Senate and be rid of Republican obstructionists.

    Obama/Biden 2012 = The only sane choice

    September 3, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  15. mike e

    the news media is posing a simplistic question which requires more than a yes or no answer...the real answer is
    that given the financial meltdown and the real possibility that we could have been in a depression with unemployment
    at 20%...the Lehman failure, a global financial classes, and a housing bubble that burst need to be put into
    perspective..if you invested in the market at the are up 100%...these business cycles have come and
    gone all throughout history...and the guy in office when the bottom drops out usually takes the this case
    george W..but the fact of the matter is that supply side economics doesn't work and we now need a plan like
    simpson bowles to fix a problem that both parties created by attempting to give something to everyone without
    worrying about paying for it...but all in all this is a recovery in process and things are getting better not worse
    they will however tank if the deficit is increased which is exactly what the ryan economic plan coupled with further
    tax cuts will do...i am disappointed in the president since he essentially abdicated his leadership role on
    fixing the problem to nancy pelosi and harry reid and his advisors were guys with no real clue of what to do.
    having said that the romney ryan solution is no solution at all

    September 3, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  16. just in

    Joe's right, I haven't lost any income and I don't have a union job just a regular job

    September 3, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  17. bcarreiro

    America will be "worse off" with another george bush in office and if it weren't for congress we the 98% would be a level of stability unlike the 2% who havent' taken the hit. mitt is misleading as a chief and will outsource his own indians!!!

    September 3, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  18. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Americans are better off today because with Republican leadership we are considered no more than "collateral damage" by doing nothing to help this country. From day one Republicans admitted their only plan was to get rid of Obama, and keep in mind, that was before the economic crisis totally unfolded. That's the hand they held knowing full well the hand Obama was dealt because they dealt it, not Obama.

    September 3, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  19. Bessy

    Yes, we are better off and we would be a whole lot better off if the Republicans would have cooperated with the president a little bit. I see houses selling in my area and I see restaurant parking lots filled.

    September 3, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  20. gt

    foul mouth joe....your nuts....america has are far worse off your home value ..401 k...gas prices...joe your delusional....

    September 3, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  21. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    The fact that fewer soldiers are dying in the unnecessary war in Iraq makes us better off. We are no longer losing 800,000 jobs a month under the Bush/republican regime. 29 consecutive months of jobs growth without a single republican vote is impressive.

    September 3, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  22. Chris

    No were not better off!unemployment higher! More govt control over the people! Obamas strong supporter of soclaizm like share the wealth! If u dont do what u promised and do ure job u get fired. Dems always use the race and hate card. When u bring up facts dems change the subject. If u like handouts and the govt doing everything for u move to china were they do the same! We the people are in charge not we the govt! Under federal law the illegals who are in this country are breaking the law and federal govt not doing there job! Under the consitution obamas not doing his job! 3 branches of govt each has a job and obama tries to do all and control!my stepfather and father n law had small buisness and lost them under obama because all the regulations! If obama wins say by to ure freedom!

    September 3, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  23. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    It appears that only republican fools can fool republicans.

    September 3, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  24. Woman In California

    Thank you VP Biden for setting the record straight. People have such short memories.

    All of us would like to see more jobs being created faster, but the fault does not like soley on this president. We have a Congress intentionally sitting on their lazy behinds while they collect a U.S. government check, by letting the American people drown just to get back in control. If you want to see faster results, give the president some much needed help, and vote against any republican living it up in the name of YOUR misery. It takes all of us to make this country better, not just a select group of rich, men who "think" they know what's best for all Americans. Vote and vote smart.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    September 3, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  25. Bob Texas

    And who in their right mind would want to go back there????

    September 3, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
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