Even the Obama apologists at the AP are straining to keep Hope and Change alive:
AdWatch: Ad Says Obama Makes Excuses on Economy
KEY IMAGES: A female narrator says, "America's jobless rate is still too high" as the screen shows a long line of workers, presumably unemployed and applying for jobs.
"Barack Obama's got lots of excuses for the bad economy," the narrator says as a photo shows Obama pointing a finger. A string of brief Obama sound bites follows, including "Headwinds coming from Europe", "We've had a string of bad luck", "An earthquake in Japan", "An Arab spring", "Some things that we could not control" and "We've been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades." Large text of Obama's words amplify the message.
The narrator concludes, "But Barack Obama never blames Washington's wild spending and skyrocketing debt. Tell Obama: for real job growth, cut the debt."
So, is Obama full of excuses or is he a Man With Plan? It's complicated!
Because the ad relies on a jumble of sound bites strung together, there's scant context for what Obama was trying to say in each case. Europe's economic struggles and upheaval in the Middle East, for example, do at times impact the U.S. economy.
The ad also oversimplifies the role of federal debt in the broader economy. And it doesn't tell the full story about presidents and the limited power they have over the economy, particularly on federal spending and the deficit.
Because Congress controls federal spending, presidents must work with lawmakers on cutting the federal deficit. That puts much of what can be done about deficits beyond the sole control of any president. A great deal depends on which party controls the House and Senate.
It's difficult, too, to blame the economy's weakness on the sheer magnitude of the debt. The economy is weak largely because it is still staggering from the Great Recession, which officially ran from December 2007 to June 2009.
Many economists put it the other way around, saying the debt is high because of the weak economy. Businesses and families are saving more these days, and the government's spending of borrowed money is one way the economy has been propped up.
The growing debt problem existed before Obama came into office, and the economy itself bears much of the blame. The debt grew under tax cuts enacted by former President George W. Bush and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan paid for by borrowing. The emergency financial bailout begun by Bush a few months before he left office added to the red ink, as did Obama's 2009 stimulus package.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yike.