There's no doubt that President Barack Obama, like President George W. Bush, has been dealt a pretty difficult hand: a down economy, oversees military operations, major budgetary constraints -- the list goes on.
Despite these challenges, it seems Obama, just one year out from the 2012 presidential election, is pretty confident about his handling of the economy, among other issues.
At a fundraiser at a private home in Washington, D.C., last night, Obama boldly claimed that his administration prevented a total economic meltdown. "We were able to prevent America from going into a Great Depression," he said.
"We were able to, after a series of quarterly GDP reports that were the worst that we've seen since the Great Depression, reverse it and get the economy to grow again. We've seen 20 straight months of consecutive job growth," Obama continued.
The "we" he's referring to is likely his administration, which he's hoping to see re-capture the White House next November. In addition to staking the claim about preventing another Great Depression, Obama went on to praise some of his administration's other accomplishments.
"We were able to pass health insurance reform, Wall Street reform, end 'don't ask, don't tell,' end the war in Iraq -- the list goes on," he told his audience. His track record, which some conservatives lament, is something he's very proud of.
Despite praising his team's handling of the aforementioned issues, he admitted that "huge swaths of the country are still hurting," and he said, "A lot of people are still struggling out there. And there's no way in which America right now is fulfilling all of its potential."
Obama went on to discuss his determination that the nation create a responsive government, reduce deficits, make the school system more viable and implement health care reform, among other proposals. Politics, though, is still in need of some major fixing, he said.
When it comes to the claim that the president's team prevented another Great Depression, it's important to note that this statement has been made numerous times before. In June 2010, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter appeared on Stephen Colbert's "The Colbert Report," where he said the following about Obama: "You know, this was, we were all living history. This man prevented another Great Depression. If we had stayed on the course that we were on-"
In September 2010 -- just two months later -- Obama, himself, made this same claim. "And so I'm very proud of the fact that we've been able to prevent the economy from going into a second depression, but not only do we have a big hole that we've got to climb ourselves out of -- we still have those 8 million jobs that were lost, and that's a lot of jobs to make up -- the economy is still not growing as fast as it needs to," he said in a speech in Iowa.
And as early as 2009, the administration was touting its ability to prevent a second Great Depression. Christina Romer, the former Chair of Economic Advisers in the Obama administration, praised Obama's policies and said they were responsible for preventing this economic calamity. Watch her 2009 comments, below:
Earlier this year, Investor's Daily Business tackled these claims, writing, "in claiming to have staved off a Depression, the White House and its supporters seem to be engaging in a bit of historical revisionism." IBD writes:
Economists weren't predicting a Depression.
White House economists forecast in January 2009 that, even without a stimulus, unemployment would top out at just 8.8% — well below the 10.8% peak during the 1981-82 recession, and nowhere near Depression-era unemployment levels.
The same month, the Congressional Budget Office predicted that, absent any stimulus, the recession would end in "the second half of 2009." The recession officially ended in June 2009, suggesting that the stimulus did not have anything to do with it.
With the election just one year away and with economic fears kicked up into high gear, it makes sense why the president, the administration and its followers would claim that the stimulus and other measures taken prevented collapse. However, whether these statements are valid is up for debate and discussion.
Clearly, there are two sides to the story and with the situation still remaining grim, it's hardly time to declare victory, regardless of where one stands politically.