Democrats will gather in North Carolina this week to make the case that Barack Obama deserves a second term as president. Why should he be reelected? When asked during an interview with South Colorado CBS affiliate KKTV earlier this week how he would grade his first term taking into account that he inherited a bad situation, President Obama said we are still working our way out of the financial crisis and would still give himself a grade of "incomplete."
"What I would say is the steps that we have taken in saving the auto industry, in making sure that college is more affordable and investing in clean energy and science and technology and research, those are all the things that we are going to need to grow over the long term," President Obama said.
When the same interviewer asked the Romney campaign how they would grade President Obama's first term, Senior Campaign Advisor Matt McDonald said that the question won't be answered on the A to F scale, but a simple pass/fail measurement.
"The question that is on the lips of the people here in Charlotte who are gathering, both the media and the delegates, the people in Colorado and the people across the country is are you better off than you were four years ago and it's a pretty simple answer for a lot of people is that they aren't," McDonald said.
After hearing about the "incomplete" grade response, Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan questioned what reason the American people could have to give this president more time.
“Four years into a presidency and it’s incomplete? The president is asking people just to be patient with him,” Ryan said on CBS Tuesday morning. "The kind of recession we had, we should be bouncing out of it, creating jobs. We’re not creating jobs at near the pace we could.
“I think the ‘incomplete’ speaks for itself and that is why I think we are going to win this [election],” said Ryan. Ryan spent Monday on the campaign trail bashing President Obama's economic performance, telling a crowd at a North Carolina event that the Obama administration makes the Jimmy Carter years "look like the good old days."
While partisans will cater their opinions on President Obama's handling of the economy to suit their own agenda, what is the fair and most accurate way to judge the president's performance? In a recent analysis on the Washington Post Robert J. Samuelson grades President Obama's economic report card a C+, mediocre at best:
It’s too big and subject to too many complex forces, from new technologies to global conditions. Moreover, policy levers are shared with Congress (taxes, spending), the Federal Reserve (financial markets) and regulatory agencies. Presidents often get blamed or credited for the economy when they don’t deserve either. But during crises, presidents acquire power. That’s why Obama will be — and should be — judged on the economy’s performance.
More interesting than my overall grade are its components. For the first six months, I’d award him an A-; for the rest, a C- or D. I’d weigh the two grades equally, because he deserves a lot of credit for stopping the economic free-fall when he took office.
Led by Will Cain, the "Real News" table Tuesday discussed what grades they would give President Obama for his handling of the economy in term one, and what are the most objective means to judge his performance? Watch a clip from Tuesday's show below: