It's been four years since President George W. Bush could be held responsible for the nation's economy, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said Monday evening.

DeMint dismissed a key part of Democrats' midterm messaging — warning voters against a return to Bush-era policies — reasoning that Democrats have been controlling U.S. economic policies during the past four years in which they've controlled Congress.

"The president [Obama] keeps saying he inherited this, but the fact is that it's been four years since President Bush had anything to do with economic policy," DeMint said during an appearance on WVOC radio in South Carolina.

The South Carolina conservative sought to rebut an argument advanced by Democrats from President Obama on down in recent months: Returning Republicans to power in Congress would mean a return to some of the policies voters found less popular during the Bush administration.

"The policies that crashed the economy, that undercut the middle class, that mortgaged our future, do we really want to go back to that, or do we keep moving our country forward?" Obama said Monday at a Democratic fundraiser, part of a sustained effort to hammer away at Bush.

DeMint said, though, that some of the bills voters find most distasteful had been advanced during the past four years, after Democrats won back control of the House and Senate from Republicans in the 2006 elections.

"The Democrats have been in control of both houses of Congress for four years now. Congress writes economic policy; they spend the money," he said. "So it was the Democrat Congress that wrote the TARP bailout, they did the stimulus, they did the 'Cash for Clunkers.' They have done the healthcare, the financial bill. This is an unchecked Democratic agenda."