Obama: Dems could suffer at polls if election is about the economy

Democrats could suffer if this November's elections become a referendum on the economy, President Obama conceded.

The president acknowledged that an economy that's not improving to voters' satisfaction could hamper his party in the upcoming midterm elections.

"If the election is a referendum on 'Are people satisfied about the economy as it currently is?' then we're not going to do well," Obama said in an interview to air Thursday on "Good Morning America" on ABC, "because I feel like everybody feels like this economy needs to do better than it's been doing."

The president's admission harkens back to the phrase "It's the economy, stupid," crafted by strategist James Carville during Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign. The phrase is meant to highlight the primacy of the economy in voters' decisionmaking in elections, especially during downturns similar to the one Obama has encountered during the first 18 months of his presidency.

The administration, led by Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, has hit the campaign trail this summer to sell its actions to help revive the economy. The administration has described its effort to sell its $787 billion stimulus as a "Recovery Summer," a phrase Obama said he stood by last Friday at the White House.

Republicans, for their part, have hammered away at the administration for not having created the kinds of jobs it had promised. "Where are the jobs?" has been House Minority Leader John Boehner's (R-Ohio) constant refrain this election season.

Obama said that his party's members needed to cast the difference between themselves and Republicans in the eight weeks leading up to the elections, a point he and other administration officials have sought to drive home.

"My challenge, and the challenge of every Democratic candidate who’s out there, is just making sure the people understand there’s a choice here," he said.

More in News

Obama: Racism 'deeply rooted in our society'

Read more »