Duke Energy CEO: Country better off with Obama on energy

“The second thing is we [have had] two license[s] for nuclear plants issued. We have abundant supply of natural gas at low prices. And so as you look at the various ways to generate electricity in this country, we're better off today than we were four years ago,” added Rogers, the co-chairman of the Charlotte in 2012 Convention Host Committee.

As the Democrats’ convention opens, Republicans are making the “Are you better” question a major campaign focus, and seizing on Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s (D) comment on the question Sunday. O’Malley was asked by CBS host Bob Schieffer on “Face the Nation” if he could “honestly say that people are better off today than they were four years ago.”

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“No,” replied O’Malley, a prominent Obama surrogate, “but that’s not the question of this election. “Without a doubt, we are not as well-off as we were before George Bush brought us the Bush job losses,” O'Malley added.

O’Malley walked back the comment Monday, but Republicans have run with the remark.

The GOP vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), plans to highlight the “Are you better off” question Monday as Republicans seek to keep the campaign focused on the struggling economy.

Rogers, when pressed on CNN to address the topic more broadly than its relation to energy, including Americans’ feelings about their jobs and home values, said President Obama inherited big problems.

“I think one of the things I would simply say is the president started in a deep hole. And he's worked his way out,” said Rogers, CEO of the utility that’s now the nation’s largest thanks to its recent merger with Progress Energy.

“The more relevant question is, are we on the right trend? Are we moving in the right direction? And maybe more importantly is, where will we be in 2016? Th[ose], to me, are the relevant questions Americans should be asking,” he said.