"Now We're Facing Another Recession"

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 3 2012 9:55 AM

"Now We're Facing Another Recession"

WEST CHESTER, Ohio -- Everywhere you go in this state, if you leave the TV on long enough, you see an ad from Americans for Job Security in which a healthy young woman with a stroller jogs down a pastoral suburban street. "I'm running to forget," she says. Like so many commercials from the Romney campaign and third party groups, it assumes an Obama voter and patronizes to her: Don't worry, you made the wrong choice, you can fix it.

But there's a line in this ad that throws me. "Now we’re facing another recession," says the actress. "The future is getting worse under Obama."

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Are we facing another recession? Well, the cuts and tax hikes in the "fiscal cliff" are projected to take a bite out of the economy, but the cuts were asked for by Republicans, and both parties assume some punt to fix this. If Obama gets his way in December, only the upper-level tax hikes will happen. So if that's the refrence, it's a little slippery.

But that might not be the whole reference. In his current stump speech, Mitt Romney has been saying that he'll inhereit a lousy economy "but I won't blame my predecessor." It's meant to compare the situation facing a president in January 2013 to the situation in January 2009 -- that the crisis never really stopped, and Romney will start reversing it. But Obama came into a rolling crisis of 500,000+ monthly job losses and falling stock prices. The *jobs* piece of the crisis is not as bad as it was back then. Romney's ads and speeches tell us that it really is.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.