CNN's John 'Happy Talk' Avlon: Obama Can Talk of Recovery, Like Reagan in 1984?

CNN analyst John Avlon may have worked a while back for Rudy Giuliani, but on Saturday morning, he sounded like an Obama White House spinner. On the show Your Bottom Line, host Christine Romans asked if the economy will hurt or help Obama.

Avlon tried to compare Obama in 2012 with Ronald Reagan in 1984. This is dicey because the unemployment rate had plunged 3.6 percentage points from its cyclical peak of 10.8 percent that had been reached two years earlier (November 1982). That coincided with the bottom of the deepest recession since World War II (and liberal media types always skip over how badly the economy did under Jimmy Carter). Obama's only down a point and a half from his 10.0 percent high.

Why is Romans ever asking this question?

CHRISTINE ROMANS: Is the economy going to help or hurt this newly populist-sounding president who is really focusing on the things that the Occupy people have been talking about, student loans, fairness?

MARK PRESTON: It's going to help, but it's all trend lines, right? So it's - the unemployment drops to 8.3 percent, 8.4 percent it's still very high. But if there's a trend ward down, that's going to help President Obama.

JOHN AVLON: That's right. And if you look at, you know, historic parallels, I mean, Reagan had very high unemployment, but the trend was moving in the right direction. The GDP growth was moving in the right direction. So it created a sense that maybe it was morning in America. Maybe the dark of night had passed. Things were getting better.

President Obama can say that things were worse three years ago than they are today. He can fairly say that. When he came in, it was really at that low point of the trough, if you look at where the economy was, the jobs loss was, so there's a story to tell.

Avlon is just not paying attention to the actual Bureau of Labor Statistics chart. When Obama came in, it wasn't at the low point. Unemployment was 7.8 percent, and then it went up to 10 percent.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis