Updated at 2:55 pm EDT
President Barack Obama is relying on the argument that the economy could have been worse, except for his policies.
It’s a case that doesn’t lend itself to 30-second campaign ads or quick explanations.
It can work, says Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director.
“The American public has a very nuanced understanding,” he said.
He was speaking at an event in Charlotte, North Carolina, sponsored by the National Association of Manufacturers and Politico.
“They get that the president inherited a historic mess” and has been blocked by Republicans in some of his efforts to improve the economy, Pfeiffer contends.
The White House spokesman also sought to preempt Friday’s pending unemployment report from the Labor Department. Pfeiffer said the monthly jobs figure is important but just “one of an array of factors” determining the economy’s health. And he said the number is “more focused on in Washington than by the average American.”
He also pushed back at critics of the president’s handling of the Simpson-Bowles debt commission. Pfeiffer said it is “one of the greatest myths of the Acela corridor” that, if only the president had endorsed the panel’s report, Republicans would have signed on to a debt deal that included $2 trillion in new revenue and deeper defense cuts than those contained in the pending sequester.
“It’s pure fiction,” Pfeiffer said.
David Lynch contributed to this report.