GOP Targets Obama's 'Recovery Summer' Amid Economic Gloom

"We're not going to get all 8 million jobs that were lost back overnight. It's going to take some time," President Obama said last week in Ohio. "And a lot of it's sort of like recovering from an illness. You get a little bit stronger each day and you take a few more steps each day."

Democrats are hoping those little steps forward will be enough to convince voters in November that the Democrats' economic policies are working and that things could have been worse without them.

Video: Rep. James Hines D-CT., on "Top Line."
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Republicans "are counting on the fact that the American people are somehow going to have a bout of collective amnesia come these elections, because we all know that, George Bush's last day in office, we saw this country losing 700,000 jobs a month," Rep. Chris Van Hollen, chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said last week.

"I think we're going to get a fair amount of credit by November," said Vice President Biden. "I think we're going to do fine." Biden has predicted the Democrats will keep both the House and Senate.

VIDEO: Michele Bachmann
Rep. Michele Bachmann on Extending Unemployment Benefits

But touting summer 2010 as "the most active Recovery Act season yet" and, implicitly, as a period of job growth, belies a reality many Americans say they are experiencing.

Only 27 percent of Americans see the economy as improving, according to the most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll. And a new low -- 43 percent -- approve of Obama's handling of the economy.

"'Recovery Summer' is their 'mission accomplished' without the banner," said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, comparing the Obama administration's message to President George W. Bush's famous declaration of victory in Iraq in May 2003.

VIDEO: On the Trail of the Stimulus Money
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Sabato said the effort to infuse optimism about the economy into the electorate could backfire in November.

"The amazing paradox about this election is that the likely winners [Republicans] are more unpopular than the likely losers," he said. "The only reason they could win is because the Americans who are voting… actually understand the system and they realize all they're doing is checking and balancing Obama. They don't trust anyone."

Claiming the economy was advancing when most Americans didn't share that view was precisely the pothole that swallowed George H.W. Bush in his unsuccessful re-election bid in 1992.

"When [President George H.W.] Bush went down in 1992, the economy actually had recovered. The recession ended in the last quarter of 1991. There was a full year of recovery before the election. … there is zero chance that things will improve."

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