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Are You Better Off? That's The Question As Democrats Gather

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Are You Better Off? That's The Question As Democrats Gather

One of the many mementos for sale at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. Win McNamee/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Win McNamee/Getty Images

One of the many mementos for sale at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Are you better off than you were four years ago?

That classic question — so famously asked by then-candidate Ronald Reagan in 1980 — is again a topic of great debate as Democrats kick off their 2012 national convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Over the weekend, Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley gave Republicans an opening when he answered the "are you better off" question by telling CBS News' Bob Schieffer:

" No, but that's not the question of this election. The question, without a doubt, we are not as well off as we were before George Bush ..."

Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan wasted no time: President Obama, he said, "can't tell you that you are better off. Simply put, the Jimmy Carter years look like the good old days compared to where we are right now."

Democrats offered some quick clarifications. Here's what Vice President Joe Biden, told supporters in Detroit:

"You want to know whether we're better off?" Biden said near the end of his Labor Day speech Monday. "I got a little bumper sticker for you. Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive! Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive!"

Much more will likely be said about all this between now and late Thursday evening, when the president is set to accept his party's nomination.

As during last week's Republican National Convention in Tampa, we're helping out our friends on the NPR Elections Desk with some blogging from the Democratic convention. Eyder is in Charlotte this week, filing for NPR's It's All Politics blog. So is NPR.org's Liz Halloran. And Frank James will again be hosting nightly chats on the blog during the convention proceedings. Tonight's featured speakers include first lady Michelle Obama.

Mara Liasson on 'Morning Edition'

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Note: That's a question, not a scientific survey of public opinion.

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