It's a daily event in the basement of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, much like the regular news conferences of Democratic officials in Tampa last week. But unlike then, the opposition party has thus far taken hold of the convention's messaging nationally - and with no Democrats on stage yet, the GOP message is getting more play than any of the protests and rallies that have dotted the streets and ballrooms of uptown.
At the Hall of Fame, the theme was similar to Monday: Are you better off now than four years ago? But speakers also teed off today on Obama's answer over the weekend to a Colorado TV reporter's question on the economy.
From USA Today:
Reporter Dianne Derby asked Obama, "your party says you inherited a bad situation -- you've had three and a half years to fix it -- what grade would you give yourself so far for doing that?"
Replied Obama: "You know I would say incomplete. But what I would say is the steps that we have taken in saving the auto industry, in making sure that college is more affordable and investing in clean energy and science and technology and research, those are all the things that we are going to need to grow over the long term."
Republicans dutifully, and colorfully, pounced. Said South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley: "I have a 10 year old and a 14 year old. If they came home with an incomplete, I'd know they failed."
Mitt Romney surrogate John Sununu, unvarnished as always, followed: "He thought the 'I' was for incomplete. The 'I' was for 'incompetent'.
Sununu noted that he once taught at Tufts University near Boston, and he remembered students who took an incomplete. "It was the students who failed to meet their expectations," he said. "It was the students who failed to do what they were required to do."
The economy has been - and will to continue to be - a difficult issue for Democrats this week. They've argued, statistically and otherwise, that America is better off now than it was when George Bush left office. But they'll need to find the seam of acknowledging the difficulties Americans still face while emphasizing what they see as a steady improvement.
Their case begins in a few hours, when the national lens turns toward the stage at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Peter St. Onge