Democrats and Republicans Debate: Are Americans Better Off?

UNDATED (AP) -- Are Americans better off than before Barack Obama was elected president?

That's a question being debated on Monday by the presidential campaigns.

Vice President Joe Biden says the answer is yes. At a Labor Day rally in Detroit, he led the chant: "Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive."

But Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, campaigning in Greenville, N.C., says the years under President Jimmy Carter "look like the good old days compared to where we are now."

Obama's supporters are insisting Americans are better off a day after Maryland's Democratic governor said the answer was "no." Martin O'Malley revised his remarks today, telling CNN "we are clearly better off," though "we have not recovered all that we lost."

Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus says today's happier talk from Democrats must mean that in one day, "23 million Americans have found jobs, incomes have gone up, gas prices are going down, poverty is in decline and the deficit has been cut."

As for regular Americans, 28 percent of those questioned in a recent Associated Press-GfK poll said they were better off than four years ago, while 36 percent said they were worse off. Another 36 percent said they were about the same.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Hundreds of union activists in North Carolina have had to walk a political tightrope today.

They've been showing support for President Barack Obama's re-election bid -- while also voicing concern about anti-labor attitudes in the state that the Democrats chose for the presidential nominating convention.

More than 300 people marched in the Charlotte Labor Day parade, a day ahead of the kickoff of the Democratic National Convention.

One man said it was important for the marchers to show that organized labor is alive in North Carolina, even though the state has the lowest percentage of union members in the nation.

Many unions have refused to give financial support to this week's convention, for reasons including North Carolina's ban on collective bargaining for teachers and other public workers.

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